Recently I bought a 3rd generation Moto G to replace my ageing iPhone 4 (I subsequently lost it and bought another but that’s a different story). Having been an iPhone user for the past 4-5 years or so it was always going to be a pretty big jump to Android. I decided to go against an iPhone this time pretty much purely on cost. A new iPhone costs around £500 and I’ve already mentioned on this blog that I didn’t want another phone contract (I’m on GiffGaff now) so whichever phone I went for I’d be paying for it up front.
A Phone On A Budget
The idea of having a phone with a value of £500 in my pocket doesn’t really appeal these days. Firstly I’d rather have the £500 in my pocket to spend on other things and secondly my phone tends to take a bit of a beating as I skate with it in my pocket. So I set myself a limit of around £150 and at the price, the Moto G was the one getting all the rave reviews.
I’ve had the phone for a few weeks now and it’s really surprised me. Although my iPhone was a few years old I kind of expected that other phones were still playing catch up and that I wouldn’t really see much of an improvement. I was pretty wrong about that. It’s impressing me in pretty much all areas – build quality, general speed, the camera and Android in general. I thought the transition from iOS to Android would take some getting used to but Android is a great operating system in it’s own right now. It doesn’t feel like I’ve moved to a budget device. Not at all.
Another factor that I wasn’t too sure about was the size – with a 5 inch display it’s way bigger than my iPhone which I seem to remember thinking was pretty big when I first bought it. It’s not quite as easy to use one-handed as the iPhone was but it fits in a pocket pretty nicely.
I have to say as a personal preference I prefer smaller phones. At 5″ this phone is perhaps a little larger than I would like but the current trend is for huge phones and it definitely does bring some benefits when it comes to watching movies and surfing the web. I can deal with it but I’d prefer it to be slightly smaller.
In terms of things that have really stood out for me - the flexibility of Android has been quite nice. It’s never easy just getting a file onto an iPhone – you have to, well I don’t even know really. It involves iTunes and is a pain. It’s a breeze on Android, you can just copy the files over. Some of the Google apps have really caught me by surprise too. Google Now is proving to be really useful and the calendar is much better than the iOS equivalent.
Google Now has been a pleasant surprise – in particular I like the notifications that I receive when an order I’ve placed has been dispatched and also the traffic warnings that it gives me every morning. Android is so much more sophisticated than I expected.
Motorola’s gestures are a really nice touch. You can access the camera by rotating your wrist a couple of times quickly, I’ve called on this so many times since I bought the phone. It’s really handy when you need to grab a quick snap. You can also access the torch with a double karate chop type hand movement which is another useful feature.
Coming from an iPhone I think build quality is going to be tough to live up to. Apple’s devices are incredibly well constructed, you can literally feel the quality. That said, comparing a budget smartphone to an iPhone isn’t a fair comparison.
Generally it’s a solid enough unit, the plastic back clips on tightly (it has to in order to be waterproof) and the screen is pretty much flawless. I have got a little bit of a gripe with the on off button though – it’s a little spongey to press and doesn’t fill me with confidence that it will survive a year or so of usage. Time will tell.
So far I’ve been pretty impressed with the 13 megapixel rear camera. The shots it takes are vivid and clear and it’s pretty quick to focus. As expected performance suffers in low light conditions but that’s no big surprise.
While smartphones have been making rapid advancements in technology and features, the same cannot be said about batteries unfortunately. Under medium usage the Moto G will give you just over a day before you need to charge it again. In my opinion, it’s not enough. Unfortunately that isn’t something that is just limited to the Moto G. Pretty much all smartphones suffer from poor battery life. A day is workable, it’s just not ideal.
The 3rd generation Moto G packs a hell of a punch for under £150. A solid camera, impressive screen, very slick Android experience and it’s waterproof. Recommended to anyone looking for a phone on a budget.
For anyone looking for something a little different, take a look at the new kid on the block, the Wileyfox Swift. Impressive specs for £129 – could it be a rival to the Moto G’s crown?