For the last few weeks, the tech world has been raving about what is perceived as the best deal in mobile: the Nexus 5.
Retailing for a fraction of the price of other flagship smartphones and packed with some of the best specifications money can buy, such as the Snapdragon 800 chip and a 1080p display, the Nexus 5 is an undeniable bargain.
For many, it’s an irresistible buy.
The 16GB model retails for $349 plus applicable taxes, while the 32GB variant sells for an additional $50 – roughly half that of a standard flagship.
Despite a few compromises in design, hardware, and specs, it provides the purest Google experience, as well as stellar performance. Our own Michael Fisher found the Nexus 5 to be the best value in the mobile space, “a cheap flagship that lives up to the buzz.”
Over the last few days, however, rumors and leaks have been building another, somewhat similar story. The Moto G. Just hours ago, Motorola made the Moto G, the cheaper sibling of the famed Moto X, official.
Unlike the Nexus 5, the Moto G doesn’t ship with terribly impressive specifications. It does, however, sport a decent palette: a 4.5-inch 720p display (326ppi), 1GB RAM, either 8 or 16GB for fixed storage, a Snapdragon 400 chip with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and Adreno 305 GPU, and a 2,070mAh battery. The camera fastened to the backside is 5-megapixels.
It ships with Android 4.3. But, according to Motorola, the Moto G is promised to receive the KitKat (4.4) update “at the beginning of 2014” with no “skins to clutter or slow the experience.”
The design, hardware, and physical footprint are similar to the Moto X, despite the 0.2-inch difference in display size. And also like the Moto X, it comes with a fair share of customization options – 19 to be exact. However, the Moto G’s customizations do not come from Moto Maker, the online customization portal, and are instead aftermarket, interchangeable shells and covers for the backside of the phone.
We don’t blame you. Based on all the current flagships and what we’ve been spoiled with of late, it’s easy to roll your eyes and forget about this seemingly underpowered, low-end phone. It’s modest, in almost every way, and doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary. It’s an understated, entry-level smartphone.
Price is the Moto G’s wow factor. The 8GB model retails for just $179 sans contract. Double the storage space and the price only jumps $20 to a grand total of $199. Yes, without a contract. This phone was made for the everyday user who simply wants a great smartphone without a huge compromise or a steep price tag. Says Motorola:
“… the smartphone industry has relegated hundreds of millions of smartphone buyers to second-class status, preventing them from experiencing the mobile Internet at its best.
That’s because price-conscious consumers who don’t want to pay $600 or more for high-end smartphones have been left with two bad options. The first is to buy cheap, new smartphones made with second-rate technology that don’t do justice to modern apps and experiences like navigation, video chat and games. The second is to buy ‘low cost’ versions of premium products that were released two or three years ago and are already obsolete.”
The Moto X was proof that excessive specifications aren’t the be all and end all of high-end smartphones and user experience. The Moto G is an extension of just that, for a fraction of the price. Pair that with the forthcoming KitKat support, and our hopes are high for the impact the Moto G will have on the entry-level smartphone world.
Is the Nexus 5 a better deal? Maybe, for some. The specs and software it offers is markedly better than that of the Moto G. But there are more factors to consider here. The Moto G is roughly half the price of the Nexus 5 – or roughly one-fourth the price of most flagship smartphones. And though it doesn’t bear a beefy spec list, there’s something to be said for the price point Motorola is pushing here.
The Moto X is also a modest, underpowered smartphone, which performs spectacularly. The premise of the Moto G is that it will offer a similar – if not equal – experience on the extreme cheap.
The only turn-off we can see immediately is the lack of LTE support. And storage options could be more broad, as 16GB might be tight for some users. But for under $200, we’re certainly not complaining. In fact, we’re tipping our hats to Motorola and yet another bold move.
Tell us, readers. Will you buy a Moto G? Will it become the best value in mobile? Or does your vote still go to the more expensive, better equipped Nexus 5?
Images via Motorola