Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen 2015 Review – The Best Budget Smartphone of 2015? REALLY?

by Linus 2

Usually, Gizmochina’s website is dedicated to the Chinese tech news and reviews, and you may be wondering why we decided to review a device, which is made by Motorola. In case you haven’t heard that this is not an American company anymore since the Chinese tech giant Lenovo has purchased its mobile division.
However, this is not the main reason we decided to review a Motorola Moto G (2015). The thing is that this device has been highly praised as a budget smartphone of the year due to its great price/performance ratio… but since we are the Chinese tech enthusiasts, we all know that there are so many other budget phones that are comparable to the Motorola’s offering. We are not going to be comparing with certain Chinese phones this time but we will judge the Motorola Moto G knowing that there are so many similar Chinese smartphones on the market – both the ones we have already reviewed and haven’t done that yet. Please keep in mind that our review unit has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM (the base model, which starts at $179.99).

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: VIDEO

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: UNBOXING

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The phone comes in rather cheap looking box and besides the documentation you are getting just a microUSB cable and no power plug.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: DESIGN

As far as design goes, we have a typical Motorola’s design language with rounded corners on the back for a better grip and a frame going around the device. However, this time around it is made of plastic to reduce the cost of the phone.
On the front top we have a 5MP snapper, a sensor light, the earpiece and on the bottom there is a front firing speaker.


The back plate is made of quality textured plastic and here we have a 13MP shooter along dual tone dual LED and signature Motorola’s dimple.
On the right we have a volume rocker and the power key. However, the placement is not super convenient as the power button should have been below the volume rocker, in my opinion.
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On the bottom there is a microUSB port and on the top we have a headset jack and secondary mic.
The back plate is removable and under the hood you can find a non-removable 2470Ah battery, SIM card slot and the microSD card slot for storage expansion.
Overall, the phone sits very comfortably in the hand and the textured back helps with a grip. While the plastic doesn’t add any premium looks but the phone is well made and I have no complaints about its built quality.
But if you don’t like the standard looks of the Moto G, you can customise the phone the way you want by changing the colours of the front and back, customise accent colours, add your own engravings and so on. Keep in mind  that basic customisation options come at a $30 extra and the upgrade of specs will cost you even more.
If you don’t want to spend extra cash customising the handset, you are still getting a feature that it is not that widely spread among the budget phones – a water resistance. The Moto G has an IPX7 rating meaning that you can submerge the phone up to 1 m and keep it underwater up to 30 mins.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: DISPLAY

The Motorola Moto G sports a 5” 720P panel, which is not bad but not great either. It is bright, colour reproduction is okay but a bit on a colder side. What’s frustrating is that this is clearly not the most pixel dense display as you can clearly see the individual pixels, which is a shame. That is visible during all the daily tasks like web browsing or simply scrolling through the settings menu. Other downsides would be a subpar sunlight visibility and average viewing angles. A great thing that the display is covered by the Gorilla Glass 3.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: UI

The Motorola Moto G runs on Android 5.1 Lolipop. It is almost stock Android UI with zero bloatware but with some added extra functionality by Motorola like Moto Assist, Moto Actions and Moto Display.
One of the most useful are the ability to chop the phone twice to turn on and off the flashlight and twist the phone twice to open up the camera. I found the flashlight feature work almost perfectly and the camera feature works okay too.
Other useful features come from the Moto Display as it wakes up the display when notifications arrive. While it may be useful for a lot of people I personally turned it off as I simply don’t like seeing new notification every 5 minutes.
There is one annoying issue with the software though. For some reason, the MacBook does not recognise the device once it is connected. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.
Also, Motorola is pretty confident about its software as I haven’t received any software updates in more than a month of using this device.
Overall, the performance is snappy and responsive unless you run too many apps in the background on the 1GB model I have. To avoid that, I suggest you paying extra and going with 2GB variant.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

The Moto G has a quad-core Snapdragon 410 chip, which is clocked at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage. If you opt in for a higher end model, you will get 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Of course, that comes for the extra money.
I was pleasantly surprised that the Moto G can handle 3D gaming quite well. While the graphics don’t look that good as on higher-end phones but the loading times are fast and the stutter levels are low.
Also, the phone doesn’t have overheating issues even after extensive periods of gaming.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: MULTIMEDIA

The Moto G can handle Full-HD content without any issues or lags. The loudspeaker quality is very good for a budget phone. It is placed on the front side, which is always a welcome feature. Also, it is very loud and the sound quality is really good for a budget phone.
While the sound quality via earphones is not the best but it is good for this price tag of the device.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: CAMERA

The phone comes with a very simple camera app, which is responsive, easy to use and has a few shooting modes and settings to play with. The shutter speed is pretty fast.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: IMAGE QUALITY

The 13MP camera on the back is actually capable of producing some nice looking images when there is plenty of light. The pictures have a good amount of detail, they look sharp and the colour reproduction is decent. Even the dynamic range is handled quite well most of the times.
However, when the sun goes down, the troubles start. It all begins with the artificial lighting as quite a lot of noise kicks it and the level of details goes down.
The night shots do not impress at all. There is just so much noise in each picture and the sharpness is lost compared to daylight images. While it is not the worst performer but I actually expected a bit more from the camera in low-light scenarios.
The 5MP selfie snapper is not the best out there, but it gets the job done for social media.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: VIDEO QUALITY

The 1080p video is far from the best but it is actually pretty good. Well, the footage could look a bit sharper but the colours, auto-exposure work fine, the video does not look very shaky and there is a continuous auto-focus but it is very slow. SEE A VIDEO REVIEW FOR A 1080P VIDEO SAMPLE.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: BATTERY LIFE

The 2470Ah non-removable battery doesn’t need to feed a high pixel density display and a powerful chip. The result of it – the battery life is just fantastic. On a light use I could get over 6 hours of screen-on time and on the heavy use, the time reduces to 4-4.5 hours.
What is even more important – the standby times. Literally, this phone can stay powered on for days in standby mode.
Overall, the battery life is really impressive it be may one of the best we’ve seen in the budget phones category.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: CONNECTIVITY

I have no complaints about any of the connectivity options. The call quality is very good, which is common to the most of the phones made by Motorola. Also, GPS is fast and accurate and Wifi, Bluetooth work just fine.

Motorola Moto G (3 Gen, 2015 model) Review: CONCLUSIONS

So, there you have it, the highly praised 3rd Gen Motorola Moto G. While I wouldn’t be so sure that this is a true budget phone of the year as we have some other great offerings like the Meizu M2 Note, Asus Zenfone 2, Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 and some other phones from China, the Moto G has quite a lot to offer.
For the starting price of $179.99, you are getting a phone that it is well built despite the choice of plastic in its construction. Also, it has a good camera for daylight images, snappy UI performance, the latest Android version with a high chance of getting the latest software updates fast.
In addition, you are getting a decent loudspeaker for media consumption and you will be able to enjoy that for a long time as the Moto G has one of the best in class battery life. A huge plus is that this phone is water resistant and we don’t see that too often in budget phones category.
However, you have to consider the shortcomings like a low quality screen, not impressive camera performance indoors and in the low-light and a plasticky design of the phone.
All in all, the Moto G is a decent offering for a price. However, it is not the only smartphone you should look for in this price category.