Moto G (2013) review

The best budget handset around

Moto G review
Cheap, cheerful and user friendly

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There's an awful lot to compare the Motorola Moto G and Moto G 4G to, with not just phones in its price range to consider, but also more expensive offerings with a similar spec list.

Sony Xperia M2

The Sony Xperia M2 launched at a much higher price than the Moto G, but it's since plummeted to around £125/$190, suddenly making it a competitor.

It has a larger but lower resolution 4.8-inch 540 x 960 display and the two phones are tied for power, so it's not looking good for the M2, but it beats out its Moto rival when it comes to battery life and it's arguably the more stylish handset.

Xperia M2

It also has an 8MP camera, which bests the Moto G on paper, though we weren't huge fans of the quality of the images it took.

While it doesn't benefit from stock Android it does have an attractive interface of its own, though it's stuck on Android 4.4 KitKat, so the 3G version of the Moto G trumps it there and we expect the 4G version soon will too.

We'd say the Moto G is a better buy in most ways, but if you're charger-shy the longer battery life on the Sony Xperia M2 could make it the smart option.

Moto G (2014)

Since launching the Moto G Motorola has followed it up with…the Moto G. So to avoid confusion we'll call the new one the Moto G (2014).

The main change is the move to a bigger 5.0-inch screen, but that extra size won't suit fans of compact phones and the resolution hasn't changed, so it's not as sharp. The larger screen size also leads to a chunkier frame, leaving it less palm-friendly.

Moto G (2014)

It's no more powerful than the Moto G (2013) either but it does have a better 8MP camera on the back and an upgraded 2MP one on the front.

Unless you really want a smaller screen the Moto G (2014) is clearly the better phone overall, despite its chunkier design, especially as it's now only marginally more expensive than the older model, starting at around £140/$180.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Put the Motorola Moto G up against the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and even then it's difficult to pick faults at the cheap handset.

In fact the Moto G has a bigger screen than the S4 Mini (4.5 inches over 4.3) and a higher resolution (720 x 1280 versus 540 x 960), plus it's 1.2GHz quad-core processor is on par, if not better than the Samsung's 1.7GHz dual-core offering.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

The 3G Moto G even runs a newer version of Android - version 5.0 Lollipop - while the Galaxy S4 Mini is still languishing on KitKat. It's not looking good for the considerably more expensive Samsung.

Naturally there are areas where the S4 Mini excels and its 8MP camera is a significantly better performer than the 5MP offering on the Moto G.

It also brings 4G connectivity to the table, while you'll only get 3G on the Moto G, but considering the low cost of the Motorola you won't be disappointed.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.