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
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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  • themossie - Friday, November 15, 2013 - link

    I'm just gonna assume that's straight trolling... that website's totally useless, most of the specs listed completely irrelevant for a tablet vs smartphone comparison :-)

    The Moto G's lower clocked A7 performs well below the 2012 Nexus 7's Tegra 3, let alone the current Nexus 7's processor.
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Woah, if the general quality holds up as well as the X, that's a very appealing price point. Cortex A7s aren't the greatest but the majority of non-high end users won't be left wanting for CPU performance with four of them I would assume.

    I wonder how that Adreno 305 does?
  • Krysto - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Adreno 305 is roughly same performance as Adreno 225 (HTC One X/GS3), but using the new unified shader architecture, or about half the performance of Adreno 305. It's good enough for 720p. It helps that Cortex A7 is very efficient.
  • Krysto - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Err. "about half the performance of Adreno 320.
  • Klug4Pres - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I feel that a lot of vendors, as they position their low-end devices, end up stripping too much away relative to their flagships. It just looks like Motorola went through every spec of the X and downgraded it, even down to making the thing thicker and heavier, even though there is less in the device and a smaller battery. The overall package is unappealing.

    It just strikes me that the company is not picking a price point and trying to cram as much in as it can. Second user flagships from the previous generation look like better value (or Nexus 4).

    Also, Motorola X is pretty much unavailable ex USA, yet now the G is being released in Europe and LatAm, which is puzzling.
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I guess you missed the price. It costs only 200 dollars.
    Nexus 4? Stop joking. It costs over 400 dollars here in India. The world consists of more than just Europe and America.
  • Klug4Pres - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    OK, fair enough on Nexus 4 outside Play Store countries. What about second user flagships? I don't know the Indian market.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Imagine the price of SECOND HANDED moto G. :D $100 maybe?
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    People don't buy second hand phones here.
  • sudipt123 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Correction mate, the nexus 4 is available at roughly 325 USD at most online resellers in India. I think nexus 4 would be better bet as it has more RAM, better processor & GPU. However if Moto could sneak in with TD- LTE support chip for India, it has an ace up its sleeve as even the nexus 5 doesn't support Indian LTE bands.
    Reliance Gio is expected to launch LTE services shortly on 2300Mhz on band 40 TD- LTE

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