Upgrader’s Guide – The New Moto G

Lost amid the hubbub over the new Moto X and Motorola’s latest smartwatch, the Moto 360, the new Moto G also rolled out. Available right now, the second-generation Moto G targets budget consumers with some needed improvements and the same low price as the original. But the question likely on your mind: Is it worth an upgrade? Let’s find out.

The original Moto G is Motorola’s best-selling smartphone ever. More popular than its more muscular and flashier cousin, the Moto X, and any of Motorola’s Droids. The first-generation Moto G combined a quality build with a bright 4.5-inch display and near-stock Android for an unheard-of price of $179 off contract. So how do you improve on the orginal? For the most part, Motorola chose to leave well enough alone. And that might not be a bad thing at all.

Let’s run through the specs. Both generations of Moto G sport 1280×720 IPS displays, quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors, 1GB of RAM, 2070mAh batteries and 8GB of storage in the base models. The differences are few but important. The new Moto G’s display is a half-inch bigger at 5 inches, but its pixel density is also less because of that, 294 vs. 326 on the original Moto G. Numbers don’t usually lie, but many have remarked that the new Moto G’s display actually seems superior to the original with brigher output, more saturation and better viewing angles. Go figure.

The rear camera on the new Moto G has been bumped up to 8MP from 5MP and the front camera to 2MP from 1.3MP. The volume buttons can now serve as camera shutter buttons as well. The new Moto G has not one but two front-facing speakers to give you stereo sound. Most importantly, the new Moto G includes microSD card support up to 32GB, something missing in the original Moto G, though the later Moto G 4G LTE model did support microSD. So that’s what’s new about the new Moto G. And now, on to the question of upgrading.

This is a more nuanced question when it comes to the Moto G. A $179 off-contract smartphone is no flagship and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a phone that provides a pleasant user experience with all the usual features a modern smartphone is expected to have. Running stock Android allows the Moto G to be smooth, capable and enjoyable. Does it have all the bells and whistles and move like greased lightning as most top-of-the-line flagships do these days? No.

But the better question here is, do you need your smartphone to be able to handle absolutely every task a mobile device can do? Chances are, the answer could be no. The Moto G is much like a Chromebook, a great value designed to provide a simple and enjoyable user experience and do it extremely well. If you’re a hard-core gamer who prefers graphic-intensive 3D gaming or a budding photographer who needs a bewildering array of camera options and a high-quality, many-megapixel sensor, this phone is not for you. But if you’re like me and enjoy using a smartphone for texting, IMing, surfing the web, listening to music and podcasts, connecting with others on social media, taking the occasional photo of your friends and family and playing the odd game here and there,  you’d be nuts not to consider a phone that won’t even cost you $200.

So if you’re coming from an older flagship and are looking for a spec upgrade, look at another phone. If you’re coming from a flagship with too many bells and whistles, a high price tag, and a confusing skin on top of Android that offers more options than you have time on your hands (I’m looking at you, Samsung phone owners), the new Moto G could be a perfect fit. 

For existing Moto G owners, it’s up to you. The bigger screen, microSD card support and front-facing speakers are nice additions, but the user experience and speed of the software are nearly identical. If you’re watching your budget, there’s no reason to plunk down your money on another Moto G when the one you have is perfectly fine. If, however, you think you can sell your original Moto G or are passing it on to a family member, you’ll certainly enjoy the improvements the new Moto G has to offer. That wraps up my thoughts on upgrading to the new Moto G. Keep coming back to iTechTriad for all the news and details concerning Motorola’s fantastic value of a smartphone. Will you be upgrading?