I've never owned a brand-new smartphone. For those like me who opt for contract-free, inexpensive phone service, buying a new smartphone is cost prohibitive when the carrier isn't subsidizing the price in order to lock you in to a contract with a high monthly rate.
A little under a year ago, Motorola changed that when they announced the Moto G. Even before I bought one for a family member, I could tell it was the phone I'd been waiting for for a long time. No bells, no whistles, just things I cared about: performance, durability, battery life, and up-to-date software. All this at a price that meant someone like me could actually afford a brand-new smartphone that was actually worth buying.
Since that time, at my recommendation, a handful of friends and family members have also bought the Moto G, and they've all been quite happy. It lived up to my expectations, and continues to do so. Here are my impressions almost a year on:
- Motorola has kept their word, and up to this point the Moto G is still running the latest version of Android
- It's lightning fast, especially with ART enabled
- The battery life is incredible, often going 2-3 days in between charges (with data off, which helps)
- The price to this day remains competitive, and I've seen it sell for as little as $50 through carriers
- It's quite durable, and I haven't had any need to take advantage of the included one-year warranty
- Motorola has gone above and beyond by periodically providing fun boot animations
- First-generation Moto G
- The original. This is the model that most carriers are selling. Unfortunately they're also mostly selling the 8 GB model, which isn't much storage. I would only recommend this one if your priority is saving money, or if you're sure you won't need the extra storage.
- Moto G 4G
- Released in June, identical to the first-gen Moto G but with an added SD card slot and LTE. This is the model I recommend for those that want to be able to use their phone with one hand.
- Second-generation Moto G
- Just released, the camera is upgraded, the speaker is moved to the front, an SD card slot is added, and the screen size is increased to 5 inches. I'd recommend this model to anyone who wants a big screen and doesn't necessarily need to use it with one hand.