back to article Moto G: Google's KitKat bruiser could knock out, bury Landfill Android

Two weeks ago Motorola launched a cheap-as-chips Android phone that by common consent, isn't actually nasty. Quite rightly, the new Motorola Moto G has shot to the top of the picks of smartphones in the sub-£150 price point. In fact, you can pick one up without contract from Amazon for £135. Android has been this cheap before …


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  1. hammarbtyp

    Here is my proper review

    Since the article is not really a review more of a winge and as a happy owner of the Moto G here's mine.

    My San Francisco android was getting long in the tooth and relied on an old version of android so I felt it was time for an upgrade. However since I wasn't willing to go on contract (£40 a year on phone calls means any contract is an extravagance) the choice was limited to mini android versions or cheap Chinese clones. In fact I was so peeved by the choice I was just about to go to the dark side and plonk for a Nokia 620. Then this was announced, so breaking a habit of a lifetime I became an earlier adopter.

    So whats my opinion.

    It's bloody great. The speed and screen is a quantum leap over my old SF. Battery life is good, the camera adequate and despite what the article said, Jelly bean is a really nice mobile OS. The thing I like about android is that I can set it up the way I want it, and one of the great things about this phone it is the pure android experience and does not come with the rubbish a lot of mobile providers and suppliers put on the phone.

    The downsides. Apart from having to chop my old sim card up to get it to fit, a SD card slot would of been nice, but then again I don't carry a lot of media files with me, No 4G support(but still too expensive for PAYG and limited geographically) and no NFC(does anyone actually use it?).

    For the price it's a steal and hopefully it will push other manufacturers to make more effort on the £100-200 segment rather than producing expensive phones with features that no-one actually need.

    In fact the question has to be asked exactly what are you getting in a iPhone or a Samsung galaxy which can justify you paying almost 3 times the price of this phone?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here is my proper review

      Well said !

      It's one hell of a phone for the price. Let's just point put here you don't get SD card support with those rock bottom priced bargain basement iPhones either.

    2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Here is my proper review

      "Since the article is not really a review "

      Er, correct. It is not a review at all. The word "Analysis" clearly confused you into thinking it was a review.

      So apologies for that :)

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Here is my proper review

        it read like an analysis of Gingerbread!

    3. Richard Wharram

      Re: Here is my proper review

      Did you buy a Tesco one and unlock it? I don't know where else they're available from off-contract.

      1. Obvious Robert

        Re: Here is my proper review

        Did you buy a Tesco one and unlock it? I don't know where else they're available from off-contract.

        Phones4U are doing the 8GB unlocked and SIM free for £130, 16GB for £160. Still a bargain at those prices, I've bought a couple as Xmas presents and I'm seriously impressed by the build quality, speed and screen. Seems to have good battery life and even the sound quality for MP3 playback through headphones is pretty decent. If my current HTC One S dies unexpectedly I'd happily get one of these as an affordable replacement.

    4. Mark #255

      Re: Here is my proper review

      I too have just upgraded from a SF to a Moto G (16GB version), and I'd like to echo the "it's bloody great".

      IMO the camera is better than adequate - yes it lacks any real controls (image size, white balance, ISO), but it's quick and the auto-HDR feature provides very nice pictures (I was out at the weekend and got some surprisingly good landscape + skyscape shots).

      The GPS gets a fix indoors, which my old SF couldn't do.

      And it's built solidly too, which you couldn't say about the SF (I ended up using a case to stop the back coming loose).

      As for the downsides, the lack of SD and user-removable battery may be an issue, but I had a 4GB card before and didn't run out of space (well, I did but only for apps, thanks to the ridiculous partitioning of the internal memory), and the battery got removed only when it hung. Also, I miss a couple of tweaks from the CM build I ran on it - gesture support in the SMS app, and the auto-silent-mode you could set overnight.

      1. ZillaOfManilla

        Re: Here is my proper review

        re auto-silent-mode, timerific (I think) can set that sort of thing up; the interface is a ig to look at but the app works. Or there is Shush! Which lets you choose how long to stay silent and what volume to return to after that period, which is handy for cinema or meetings.

    5. Jeff Green

      Re: Here is my proper review

      I shelled out the enormous sum of £107 for a 7 inch "phablet". It is ludicrously large, but I added a £5 bluetooth headset and it wasn't anymore, it was short of memory until ebay sent me 32GB for a tenner, its battery life ain't great, but it came with a spare battery that takes seconds to change over on the rare days of heavy candy crushing when it wants feeding by 8pm. It has two sim cards in so I get my company and personal calls on one phone.

      Yes I still have my Samsung Galaxy 3 but I wouldn't buy it again now, and it's pretty much my reserve phone.

      It runs everything I need, makes a great cheap gps system in the car and is even big enough to work on. Cheap and Chinese made it certainly is, but it won't be filling a hole in the ground any time soon!

  2. gautam

    Irrational article - Andrew

    Its a fact that smartphones are the norm now. You could then call all the past feature phones landfill by the same definition. Its still an evolving technology.

    If China can sell good smartphones (androids) at around £80 levels profitably, it just lays bare the well known cliche that Apple and Samsung have ripped (and still are) off consumers for all they are worth by slick marketing.

    It also proves the dictum that a good smartphone need not cost the earth, as Apple/Samsung would like to make us believe. At 5 times the cost, one is never going to get 5 times the phone ! (except snob value and bragging rights).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    G for landfill C for charity !

    Quite obviously its either fill your own land or buy that nonsense Cheap phone and be $549 out of pocket.

    We know it makes for 5 times as much nonsense talk.

  4. SuccessCase

    "if you offered iPhone users the new popup control panel and multitasking, yet retained everything else about the old Look 'n'Feel, they'd bite your hand off to get it."

    Funny. True for many also. I personally hated the new design when I first saw it but I've also been surprised by the extent to which there are people who don't just prefer it a little bit, but really prefer it.

    Overall I would say it's been a success, because if there's one area of design where change is almost always generates annoyance, it's UI design. If you manage to get an even split of opinion, that bodes well for the future.

    Personally I've grown used to it and actually now quite like it. They did however lose some of the slickness of presentation with the first release. There were many small edge cases where animations or transitions were lacking or poor (and this is where traditionally Apple have always been very strong, so I was very disappointed by that), and it was clearly too big a job to get all the wrinkles sorted out; Ive having less than 6 months in the job until it hit beta. I've noticed a quick succession of point updates have eliminated nearly all the small gripes I had though.

    1. Rupert Stubbs

      Change is unsettling

      But iOS 7, for all it's small inconsistencies, is a much better OS than iOS 6.

      One of the best changes is one that has been most criticised: the folders only holding 9 apps on each "page" of the folder, even on the iPad. Screams of rage or laughter from the usual suspects. However, having used it for a while, I realise that Apple was right - it makes more sense:

      1. I can see all the icons for the apps on the first "page" in the folder icon on the main springboard screen, so I already can see where the app I'm wanting to use will be when the folder opens. As it's opening, my finger is starting to move to where it needs to be to tap the app - the whole process is much faster.

      2. Although I have loads of different apps, in each category there are only a few I use at all regularly - most are just the 'nice to have around' ones. So the 9-app limit isn't really a limitation at all - it's a form of prioritisation, which means I can put far more apps into a single category (Photography, say) with the ones I most want to use much more easily distinguishable than if they were competing with 20 other icons.

      3. The square 9-app grid is orientation-independent, so the muscle memory for tapping certain apps stays consistent.

      The net result is that I now fit far more apps into far fewer folders, but can access the apps I need far more easily and quickly. If you'd asked me what I wanted before iOS 7, I would have said bigger folders - just goes to show that the customer doesn't always know best.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patchy Android

    "I grew weary of email widgets that never update, of having to reconnect to my Wi-Fi at random, and of having to close down apps. I missed the far more professional messaging of BB10"

    This is why I've jusy bought myself a secondhand BB Bold 9790 from eBay to replace my current Blackberry. I gave up after a fortnight with a Samsung, unable to properly sync my Exchange mailboxes (forever telling me I had 4000+ emails in my Inbox?!), and having a dead battery by 8pm. The BB is old-school, but it bloody well works!

    A monster screen and shiny animations do not a good phone make.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Patchy Android

      This particular BB model also holds battery for 2 days, easily. I know, I bought one for my wife.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Patchy Android

      Odd, I've not had any of those problems at all, The only dodgy android phone I've had is when I was trying to run CM9 on my HTC Desire (which it's really not cut out to do).

      That said, I've always used cyanogenmod rather than whatever the manufacturer installs, and I've certainly not had problems with email widgets, wifi disconnections or app closures.

  6. MacroRodent


    How would you rate this compared to the low-end Lumias (520, 620...)?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All depends

    On what the ARPU. to Google, is throughout the lifetime of the phone. If they make money selling ads, then then selling at or close to cost makes sense.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Landfill Android

    doesn't exist. There are perfectly find sub £100 Android phones, the Huawei Y300 for example. Runs Jellybean 4.1, gets all the latest Google patches pretty quickly (backported), and runs very nicely, and has pretty much all the features of a high end phone (NFC aside), the camera is also reasonable.

    The problem is, there are also really bad Android phones in the sub £100 category too, so it's really easy to tar ALL budget Android phones with that label. Even more so if you have some kind of Windows Phone agenda.

  9. Anonymous Custard


    Yet Android is very much like Windows 3.x was 20 years ago: nobody bought a PC for Windows 3.x, they bought it for the apps:

    Umm isn't that entirely the point of the OS, be it on a phone, slab or PC - to support and offer the apps and/or functionality, from the background without getting in the way and with the minimum of fuss? It was true back then and it's true now, although the recent trends in OS's wanting to be in the forefront, hogging the limelight and getting in the way of actually using the devices productively sadly seem to be going against that trend.

  10. nematoad Silver badge

    " Supporting loss leaders today means you'll pay higher prices tomorrow."

    Or conversely, pay a premium price to Apple today and then continue to pay a premium price in perpetuity.

    As the old saying has it. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Grab a bargain whilst you can.

    If needs be if Google start playing silly buggers with Android then I'm sure that some enterprising company or group will fork or otherwise re-invent Android. After all it does have FOSS foundations.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      If you fork Android, you can't then use the Google Play Store, Google apps such as the Gmail client or Maps, or any of the libraries in the closed-source Google Play Services. Amazon had the means to make their own Android App store when they released their colour Kindle, and Samsung have been shipping devices with their own apps duplicating the functionality of Google's for a while now.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge

        so what?

        I use (on one phone) Aptoide, K9 Mail & Navfree maps. There are other alternatives out there too.

    2. korikisulda

      fork or otherwise re-invent Android

      Replicant is a FSF-endorsed mobile OS. It's basically Android minus Google. I've been meaning to give it a try, but I haven't got around to it yet...

  11. ACx

    Im still using a Nokia 6500c. Im loathed to let it go. This Moto G thing is the fist "smartphone" that has a feature list and price point that tempts me to upgrade. Still bothered about the sheer size of these htings and battery life though. So, even if I do get a Moto G, it will probably remain a toy, while I retain the olde Nokia for actual phone calls.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I grew weary of email widgets that never update, of having to reconnect to my Wi-Fi at random, and of having to close down apps."

    A messaging widget that is set to refresh every 2 or 4 hours is pretty useless, granted. But I've not had problems with WiFi since my Galaxy S2 and an app that needs closing - well, that's the app's fault, right? I think Android has come on enormously since Jelly Bean but, no matter how slick it is, app developers are free to write poorly designed or buggy apps.

    BTW - that photo isn't showing KitKat. Even the Nexus 4's disappointing cut-down KitKat-lite is more KitKatty than that screen.

    1. Fatty Treats

      'I grew weary of email widgets that never update, of having to reconnect to my Wi-Fi at random, and of having to close down apps.'

      To counter Andrew's anecdote with an anecdote, I've owned androids at both ends of the spectrum (Wildfire and Nexus 4) and experience none of these issues, nor has her indoors; what android/widgets was he using? If he had it set to update infrequently then what does he expect?

      'Supporting loss leaders today means you'll pay higher prices tomorrow.'

      So we should pay through the nose for Samsung et al's top end offerings or risk paying through the nose tomorrow? Smartphones are already commoditising so I'll take my chances.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Whose hands are in the picture?

  14. eSeM

    £99 From Tesco .....

    .... and a few £ to unlock to use on any network.

    Even more of a bargain :)

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: £99 From Tesco .....

      Tried it?

    2. Wang N Staines

      Re: £99 From Tesco .....

      You can "boost" it also ... Someone got one for about £45.

  15. Jemma

    Overpriced, Overhyped & over here

    For £60 I can get a phone that is perfect with a good IPS screen, GPS dual Sims & card slot.

    This is more overpriced crap for the single syllable generation so please stop claiming its the second bloody coming..

    its little more than a slightly faster HTC Touch Diamond running Android with (probably) even less storage free

    Although to quote...

    "Who's the bigger fool, the fool, or the fool that follows him...?"

    In this case the jury is still trying to understand what deliberate means...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overpriced, Overhyped & over here

      Care to tell us where we can get a better phone for £60 or are you just talking gibberish ?

      1. Beerdude26

        Re: Overpriced, Overhyped & over here

        I couldn't find a private messaging option, so I'll just reply. I keep a list of recommended Chinese phones up to date on the wiki at There's a few 100$-ish phones that are great starting smartphones, although it might be better to up your budget just a little bit to get something better. Even better is to wait for the next-gen Chinese octacores and quadcores. You will get far more bang for your buck.

  16. Beerdude26

    Cheap and not nasty? Welcome to years ago

    Oh please, Chinese phone manufacturers have been producing quality handsets for a few years now. I've personally a ThL W7+. The only gripe I had with it was the 4GB ROM. Rooting and plonking on a 32GB SD card took care of that. The rest of the specs are gorgeous (google the MTK6589 SoC). You can currently get it for about 120 quid. Might want to wait for the 8-core MTK6592 qhoppers coming out. Prices for international customers are between 300-400$ for a phone that gets 28,000+ on AnTuTu.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Cheap and not nasty? Welcome to years ago

      Yes, the "landfill" strawman was never convincing.

  17. Alan Denman

    720p is the new low end. Its a quick and 'Ready' HD..

    Tech moves forwards and this is middle end at best.

    So what if they other company prefers permanent a pesudo post war rationing system on their small lower end goods..

  18. Zed Zee

    How much of that 8GB is actually available?

    There's no doubt that the Moto G is a good phone at a very good price and for the novice/average Android user, it's a bargain.

    However, this does come indeed at a price - something this article has mentioned only in passing

    - No SD Card slot - I really don't know why Google is doing an Apple 'me too' with their products, when really, one of their differentiators IS having extra expansion on Android phones. This to me, seems like an evident shooting of their own foot.

    - The phone only has about 4.5GB of the internal storage free for the user, which essentially cripples the phone from doing anything useful, aside from holding a few vids and photos and the odd MP3 tune. After about a year, you're looking for an upgrade out of sheer desperation and the 16GB model is probably no relief to anyone either.

    - 5MP camera - is that it...? For that lovely screen?

    When you consider that the hTC Desire 500 can be picked up around the same price, but includes an SD Card slot and an 8MP camera - the Moto G soon looks a bit inferior.

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