Feeds
Motorola Moto G

Best budget Android smartphone there is? Must be the Moto G

Motorola’s cheap-as-chips assault on no-name handsets and iThings

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Review Regular readers of my phone reviews for El Reg will be well aware that I like cheap devices.

On these very pages I have sung the praises of handsets such as Huawei’s Ascend G310 and ZTE’s Skate – aka the Orange Monte Carlo – after being impressed by the quality they offered for the money demanded.

Motorola Moto G

Moto G: Motorola’s cure for "landfill" Android?

Granted they didn’t render the same polished user experience or the same advanced features as their more expensive stablemates, but they catered to a market that couldn’t afford the prices, often higher by a factor of three or four, commanded by the likes of the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S.

With the new Moto G, Google-owned Motorola is touting a handset that will massively increase Android’s grip on the budget market, offering for peanuts a device that gives nothing substantive away to smartphones costing three times as much.

The G crushes the Windows Phone 8 competition and shows Apple bosses to be as greedy as I’ve always suspected.

Motorola Moto G

The back comes off, but you can’t readily swap out the battery

You see, the £135 Moto G (for which you'll pay $179 in the US) – and that’s SIM-free and unlocked, you can pick one up for around £120 or somewhere south of $150 in the US on PAYG – is a better device in almost every way than the LG-made Nexus 4 I reviewed at the start of the year. And the Nexus 4 was an impressive bit of kit.

To get a brief idea of what you get for your 27 fivers or 179 dollar bills, let’s quickly compare the Moto G to the similarly priced Nokia Lumia 520. Motorola gives you a 4.5-inch, 1280 x 720 display; Nokia a 4.0-inch, 800 x 400 affair. Both screens are scratch-resistant but the Motorola uses genuine Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Both have a 5MP camera but only Motorola gives you a webcam, a decent little 1.3MP affair, for these selfie-obsessed times.

Poke about inside the Moto G and you will find a 1.2GHz quad-core chip to compare to the Nokia’s dual-core 1GHz component. Yes, WinPho is lighter on its feet than Android but with only 512MB of RAM lots of games are out of the 520’s reach and do you want to bet the 520 will get the next WP update, whatever and whenever that is? Motorola has already said the G will get a bump from Jelly Bean 4.3 to KitKat 4.4 in January 2014.

Motorola Moto G

The power and volume keys are well placed

I’ll admit that Qualcomm's Snapdragon 400 chipset is not top of the tree in terms of performance. Its processor uses Cortex-A7 rather than the Cortex-A15 cores found in Krait CPUs. And you only get 1GB of RAM rather than 2. But it still returns AnTuTu benchmark scores in the region of 17,000 – which is much the same as the Nexus 4. Both the Lumia 520 and the G use the same Adreno 305 GPU.

Where the Nokia hits a home run is with its Micro SD card slot. Like the iPhone 5C, the Moto G lacks storage expansion so you are stuck with either 8GB or 16GB – around 5.5GB and 13.5GB, respectively, after the system has had its share.

Thankfully, the Moto G supports USB On-The-Go hosting out of the box. And it’s worth keeping in mind that the 16GB iPhone 5C will set you back £470 (or $549 in the US), £300 more (or $370 more) than a 16GB Moto G. Yes, the 5C comes with LTE/4G support while the Moto G, like the Lumia 520, doesn’t but if you can afford a 4G contract you can probably afford to go for a Nexus 5 rather than a Moto G and still save £170 over an iPhone.

Motorola Moto G

The 3.5mm jack and the top of the fascia

At this point iPhone or Lumia owners will no doubt chirp that the 5C and 520 are really well-made devices. And they are, though at the price, the 5C should be.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Next page: Solid construction

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.