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Moto G review (1st Gen) – Still a great budget choice for 4G

Moto G 1st Gen 3G
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £135
inc VAT SIM-free

Now available with 4G, the Moto G is an incredible bargain that punches well above its weight and is still the best budget smartphone around


Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Screen size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 1,280×720, Rear camera: 5-megapixel, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 130x66x11.6mm, Weight: 143g, Operating system: Android 4.4.2



Moving your files over may be easy, but storage is still the Achilles heel of the Moto G. The 4G Moto G solves this problem by finally including a microSD card slot, which supports cards up to 32GB, but the 3G version is still left with a few dilemmas. There’s a micro USB port in the centre at the bottom, and the headphone is directly opposite at the top. Under the snap cover there’s little to play with, there’s a micro SIM card slot, but the battery is integrated and there’s no memory card slot.

The basic model has just 8GB of storage (of which you get 5.01GB free when you first boot it up), as such it’s not really suitable for those who want to load video onto it, or carry around lots of music. For £160 you can get a 16GB 3G model, adding 8GB of usable storage and making it far roomier at 13GB.

With the handset you also get 50GB of extra online storage for Google Drive for two years, for a total of 65GB once you count the free 15GB everyone gets. It’s a lot of storage, though Google charges just $2 a month for 100GB. Once your account lapses you’ll probably want to subscribe given the low price, or buy another handset with the offer possibly, to continue to upload content. You will be able to access and download any content already on Google Drive – nothing gets deleted. For more details read our Google Drive review.

Motorola Moto G


The chipset is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad cores running at 1.2GHz. It uses the older Cortex-A7 architecture and so can’t keep up with the flagship Snapdragon 800 but it still keep everything running along smoothly. Android 4.3 felt slick, with no hesitations when switching apps.

Using the Chrome browser it scored 1,410ms in the SunSpider 1.0.2 JavaScript benchmark, it’s not a great score, and those who are always browsing the web should look elsewhere. Still, it renders most of the BBC news homepage in a flash, and only take a couple of seconds to get the whole thing displayed. A Geekbench 2 score of 1,303 smashes other budget handsets, though is still a few hundred points short of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Again the Adreno 305 chipset isn’t the fastest on offer, but once again it’s a great choice for a handset at this price. The 3DMark Ice Storm test ran at fairly smooth 23.8fps for a score of 5,412, it also coped with all the games we threw at it, such as Minion Rush and Real Racing 3. It struggled with Ice Storm Extreme with just 9.6fps, but then it’s only £135 and it plays current games, so there’s nothing to complain about. It outclasses every handset we’ve seen at this price, and even surpasses phones at twice the price we’ve seen over the last year.


The 4.5in display has a resolution of 1,280×720 which gives it 326 pixels-per-inch. This is exactly the same figure as Apple’s iPhone 5s, which has 1,136×640 pixels over a 4in display. There’s certainly no problem then with either the screen size or the detail on offer, it doesn’t quite live up to a £549 handset but it’s close.

After tweaking the brightness up from the automatic setting we got some great results from the display. Blacks were deep and contrast was good, colours looked accurate yet still vibrant. White’s tended towards the cooler, bluer side but nothing problematic. It’s a decent display at any price and at this price it’s outstanding.

Motorola Moto G^ This quick shot shows the variation in colour between the Moto G, Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 – click to enlarge

With the top-end handsets getting larger and larger displays, this isn’t a phone that’s ideal for playing games or watching a lot of video on the commute, but then the iPhone has a smaller screen than the Moto G and that’s still a great phone. Continues on Page 3

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ProcessorQuad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Screen size4.5in
Screen resolution1,280×720
Screen typeIPS
Front camera1.3-megapixel
Rear camera5-megapixel
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD (4G model only)
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 4.4.2
Battery size2,070mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£128 (4G)
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £13.50-per-month contract (4G)
Prepay price (inc VAT)£130 (4G)
Contract/prepay /
Part codeXT1032 (3G) / XT1039 (4G)

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