Earlier this morning Motorola announced the Moto G, the second member of its new smartphone lineup and a far more affordable alternative to the Moto X we reviewed back in August. The Moto G is available this week in Brazil and parts of Europe. Canada, Latin America, more of Europe and parts of Asia will get the device in the coming weeks. In the US we'll see the Moto G in early January. India, the Middle East and more of Asia will also get the Moto G in January. The big news here is the price: the Moto G will be available at $179 for an 8GB model or $199 for the 16GB model, unlocked and off-contract. The largest growth market for smartphones over the coming years is going to be at lower price points, so it makes complete sense that the Moto G would be the next release in the new Moto family.

To hit significantly lower price points than the Moto X, we see a number of changes. First and foremost is the adoption of Qualcomm's MSM8x26 SoC, branded as Snapdragon 400. The S400 implementation in the Moto G features four ARM Cortex A7 cores running at up to 1.2GHz and Qualcomm's Adreno 305 GPU. As Brian quickly pointed out after the announcement, Motorola is now in the unique position of shipping a quad-core SoC in its lower end phone and a dual-core SoC in its flagship. Obviously the other members of Motorola's X8 system (NLP & Contextual processors) are absent from the Moto G as well. In practice this means features like Motorola's active display and always on voice commands aren't present on the Moto G.

On the connectivity side, Moto G is listed as supporting GSM/GRPS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+ (21Mbps) or CDMA/EVDO Rev.A. There's no LTE support, at least on the version being launched today. Brian suspects that the US delay may be to move to Qualcomm's MSM8926 with integrated category 4 LTE modem, but we'll have to wait until January to find out.

With the Moto G we see a reduction in memory size from 2GB down to 1GB compared to the Moto X, as well as less NAND on-board (8/16GB vs. 16/32GB). Motorola also drops 802.11ac and 5GHz WiFi support. The front and rear facing cameras also see a downgrade compared to the Moto X, but that's to be expected as Motorola's 10MP clear pixel camera was quite costly to implement. The Moto G features a 4.5-inch 720p display, likely LCD based as there's no AMOLED requirement thanks to the absence of Motorola's Active Display.

The Moto G's chassis is clearly Moto X inspired, although slightly taller/wider and thicker. Customization is still a theme of the Moto lineup, but with the Moto G that customization comes through removable back covers. Motorola offers a total of 19 customization options: Motorola Shells that replace the back cover, Grip Shells that have a thicker, rubberized frame for better protection and Flip Shells that include a magnetic flip cover for the display.

  Moto G Moto X
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8x26) 1.2GHz
Quad-Core Cortex A7 + Adreno 305
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (MSM8960Pro) 1.7 GHz
Motorola X8 System (SoC+NLP Processor+Contextual Processor)
Display 4.5-inch 1280x720 4.7-inch AMOLED (RGB) 1280x720
RAM 1GB 2GB LPDDR2
WiFi 802.11b/g/n, BT 4.0 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.0
Storage 8 GB/16 GB, 2 years 50 GB Google Drive 16 GB standard, 32 GB online, 2 years 50 GB Google Drive
I/O microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone, NFC, Miracast
OS at Launch Android 4.3 Android 4.2.2
Battery 2070 mAh 2200 mAh, 3.8V, 8.36 Whr
Size / Mass 65.9 x 129.9 x 6.0-11.6 mm, 143 grams 65.3 x 129.3 x 5.6-10.4 mm, 130 grams
Camera 5 MP Rear Facing
1.3 MP Front Facing
10 MP Clear Pixel (RGBC) with 1.4µm pixels Rear Facing
2 MP 1080p Front Facing
Price $179 (8 GB), $199 (16 GB) off-contract $199 (16 GB), $249 (32 GB) on 2 year contract

The Moto G will ship with a mostly stock version of Android 4.3, and Motorola is committing to an upgrade to KitKat in January 2014.

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  • Conficio - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Congratulations to Motorola for having a reasonable price step for more memory & off-contract prices! Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I'm surprised people like this phone based on the specs and the price point. Quad A7 is nothing to phone home about, in fact if you are content with those measly specs there're plenty of China shops around offering nothing better at an even cheaper price... Reply
  • Hubb1e - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Would you really go with a cheap chinese knockoff over a fully supported phone from google itself? And a quad A7 isn't a performance monster, but it isn't half bad either. The best thing about the phone is the 4.5" 720p display and android 4.3 Reply
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I think you don't know how poor Mediatek's SoCs are in terms of GPU horsepower, power efficiency, and app support. Reply
  • aakash_sin - Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - link

    +1 Reply
  • En1gma - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Qualcomm has four families of cortex-a7 based SoCs: dual-core MSM8x10 and quad-core MSM8x12, MSM8x26, MSM8x28.
    LTE-enabled "sku" has MSM8x28-line only.
    Reply
  • stefstef - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    another win for google and android. delivering a cheap smartphone with a pleasant display resolution is just the win companies like nokia have missed (although windows phone just made it up recently to support decent display resolutions). Reply
  • jjj - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Moto makes the same dumb mistakes as everybody else and adds to that.
    The SoC is passable for the price this year but 5MP cam is not good enough and people don't like features that are not good enough.
    No microSD is just ridiculous, you have to be dropped on your head multiple times to think you can go after developing markets without a SD slot. Free wifi is not all that easy to find outside of the developed world and in the end any company that cripples it's products out of greed (like Google does here, like Apple...always) doesn't deserve our money or any respect.
    If Moto G had an 8MP cam and a microSD slot at 200$ , it could sell twice as many units so it's quite a pity that it's flawed.
    Reply
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    You are complaining at $179 smartphone? Reply
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    You are free to buy Chinese Clones that don't have good enough build quality or camera optimizations or decent app support or bug-free software. And good luck dealing with their customer service.

    These extra services cost, my friend. I haven't bought a Chinese clone yet. But from the horrible "user reviews" I have read all around the Internet I had better be safe than sorry.
    Reply

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