Motorola’s Moto X smartphone is getting a kid brother. The Moto G is an entry-level smartphone which looks a lot like the Moto X, but with a slightly smaller display and specs that are a bit more basic.
Google is positioning it as a phone that brings the best features of Moto X at a lower price, and marketing it as a phone for international markets. While most high-end smartphones cost $500 or more, Google says most smartphones around the globe are actually sold for closer to $200 — but they offer a subpar experience.
The Moto G is what Google considers a premium phone that can sell for about $200. In fact, it’ll be available unlocked and contract-free in the US for $179 and up.
The Moto G might not have all the premium specs you get with the Moto X or the latest high-end phones from Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, or even Motorola.
But if we learned anything from the Moto X, it’s that specs aren’t everything. While that phone doesn’t have the highest-resolution display, the fastest processor, or the biggest battery, it’s one of the most interesting phones on the market at the moment thanks to decent build quality and performance and distinctive features including notifications that appear even when the display is off, a camera you can launch by moving your wrist, and optional always-listening voice controls.
The Moto G offers some of those same features, but at a lower price.
You don’t get the same active notifications or touchless controls on the Moto G as you get with the Moto X. This is a budget device, after all — and it also doesn’t support 4G LTE networks.
But Motorola is offering 50GB of free Google Drive storage to customers, emphasizing the stock Android software with a few extra tools such as Motorola Migrate, which makes it easy to import data from another device, and the inclusion of FM Radio. In markets where dual SIM card devices are common, Motorola will also offer a dual SIM version of the phone.
The Moto G features a 4.5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel display with 329 pixels per inch, a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB to 16GB of storage.
Motorola will sell the 8GB model for $179 in the US and the 16GB model for $199. It should be available for similar prices around the world, and wireless carriers may offer subsidized models for even lower prices. It’ll launch in Brazil and parts of Europe this week, and it’ll hit additional markets including Latin America, Canada, the US, India, and other regions in the coming weeks and months.
There’s a 5MP camera on the back and a 1.3MP camera on the front. The phone has a 2070mAh battery which Motorola says is good for all-day battery life and 10 hours of talk time over a 3G network.
The Moto G will ship with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, and Motorola promises to release an Android 4.4 KitKat update by January, 2014.
The phone measures 5.1″ x 2.6″ 0.46″ and weighs 5 ounces — which makes it about the same size as the Moto X, even though it has a slightly smaller screen. The Moto G also has a removable “shells” which let you choose from up to 7 different color options for the phone or add a flip cover.
It has less RAM and storage than the Moto X, and lower resolution cameras. But it also has a lower price, similar design, waterproof nano-coating, edge-to-edge glass.
All told, if you’re the sort of person that’s willing to spend a premium for the fastest phone on the market, this isn’t it. But the Moto G could be a serious challenger to budget smartphones like Nokia’ Asha lineup or pretty much any phone running Firefox OS. It’s even priced low enough to compete with many cheap Chinese Android phones.