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When we heard that Motorola were launching a capable quad core smartphone with an HD display for the paltry sum of $200, we took notice. Motorola are becoming known as makers of good handsets with good software, and the Moto G is a handset we couldn’t pass up.

With the Moto G in hand, the smooth rounded back plate is comfortable and has a similar texture to the Nexus 5 albeit not as silky. It’s not a particularly slim phone but that’s the price of ergonomics and a good size battery. Motorola’s engineering chops are on display here: The phone has no flex or creaks and feels better constructed than some flagships! The speaker is quite loud too. In fact it’s louder than most phones I’ve used in the last couple of years with the exception of the Galaxy S4 Mini. I’d say it’s about on par with said Mini or a tad louder.

There is one compromise that Motorola have made to give you such great value for money – there’s no 4G. I suspect many people looking for a phone on a budget won’t be concerned about 4G speeds that tend to need more expensive data plans anyway. But those who do will need to look elsewhere.

The other thing that may put off some potential buyers is the fairly basic camera performance. Understandably, it can’t compete with flagship phone cameras but it will grab a decent picture for you if you’re not too fussy about that sort of thing. With those two potential cons out of the way lets have a look at some of the upsides.

Almost everything else is good! The display is sharp, colourful and responsive. It’s a bit too saturated to be considered accurate but that’s a minor point at this price. The fact that it has a 4.5 inch screen with 1280×720 resolution is a big breakthrough for budget phones. That’s 326 PPI for those wanting to know. Awesome! Touch response has been good too. I can’t recall any issues with taps, swipes or pinches.

The quad core processor zips along nicely without killing your battery and casual games play well too. The only noticeable latency was seen in a 2 second hang of the Facebook app. I’d be prepared to put that down to the app itself rather than the phone. Because I’m using the moto g alongside a Nexus 5 (read: brutally fast phone) I notice that opening and closing apps, animations and general navigation is a fraction of a second slower on the moto g. Not a big deal. Not comparing it to anything else you get the feeling that it’s helping you get stuff done without any fuss.

Battery life has been good. Turning Battery Saver mode on will change that to very good. With battery saver on it tends to have more charge left at the end of the day compared to my Nexus 5. I’ve seen no wake locks so far which is good news too. That’s about all I can say for now but expect more detail in our full review. The phone shipped to me with an Android 4.3 version of Jelly Bean and we’re expecting Motorola to come good with a promised 4.4 Kit Kat update within a few weeks. There’s no real bloatware which is great news. It’s basically stock Android with 3 extra apps.

I purchased the phone from Amazon UK for £112.50 which translates to approximately $200 Australian. Excellent value I’d say. If you or someone you know is interested in an affordable off contract phone we’d suggest you take notice too. Just add a sim card on a value oriented plan from your favourite Carrier (it will work on all of them) and voila, you’re in business. In my own experience, I grabbed a sim from my local Vodafone store and had calls, text and data up and running as soon as the sim was inserted; no sweat.

We’re not sure about Australian retail availability or price at this point but we’ll let you know those specifics as soon as we get word of them. If you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer them in the comments. Otherwise expect a thorough review in the coming weeks.

Companies: Motorola
Devices: Moto G