Moto G (3rd-gen) first impressions: an affordable, all-weather companion

“As per our initial impressions, the third iteration of the Moto G seems to carry forward the legacy of its predecessors quite well”

Rumours about upcoming products are one of the best ways to gauge the popularity of a device. They indicates consumers’ interest to know more about something that’s not even official. And, the Moto G (3rd-gen) definitely fits the bill. After the huge success witnessed by its predecessors, Rumourville was abuzz with leaks about the specs, renders and even retailer listings of a new G series smartphone from Motorola. Sure enough, the brand has put all those rumours to rest as it took the covers off the new Moto G today.

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The smartphone was launched at multiple events across the globe, including one in New Delhi. We were able to get our hands on the Moto G (3rd-gen), and if you’re wondering what all it brings to the table, then read on for our first impressions.

While Motorola increased the screen size on the second-gen Moto G as compared to the first-gen Moto G (review | FAQs) to , this time it has chosen to keep the same 5-inch display panel. This allows the device to be used comfortably with one hand, yet offering a decent viewing area for enjoying your content.

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While previous Moto Gs might not have won any awards for their design, their build quality was solid and so were their ergonomics. However, with the 2015 Moto G, the company has taken the design aspect quite seriously. The device features dual curves at the back, which are more prominent than before and thus allow for superior and comfortable grip. At the edges, it has a metallic frame that lends it robustness along with adding a bit of premium feel.

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The 5-inch display panel is the centerpiece at the front of the Moto G (3rd-gen), and it also sports an earpiece, sensors such as proximity and ambient light and a secondary camera above. Similar to all Motorola offerings, the three navigation keys are available as software overlays in the phone.

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The power button and volume rocker are placed towards the right. Thanks to their metallic texture, they offer good tactile feedback when pressed. The headphone socket is present at the top and the micro-USB port can be found at the bottom.

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The rear is where things get little interesting. The primary camera and LED flash are available in a vertical strip, which accentuates the looks of the new Moto G. To make sure that the phone reflects your personality, Motorola is offering rear panels and flip covers for purchase. This means while the device can be purchased in black or white options, you can change it to bright colours like aqua, maroon, etc. Removing the back cover also gives you access to the pair of micro-SIM slots along with a microSD card slot, although the battery is an embedded unit. The matte finish of the removable back cover makes the smartphone easier to use comfortably for long durations, without worrying that it might slip off due to sweaty palms.

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Motorola has always paid special attention to providing some ruggedness to its offerings, with features such as nano-coating. However, it has taken that to the next level with the new Moto G, as it can also take a knock or two thanks to its IPx7 compatibility. It’s waterproof as well, and is one of the rare smartphones in the market that can stay in a water of depth of 3m for a period of 30 minutes.

The display bears HD resolution, translating to a pixel density of 294ppi, which is same as its predecessor. The IPS display panel reproduces brilliant visuals, and offer impressive viewing angles. The text also appears to be very sharp.

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Under the hood, the device comes equipped with Qualcomm’s 64-bit capable Snapdragon 410 CPU, which has four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.4GHz. Compared to its predecessor, the phone should offer a smooth multitasking experience thanks to 2GB of RAM, available in the higher-priced variant, which is twice of what was offered in the second-gen Moto G (review | FAQs). Motorola also has a slightly affordable model of the new Moto G, which comes powered by 1GB of RAM.

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An in-built eMMC storage of 8GB / 16GB takes care of your memory requirements. The 16GB version offers about 9GB for use. In case you want more, then you can top it up with a microSD card of up to 64GB.

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Camera-wise, the third-gen Moto G also gets improvements against its previous iteration, and flaunts a 13-megapixel shooter at the back. It’s complemented by an LED flash to assist in capturing images in dimly-lit environments. There’s also a 5MP sensor at the front for selfies or making video calls. The images captured with the shooter showed good amount of detail and colour variance, although we’d reserve our judgment till we get to review the handset. Both the cameras can record videos in full HD resolution.

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For connectivity, the device offers support for the next-gen 4G networks on both its SIM slots. Other options to hook up include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

In terms of software, the phone makes good of Motorola’s promise, i.e., to deliver a pure Android experience. Apart from a few Motorola signature apps like Moto Alert, Assist, and Connect, the Moto G (3rd-gen) is free of any bloatware. There are features such as Moto Display, which notifies you about missed notifications by lighting up certain pixels of the display, even when it’s turned off and thus conserving the battery life. You can also capture images quickly with the Quick Capture option by twisting your hand twice. Another interesting functionality is the ability to turn on the flash by chopping your hand twice.

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Providing the juice to the phone is 2,470mAh battery, which should last more than a day’s usage according to company’s claims.

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While the phone boasts better specs in almost all respects than its previous avatar, the Lenovo-owned brand has kept the pricing the same as the initial asking price of the 2nd-gen model. With the price tag of Rs 12,999 for the 2GB RAM /16GB storage version and Rs 11,999 for 1GB / 8GB storage model, the new Moto G is the only phone in its category that offers imperviousness and water. It sports decent internals otherwise as well, though on the basis of specs alone, it faces tough competition in the form of the Xiaomi Mi 4i (review | FAQs), the base variant of the ASUS ZenFone 2 (review | FAQs) and XOLO BLACK (first impressions). However, how well the device fares in the real-life usage remains to be seen, so stay tuned for our full review.

Photos by Raj Rout

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