You won’t be seeing the Moto G2 anytime soon, because it’s actually still known as the Moto G (2014). So this review of the 2014 Moto G could also be called the Moto G2 review too. As well. Also. Get it? Whatever you want to call Motorola’s refresh of the Moto G, you’re about to have your expectations of what was possible in Android turned upside down. Once again. Here’s our full Moto G (2014) review. The Moto G (2014) release date was September 5th, 2014.
- ✓Very affordable
- ✓Stock Android, fast updates
- ✓Stereo speakers
- ✓Good camera
- ✓microSD expansion
- ✕Basically the same specs as the old Moto G
- ✕Small battery
Motorola Moto G (2014) design and build quality
There’s nothing too remarkable about the look of the new Moto G. But sometimes the least interesting surface can conceal truly impressive things beneath, as we saw with the original Moto G. In many ways, the Moto G (2014) is still an OG Moto G at heart, especially in terms of internal components. While the Moto G (2014) specs may seem pretty familiar, the Moto G (2014) price is also the same as its predecessor.
The front of the Moto G has the same molded glass look as the original, but the new version has wide silver stereo speaker grills on the top and bottom of the display. Buttons are in their familiar positions on the right hand side and the back has the same nice curve as that found on the original Moto X and Moto G. There’s a headphone port centered up top and microUSB port on the bottom.
The edges of the Moto G are shiny polycarbonate and the back of the Moto G has a nice matte plastic look with a rubberized feel. The battery cover can be removed to provide access to a microSD card slot and dual-SIM card slots. Motorola has introduced a kind of Do-It-Yourself Moto Maker with the new Moto G, with a wide variety of colorful back plate options with which to customize the look of your phone at will.
Everything looks great and feels a little more well-put-together than my first impressions of the original Moto G, which felt a little rickety to me. Having said that, it's actually not very easy to get the back panel of the Moto G (2014) off. I can only assume we'll very soon discover that the new Moto G (2014) is just as unofficially water-resistant as we found the original to be. Of course, I don't advise you to count on that though.
Motorola Moto G (2014) display
The Moto G packs a surprisingly large 5-inch screen (up from 4.5 inches in the original Moto G) and the footprint of the phone is not much larger than the Nexus 5. The HD display (1,280 x 720 pixels) brings a decent 294 ppi, even if the original Moto G had a half-inch smaller screen with the same resolution and thus, higher pixel density. Despite the lower pixel density, Motorola said that it wanted no compromises on display or pocketability, so the Moto G has the smallest bezels you could expect for a smartphone in this price range.
The screen is not, of course, the highlight here, but it is perfectly clear and crisp for what it is. Colors are rich and bright enough, but the contrast isn't as strong as that in the new Moto X (2014) and screen brightness never gets close to what you might like. The lack of pixel density is also noticeable and our test unit had a slight yellowish tint to the whites (compared to the previous Moto G's magenta).
Motorola Moto G (2014) software
The new Moto G (2014) features include near-stock Android 4.4.4 KitKat and will be guaranteed updates direct from Motorola. This means it will be amongst the first devices in the world to receive Android 5.0 when it arrives around the start of November. The Motorola interface is basically stock Android with just a few Moto tweaks on top, like Motorola Migrate, Assist, Connect, Help and Alert. Other Motorola apps can be installed (and updated independently of firmware) via the Google Play Store.
Motorola Assist contains customizable profiles which you can set for specific situations, like when you're driving, for example, or in a meeting. You can tell your Moto G (2014) to read messages aloud, silence incoming calls, play music through Bluetooth, or set quiet hours where you won't be disturbed. Migrate lets you easily switch your old phone's contents to your new Moto G (2014), even if your last phone was an iPhone. Trusted Devices let you keep your phone unlocked when a trusted device, like a smartwatch, is connected to your Moto G (2014).
Alert lets you set up emergency contacts to be notified automatically in case of an accident and the renamed Help lets you contact Motorola customer support anytime of day or not via chat or phone, and there's even a handy bunch of FAQs and tutorials to get your started. Everything else is stock Android: super clean and minimal. Any customizations you want to do you can do yourself straight over the top of the fastest Android experience around.
Motorola Moto G (2014) performance
The Moto G is no hardware beast, but considering it houses a modest Snapdragon 400 chipset clocked at 1.2 GHz (the same processor used in some smartwatches) it is still surprisingly responsive and quick. There is a distinct lack of bloatware on the Moto G and this is a great thing: with only 8 or 16 GB of internal storage, buyers need all the storage space they can get to put the apps they actually want on their Moto G. However, internally it is almost identical to the last Moto G, so if that wasn't quite fast enough for you the new Moto G won't be either.
The new Moto G comes in a single SIM, dual-SIM and dual-SIM with DTV versions and all models have a microSD card slot that can bump the storage up an additional 32 GB. The new Moto G also has front-mounted stereo speakers, something many flagship devices haven’t quite picked up on yet. While they are nice and loud, they won't knock your socks off in terms of audio quality.
Motorola said it asked people what they wanted, listened and then delivered. The big three requests? Better music, microSD expansion and a better camera. Sadly, an LTE radio didn't seem to make the cut, so the Moto G (2014) doesn't support 4G.
Motorola Moto G (2014) camera
Moto fans wanted a better camera though, so they got one in the new Moto G. The camera on the new Moto G has been beefed up to a resolution of 8 MP for the main camera and 2 MP for the front-facing camera. The camera interface is super clean and includes slow-motion capture and panorama amongst other basic settings. You can tap anywhere on the screen to shoot a picture which Motorola wanted to introduce to make the photographic experience simpler and cleaner. You can also shoot a picture using the volume down button.
- Take a look at the surprising results of our Moto X (2014) vs Moto G (2014) camera comparison
The Moto G (2014) camera is actually pretty good. The resolution bump is welcome, and there's been some other tweaks that have improved its performance since the previous version too. Focus response is much better and so is color accuracy and sharpness. Shots seem to be a little less contrasty than before as well. The camera is far from the best in current smartphones, but for a phone that costs 179 USD, the new Moto G (2014) 8 MP shooter is really quite good.
Motorola Moto G (2014) battery
Strangely, even with a larger screen, Motorola decided not to boost the size of the non-removable battery, sticking with the same capacity as that found in the original Moto G: 2,070 mAh. With Android 5.0 Lollipop’s Project Volta not far away, you can expect the battery life to improve by up to 30%, but until that happens it's still a pretty small battery. Nevertheless, with only a HD screen and relatively low power consumption, it will still get you through a day or a day and a half if you're lucky.
Price and Availability
You can go up to Motorola's online store and order an unlocked and off contract version of the Moto G (2014), as well as get it from most US and UK retailers. The device is also available in India and Brazil, with Europe getting in on the Moto G party in France, Spain, and Germany. More countries and carriers will come later in the year. The Moto G (2014) price is 179 USD, 199 EUR, 149 GBP or 12,999 INR for the basic 8 GB model.
Motorola Moto G (2014) technical specifications
|Motorola Moto G (2nd. gen.)|
|System||Android 4.4, KitKat (guaranteed upgrade to “L” version of Android OS).|
|Display||5.0-inch HD IPS LCD (1,080 x 720 pixels, 294 ppi)|
|CPU||Quad-core Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz|
|GPU||Adreno 305 (450 MHz)|
8/16 GB (single SIM and dual-SIM models), 16 GB (dual-SIM DTV model)
+ micro SD up to 32 GB
|Battery||2,070 mAh, non-removable|
|Camera||8 MP (rear), AF (f/2.0), 2 MP (front-facing), 720p 30fps video capture both front and back|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 3.5 mm, USB 2.0 HS, 1 or 2 Micro SIMS|
70.7 x 141.5 x 6.0-11.0 mm
|Extras||Stereo speakers (front-facing) with noise cancellation, replaceable back covers|
The Moto G was the biggest sleeper success in recent memory and has rightfully become Motorola’s biggest selling device of all time. While there may not seem to be too many flashy new gimmicks in the new Moto G that is because it really doesn’t need them. The original Moto G was and is one of the best Android experiences you can get. At extremely low prices it remains unbeatable, but now there’s an even better Moto G.
Key improvements like a larger screen (if not higher resolution), microSD expansion, better camera, dual-SIM, stereo front-facing speakers and the inclusion of switchable back panels make the new Moto G a force to be reckoned with. Motorola said it set out to make an even more exceptional phone at an equally exceptional price, and feel that the Moto G fulfills that goal. I tend to agree with them. The best low-cost Android smartphone just got a whole lot better. The flagships better watch out.