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Motorola Moto G 4G (2014) review

Motorola’s budget stunner gets a 4G update and micro SD card expansion, but is it better than the original?

When Motorola launched the Moto G it gave every handset maker aiming for a budget buyer a problem. The quality and specifications were fantastic, considering the pricing. Now Motorola has upped the stakes again, giving the Moto G a face-lift in two important areas while continuing the high-quality, low-price ambition. Motorola has added 4G into the mix, bringing ultra-fast mobile broadband into the specifications. It has also dealt with a key criticism of the Moto G, its lack of a micro SD card slot, by providing one.

The remaining specifications are identical to the old Moto G, but these two uplifts have meant a rise in price for the Moto G 4G, which you can get SIM-free for around £150. The original Moto G is currently selling for around £110.

One of the things that really stood out with the original Moto G, and which still stands out here, is the screen. At 4.5 inches and with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels the screen is a stunner. Sharp, clear, bright and with super viewing angles, you will struggle to find higher quality at this price. The handset is a comfy hold too, well sized for smaller hands and pockets, and with a nicely curved back. If you want to brighten things up, you can buy brightly coloured backplates for under £10 a pop. 

Moto G hero screen

With just 8GB of built-in memory you are likely to be thankful for that micro SD card slot, which sits under the backplate. Without it, carrying a solid stash of music or video might be a challenge. The 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor is fast enough for everyday tasks, though it struggles with very demanding applications and high-end games.

Android is bang up to date at version 4.4, and you won’t find much by way of skinning or add-on apps here. Android is pretty much standard, though we do like Motorola Assist, a neat little app that can be set up to do things like automatically switch to silent mode when you are in a meeting.

Photographers might feel the camera is a little bit wanting. Five megapixels is pretty much entry level these days, and you will likely want to leave HDR selected to get the best results. But then again, if a few selfies and some shots for Facebook are all you need, it is up to the task.

The budget 4G sector is starting to take off, with the EE Kestrel the other major Android-based alternative at the moment. Expect more budget 4G handsets to appear, but for the moment, despite being slightly less good value than its non-4G predecessor, the Moto G 4G comes well recommended for all 4G fans.


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