The Moto G (Gen 3) helped Motorola make a big comeback in emerging markets like India. Thanks to its excellent price to feature ratio and smooth performance, the phone ended up becoming the benchmark for budget Android devices.
The company, now owned by Lenovo, improvised on the original version of the phone and introduced the second-generation Moto G, last year with support for external storage and an improved camera. Just like its predecessor, the phone was well received but the landscape had changed considerably. The market witnessed the entry of Xiaomi and other Chinese handset brands and is now inundated with budget Android smartphones.
Motorola just introduced the Moto G (Gen 3) variant of the same smartphone with a water-resistant design, more RAM, upgraded front and rear cameras and a refined design. But is this enough to beat rivals? We try to find out in our review…
Build & design
In terms of design, the phone’s slightly similar to the second generation Moto G complete with its dual-front grilles – the one at the top is the earpiece while the other one is the speaker outlet. The two grilles don’t feature chrome inserts and are more subtle, similar to the second-gen Moto X.
The removable back cover of the phone now sports a ribbed texture (diagonally)that improves the grip and aids ergonomics. The phone feels solid and durable, and we did not notice any wobbles or squeaks. Removing the cover reveals the two micro-sim slots, a microSD card slot and a sealed battery. Just like the original Moto G, the third-gen version is customisable with its optional, multi-coloured back panels.
The back now features a metallic strip that houses the 13MP camera, a new dual-LED flash and the indented Motorola logo. The strip gives the phone a slightly fancy look.
The power and volume keys are at the right edge, while the micro-USB port and 3.5mm headset jack are located at the bottom and top edge, respectively. The metal keys feel good, offer good tactile feedback and are very responsive.
The new Moto G is IPX7 rated which means the phone can handle accidental immersion in 1meter of water for up to 30 minutes. You can’t use the phone under water though. This makes the new Moto G one of the cheapest water-resistant phones.
The third-gen Moto G features a 5-inch HD (720x1280p) display. We’re not sure why Motorola decided not to upgrade the display to full-HD but it still does a good job. Viewing angles were pretty wide and colour reproduction was accurate.
Text and images looked decent enough but not as sharp as how these look on full-HD displays. You’d notice some pixilation if you look at it closely. Touch response was excellent.
The screen is slightly prone to smudging but that doesn’t really hamper visibility. Even sunlight legibility was good and we did not face problems while taking pictures outdoors. The screen comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to guard against scratches.
The third-generation Moto G comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop.
Moto G runs an almost stock version of Android complete with on-screen navigation controls. The interface is close to Google’s Nexus phones, complete with a Google Now launcher-like launcher, except that Motorola also includes some of its own system apps. The Gallery, Messagging and Camera apps have been customized by the company.
Thankfully, these apps are not bloatware and add to functionality.
There are some additional Motorola features including Assist changes how the phone alerts you during meetings or sleep. If you’ve used an iPhone, you must have used or come across the Do Not Disturb; Assist is similar and allows you to silence or auto reply to missed calls while you’re in a meeting or sleeping. You can choose exceptions for Favourite callers or when someone calls twice.
Another Motorola app bundled with the phone is Help. The app is not only a searchable user guide featuring Tutorials, FAQs, How-tos and actionable tips, it also offers a shortcut key to get in touch with Motorola’s customer care.
Motorola Migrate allows you to transfer content and settings from your old Android phone or iPhone.
Motorola has also added two gestures – double karate chop to turn on the torch and twist the phone to capture an image in camera mode.
The Moto Ambient display, seen on the Moto X, has also been ported to the Moto G with limited functionality. Notifications show up without waking the entire screen if you enable this feature.
The dual-sim Moto G (third-gen) also comes with settings for managing the behaviour of two sim cards, allowing you to choose the default connection for data, calls and messaging.
Other than these, you get a pretty neat slate to customize as per your own preference and use the apps that you wish to.
The third-generation Moto G sports an improved 13MP rear camera with f2.0 aperture,auto-focus and dual-LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera for selfies. Motorola has upgraded the camera sensors, making the Moto G a great camera phone,
Motorola’s camera app offers basic controls and excludes advanced granular settings for camera attributes. You’ll only see two controls — one for switching to the video camera and the other to switch between the front and rear lenses till you swipe from the edge to the right side of the screen to reveal an arc shaped dial that features controls for HDR mode, LED flash, focus & exposure, slow motion, Panorama mode, geo-tagging, widescreen mode (9.7MP) and timer.
Similar to the Windows Phone camera app, you click pictures by tapping anywhere on the screen. The soft viewfinder can be moved up and down to zoom in and out or shift focus.
It is also a little unintuitive as the arc-shaped settings panel is hidden by default. There are no special scene modes or filters.
The camera hardware has got a major upgrade and we observed that the rear camera takes much better pictures even with less light compared to the second-gen Moto G. The pictures offer great detail, colour accuracy and contrast. The default white balance setting is now more white. HDR mode offers pictures with enhanced contrast.
Pictures captured in the low-light situations also turned out well with less grain and more detail.
The front-facing camera also takes great selfies even in low-light conditions.
The rear camera can take 1080p normal and 720p slow motion videos and the quality of the videos recorded with the phone was really good.
With this year’s iteration of Moto G, Motorola has upgraded the processor and doubled the RAM. The Moto G (3rd gen) is powered by a 64-bit 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, Adreno 306 graphics and 2GB RAM.
We did not notice any major lag while navigating through the phone’s menu, launching apps and switching between them.
We were able to play games like subway Temple Run 2, Leo’s Fortune and Asphalt 8 without encountering frame drops or freezes or heating issues. The phone offers good gaming performance.
The phone scored 17,976 in Antutu, 15,768 in Quadrant and 55.4 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests. We don’t endorse benchmark tests and at times real world performance is very different from benchmark scores.
Out of the 16GB storage, 11.8GB is available to the user. Thankfully the Moto G comes with a microSD card slot for expansion so you’ll be able to store multimedia content on your phone without worrying about filling up storage space.
Moto G offers Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS connectivity options. The Wi-Fi antenna supports faster 802.11ac standard and can work with compatible routers. The phone does not support NFC though.
Moto G (third-gen) offers excellent call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter problems while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups. We also used 4G data on Airtel’s Delhi network and were able to get a good signal with 25Mbps+ speeds.
It also offers FM radio and you can now listen to it through the phone’s speaker when you’ve plugged in the headphones to use as an antenna. It doesn’t offer a recording feature but you can listen to the radio stream via Bluetooth headsets.
We were able to play most popular video and audio file formats on the phone.
The new front-facing speaker (the bottom grill acts as the speaker) on the phone offers loud sound output which doesn’t distort even when you set the volume to the highest level.
The Moto G (Gen 3) is backed by a 2470mAh battery (non-removable) and will last you a complete day even if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use 3G data all the time. Th ephone lasted us more than 15 hours with 3 hours of screen-on time.
You’ll be able to make about 2-3 hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period. The phone can play video continuously for 7 to 8 hours.
Overall, the third-gen Moto G offers performance similar to its predecessor and using it as our primary device turned out to be a good experience.
SEE ALSO : How to root Moto G 3rd gen (2015)
The Moto G (Gen 3) is a great budget smartphone combining upgraded hardware and smooth performance. The improved camera makes the device one of the best camera phones in this price range. 4G connectivity is now standard but more RAM makes multitasking a breeze. It’s also the only phone under Rs 15,000 to come with a water-resistant body.
However, at Rs 12,999, the Moto G is no longer the most affordable, usable, budget smartphone. The K3 Note offered by Motorola’s parent company, Lenovo, comes with better features including a full-HD display. YU Yureka Plus and Meizu M1 Note also come with better specifications at lower price points.
Having said that we still feel the Moto G (third-gen) is a great Android phone for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money. It offers a smooth user experience and is designed to last long.