Ever since I bought that Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos last November, I was not particularly happy with it. Sure it has a big 5" screen but the tiny 8GB internal storage does really irks me until today. After losing 4GB to operating system and bundled apps, I barely got 4GB left to use for everything else. Even with only installing the essential apps that I use daily for work, I've got less than 2GB of space left. Forget about games like FIFA 14 or Real Racing, I don't even dare to install larger than 50MB apps for fearing of running out of space. That's not how I wanna use a 'smartphone'.
So I thought screw Samsung. I'm gonna sell my Grand Duos and buy something smarter, worthy of the smartphone moniker. Lucky for me I managed to sell my Samsung phone within 24 hours via Mudah and did a pre-order for the Motorola Moto G on Lazada the next day. Despite a few bad reviews I found on the Internet about Lazada, I find my experience with the online retailer to be a real pleasant one.
When I placed my order, the phone was not officially launched yet in the country so I had to wait for around two weeks for the actual launch date. When the phone does officially launch in Malaysia on 24th of January, Lazada took only 3 days to deliver the phone to me through in-house courier where I paid for it cash on delivery. Not bad at all I must say. I suppose all the bad reviews that I read or people wrote online are just isolated incidents.
So why did I chose Moto G over all the other smartphones in the market? As usual before making any purchase decision for new phones, I did an extensive research online by reading tech blogs and websites and numerous reviews available on many different phones out there. This time I narrowed my selection to phones with at least 4" screen with minimum 16GB of internal storage and most importantly within my meagre budget.
The Moto G has caught my attention ever since it was introduced a few months ago in the American market so when they finally made it to our shores, it didn't take me long to get it as my next phone. It sells for just $199 in the states which translates to RM788 here for the 16GB version. The fact that it was made by Google-owned Motorola is another big plus factor when buying this phone. As with Nexus devices, this phone will be amongst the first to get the latest Android OS update when they come out.
In the box, I get the Moto G, AC adapter and a earphone. The extras included in for the local market are the Moto G flip shell cover and one screen protector which are more than generous because for the American market they got nothing but the phone and a flimsy USB cable out of the box.
The Moto G features a 4.5 inches LCD display and weighs just 143 grams. There's no physical key on the front face of the device unlike most Samsung devices. The standard Android home, back and multitask buttons will appear onscreen when needed, but otherwise the bezel below the 4.5-inch display is bare. Above the LCD display you'll find the front-facing camera, LED notification light and the speaker grill. I didn't know there was an LED notification light on this phone until I reread the reviews again. Apparently if you signed with your Google account on your previous Android phone and turned off LED notifications there, you won't see them on your Moto G again after you signed in with the same Google account. Fortunately Motorola has released a widget called Notification Light Widget to fix this problem. Once you installed this widget, turn the LED notification on and you're done. You'll see a little white LED pulse every time you receive new text, email, IMs or missed calls.
The Moto G is all plastic, including the sturdy matte back cover. The back cover is interchangeable so if you're bored with the stock black color, you could just buy one of the many colorful back covers in the market. I'm not really a fan of any flip covers before cause I feel they just add weight to the phone. The Moto G flip shell cover however is attached directly to the back cover so it's like part of the device and you won't notice any extra weight. That said, I'd probably get the grip shell rubberized frame for my Moto G once they're available in stores here.
On the backside, you'll find the primary camera, loudspeaker, LED flash and a small indention where you thumb rests when prying the back panel off. And trust me, prying the back panel can be a pain on the fingers most times. They're that difficult. Even after you follow the step by step instruction by Motorola. Under the back cover, you'll find the micro SIM card slot. Not one but two of them.
I didn't know my Moto G is dual-SIM until I opened the back cover for the first time which is a surprise because the U.S version has just a single SIM slot. You can see the battery as well under the cover but unfortunately it's not user replaceable meaning you'll need to an expert to replace it one day. Like all Google branded devices, this one doesn't feature an expansion slot for memory cards so you'll have to do with the 8GB or 16GB internal storage. You might save about a hundred ringgit with the 8GB version but trust me, you don't want to own any smartphone with just 8GB of storage. It's horrible. When you sign in to your Google Drive on the phone, you'll get an extra 50GB of space free for 2 years. 50GB of Google Drive space sounds nice but for anything but eternity I'd still call it meh.
The 4.5" LCD display is beautiful, clear and and crisp with a respectable 720p resolution. The Gorilla Glass LCD should withstand minor scratches but as always I wouldn't gamble on that and fix the screen protector from day one.
My Moto G comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean which I quickly updated to 4.4.2 Kit Kat after opening. The phones uses basically a stock Android OS save for the startup Motorola animation and the camera app. And unlike all of Samsung devices, the Moto G doesn't include any unnecessary bloatware save for Motorola Migrate & Motorola Assist which are actually useful (hence not a bloatware). To be honest, I'm just glad to get rid of the ugly TouchWiz UI that I'm familiar with on my old Samsung Device. The fonts, design, animation and icons are much better on the Moto G and for once, I don't have the problem with the email app where I can't press enter to create a new line as I had with the Grand Duos (and most Samsung droid phones).
The stock keyboard is good if not great. Sure I'll make a few typos now and then and typing on it is still not as smooth as on an iOS device but it's definitely better than on TouchWiz (yeah I hate Samsung very much).
The Moto G features a modest 5 megapixel main camera which takes some really nice shots even in low light conditions. The stock Motorola camera app contains HDR, flash, focus control, geotag and sound recording (in video) toggles, as well as switches for the aspect ratio, and panoramic or slow-motion video recording modes which are not bad at all. With all those fancy settings I had to actually google how to snap a picture with the camera app (by touching anywhere on the screen) because there's no camera icon on it. The 1.3 megapixel front facing camera is good enough for the occasional selfie in broad daylight or for video calling. See sample photos and video below.
Moto G sample picture
Moto G sample video
For a RM788 phone you'd half expect it not to pack too much power. However, the Moto G decided to use the speedy 1.2GHz Snapdragon quad-core processor with a respectable 1GB RAM. Apps and games loads fairly quickly and graphic-intensive games like Real Racing 3 and Angry Birds Go runs smoothly without a glitch on the phone. It's easily twice as fast than my previous Samsung Grand Duos.
Battery-wise, the Moto G goes from fully charged to 20% in 8.5 hours with heavy use. Heavy use as in Wi-Fi on, push email which refreshes every 5 minutes, occasional web browsing and YouTube, an hour and a half on Instagram, a few calls and text messages and occasional messaging with Whatsapp. Quite okay with just a 2070mAh battery.
There's quite a few things I like about my Moto G but to summarize it quickly - it's the best Android phone you can get in the market today for under 800 ringgit or USD200 bar none. If you bothered to read or actually try the Moto G, I assure you, you won't touch another cheap but horrible Samsung phone again. Aside from the affordable price point, the Moto G packs a punch with it's quad core processor and RAM and it uses the latest stock Android OS with almost no modification and no bloatwares included. Unlike your Samsung, HTC or Sony Android phones, the Moto G will probably get the latest update from Google much sooner too.
Despite making it sound like the best thing since sliced bread, the Moto G does have a few compromises. For starters the screen is only 4.5" which is not a big deal for me although I certainly wouldn't mind a 5" or bigger screen. Of course you can always add another 700 ringgit and get the 5" Nexus 5. There's also no memory card slot and the battery is not user-replaceable. Apart from that, I can't find anything else to pick about the Moto G. So if you're looking for a new smartphone with a budget of only RM800, you should just head on to any Brightstar authorised dealer and get the Moto G. Trust me, you won't regret it. Even better, you can save up to 50 ringgit if you buy from online retailers like Lazada and iPmart. Even if your budget is less than 800 ringgit, don't buy that lousy but cheap Samsung or Lenovo phone. Save up a bit more and buy the Moto G the following month. To quote the review from Engadget, the Moto G is an affordable smartphone done right. The Moto G is quite simply the best phone on the market in its price range.