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Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen) review

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Motorola Moto G (2nd Gen) review

Hang on, another Moto G? Yes, this is the third incarnation of Motorola’s budget handset, not to be confused with the original from last year, or the 4G model.

2014's take brings a bigger screen, upgraded camera, and dual SIM card slots, though it keeps the same low price of £150 SIM free.

First impressions and design

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It’s business as usual on the design front. Along with Amazon, Motorola isn’t reinventing the rulebook when it comes to industrial design – everything it makes is pretty much a black rectangle.

Though as with previous models and the Moto X, you can swap the back for a different colour by purchasing some new ‘shells’.

It’s solidly put together, if a little chunky, and the back has a nice rubbery feel that means it doesn’t slip out of your hand.

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It also has the same dimple as previous models, which provides somewhere to rest the tip of your finger while using it.

Clearly, Motorola’s motto is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Software

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Android 4.4.4 KitKat comes as standard, and it’ll be upgradeable to Android L when that launches.

It’s stock Android too, so you don’t get any of the bloatware that can clog up HTC, Sony, LG and Samsung devices.

You also don’t get those companies’ bells and whistles, but to be honest, apart from a couple of exceptions, you’re not missing much. We like stock Android just fine, thanks.

You do get some extras though.

Motorola Migrate lets you copy all your contacts, media, call logs and more info from your old phone to your new one in just a few simple steps.

Lost Phone Web Portal, whihch is basically Find My iPhone and lets you locate, lock or wipe your device, impresses too.

motorola migrate

Motorola Assist, meanwhile, syncs to your calendar and/or lets you tell it when you’re sleeping.

Then it’ll send auto replies to anyone trying to reach you, and silence your phone so you won’t be disturbed.

You can also activate voice search on the homepage by saying “OK Google” without needing to press the microphone icon.

Though unlike with the Moto X, you can’t activate it while the screen is off.

Features

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The dual SIM capability is the main talking point. It’s quite unusual for a phone on these shores – it’s more popular in emerging markets like India, as it lets punters have two plans to keep costs down.

It’s also popular with business bods keen to have separate contracts for business and pleasure.

It’s a doddle to use both SIMs. Just go to Settings, and you’ll see both with on/off toggles.

You can choose to activate whichever you prefer.

A new microSD card slot also lets you add to the 8GB storage, so you can fit on more movies, apps, games and photos.

The camera has been beefed up too. It’s now an 8-megapixel jobby.

While the screen is half an inch bigger, it retains the same 720p resolution, and the handset is powered by the same Snapdragon 400 chip clocked at 1.2GHz along with 1GB of RAM.

Usability

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There was nothing really wrong with the first two models of Moto G, so we’re happy to report this is still a pretty slick affair.

It would’ve been nice to see a beefed-up screen resolution, but a 5-inch display for £150 is still great value.

As before, the processor is more than adequate for most tasks. You’re only going to complain if you want to play the latest, most processor-heavy games for years to come.

One bugbear is the camera. It might have a higher-resolution sensor, but it’s still slow to focus.

The rapid-fire mode isn’t a patch on other handsets’, and the results are less than inspiring.

Shooting on an overcast day, our snaps looked more drab than they should have.

The browns and greens of the autumn leaves didn’t jump out at all. And that's a bit disappointing.

Verdict

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The Moto G isn’t perfect, but for £150 it doesn’t have to be.

What you get for your money is a solid handset that does all the basics you could ask, and a few more besides.

Sure, there’s no 4G, and the camera – though fine for everyday shooting – is still a bit poor.

But when it comes to the bargain bin, the Moto G is definitely near the top of the pile.

Key specs

  • Android 4.4
  • 8GB and 16GB internal storage variants
  • 32GB microSD support
  • 5" LCD capacitive touchscreen
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7 processor
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera

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