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Moto G (3rd Gen) Review

MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

It’s not that we are too good for them or don’t see their importance, but we typically don’t review mid-range Android phones like the Moto G (3rd gen). We tend to stick to the high-end guys, the ones that most of our readers get all sorts of opinionated about after flocking toward with wads of cash. But there is something different about the new Moto G. Not only is it the 3rd version of Motorola’s most successful phone of all time, but it’s also impossible to ignore. This is a sub-$200 phone that bests many $400 and above phones in performance, battery life, and style.

Since receiving a review unit a couple of weeks back, I’ve spent enough time with and without the new Moto G (3rd gen) to share some final thoughts. And while this is a step out of our comfort zone, I think you’ll see why after reading this that we decided this one was worth a deeper look.

This is our Moto G (3rd gen) review. 

MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

What’s awesome about it?


Battery Life

Phones that have great battery life will always have a special place in my heart. I loved the OnePlus One because of its two-day battery life. The Xperia Z3 Compact ranks up there in my favorites as well for the same reason. And now, you can add the Moto G (3rd gen) to the list. With its ultra-efficient Snapdragon 410 (quad-core) processor, 5-inch 720p display, and 2470mAh battery, this phone just goes and goes and goes. Even with the phone running on AT&T and at my house, which happens to be an AT&T black hole of signal death, this phone, on LTE only, easily gets through an entire day with solid use (14-16 hours with a terrible AT&T signal). Turn on WiFi and it might last for days.

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In fact, the standby time on this phone might be the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in a smartphone. I’m pretty sure that I turned this phone on for the first time after returning from NYC a couple of weeks back, charged it, connected to WiFi, and then didn’t touch it for 3 or 4 days, yet it still somehow had most of its battery left. Today, I woke up at around 5:45AM, grabbed the Moto G (with WiFi on), caught up on news, then went for a 30-minute run (using GPS the whole time), and am now sitting here at 12:30PM with almost 70% remaining (1.5 hours of screen on time). That’s insane! The Galaxy S6 would have asked me to recharge it at least once in that amount of time.

Design

The new Moto G is an obvious member of the Moto family. The design, while different in many aspects, is still very much a Moto G. Take a look at the picture below to see what I mean, but also to see how the line has evolved over the last couple of years. It’s simple, clean, and starting to become somewhat iconic at this point. Someone tell HTC that this is how you evolve smartphone design.

Holding this phone reminds me a lot of the original Moto X in that its curves melt into your palm, all areas of the screen are reachable with one handed use, and it isn’t so thin that it becomes difficult to hold. There is a slight texture to the (replaceable) back side, along with a somewhat sticky phone frame that both help it from slipping around in your hand. The power and volume button places are in their proper spots and not at all confusing. And the camera housing, with dimple, and flash add some much needed flair.

Overall, this phone is refreshing in that it’s not an oversized behemoth, but it’s just big enough that it feels like a 2015 phone.

MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

Personalization

As an added bonus, Motorola added the new Moto G (3rd gen) to their Moto Maker service, which means you can customize a Moto G at no extra cost and receive it within a few days. This isn’t the full Moto Maker treatment that accompanies the Moto X package, but you do get to choose a white or black front and from 10 different accent and back colors. You can even choose to engrave it or double the RAM and storage, though the RAM and storage upgrade will cost you extra.

Still to this day, no one is doing customization like Motorola. That’s too bad because personalization of a phone has become one of our favorite things to do with new Moto phones.

moto g moto maker

Camera

This isn’t the best camera you will find in a phone, but it might be the best you will find in a $200 phone. Motorola, a company that almost always disappoints in the camera department, appears to be figuring things out. Not only did they express a major desire and focus for putting out the best smartphone camera around in the new Moto X Pure Edition, they seem to have spent some quality time with the Moto G’s shooter as well.

You are looking at shots taken with a 13MP f/2.0 camera that includes pretty quick auto focus, 1080p video, slow motion shooting, burst mode, and auto HDR.

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Full resolution: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

As you can see, the phone gets a little aggressive with the auto HDR, but it is quite capable of taking some decent shots more often than not. I went for a run this past weekend with the phone, along Portland’s waterfront, and captured all sorts of photos that I’d be happy to share publicly. I also took some indoor, semi-lousy-lit photos of my son that are more than acceptable.

Sure, the camera doesn’t have OIS, but again, for a camera from Motorola that is inside a sub-$200 phone, I don’t know how you could complain about it.

Performance

When you talk mid-range phones that cost under $200, you don’t necessarily expect them to perform as good if not better than some high-end phones. The Moto G (3rd gen) is the exception for now. Even though it runs a Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, this phone just flies around without a hiccup or stutter. While it may not be the king of gaming or video consumption with its Adreno 306 GPU and 720p display, it does everything else as good as more expensive phones. Motorola has fine-tuned this experience on the back-end so nicely, that I’d be shocked if you used this phone for a week and came back frustrated with its performance.

The camera fires up instantly with Motorola’s twisting gesture, the phone awakes immediately when picked up through Moto Display, and it opens apps/settings/Google Now/etc. right when you ask it to. If I didn’t know that this phone ran one of the lower-end Snapdragon processors, I would have thought that Motorola snuck in something more premium.

MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

Software

As has been the case since dating back to the original Moto X, Motorola is continuing to push a “pure” Android experience that is accompanied by their own suite of Moto software on the Moto G (3rd gen). Everything here is as Google would want it, but then Motorola adds on pure awesomeness, like Moto Display, Actions, and Assist. We’ve talked on countless occasions about how Moto Display is one of the few game-changing software add-ons introduced in years, so we won’t bore you with that here. Just know that it’s as good as ever, even with the LCD display in the Moto G.

The phone comes loaded with Google’s launcher, the stock dialer and app drawer, familiar notification and quick settings shade, and system settings are in the right place. If you know Android, at least the stock kind, everything is where you expect it to be. Because of that, and because Motorola has become increasingly good at tightening up performance, the software experience is one of the best (if not the) in the business even on a mid-range phone like this.

I don’t really know what else to say, other than, this is how Android is supposed to be. This is the proper way to improve upon Google’s mobile operating system.

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If you were looking for one missing feature, it would be Moto Voice, which is Motorola’s software that allows you to control phones with your voice. I would imagine the lack of Voice has to do with the processor setup and am not surprised that it’s not there. But when your friend who owns a Moto X starts talking to their phone, don’t be shocked that you can’t emulate their performance.

Price

$179 is the starting price of this phone. Not with a contract. It just costs you $179 and then you get to connect it to AT&T or T-Mobile service. If you want to double the RAM and storage from 1GB to 2GB and 8GB to 16GB, it’ll cost you another $40. The model I’m testing for this review is the upgraded model that runs $219. $219! Come on! This almost seems like a lie or some giant scam that you can buy a phone this good for this cheap.

What’s not so awesome about it?


Display

At $179, I didn’t expect the new Moto G to have the best display ever made. In fact, I don’t even think it’s bad as a 5-inch 720p LCD panel. But I have to be honest in telling you that this isn’t going to be the best display you have ever used. And you know what? Who cares. The viewing angles on it are fine, the colors are accurate and just punchy enough, and it clearly consumes little power with heavy use, so it is what it is. It’s not great in super bright sunlight, but it is very responsive to the touch. It’s a fine display, it’s just not a best-in-class display.

MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

No NFC or Quick Charge 2.0

The new Moto G doesn’t have NFC or Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology. I can live without NFC, but felt the need to point out the lack of it in this phone, since it’s clearly a super hot topic right now. As for the missing Quick Charge 2.0, this is a tough one to stomach. Even though this phone will easily last you through a day, quick charging a phone is something that has become such a deeply engrained part of my life, that it frightens me a bit to use a phone without it. It takes a couple of hours to charge this phone. Phones with QC 2.0 take under an hour in many instances. That’s a huge difference! If you were ever to get stuck in a situation where you needed a quick bit of juice to last a few hours, you probably aren’t getting it here. If you buy this phone, just charge it overnight, please.

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MOTO G 3RD GEN REVIEW

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Should you buy a Moto G (3rd gen)?


What’s your budget? Is it $200? Then yes, you should probably buy the Moto G (3rd gen). Head over to Motorola’s site at the link below and customize the hell out of one. I can’t think of another phone at this price that can top this one. The camera is solid, its performance is better than many flagships, and the battery life is on rockstar levels.

You can buy the new Moto G (3rd gen) from Motorola or Amazon, starting at $179.

  • Great review stating the Pros mainly a few Cons that can be dealer-breakers.

    I agree, not having a quick charge functionality on this phone makes it frustrating, especially if you want to put your phone on the hook while you take a shower. Generally it only charges 1% every 5-7 minutes, which is really slow. Even with using Battery Doctor (best charging assist app out there), it still takes a long time to recharge. So I generally leave that task to be dealt with when, I too, am recharging my body. That is the only time it seems legit.

    When I did own a Samsung GS3, I experimented with Micro-USB cables and discovered that any cables that feature the “gold-plated” connectors, charge noticeably faster than the standard charger that comes bundled with the phone. I wonder if the same holds true for the Moto G3.

    Also I wonder if we coupled the gold-plated USB with a higher voltage wall charger, if it would work like a “QC 2.0” device.

    This is something for us to try and find out. The charging is really the only thing that bothers me about this phone…. other than that, stand-by time and performance is good for me. I’m not big on games, and really only play Voxel Rush and Candy Crush Saga. So it does the job for me.

    The only other minor thing that bothers me is: That the MOTO DISPLAY dims way too quickly. Like it wakens, but displays for about 3 seconds and sleeps again. I don’t know how to increase the time for that. Any suggestions?

    This device as a college-student is awesome!! I have the $220 model.

    REPLY BELOW. WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR INPUTS!

  • manoranjan

    my display is broking ple help us.

  • James Adina

    Damm I own the Elephone p8000 which has a metal build and specs that sit just behind the Oneplus 2 and that cost me $180 but… it has the good old chinese/budget camera problem (no matter how much specs you cram into the phone for a super great price it will always have a bad camera) but this phone for the price it has a better camera then a lot of last years flagships. Wow

  • Albert Graham
  • Ravi

    HI Bought my MOTO G today.It is giving heat. I just saw 20-30mins video in you tube and it started like a frying pan.Please don’t buy MOTO g 3rd generation.When i checked with flipkart they said they cant do anything they are only retailers and refund or replacement is not possible.
    MOTO G is giving so much heating issue. Please dont buy.
    Tip : Once you get any handset please keep it charging for atleast 8hrs continuously with mobile turned off.I am ready to speak to anyone and if atleat i can save 5 people not to buy MOTO G 3rd Gen i would be happy taking revenge against them

    • Eric Ebube Alfred-Igbokwe

      I hate it it overheats in like 5 seconds on snapchat it also stops responding and the keyboard doesnt pop up im so mad about how bad this phone is but atleast it has an okay camera but it needs a way better ram

  • Drew Wesley

    For $180, you’ll get a lot of contract-free phone, but not the whole world. It’s funny to read these comments.. What’s standard stuff these days? To me this rendition seems to provide cohesive simplicity, an economic Android for the everyman that “just works”. No fancy bells and whistles (ie. high-end processors, NFC, Quick Charging 2.0, all the LTE frequency bands in the world, stereo speakers, infrared, gyroscope, or magnetometer, led notification, 1080p). That’s why you double your money for the Moto X.

  • I just got my all black unit in the mail yesterday to replace my beat up Nexus 5. This phone feels soooo much like the Galaxy Nexus its crazy. The screen could be sharper, but all in all its a quick little phone with a nice camera and reasonably sized screen. In a world where the industry sees bigger as better the 3rd generation Moto G is refreshingly simple. Not to mention water proof, lightweight, and nice feeling in the hand.

    Good job moto!

  • szep

    I have the Moto G XT1032 1st edition and to this day is still going strong. I have not put hundreds of apps that eat memory and RAM like the Galaxy, IPhone, and LG G4 people love to. Those are mainly multi-tasking and camera phones to the nth degree to impress.
    The battery on mine is still very good after all the charging since the phone came out. I have kept the KitKat 4.4.4 and not upgraded to the buggy Lollipop 5.0.2.
    I suggest to anyone please root your Moto G’s before installing data, apps, etc., that way you can get rid of all the bloatware from Google that takes up over 200MB of space. As well you can default apps to the SD card without a hitch. All generations of the G are smooth operators. Though the flagships have really fast processors, their performance starts to lag because users do not know how to clean the cache and manage their memory properly.
    Hope this helps everyone!!!!

  • Kyleinstyle

    Set up my mom-in-laws Moto G last night and I must say, this phone is amazing for $180. I have an N6 but will probably grab one for a backup to have when I don’t want my phone falling out of my front pocket.

  • Cilla

    In the specs of the phone it says the expendable memory can be up to 32 GB. Does it have a place for a micro SD card?

  • Dane

    I’m an android developer and I’m obsessed with phones. I have always said the top 3 things a phone, that I own, has to have is: 1) Great battery life (get more than 3.5 hrs of SOT on average), 2) Have a camera that is capable of taking some decent shots (even if it takes some work), 3) It must have support for timely updates (and I feel Motorola has a good track record in this department, even though they have a blunder with some carrier models of their 1st Gen Moto X). I don’t need the most blazing fast processor if it’s running stock, the screen doesn’t have to be damn near 3d for me to enjoy it (especially at the cost of battery life), and I like the idea of a phone I can use with one hand. This phone sounds like it is for me for sure. The only thing I wish it would have (even though it isn’t a deal breaker) is the Lollipop camera 2 APIs (shoot in RAW, control over ISO and aperture, etc).

  • Joshua Kirchmer

    Kellex, would you say it’s worth upgrading to this from a OG Moto X? I can’t stand the giant-ness of the newer models, and the 2015s are insanely big… looking like it’s either this phone or pray for the Xperia Z4 Compact…

    • Joe O

      Same question @kellex:disqus! I love my 2013 Moto X, but the battery life could be better. Not sure if there are any more advantages though to upgrading to the 3rd Gen G.

  • tomn1ce

    Nice review. It’s a nice phone for what it cost plus it will be updated with the next version of Android and possibly with Android N when that comes out. Something to keep in mind that many companies who make midrange phones don’t keep up with.

  • A.Miller

    Can someone compare the camera on this phone to the Nexus 5 or the Moto X(2014? Thanks!

  • deadpenguins

    Kellen, no one seems to be commenting on the fact that the GSM model of this phone does *not* support band 12 on tombile, which is a pretty big deal for some (I love in new york). Motorola removed this from their spec list a few days ago, and I feel that the majority of people out there are still unaware of this fact.

    • Aaron C

      I was NOT aware of this, and just purchased THREE of them based on the spec that Motorola placed on their site.

      Three people on my plan had the old 3G Moto G, and with T-Mobile shutting down their HSPA+ network, I purchased these to “future-proof” us.

      NOT HAPPY!!!

      The last thing I want to do at this point is start flashing custom radios for family members again like I had to do with the Nexus 4.

      This is ridiculous.

      • deadpenguins

        Yup, I am hoping someone reports on this very soon. I came across this info on reddit, and confirmed on motos site, but haven’t seen the news anywhere else. I submitted the news to android central, but they haven’t responded yet.

        • Aaron C

          A moderator in one of the Motorola forums confirmed it.

          Yes, I know it will still get LTE, but my wife and my in-laws all live on Long Island and we vacation in New England. I have seen quite a bit of band 12 on my Nexus 6 over the last few months, and this was meant to future-proof all the folks on my account that didn’t need a premium phone.

          Tremendously disappointed in this. I wonder if it was a result of Motorola not wanting to bother testing VoLTE (which it seems is at the heart of the band 12 disabling), or if it was T-Mobile that didn’t want a device not sold by T-Mo to have VoLTE?

          I have no idea what phone they should move to now, but we are at the point where I’m getting a little concerned. I saw a lot of LTE in NH last month and my in-laws are going there at the end of September and I’d love for them to have good service while they’re there.

          • deadpenguins

            No problem. I’m sure there are tons of people out there who are going to find out the hard way and be severely upset. And if I had to speculate, I’d say it was the former and Moto didn’t want to test for VoLTE, so no access to B12. There is some rumor that it may be included later, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

          • Aaron C

            Aaaaand, still amazed this is getting zero coverage. I wonder why Tmonews, droid-life and others are afraid to bring this up??

        • Aaron C

          BTW, the phones are going back, unopened. Seems like a lot of us in that boat if the Moto forums are any indication. I wonder how many Moto G buyers are aware of this? Should have been big news, but your post was the first I heard of it. Thanks for the info, BTW.

    • James Adina

      I LOVE in new york too

  • DanSan

    so anyone know what the chance is of getting this camera to work on a nexus 6? im dying for some slow motion video recording.

  • jerbanumbi

    Very good reviews but how can you miss the point about the waterproof on the phone?

    • Bop it_Twis it_Pull it

      Dammm you got him bruh, this whole article is invalid now LOL!

  • Bop it_Twis it_Pull it

    The original Droid sold more than the Moto G bruh

  • Snyder Lara

    Hope I don’t annoy any one with this question but I’m stuck between buying the Moto G 2015 and the LG g Stylo. Which is honestly the better phone? If any one could answer this I would greatly appreciate it.

    • ohshaith55

      I don’t even have to check the reviews for the stylo. get the moto g. Moto makes superior software and probably better hardware too.

    • Andy

      A lot of similarities (same pixel count, processor, RAM, storage, back camera, front camera), but the G Stylo has a 17% bigger battery, T-Mobile Band 12, and very slim bezels, while the Moto G has near-stock Android, water resistance, a front-facing speaker, is carrier-unlocked and is $70 cheaper.

      Also, the Moto G is basically Motorola’s global flagship, which combined with its unskinned OS means better chance of updates. The G Stylo is just another mid-range phone for LG, plus its identical pixel count on a larger screen (5.7″ vs 5.0″) means lower pixel density.

  • euro_letterman

    Are you doing a video review as well? Or at least more videos hands on with the moto g?

  • Scott Capodice

    OK so no moto voice. What does this mean? No always listening I assume, but will it answer to okay Google now once the screen is on? Will it answer from lock screen or does it need to be unlocked? Or does it not answer till u push a button?

    • Jeremy Wray

      I’d imagine it’s like any other phone without Moto Voice. Phone screen on and unlocked.

    • It should work like an other Android device. If you have all the options on, it will respond to “Ok Google” when the device is on the lock screen or it is unlocked. It will not respond when the screen is off

  • Orion

    Good review. This would make an awesome backup phone.

  • The Doctor

    This phone won’t wash my dishes for me?

    Pffft. Pass.

  • Sean ross

    You mentioned you used the GPS on a run. I read that this device also lacks a magnetometer. How well did the navigation perform without it?

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    I’m going to pick one up. It seems like a decent phone.

  • John Kitchen

    I have an iPhone 6 right now. Will be buying one of these bad dogs if a VZW mode comes out.

    • Jeremy Wray

      Don’t hold your breath. Verizon and Sprints CDMA networks limit us from being able to use many phones >_<

      But just get the Moto X (2015) when it drops. Its gonna be just like this, only better (except still an lcd screen 🙁 )

      • John Kitchen

        They had the first gen Moto G and Moto E LTE…

  • addeinc

    Just by the way… The Moto G (1st Gen) was Motorola’s best selling smartphone to date.
    The Motorola RAZR V3 was their best selling phone ever and the best selling clamshell phone of all time (130 Million).

  • trwb

    So this gets about 5hrs screen on time then? Isn’t that the same as the Nexus 6? Why are people saying the Nexus 6 gets bad battery then?

    • DainLaguna

      in some use cases you may be able to get 5hrs SOT on a nexus6.

      But in my time with that device, my average was around 3-4…and four was outstanding.

      bear in mind, that the nexus6 has a battery that is almost 1000mah’s bigger than this thing. And it doesn’t cost near as much. Granted, its not as powerful or has as impressive a screen, but your comparison is a bit disingenuous; everyone has consistently been getting this type of battery life out of this phone…..only ‘hey i get x amount of time with my weird use scenarios’ type folks are getting 5hrs of sot with the nexus6. or hell even the note 4

      • trwb

        Thanks for the info. It’s good to know what the n6 really gets, because I have been looking at that device as possibly a battery improvement over my moto x 2014. But 3-4hrs is the same as I get on my x. Maybe I should be looking at the moto g instead.

        • I’ve seen 5-5.5 hours SoT as a minimum! Most reviews (And I’ve read/watched a ton of them) are showing a SoT of 6-7 hours which is incredible

          • trwb

            Yea the new moto g is looking pretty good right now. Hopefully they make a Verizon version.

    • Peter Blanco

      I have never been able to get beyond 3.5 hours on my Nexus 6, with an average around 3. I’m sure others get better, but that’s my 2 cents.

      • trwb

        Thanks. Sounds the same as my moto x 2014 then. I love how people tell everyone they are getting great battery life on all these forums, and then it turns out that their results are not average. I should know better by now lol. I’ll cross the N6 off my list then. Wish the turbo got updates, I would just get that device.

        • Peter Blanco

          To be fair though, I’m a really heavy user. I’m not sure what your usage is, but it probably will be a little better. I also do YouTube tech videos so I’m always getting emails/notifications from that. I bet that does some damage to battery life. Like I said, I’m sure others get better, but I don’t.

  • Rod

    Lots of wakelock there, huh

  • Pressed

    Was the ram upgraded?

    • trwb

      There are 2 new models I believe. One with 2gb ram and one with 1gb ram.

  • Tyler

    Waiting on a Verizon version to recommend to some friends.

    • Godzilla

      verizon only gets the Moto E

      • Tyler

        If so that’s a fail. When is moto e announcement?

        • Teaser38

          The Moto E (2015) is already out for Verizon. Pretty much everywhere in prepaid clamshells. I picked one up for $30. They have mostly unlocked GSM radios.

  • dilbar stalker

    How would you compare this to my current moto x1? I am trying to decide between moto g3 and PE. Have never had or wanted a phone bigger than an s5 but am not opposed to a larger screen. I mostly just text, snapchat and stream Pandora in the car and at the gym. Zero gaming ever on my phone. So does the moto g3 run smoother and faster for every day use compared to moto x1? How do moto apps compare, specifically display and voice? Does it have the same feature as the PE where you can change music from moto display? Would really love some advice on which device to get. Thanks!

    • Tyler

      I also have a Moto X 1st gen. The review said it was missing moto voice, and another downside would be that the PE has a significantly better front facing camera with flash so snapchats will look better. You get what you pay for and while the g3 is an insane value you can’t really cross shop between Motorola’s flagship, although it might have better battery life than the PE (but won’t know till reviews come out). Might want to wait to see what the Nexus 5 is like since it will be smaller (and potentially cheaper than the PE if it has the SD620 inside).

      • dilbar stalker

        Nexus 5 sounds tempting but I cannot live without moto display. I am crying just thinking about it as a matter of fact.

        • Tyler

          There’s adaptive display but not the same. Will definitely be awkward loosing that if i don’t get a PE (due to its size).

    • Nate

      Obliterates Moto X1 in everything but gaming performance, lack of NFC, and lack of Moto Voice. Also, I prefer the AMOLED display for the Moto Display feature, the G is a lot brighter at night when it has to light the entire screen vs just the pixels it needs. But at this point I’m just nitpicking.

    • Nate

      And yes, it has the music feature. Also runs smoother than the X1. Should have read your entire comment before posting haha… And yes, I have the X1 (and X2) and I’m using the 3rd gen G as my daily driver right now, if that tells you anything. Battery life on X2 can’t even hold a candle to the new G

    • dilbar stalker

      Hmm thanks for the input. I really just want a 5 inch screen with ip67, full moto suite, great daily performance, awesome battery life, and top end camera. Basically I want to pick and choose features from all the new moto devices since I can’t settle on any one, or if it is even worth the upgrade from my X1, which still runs nearly flawlessly other than occasional battery life issues.

      • Nate

        From X1? I’d say definitely.

        • dilbar stalker

          Thanks for the input. I have the moto g3, Sol tracks headphones and a 4000mah battery pack in my cart for about $100 less than the PE would have been. Very tempted to push order now 🙂

        • dilbar stalker

          One more question that may be a deal breaker. How about the moto connect PC app? Is it compatible with the moto g?

  • jer85008

    Kellen is this the Navy back or standard blue?

  • Harold JP Castro

    Is it truth that this phone has same camera module (- OIS) as Nexus 6?

    • trixnkix637

      Yes

    • Nate

      Yes

  • Harold JP Castro

    Little off topic, but I like video reviews better, because one don’t always have the time/will to read a long essay like this 🙂 (I did read this one, but I have missed some of your other 2015 reviews).

    • Tyler

      There are plenty of youtube reviews out there. Technobuffalo, MKBHD (initial impressions I think), and many others. Usually DL has an initial impressions video/unboxing.

  • Matt Cooper

    I hate to hijack thread but I can’t seem to get an answer…

    I left android after the original droid. I want to come back but I can’t decide between nexus 6 (verizon) or Samsung s6 (Verizon). What are the thoughts? I like the thought of pure android but afraid verizon will block updates like galaxy nexus… Afraid of touch wiz cause I hate bloat.

    Sorry for the off topic but I had troubles getting an answer in other forums :-/

    • Keith

      If you’re afraid of updates from Verizon, then both phones will have that issue. If you hate TouchWiz then the N6 is your boy.

      • Matt Cooper

        Only reason I say anything about touch wiz is that I thought they changed a lot of it. Heard it wasn’t as bad. Do you guys prefer nexus v Galaxy

        • Tyler

          Why don’t you just try the S6 out at the store? Nexus 6 and upcoming Moto X Pure don’t get updates from Verizon.

        • ultravisitor

          “not as bad” isn’t the same as pure Android. Just…no to Samsung.

      • Jeremy Wray

        The updates for the N6 come from Google not Verizon this time around. The model is the same where ever you buy it (except for carrier branding, not like the Galaxy Nexus which was a special CDMA version for Verizon.

    • disastrousrainbow

      Go with the Nexus if its size isn’t unmanageable in your in hands. Quicker updates (assuming you buy it from Google or unlocked on Swappa), better battery life, front-facing speakers, and it still has all the bells in whistles like wireless charging and quick charge 2.0. The camera is its only downside. It will not capture pictures as fast or as detailed as the S6. However, it’s still a great camera in its own right. Far better than previous Moto’s.

    • Harold JP Castro

      Wait a couple months to see what other OEMs have for us, and then decide.

      • Jeremy Wray

        We already know the phones for the rest of the year. Moto X, One+ 2, and Note. Then HTC in the spring and Galaxy S7 in late spring/early summer.

        • Yeah, there is nothing else to wait for this year. Everything is now well into next year. Just waiting for Note 5, S6 edge Plus, Moto X PE, and OnePlus Two to officially start shipping

          • Hello Moto

            Nexus 5 2015?

    • TC Infantino

      With a Nexus, you don’t have to worry about Verizon delaying updates. You get the new update straight from Google and just install it. Fairly easy. This isn’t like the Galaxy Nexus, because there is only one Nexus 6, instead of one for GSM and a different one specific to Verizon.

    • jamaall

      If you wait a month, get the Moto X Pure off contract and stick a Verizon SIM into it. Updates will come straight from Moto plus there will be no bloat or extra verizonware (which imo hinders performance and battery).

    • evltwn

      I have a Nexus 6 that I bought from Google, and use it on VZW. I have the most recent update, but I’m still waiting for the newest one with the security patch. No problems using it on VZW, just enable HD Voice on your account, and you will get Voice and Data at the same time.

    • Greyhame

      Both are solid phones. I have an S6 and love it. The camera is absolutely amazing; best in class. The screen is also fantastic, probably the best screen on any phone. Those two things together are a tough combination to beat. Plus, I love that it’s operable with one hand, and the fingerprint scanner is a nice feature. Touchwiz is less janky than previous iterations, but it’s still not perfect. It is root capable if you stay off the latest update.

      If stock software is what you’re looking for, then the obvious choice is Nexus. While I actually prefer certain tweaks that Samsung uses (separate volume controls for notifications and the ringer, for example), Google’s view of how Android should work is compelling, if a bit dry (I’ve owned four previous Nexus devices, and use a Nexus 5 for work). Running the latest version I’d Android does have

    • ultravisitor

      Do not get a Samsung. You do not want TouchWiz after having the experience of basically pure Android on the Droid.

    • If you want something as big as the Nexus 6, I’d recommend getting the Moto X Pure Edition that is about to come out in September. It is only a little taller than the G4. I have an S6, but on VZW it still hasn’t gotten the 5.1.1 update nor has it got the stagefright patch. Amazing camera, screen, and build, but TouchWiz definitely slows down the phone during some tasks and the battery life is just bad in today’s world. I would honestly stick with a Moto X Pure Edition if you don’t mind the size because it is true bang for your buck

    • Aaron C

      I started with the OD as well, and owned the Galaxy Nexus when I left Verizon.

      Every time I have picked up a non-Nexus phone, I have regretted it. Eventually, I realized I just prefer stock Android, and if there is an issue with a ROM that I run into, it’s nice to own a developer phone so I can flash a fix as a last resort sort of thing. I don’t flash much these days, but every once in a while it’s nice to see what else is out there.

  • Droid Ronin

    I think it’s awesome enough that you can customize the Moto G with Moto Maker.

  • Jordan H

    So does this work on Verizon?

    • steve0617

      Not this model. Supposedly a VZW specifc model coming that has either exactly these specs or something very similar.

  • boisvert00

    I think it’s really hard to give Motorola a hard time here, I mean NFC doesn’t affect me at all but the quick charge 2.0 does but that probably comes at a higher cost, we just all have to realize, none of us will be buying this phone so why go on about it, we all would rather give up going out for a month so we can buy a high end phone right out.

  • akellar

    Picture quality compared to 2014 moto x?

    • Jeremy Wray

      Likely the same camera

      • Jason B

        3rd gen Moto G is using the Sony IMX214 from the Nexus 6 and others. The 2014 X used the IMX135, the 214’s predecessor.

  • disastrousrainbow

    Never thought I’d see the design be in the positive category seeing as their was a whole article about how it just looks like every other phone out there…or something.

  • Larry Bublitz

    Thanks for the review, Kellex. Since it’s the same hardware basically as the Moto E 2015 LTE, can you just speak a little more about the 2GB ram vs. 1GB ram? I had the 2015 E LTE for a month, and returned it due to the frustrations with memory (speed launching Chrome, for example). Any other speed comments with 2GB?

  • Daeshaun

    For anyone that missed it

    “The model I’m testing for this review is the upgraded model”

    • velocipedes

      I’m guessing the base model, with only 1GB of RAM, will have some performance issues. The 2014 model did. There are frequent hangups when task-switching.

      • benjamin owuye jagun

        Even the Moto G 4G 2nd Gen which I own has performance issues due to the 1GB of RAM. I still love my Moto G anyway. I’m waiting for the Moto X Style.

  • Pootis Man

    l definitely wholeheartedly agree with you on the battery life since its crazy! Here I I’m with over 5 SOT and still wondering how in the hell do I still have 40% left in the tank?

  • Tyler Durden

    No NFC? What a terrible phone!

    • Carlos Lopez

      The sarcasm is noted

    • Javier Ceballos

      No NFC = Mayhem

    • James Cooper

      Yeah man that antique doesn’t even have usb type c!!!!!!

    • Keith

      I would expect as much from a lower end phone not labeled a flagship killer.

      • Tyler Durden

        but NFC man NFC is very much worth it NFC has to be in everything NFC related

        • Keith

          Flagship killer lmao

    • lorra7863654
    • KB

      They aren’t marketing it with terms like ‘Never Settle’ or ‘Flagship Killer’.

    • Matthew Wu

      NO NFC!! so this is a ‘Flagship Killer’ indeed

  • erikiksaz

    Hey Kellex, when active display fires up in a dark room at night (showing the time), does it light up the room significantly more than the 2014 X?

    • Not significantly, but you definitely see the whole screen light up.

    • Razma

      that’s my main concern now that the 2015 moto x pure has the same thing. i hope the switch to LCD doesnt ruin it

      • James Adina

        I was also worried about the Moto X style having the a TFT type LCD display but I have been told that the technology has gone far and that the Moto X’s display is just as good if not better then similar LCD displays!

    • Jesse Torres

      Yeah, I love amoled screens. Lcd screen just don’t do it for me anymore. I just wish amoled screen wouldn’t burn out so fast. They look amazing! I totally understand why moto passed it up tho

      • James Adina

        AMOLED Is the way of the future they offer more vibrancy and better blacks, and can be more power effective if done properly unfortunately the advancements are still mainly for LCD so I think for now Moto made the right move moving from AMOLED to LCD.

  • Me

    Ehh for $50 more bucks you can get a X ’14

    • Tyler Durden

      Or the Idol 3. Of Zenfone 2

      • Zenfone 2 is pretty meh. Used it for a good week and couldnt bring myself to review it.

        • Tyler Durden

          Which version? I hear installing a nice rom on it fixes the bloat.

        • shooter50

          agreed, its terrible. That dim screen on the Zenfone 2 will give you a headache.

          • Tyler Durden

            Ah so like most Android phones. Got it

        • Michael Herma

          I’ve been pretty disappointed on all the asus zen products, too much bloat, and their skin is just too in your face, and laggy in my opinion.

    • Michael Herma

      Actually when its all said in done ordering the highest end G its $235. So that’s $65 + whatever tax and shipping handling is on the x 14. So probably, more realistically $80 more.

      • Me

        Still a better phone for less than $100.

        • Michael Herma

          Better? Its flagship phone whereas the G is midrange. I loved my 2014 X and didn’t wanna get rid of it but I buy a new phone everyear, expected to buy the new X style actually. I just didn’t want a bigger screen. This year’s G, just feel like I’m being treated to something special. Even if I had to do it all over again I would still by the new Moto G over the discounted X ’14. Screen, processor, etc. – most midranges are more than enough anynore, especially if you turn it over and it has that M logo on back.

          • Me

            Did you just Disagree/Agree/Disagree w/ me? And the X is a better phone than the G.

          • Michael Herma

            Agree that the X is a better phone. But if your going to pay your hard earned money for a GOOD phone, in my eyes i would be WASTING $100.

          • Me

            OK I gotchu.

  • Casey Puyleart

    Am I wrong, or is there no way to use this on VZW? I’d love to be able to get my kids a $180 new phone instead of having to hunt Swappa for something that’s not beat to hell and two+ years old.

    • PoisonApple31

      VZW will probably have its own variant and limit it to prepaid or some other B.S.

      • More than likely. There is a US Cellular version with CDMA compatibility, so it’s only a matter of time before it comes to Verizon.

      • Lunkman

        Not disagreeing, but with the new data plans this phone post paid would make a lot of sense…eh, they probably won’t do it!

        • Jprime

          I’m confused on how they can do that given no more contracts, but they’ll find a way…lol

      • marcus russell

        I was just gonna say this.

      • Jeff “BIG RED”

        Yeah I bought one of those. Moto g 3g. Then handed to my 5 year old as a toy. Mehh, nice device for cheap.

      • You can still just go purchase the phone and then activate it on post-paid (at least I think so). Also, pre-paid isn’t a bad option at all considering you can use 4G

    • Chris Van Der Merwe

      That two year old Samsung S4 is still better than this phone.

      • Matthew Mercer

        No, just NO

      • marcus russell

        This ain’t for high end phone lovers. Say you grand ma or kid wants a phone here u go. But the battery life kills the s4

      • I would have to disagree, and I used an S4 for 2 years on VZW. It was a great phone in it’s time but the battery life is just complete ass. I would recommend this over most phones for what you can get around $200.

        • Michael Herma

          S4 really? The good ol days of touch lag…come on, id rather have a 2nd gen G over an s4. I buy a new phone every year, just sold my moto x 2014 pure edition for $250 and ordered my custom G w/2gbRAM yesterday. Moto just knows how to make a good phone. I don’t at all expect to be disappointed when I get it. Use my phone mainly for work anyways.

    • Shawn Spring

      Side bar – I’ve recently picked up the Moto E LTE and swapped sims with my G3 – worked just fine on Verizon without any prepaid shens. I was pleasantly surprised with how nice it was (got it for about $60 on Swappa) – its a solid “backup in case my phone crashes or I need to sell it quick” option.

    • Jeff “BIG RED”

      Guess I’m a little biased. Buy from a Trusted Seller on Swappa and you’ll be alright.

  • Rashad

    You could make the case that this is the Moto X 1st Gen all over again. Just with a bigger screen. I like the direction Motorola is headed. Phones like this keeps me wanting to invest in them more in the future. Unlike HTC.

    • MaxPower27

      Kinda, but the 1st-gen Moto X had a much better GPU.

      • The battery life on this is much better than the original X though

    • monkeyking42

      Just got mine in the mail.. Definitely doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the Moto X in hand, and I’m not crazy about the form factor. Performance-wise, you may be right.