Just how good a deal is the Moto G?

by: Andrew GrushNovember 13, 2013

Motorola Moto G press 1

The mobile world was forever changed the very instant that the Google Nexus 4 was unveiled to the masses. A powerful flagship device with a price point that was decisively mid-range? It seemed nearly impossible.

After that day, most hardcore Android users would rethink smartphone pricing structures, and from then on you’d often hear mobile websites describe a budget or mid-range handset as “not too bad, but it’s a rip-off compared to the Nexus 4”.

A year later, and now it is Motorola’s turn to upset the status quo with the newly announced Moto G. At $179 unlocked, the Moto G is without a doubt the most impressive handset you’ll find for under $300.

Just how good a deal is the Moto G?

To fully understand just how amazing the Moto G’s pricing is, we need to first dive in and look at other handsets in the $170 – $250 range.

 Moto GSamsung Galaxy Fame S6810Sony Xperia M C1904Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
Display4.5-inch LCD, HD (1280 x 720), 326ppi3.5-inch TFT, 320 x 480, 165ppi4.0-inch TFT, 480 x 854, 245ppi4.0-inch Super AMOLED, 480 x 800, 233ppi
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 400, quad-core @ 1.2GHz, Adreno 305unspecified single-core CPU @ 1GHzQualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core @ 1GHzNovaThor U8420 dual-core @ 1GHz, Mali-400
Storage8GB, 16GB4GB with microSD4GB with microSD8 GB, microSD
Battery2070 mAh1300 mAh1750 mAh1500 mAh
Cameras5 MP rear LED flash, 1.3 MP front5MP rear LED flash, .3 MP front5MP rear LED flash, .3MP front5MP rear LED flash, .3MP front
ConnectivityGPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, optional dual-SIMGPS, GLONASS, microUSB, Wifi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, optional dual-SIMGPS, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi a/b/g/n, optional dual-SIMGPS, GLONASS, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, microUSB, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi a/b/gn
OSAndroid 4.3 Jelly Bean, KitKat update guaranteedAndroid 4.1.2 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.1 Jelly BeanAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Dimensions129.9 x 65.9 x 6-11.6mm113.2 x 61.6 x 11.6 mm, weight: 120.6g124 x 62 x 9.3 mm, weight: 115g121.6 x 63 x 9.9 mm, weight: 111.5g
ColorsBlack/White, replaceable colored backplatesWhite/BlueBlack/White/Purple/
White/Blue/Gray/Brown/ Red/black
Price$179 for 8GB, $199 for 16GB$170$230$240

As you can see by looking at the chart above, the Moto G puts the competition to absolute shame! While the chart might only show us three budget alternatives to the Moto G, you’ll find the same pricing and low-end specs across the board when it comes to low-cost handsets from brands such as Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG.

The only way to get even close to the Moto G’s price/value is if you import a smartphone from China, and even then you are dealing with off-brand processors and lower-end components. With the Moto G you get Motorola’s quality builds, and a high-performing Qualcomm CPU.

Is the Moto G perfect? No, but it’s pretty close. Really the only real issue with the device is that there is no microSD support, but that’s a pretty minor problem when you consider that most of the Moto G’s specs are better than even many $300 – $400 mid-range Android devices.

We Are The RhoadsClient: Motorola

What the Moto G means for the competition

According to marketing firm ABI Research, roughly 238 million low-cost smartphones will be shipped globally this year, and the number is expected to rise to as high as 758 million by 2018.

As the high-end market slows down, the future of Android growth will largely be found by attracting new users in emerging markets, and budget-conscientious users in primary markets like the United States.

[quote qtext=”Despite the low cost moniker, research has shown that the feature gap between low- and high-end smartphones is decreasing, making low cost smartphones a ‘good enough’ solution for price sensitive consumers in all markets.” qperson=”Michael Morgan” qsource=”Senior analyst, ABI Research ” qposition=”center”]

Google has already expressed interest in reaching the “next billion” Android users by way of emerging markets, but up until now this is a market that has been primarily dominated by Samsung.

Samsung currently has more budget handsets that you can count, but as our comparison chart shows, they don’t come anywhere close to the Moto G’s price/value ratio. For that reason, Samsung has the most to lose when it comes to the Moto G’s arrival — though really all manufacturers (and carriers) should be paying close attention to the Moto G.

Google and Motorola have clearly thrown down the gauntlet here. If Samsung wants to continue to be looked on as the low-cost champion, they will need to push marketing hard and will likely need to reevaluate their pricing and feature structure. Other manufacturers are wise to do the same.

Will the Moto G find success?

A low-priced handset with near-stock Android and mid-range components should sell itself, right? Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as all that. For starters, Motorola doesn’t enjoy the same kind of global brand power that Samsung and other competitors have.

The Moto G’s pricing and specs certainly help set the device in a league of its own, but the next step will be to aggressively market the device against the competition.  The good news for Motorola is that they are backed by Google, which has the knowledge and funds needed to break into these new markets.

If Motorola and Google play their cards right, the Moto G has the potential to disrupt the smartphone world in a way that even the Nexus 4 (and 5) couldn’t.

Let’s be honest, the Nexus line is amazing but it only matters mostly to ‘hardcore’ Android users. Even the killer Nexus pricing only applies to select Google Play markets. In contrast, the Moto G is a handset that is designed to appeal to mainstream audiences and is expected to have sub-$250 pricing in most markets across the globe.

The Moto G could be the beginning of a new era, one where low-cost devices are no longer synonymous with low-end specs.

What do you think, will Motorola’s Moto G forever change consumer’s expectations when it comes to budget devices? Will the handset force the competition’s hand when it comes to pricing and value? Or will it largely remain a niche device in a way similar to the Nexus series? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Samsung, if you are reading this article, time to get to work.

  • MasterMuffin

    It will sell good, but it won’t change anything yet. Maybe the Moto G2. I know it’s a great device with good specs and low price, but it will only sell good. You heard it here first and I’m ready to admit that I was wrong if this really “forever changes” anything :)

    • Andrew Grush

      I think you are probably right. Motorola needs to build its name up in many markets, but this is a good starting point. Still — it’s hard not to imagine Samsung and others at least retaliating a little, even if it is probably not possible for them to push out a handset like this for such a low price. :)

      • John Hamernick-Ramseier

        Plus if Google and Motorola get even closer then Motorola could sell products at cost, lower their prices even farther, because they will get return revenue from the Play Store? I don’t see Motorola selling low end smartphones for cost simply because these buyers are less likely to buy apps compare to the higher end smartphones owners,

        • Infinite7154

          Wait a minute, if they don’t spend that much on the phone, there’s more money to spend on the apps. The only thing Google cares about is being able to push ads to as many people as possible. If that means selling good phones at a discount, so be it.

      • Larry Bublitz

        It will be interesting if it starts a visible “spec war” in that price range. It certainly will bring more exposure to the idea of a no-contract < $200 phone to America.

      • MasterMuffin

        Well it could be possible for Samsung to sell a phone like this for that price, but their profit of the year could drop to just ~150 billion which is unacceptable! ;)

    • Nihar

      Read more Comparison between MOTO X vs MOTO G: techfastlife.blogspot.com/2013/11/moto-g-vs-moto-x-specs-compare.html

    • Shark Bait

      I think it would sell real well. So many people buy cheap phones like the galaxy ace and have a crappy experience. If this gives a premium experience it will do well.

      Most people dont need a snapdragon 800 or awesome GPU or 2Gb of ram. Most people just phones for facebook, light games, music and web which these specs will pull off well.

    • Shubham Singh

      i think it will sell well in the markets where moto has even stopped selling phones such as india it may sell well because in a place like india where usual buyers are not even aware of the word nexus. the nexus 5 pre order is sold out as techies know what is device is all about i fell same is the case with Moto G it is backed by google stock android and awesome hardware and build.It may not change much but it will offer a quality device and experience.

  • Caleb Durant

    Hay that table is wrong the moto g has dual sims and i thought it had nfc . !

    • Andrew Grush

      You are correct, there is a dual-SIM version of the Moto G. Based on all the info I dug up, the Moto G doesn’t appear to have NFC support, though I could certainly be wrong.

  • Jack Parker

    ” If Motorola and [Google play] their cards right ” Nice pun guys ;)

    • Andrew Grush

      The sad part is that I wasn’t aiming for the pun… it short of snuck on past me… lol

    • Jivester

      Am I slow…i don’t get the pun?

      • Andrew Grush

        “Google Play”, as in the Google Play store. :)

        • Jivester


      • Jack Parker

        Google Play as in the store, maybe pun wasnt the right word to use there :’)

  • Groud Frank

    I am impressed with the device and will be my go too phone when making suggestions to the average consumer. OEMs, for far too long, have been getting away with overpriced goods. This is a wakeup call.

    • bobEveryman

      I hope the Nexus line and this Moto G signal the coming race-to-the-bottom pricing and quality wars we’ve seen with the 7″ tablets over the last year or so.

    • Jesus

      “overpriced goods”… Unlike the iPhones. They are perfect.

  • Nihar

    Read more about Comparison betn MOTO X vs MOTO G: techfastlife.blogspot.com/2013/11/moto-g-vs-moto-x-specs-compare.html

  • Grman Rodriguez

    What about the Nexus 4? It’s at $200

    • Florin N

      the Nexus 4 it’s EOL (end of life), so the remain stock will vanish pretty soon.It won’t exist as an alternative in a month or so.

  • Valtheus

    I was waiting to see what Moto G would be, before i decide to order a Nexus 5. I think i am gonna hit Moto G now. Its a device with more than decent specs, a big size screen, and an awesome price so i deny to pay over 300 euros anymore for a smartphone. Kudos!

    • Barry Crosby

      valtheus..I bought one of these and my brother has the s4 and trust me when I say this it opens apps a lot faster web pages ..its a boss phone for the price

      • Valtheus

        Oh i believe you m8! Thats why i have already ordered the 16GB model in amazon. Can’t wait for it to come in mid December and replace my old S3 mini!

  • Joshua Hill

    Without LTE I wouldn’t buy the phone personally and the after the way Motorla has treated Australian’s like second class citizens (no Moto X, getting this after the rest of the world, including some third world nations) I will recommend against buying this to all the people who come to me for tech advice.

    • Data

      Are there phones in Australia that offer 4G and cost less than US$200?

      • Joshua Hill

        The Moto G doesn’t offer 4G, only 3G and will probably be $250 or more likely $300AU the way things are priced in Australia. LG offers a phone at this price point with 4G, the Optimus F5.

    • NeedName

      You do realize that it’s primary market is emerging markets and it is NOT coming to the USA until January? So, you all aren’t being treated like second class citizens. More like first world citizens ;)

      • Joshua Hill

        You do realise parts of Europe are getting it in November!

        • NeedName

          yeah. . . from what I’ve read those are markets that heavily buy cheap unlocked devices.

          I know what you’re sayin’ ;)

          • Joshua Hill

            I was saying your initial reply was misleading and incomplete ;)

          • NeedName

            it was a joke :p

          • Joshua Hill

            I expressed an opinion with my reasons that some people don’t like. You then expressed a contrary opinion with misleading information that I corrected and your response is a joke. I think we can all see what the joke is here ;)

          • NeedName

            you don’t get it?
            You’re a first world citizen claiming to be treated like a second class/world citizen. . . and the Moto G is leaving behind many “first world countries” in its release. . .

            Thus they are treating second world citizens like first and first like second. . . get it???

            you seem a little butthurt over the whole thing. . . it’s just a phone.

          • Joshua Hill

            No I got it, but as I’ve pointed out it’s an incomplete and misleading statement from you.

            I presented an opinion with my reasoning for said opinion. Since then you’ve added nothing to the discussion. You’ve been misleading and by your own admission ‘joking’ around.

            After pointing this out you accuse me of being butt hurt. Sounds like you’re projecting your insecurities.

          • NeedName

            OK, whatever aussie. . . you’re right, I’m wrong, motorola is crap, and you’re the greatest. . . enjoy :)

  • jjordan

    I think its an awesome idea I think this is what the moto x should have been…add 100 bucks for 1 gig of ram and a better chip set and the moto x would have flown off shelves

  • gregorypierce

    I will give them the slow clap for trying to deliver a quality device at a great price. If they can keep that up, they should be able to establish a strong brand market position over the next 24 months.

  • Brian Shieh

    This would be a good deal. The sharpest display for its class (low budget phone?), moderately powerful core, biggest battery for its class….good job Motorola. Deliver more of these, and your company will be good

  • gommer strike

    sigh, if only the Moto X had that removable back, and sold all the different colored backs separately…if only…

    • NeedName

      then it wouldn’t have as large a battery nor as thin — the moto x battery is curved to fit into the back. . . . tradeoffs.

      • gommer strike

        They could have made it work. The outer colored plastic is just a shell that snaps on. They could have totally made it work. The Moto X battery is non-removable anyhow…point is, it could have looked just like what the Moto G looks like, when you unsnap color back off…you don’t see the battery there either…but yes it wouldn’t be as thin. But somehow I’m not sure thinner and thinner is really that big of a deal these days…

        • NeedName

          seems they all want their flagship devices to be thinner and harder to repair. . . doubt that’s going to change.

  • Cal Rankin

    This is just the next step in Google’s attempt to change the smartphone market. The Nexus 4 and 5 really started the price war, and the Moto G is just the next progression. Maybe this will influence other OEMs to begin making higher-end, yet lower-cost models to compete. This could be a boon for prepaid carriers in the US and could possibly declare war on the extortionate, contracted pricing of US carriers

  • Jesus

    Each time you buy these cheap phones, a child in China dies… Or India. etc.

    • APai

      that happens EVEN if you buy an iphone or a galaxy phone

  • Froggy

    I now might consider the Moto G to replace my Chinese import, only if…..if Moto G had a micro sd card slot. Very tempting.

  • Steven Bramhall

    You can buy a Nokia Lumia 520 or 521 from 59.99 -79.99. I would argue it is a better phone. Not even an argument because actions (available now) speak louder than words (Available ? January 2014). Your article is misleading.

  • tongsampah

    wow i’ll wait it in indonesia, i’m fan of motorola.. and its time to get a new phone,, i’ll waiting for this one ^^

  • I will get this phone when it comes to Canada unless something better comes along by then. Why?

    1. Moto X-like ergonomics
    2. Bluetooth 4.0 LE which I need for my smartwatch
    3. Price

    Like Joshua Hill, I’m also quite angry at how Motorola treated the rest of the world vs. the U.S. (sub-par phones compared to their Droids, horrible customer service and device support, etc.), but since they’re working with Google, I’ll give them another chance.

    Only thing I wish this phone had is NFC. It might have pushed the price up a bit, but including NFC in the phone and NFC tags in the box would really help with adoption of the technology.

  • netsurfer912

    Shit, I already got the Nexus 5.

  • Magnetic1

    It’s an alright deal, something you would not get criticized for supporting made in USA. But if you browse the internet more than talk on your phone then you have to go 6 plus inches on the display. And for $179 you could get a bigger screen like 6.0″ MTK6589.

  • APai

    quite frankly – this phone can be easily beaten by the low end chinese clones, the MTK MT6589 can easily best the snapdragon 400. the camera on the clones might be cheaper, or the build. the clones also run very minimal skin and is pretty close to stock. only thing drawback i see are the camera/ build/ updates.

  • AmazonOffer
  • Michael Elfial

    Samsung is good (may be even best) at high end devices and a mediocre brand in the low and middle ranges – this was always so. Only the brand name kept their standing there and now this is going to change.

  • Micael Rebelo

    I was thinking in buying a chinese phone, but after seeing the moto g I’m waiting for this one.

  • Talha Bin Fahim

    In my opinion, Moto G is Awesome and all that – spec’s wise and price wise But if it has those cool features which the moto x has i.e voice commands and Smart Notification e.t.c Then Get Ready Samsung!

  • Aqimuddin Amrullah

    I was thinking of buying a chinese phone too,with being college student and such, but I think now it would be nice to wait for Moto G seeing it will be available here in Indonesia.

  • thisphoneisawesome

    I have to Moto G, and I have to say, BUY IT!!! You will not be sorry. You people say that most people will only play minor games and do Facebook and such, but for this phone, it doesnt matter

    Ive played Modern Combat 4-no lag

    Bloons tower defense 5-no lag till round 100

    Dead Trigger 2-no lag

    Effortless video playing

    Highly water resistant

    Nano-coated parts
    Highly shock resistant

    Dont believe me?

    watch this video



  • Prerna

    I agree that Samsung is going to have a tough time, I have already placed the order for my Moto G, while I am unsatisfied with the Samsung S3 mini.