back to article Motorola's 5-incher finds the G-spot: Moto G 4G budget Android smartie

Back in December 2013, I hailed the first generation Motorola Moto G as the best affordable smartphone on the market. If you want a reasonably compact 4.5-inch device, then, arguably, it still is the best, thanks to a midlife facelift that added a microSD slot and 4G reception. Motorola Moto G 4G Motorola Moto G 4G A …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the new version of the moto G has an older, less powerful cpu than the cheaper moto E released a while back?

    In fact, it has no hardware upgrade from the last model - just a bigger screen with same number of pixels that you say is dimmer.

    It's a shame, I like my Moto G, but it is really restricted by the 1GB of memory, and I haven't seen any upgrade to lollipop despite of all the talk of Moto phones running near-stock Android. I would love to upgrade, but this isn't one.

    1. Thomas Whipp


      I have a mk1 Moto G on Tesco and it got Lolipop about a month ago. Still a perfectly usable phone and does everything I want - maybe the occassional bit of lag but nothing to get stressed over.

      I'm a little disapointed by the latest upgrade to be honest, had been hoping for 2GB or RAM and 16GB of storage at which point I'd probably have got one. As it is I dont see this as much of an improvement over what I've got which as I say is working perfectly well

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lolipop

        I am also on Moto G 4G on Tesco and still on 4.4.4 not 5.x Lollipop.

        How did you get the Lollipop upgrade? (keen to upgrade mine)

        1. Thomas Whipp

          Re: Lolipop

          I didnt do anything special - just popped up a couple of weeks back (and then wouldnt shut up about it until I did the update). Have you tried a manual check for updates when on WiFi?

          1. Alan Gauton

            Re: Lolipop

            The Mk 1 3G model has updastes to 5.0.2 - Motorola announced not long after that the Mk1 4G (and the E amongst others) will jump straight to 5.1. Which is partially the reason for the delay.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lolipop

            I have - under System Updates - it just says "Your device's software is up to date."

            Model Number: Moto G

            Android Version: 4.4.4

            System Version: 21.11.56.peregrine_tescogb.tescogball.en.GB tescogb

            Build number: KXB21.14-L1.56

            Its the first gen Moto G 4G (model XT1039)

            Any ideas?

            1. Alan Gauton

              Re: Lolipop

              Yes - as has been mentioned previously in the thread, Lollipop for the 4G Mk1 version hasn't been released yet. And it will be 5.1 when it does appear.

              The ones who have updates already will be the 3G version, or asking for trouble by mentioning they have a soak test upgraded version.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lolipop

          I bought my unlocked Mk1 3G Moto G from Amazon in France, cos it was - might even have been a refurb - I can't remember, but just last week the Lollipop upgrade suggestion turned-up , all in French - so the roll-out is praps something to do with where the phone was 'born'? rather than where or who it is being used by?

          Mk1 3G Moto G still works OK at Android V5.0, although I haven't added any apps to it, and the OS is still English - with just a hint of garlic & red-wine embedded somehwre

          there's a bit of a guide to rollout here : (seems mostly to give the answer 'depends on partners')

        3. x 7

          Re: Lolipop

          "How did you get the Lollipop upgrade?"

          A message just popped up one day inviting me to download an upgrade prerequisite prior to the upgrade becoming available. I declined that as it sounded fishy, but a couple of days later i used the systems tools to check for updates - and it was available for immediate download.

          It went straight to 5.01 - looks like they wanted the bugs to be ironed out before the phones were upgraded. 5.00 was never made available to this phone

          1. x 7

            Re: Lolipop


            It went straight to 5.0.2 as Alan Gauton says above. My memory was at fault.

        4. Mark #255

          Re: Lolipop

          Just before Christmas, an update for "Motorola Update Services" arrived through the Play Store, which claims "This update is necessary to enable a future upgrade of your device to Android 5.0, Lollipop". I'd check you've got that updated.

          (1st Gen Moto G on 5.0.2 over here)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lolipop

            Yeah - updated that and got all excited... ah well - it can wait till they iron out all the bugs and maike sure it'll be stable - 4.4.4 is still a pretty good release.

            Once its out of warranty, will upgrade it to CM12 as those nightly builds are progressing really well.

      2. Warm Braw

        Re: Lolipop

        FWIW, I have the Mark I 4G version and after a few months of paying a modest premium for 4G connectivity on Giffgaff, I've reverted to paying for only 3G - frankly I couldn't tell the difference. Perfectly happy with the phone, though, with the exception of the keyboard periodically disappearing in Chrome...

        Interestingly, I bought it from Tesco (unlocked, not on Tesco mobile) and it claims there is no update currently available (to Lollipop)...

      3. gurugeorge

        Re: Lolipop

        Just get an iPhone. Then you don't need to worry about anything. Numbers et cetera are irrelevant. My iPhone outperforms Android phones with twice the process of speed and double the ram.. It even outperforms cray super computers.

    2. EnglishRob

      I'm in a similar boat, I bought the Moto G 3G based on last year's review but ended up having issues with it about 5 months into owning the phone due to a software update. Sadly the Motorola support was not very good and Phones4U didn't want to know until I made a bit of a fuss on Twitter.

      I now have the 4G Moto G which while is a great phone it does lag quite often and I'm lucky if the battery lasts half a day, and I still haven't had the upgrade to Lollipop.

      When the warranty runs out (in about 2 months) I'm probably going to root the phone and install something like Cyanogenmod although for my next phone I'm considering another manufacturer.

      Saying that, a colleague of mine has the Mk1 3G Moto G and she's never had any issues with it. Perhaps some of it might be down to the apps I install.


      1. gurugeorge

        Honestly Rob, just get an iPhone. It's like I'm spreading the word of God. I must of had 100 phones in the last 20 years and nothing comes close. Just close your eyes, and have faith. If you want to expand your SD card, just close your eyes and realise that Apple knows that you don't really *need* anything more than 11 GB available memory in 2015 on a £650 phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Don't feed the trolls

          ...just laugh at them.

          "just get an iPhone. It's like I'm spreading the word of God. I must of had 100 phones..."

          I of had

          Eye of Sauron?

          Apologies if English isn't your native lingo.

    3. I am not spartacus

      Yes, this thing is handily ahead of the older 'Moto E', but the 2015 version has had a bit of a makeover, and now it isn't as clear as it was.

      All cheap Androids are a bit marginal on the Camera side, and the 'E' is more marginal than the 'G'. But, if you are in the 'Cheap Android' department because you don't care about the camera, that may not be a factor.

      The processor in the cheaper model is slightly better and the display is worse.

      So, the thing that I missed from this review was the 'decent cheap phone, but is it worth the extra cost over the Moto E, 2015' aspect, which seems to be one of the more interesting questions.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Fail Motorola

    No 16gb and no second SIM slot (unlike those in Brazil) so no sale. It's looking like poor value for money Motorola.

    The Alcatel one touch idol 3 looks a good promising alternative but you get far more for your money, rumoured at about £200. Awaiting an in depth review on that one.


    Out of the box, it runs Android Lollipop 5.0.2 already. Specs include a 5.5-inch Full-HD IPS Display, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, Technicolor Color Enhance technology, a fully reversible user interface, 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939 Octa-Core (64-bit), Adreno 405 @ 550MHz, WiFi, LTE, Dual 1.2 Watt Front-Facing JBL Stereo Speakers, Harmon Clari-Fi Technology, 13 megapixel main camera, Sony IMX214 Sensor (F/2.0), 8 megapixel wide-angle front camera. 2GM RAM, 16GB built-in storage, MicroSD card slot, and a 2910mAh battery.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For full specs see here:

      1. Alistair

        @MinesAGuniess -

        Link be handy ... but ... OMG ... Sooooooooooo Much JavaScript Auuuuuuuugh.

        and what is all this (sic) *not supported on Bell and Tellus* crap?

    2. thomas k.


      What the heck is a "fully reversible" UI?

      Looks pretty sweet, otherwise.

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: hmmm

        Its pretty similar to a reversible sedgewick, but different.

    3. M Mouse

      While I know the review indicated it a bit disappointing about only 1 GB RAM and only 8 GB of storage, I'm quite shocked at your "poor value for money" comment. Was going to ask what other similar phone (large screen and up-to-date Android) you could recommend at the same price and clearly you're comparing with more costly mobiles.

      I picked up a dual SIM Moto G on Ebay for about 140 quid (they were on sale in Argos at around 120 near Christmas) which is running 5.0.2. As it happened, I had an issue with it and returned it for a refund, but the seller didn't collect it from the sorting office and it has come back to me.

      Sure, the Alcatel spec looks quite good, but it's not even available yet, so academic as an example.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Both SIMs on my dual SIM phone are active at the same time - both can get text or voice calls. Obviously only one can be the data SIM at any one time and if you are using one SIM to make/receive a call then the other SIM goes to voicemail - but that's kinda expected....

      1. Arnold Lieberman

        Re: eh?

        @Danbo: this is known as "dual SIM dual standby"... which most dual SIM phones operate under. The alternative is dual SIM dual Active, where both radios can be communicating simultaneously e.g. data on one SIM whilst talking on the other. My phone (Zopo ZP999) disables data as soon as a call comes through and then re-enables it afterwards. Not ideal but no big problem. Also, most dual SIM phones support 3g/4g on one SIM but only 2G on the other, so in my case I use a Three mobile broadband SIM in the 4G slot and GiffGaff in the 2G slot.

        1. chris 17 Silver badge

          Re: eh?

          @ Arnold Lieberman

          why not just 1 sim on Three or giffgaff that does phone and data? I can't imagine your 2 sims splitting V/D being cheaper than 1 for voice and data on those networks.

          for £10 on three i get 1GB 4G, 600 minutes x net and 2000 mins on net. i was previously on the £7 per month tariff giving 500 GB 4G 200 x net and 2000 on net. all you can eat 4G data and 200 xnet = £17. or 4GB + 600 xnet for £16.

          1. Ian 55

            Re: eh?

            I'm just back from Germany with my G mk2 3G version.

            Having both my UK SIM so I could still get calls and a local one for data / calling people in Germany was extremely useful and saved having to take two smartphones.

            And there have been times where I've needed two numbers but not wanted two phones here.

          2. gurugeorge

            Re: eh?

            £15 a month virgin Mobile VIP tarifa unlimited Voice calls and data (last month are you is 10,000 minutes voice 40 texts and 20 GB data), no contract

          3. Arnold Lieberman

            Re: eh?

            @Chris 17. There are a few reasons:

            1. I got a 5Gb/month mobile broadband SIM from Three on a half price deal, so that's £8.50/month. I mostly use it for tethering, and use about 4Gb as it is shared between my phone/laptop and the kids (when we're in the car). If I cancelled that I wouldn't get such a good deal again.

            2. I have had various voice/text SIMs as needs have arisen - Virgin, Ovivo, GiffGaff. So I can port the number everyone knows to whichever company gives the best deal for me. I hardly use any minutes, and what I do use tends to be done via VOIP over 4G (which EE block). Monthly spend on voice/text is around £0.20.

            3. As hinted above, some companies block ports or NAT internet access (Virgin, EE). Three appears to be completely open so is great for VOIP as well as VPN and the usual web surfing. The signal has improved massively in the past few years on the routes that I take, so I am reluctant to move. O2 (GiffGaff) sucks for data esp. 4G around my area.

            So the only limitation I have is that I can't use Three for both SIMs, for the reasons mentioned in my previous post.

            BTW, thanks to the keyboard warrior for the downvote, care to share why?

    2. David Robinson 1


      "The lack of a second SIM slot in phones for the European and US markets is also in part to do with the difficulty of meeting emissions regulations whilst having both SIMs active at the same time."

      So, care to explain why one can get the non-4G Moto G with dual SIMs in the UK?

  4. phuzz Silver badge

    Why do they have to keep embiggening the screen? I was quite happy with a 4" screen, and the 4.5" makes my first gen Moto G annoyingly large at times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why do they have to keep embiggening the screen?

      Maybe because everybody who ISN'T you seem to want a bigger display?

      Just a thought.

      1. caffeine addict

        Re: Why do they have to keep embiggening the screen?

        But not everyone DOES want a bigger screen. I bought the 1st gen MotoG because it was pretty much the only phone that would fit sideways in the back pocket of my jeans. The fact it was dirt cheap and free from operator crud was the perfect sweetener.

        If they're making the new one bigger, I guess I'll be keeping to the 1st gen instead of upgrading. If I wanted a bigger phone, I'd have bought a bigger bloody phone.

        1. Ian 55

          Re: Why do they have to keep embiggening the screen?

          Yep, a larger screen can be nice, but the main difference between the 4.5 inch and the 4 inch is that the former eats battery life significantly quicker.

      2. Alan Gauton

        Re: Why do they have to keep embiggening the screen?

        Everybody? Personally I like the size of the Mk 1 Moto G, and would love to see current flagship handsets at a similar size (without reducing the specs for the "mini" versions).

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Is your missus happy with 4 inches or would she prefer something larger ?

      Ba Dum Tsh

      1. Alistair

        My good man, it ain't the size of the tool that matters, but rather the skill of the artisan using it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          People with small tools always say that

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Before you buy...

    2nd Gen Moto Gs kill tasks like crazy unless you root them and change the task killer's parameters or use an alternate ROM.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > to complement the microSD slot, which, itself is only good for cards up to 32GB.

    I have a 64gb card in my 1st gen Moto G 4g. The maximum capacity for SD cards quoted on phone specifications is usually what the manufacturer has tested rather than a hard limit.

    The only downside in this case is that you have to format the card in FAT32 rather than exFAT so you have a 4gb file size limit. This may or may not be a problem for you.

  7. Buzzword

    Compared to Nexus 5

    For similar money you could pick up a nearly-new Nexus 5, which would be better than this in all aspects except perhaps the speakers.

    1. Paul Smith

      Re: Compared to Nexus 5

      Really? I used to have one and it was OK. I now have the 3G Moto G II and it is better then the Nexus in every way that matters.

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: Compared to Nexus 5

        Careful! You'll get all the SD card fans frothy with your heretical suggestions.

  8. x 7

    My untied "original" G went to Android 5.1 a few weeks back and its made quite a difference to the battery life - probably around 40% increase

    Unclear whether the update came directly from Motorola, Google or EE - but whichever it was, it worked well.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will consider

    once my orange san francisco has packed up :)

    by the looks of it, by the end of this decade, lol

    1. Danny 14

      Re: I will consider

      Yup similar with my sg2. 1gb ram might hamper this, my sg2 has 1gb and runs more than happily on kitkat but a flashed lollipop didnt fare too well (laggier) so I went back. Seems the requirement for android has crept up a fair bit.

    2. Sam Liddicott

      Re: I will consider

      Can it fit google play services?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I will consider

        it did, until I got it out of the box and ran an alternative firmware. Why would I need google play services on a phone anyway? It phones and plays music

  10. naive

    Brilliant phone but 1GB is a big flaw

    Using an older XT910 RAZR Maxx myself, 1GB is just not enough for daily use. I just use 2 email clients, whatsapp and internet radio, memory is for over 90% in use. This brings the phone to a crawl, since the phone lives a life on its own and things are constantly started without user interaction, like a bunch of google services and Kindle reader, taking many MB's, resulting in drops on the streaming music.

    Now i have to use task killers to get rid of all the crud that starts on its own, which is extremely annoying.

    Although Motorola makes good phones, they hate to provide Android upgrades.

  11. Mr. Anonymous Coward ... thank you!

    Excellent Phone

    I have a 2nd Gen Moto G running Android 5.0.2, and I think it's an excellent phone. Clear screen. Responsive, good battery life, good call quality (speaker and mic), excellent antenna (for WiFi and 3/4G). I honestly can't fault it. The one an only thing that I would have liked, would be a button on the front of the phone to 'activate' it, so that I can just press it while it's on a table top. It takes an extra second to reach around and press the button on the side.

  12. Unicornpiss

    If it was available a year ago with an SD card slot..

    ..I would have one of these instead of my S5.

  13. Marcus Aurelius

    Moto G 4Gs at a discount

    1. Go to Tescos (or other places presumably)

    2. Buy the Tesco PAYG version which is often sold at a £30+ discount to the unlocked version

    3. Unlock it by contacting your friendly unlocker on eBay for £1.50 or so

    4. Profit!

    I have 5 of them as they're great value for money. Through Clubcard vouchers and the above, I've paid less than £100 for all of them.

  14. Michael Jennings

    Motorola should have updated the SoC

    There's also a Brazilian dual-SIM version of this - it comes with 16Gb storage. It looks essentially the same as the Chinese version, except for support for different frequencies.

    I have the 3G dual-SIM second generation version. It was great when it was on Android 4.4.4, but it is rather struggling on 5.0.2. Also, 8Gb isn't really enough storage. (Yes, I have a 32Gb SD card in it, but the internal storage keeps filling up just the same). The cameras are not especially great, but I think that is forgivable at this price point.

    I think Motorola might have made a better call if they had ditched the 8Gb options for the 2nd generation and only offered 16Gb, and also if they had provided some upgrade to the SoC for the second generation. That they did this for the Moto E but not the G, and the 4G variant of the E has a more powerful SoC than the G is very strange.

  15. tadada

    Mark I 3G owner, so satisfied of it that I strongly recommended it, not knowing that mark II even existed.

    That other person bought a G mark II and now, that I've seen it, that I've read it's description....what a disappointment. It's a failure of an follow-up to the excellent first edition.

    And no, not everyone wants a bigger screen. Especially not with less PPI and luminosity. Especially not with the same battery for a bigger consumer. It's not even an upgrade, in those conditions, is it ?

  16. 2pies

    Poor phone

    I have the 3G version of this phone. I was attracted to it because of the dual-SIM as I was tired of carrying a personal and work phone around all the time. As my company provides 4GB of mobile data a month it also allowed me to save money on the SIM plan for my personal phone. While that bit works well, I'm not happy with other functionality.

    Apps are so slow to launch, the whole phone becomes unresponsive and often hangs. Phone call quality is often shaky. Battery life seems very poor and while I have the 32GB SD card, the 8GB of onboard storage is very hard to manage and presents several limitations (many apps can't be moved to SD card)

    I couldn't comment on how it compares with other Android phones, but I know I'll be switching back to an iPhone later this year.

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