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Moto G (2014) review: Bigger, better but still the best?

Can the latest version of the Moto G prove it’s the quintessential budget device?

The original Moto G was released to a good amount of fanfare, providing users with a cost-effective way of getting their hands on the latest version of Android (4.3 at the time). The Moto G 4G, which added dual-SIM capabilities, then quickly followed it up and lightning fast download speeds were achievable through 4G connectivity. The Moto G 2014 is the latest in the series that offers current G owners a recognisable device, but also one with several key changes.

This time around you’ll find predominantly the same design, with the only addition being the two front-facing speakers that offer superb clarity for your music. Motorola has still chosen the same curved back to help cater for the bigger 5” display and the device is just about usable with one hand, but a noticeable leap from the previous 4.5” screen. The bigger size also means it’s slightly heavier than its predecessors and chunkier as well. One of the biggest additions to the Moto G 4G was dual-SIM capability and thankfully Motorola has carried that over. Although it won’t be as big of a deal in the UK, access to dual-SIMs is perfect in locations where signals just aren’t very good. Another thing that’s carried over is the 2070mAh battery. It provides enough juice to get through the day, but the bigger screen puts it under a bit more pressure.

One thing we’ve grown accustomed to is the presence of stock Android on all Motorola devices. The same can be said here and it’ll be pleasing for those who want to customise the device themselves. There are a couple of additional apps, but we wouldn’t describe them as bloatware. Migrate can help you sync contents across from a different phone, Alert stores emergency contact information and Assist is a fantastic automation tool. Users have access to a decent 8GB of internal storage, but this is expandable to 32GB through microSD.

Photography fans will be presently surprised with the upgraded 8-megapixel rear camera that’s available. It’s not perfect by any means, but colours and details are good and the stock Camera app has a decent about of shooting and editing tools readily available. To view your photos, you’ll be taking advantage of the improved display. The bump from 4.5” to 5” is a good addition and has helped bump the overall pixel density to 326. Everything looks great on it and we’d happily stick our necks out and say it rivals many of the high-end devices on the market.

However, a big omission here is the lack of 4G. Although we expect to see a 4G variant down the line, it’s arguably the one thing that will leave users wondering if the device is for them. There are several cheaper devices on the market that already offer it, so it’s a pity Motorola hasn’t taken the initiative and followed it up here. With the bigger screen and generally bigger device it’s also surprising that there’s no change with the Snapdragon 400 processor. It does keep everything moving around nicely, but it does show a bit of strain when dealing with several tasks at once.

There’s plenty to love about the Moto G (2014), it feels like a truly well-rounded device and keeps that mouth-watering £150 price tag. The upgraded camera, front-facing speakers, better screen and access to Android 4.4.4 are all positives that users will love, but the bigger size really required a bigger battery and faster processor to streak ahead of the competition. This is still one of the premier budget devices on the market, but we’ll wait until the inclusion of 4G before recommending this as a must-have device.

For more reviews on the latest Android devices, make sure to check out the latest issue of Android Magazine.