Moto G (2015) review

The third generation Moto G is bigger, but is it better?

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Our Verdict

It's pricier than previous generations, but an amazing camera and near-flawless performance make this the most complete-feeling Moto G yet.


  • Lovely camera
  • Smart water resistance
  • Great performance
  • Decent screen


  • Bulkier design
  • Pricer than older Moto Gs
  • Non-stereo front speaker

When the first Moto G arrived back in 2013, it was a revelation. It showed us that phones under £150 (US$220) didn't have to come with rubbish screens and dodgy performance. Now we're onto the Moto G's third version.

What's new here? A better camera is the highlight, while water resistance and a 64-bit CPU offer side attractions you don't always get at this price.

There's the one potential issue: price. The Moto G now goes up to £179.99 (US$199.99, AU$319) for the 2GB RAM/16GB storage version, or £149.99 (US$179.99, around AU$250) for the plain 1GB RAM/8GB storage Moto G edition.

The kicker is that if you want the super-smooth performance the original Moto G was hailed for, you'll need to get the more expensive edition.

That price could drop very soon though, as Motorola's just announced the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus - the fourth generation of the best-selling G range, so keep your eye out for bargains.

The Moto G (2015) won't go missing from shelves immediately, so is it still worth picking up?


No matter which version of the Moto G you choose, you get the same core design. This year's version uses a removable plastic cover that blocks off the memory card and SIM sockets, providing one of the little guy's key features: water resistance.

This is the first of the Moto G family to offer any weather resistance, and it goes all the way with IPx7 certification. That means you can dunk it in water up to 1m deep and leave it there for 30 minutes without having to leave it in a bag of rice afterwards, praying it's not dead.

Look at the back cover and you'll see that this is almost impossibly simple. A little border of rubber sits on certain parts of the backplate, sealing off slots that need protection.

What's more impressive is that the sockets on the exposed parts of the Moto G don't need this. I'm talking about the microUSB socket and the headphone jack. Like all the best waterproof phones, these are automatically designed not to let in water, and it takes all the pain out of water resistance.

Just a couple of years ago, even top-end phones like the Sony Xperia Z2 needed flaps to protect the ports you used on a daily basis. It got old pretty quick.

That the Moto G manages to side-step this annoyance, at this price, is commendable. And it's going to make me come down pretty hard on any water resistant phones that don't make the same moves in the future.

Moto G review

The rubber borders on parts of the backplate provide extra protection

The other new hardware feature is customisation. Buy the Moto G from a network and you may only have a choice between white or black (network dependent). But order from the Moto Maker website and you can pick the colour of the backplate and the little metal 'accent' on the back that holds the camera lens. There are 10 colours of each part to choose from.

Water resistance and core customisation aren't things I normally expect from mid-range phones. But that doesn't mean the Moto G feels like it belongs in a class above. It doesn't, and certainly not at £200.

The Moto G is a chunky, largely plastic phone. Some of you may not like the ridged style when compared with the various soft-touch and simple matt finishes Motorola used in its previous E and G-series phones. But, hey, it's what we get.

The Moto G design is best described as 'perfectly fine'. Pretty unexciting, right? It feels well made and its curved design helps hide its 11.6mm thickness. But it doesn't feel expensive, and is a little large for a 5-inch phone. If you want it to stick out, be sure to have a look at Moto Maker before ordering.

Moto G review

At 11.6mm, the new Moto G is a little thicker than hoped


Some of you may have expected Motorola to dramatically upgrade the screen in this third-generation Moto G. It's begging for a 1080p screen, right?

Well, it doesn't have one. The 2015 Moto G has a 1280 x 720 pixel IPS LCD screen just like the last version. If you're willing to go with a lesser-known brand, you can get a 1080p screen without paying all that much more. Just look at the Honor 6 and Vodafone Smart Prime 6 for a couple of examples.

This remains a mostly satisfying screen, though. It's large enough to be well-suited to playing games, browsing the internet and displaying media, rather than being for 'the basics' only. While the slight pixelation will seem obvious to the more eagle-eyed among you, sharpness is pretty good.

Moto G review

The 1280 x 720 pixel IPS LCD screen is suited to playing games and browsing the internet

The real important question is, has anything changed? This is an odd one to tackle, as I discovered that the screens of the 16GB and 8GB version Moto Gs are substantially different.

The 8GB, 1GB RAM Moto G has a screen that looks a lot like the 2014 edition. It has relaxed, easy-going colours and a warm colour temperature that's easy on the eyes, but gives whites a slight orange/yellow skew.

Conversely, the 16GB, 2GB RAM edition has dumped the warm skew in favour of much purer, whiter whites. While one approach is not categorically better than the other, this version does look a bit more striking.

The question is whether Motorola is using a different panel supplier for these Moto G subsets, or whether it's just the luck of the draw which style you'll get. Both are perfectly good, but I'd favour the punchier tone of the 16GB Moto G.

As it's topped with Gorilla Glass 3, the screen also provides good fingerprint resistance (an oleophobic coating), and outdoors visibility is perfectly fine too.

Key features, interface and performance

The Moto G 2015 isn't a features powerhouse, but that's not the idea. Just like all the Moto G models, it includes the bits it thinks you'll appreciate while leaving out the ones Motorola thinks you probably won't need. Or even notice.

It's not a Samsung, that's for sure. On the hit list, the Moto G has all the usual things like GPS, Wi-Fi and so on, but it doesn't have NFC or an IR transmitter. I get the feeling most people don't know what the latter is for (it generally mimics a home entertainment remote), but NFC's omission is a bit more contentious.

Moto G review

Get the default black or white Moto G, or visit Moto Maker to customise your phone

It means hooking the Moto G up to certain wireless accessories (speakers, headphones, cameras) will be a bit fiddlier, and also rules out being able to use Android Pay, the Google equivalent to Apple Pay. This would let you pay for a packet of crisps and a coffee with your phone. Sounds a bit like fluff? Exactly. Those are the bits the Moto G leaves out.

However, you do get 4G mobile internet and the neat faff-free waterproofing I talked about earlier. It's all about priorities, and the Moto G's are roughly in the right order.

What else do you get? Well, there are two main flavours of Moto G. There's one with 8GB storage and another with 16GB. The more expansive version will give you room for a handful of apps and games as well as an Instagram account's worth of mobile phone pictures. You're much more likely to need a microSD card if you pick the smaller-storage Moto G.