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Moto G (2014): The best smartphone under US$200

Florence Ion | Oct. 1, 2014
This is absolutely the best mid-range smartphone you can buy at a decidedly low-tier price.

motog eeeee

Face it: life is more convenient with a smartphone, but if you don't want to spend a hefty $700 on the latest and most-talked about super phones, there's the new Moto G. It's better in almost every way from last year's model, and it won't break your budget, whether you're on or off contract. 

The Moto G isn't just an improvement over its predecessor; it's a workhouse designed to offer the most basic smartphone features in an attractive package, at a very attractive price. For under $200, you get a battery-efficient smartphone with great call quality and all of Android's best features, not to mention that you can use it almost anywhere in the world. If what you really want is just a basic smartphone, this is absolutely the one to get. 

Same design, slightly bigger package
The new Moto G is bigger than its predecessor, though not overpoweringly so. Its larger size is a definite response to all the larger phones popping up in the industry, but it's comparable in width and weight to the first-generation Moto X

The Moto G's 5-inch, 720p IPS LCD screen is the right size for browsing the web and using Google Maps. The slightly increased screen size also makes it easier to type and tap with two thumbs, compared to last year's Moto G. I wasn't too impressed with the overall display quality, however. The Huawei Ascend Mate2 and HTC One Remix, both in this same class, have better viewing angles. I can't chide the Moto G for any color display issues, however, as it's nicely on par with its flagship counterpart.

There's a microSD expansion slot and a 2070mAh battery pack tucked underneath the Moto G's back covering, and you can purchase additional back covers or Flip Shells to make the phone all your own. Motorola also added a "splash resistant" coating to the Moto G's chassis to help keep it safe from accidents, though this phone can't be considered a rugged "life proof" device. 

My favorite feature on the new Moto G is its front-facing speakers; they're capable of loudly streaming a podcast or album without the aid of an amplifier or Bluetooth speaker. So, while the Moto G may not have the best display, at least you can listen to Katy Perry's PRISM in stereo sound. It's the little things in life.

Middle-of-the-road innards
Motorola did not opt for a newer processor for this year's Moto G, and instead stuck with the same 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor that fueled its predecessor. While you won't get remarkable frame rates for graphically intensive games, and too many background apps might make the interface stutter from time to time, this is still a solid performing phone. It'll fetch walking directions and take selfies, and you can use it to play games and edit photos. And since there's no overlay, the interface is nice and fluid, and the Moto G actually lasts a whole day out on the town. We'll have the official battery rundown lab results up soon. 

 

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