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Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen

Moto G 3rd Gen review (2015): The best compact budget smartphone now with Android 6.0

Katharine Byrne
12 Jul 2016
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New Moto G 2015 main
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
159
inc VAT SIM-free

Not as good value as its predecessor, but the new Moto G is still a fantastic phone with its great camera, long battery life and useful apps

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Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280x720, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 8GB (4GB) / 16GB (12GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 142x72x6.1mm, Weight: 155g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

Android 6.0 & Moto Apps

As I've come to expect from Motorola phones, the 3rd Gen Moto G runs almost pure Android, and this particular handset currently ships with 5.1.1 (Lollipop). However, there's now a free over-the-air update available for Google's latest operating system, Android 6.0, which adds in a few extra features such as enhanced power saving, but still keeps the overall look and feel of the previous Android OS. The lack of manufacturer alterations is great news as far as I'm concerned, the clean and simple UI is very easy to use.

The most useful feature of Android 6.0 is Doze, which dramatically lengthens battery life when your handset is in standby mode by cleverly limiting the amout of times it checks for updates on less-used apps. Next up is Now on Tap, which allows you to utilise Google's clever Now search technologies on any screen on the phone, for example use the feature while reading a text meesage from a friend about a film they saw and Now on Tap will automatically find nearby screenings and reviews.


Moto G 3rd Gen Android 6.0 Marshmallow screenshot

^ Motorola continues to use a largely unaltered version of Android 6.0, which is great in our books

Less exciting, but arguably more important, is the new App permissions system. Instead of spitting out a huge list of permissions every time you install an app and refusing to continue if you're concerned about any one of those listed, the new system asks for permissions whenever an app first tries to access a particluar feature. For example, you might love your new messaging app but don't want to give it access to your camera or contacts list. This isn't a problem for Android 6.0, as you can just refuse when it asks but continue to use the app as you want.

It's not all Google's work, though, as Motorola's included a few neat features of its own to really make the 3rd Gen Moto G stand out. For instance, open up the Moto app and you can adjust how notifications are displayed on the lock screen. Android Lollipop already did this to some extent when you turn on the phone, but the Moto G can display the time and up to three interactive notification buttons when the screen is turned off, which is both good for your phone's battery life and incredibly handy if all you want to do is check the time.

If you want to open one of those notifications, you can swipe up, dismiss it by swiping to the side, or simply unlock your phone as normal by swiping down. This is by far one of my favourite features on the Moto G, and for me is absolutely one of the main attractions of choosing a Motorola handset over other smartphones around the same price. 

Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen Moto Display

^ The Moto Display is one of my favourite Motorola features, as you can see the time at a glance without having to turn the screen on

Conclusion

With its recent price cut, the  3rd Gen Moto G is back in the realms of being a proper, purebred budget handset. It might not be as powerful as the Moto G4, but its exquisite design and useful apps and features are more than enough compensation for Motorola's slightly disappointing choice of chipset. If you're looking for a compact smartphone and don't want to spend over £150, the 3rd Gen Moto G is still the best phone to buy.

Looking for the best price? Check out the uSwitch deals page with prices starting from just £7.50 per month.

Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
RAM1GB / 2GB (16GB model only)
Screen size5in
Screen resolution1,280x720
Screen typeLCD
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera13 megapixels
FlashDual LED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage (free)8GB (4GB) / 16GB (12GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11n
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
NFCNo
Wireless data3G, 4G
Size142x72x6.1mm
Weight155g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Battery size2,470mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£159
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £15.50-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)£160
SIM-free supplierwww.motorola.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.carphonewarehouse.com (contract), www.three.co.uk (prepay)
Detailswww.motorola.co.uk
Part codeXT1541

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