When the first generation of Moto G was launched in 2014, it was undisputedly the best affordable Android phone. The second generation offered incremental improvements, such as a bigger display, front-facing speakers, an expandable memory, and a better camera.

The third generation, just launched, is available in two variants—8 GB internal storage with 1 GB RAM for 11,999, and 16 GB internal storage with 2 GB RAM for 12,999. We review the 16 GB version.

Handy and waterproof

The new Moto G has the same curved design as its predecessors but there are slick design tweaks. It is less chunky and fits better in the hand. The removable back panel has a soft rubbery feel, which enhances the grip. The metal inserts around the earpiece and the speaker are subtle, a contrast to the more shiny ones earlier. Dust, however, accumulates easily in the earpiece and speaker and is tough to remove.

The waterproofing capabilities are perhaps the most important design addition to this phone. Just like Sony’s Xperia Z3+ smartphone, Motorola has designed the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm headphone jack in such a way that they don’t need a cover but are waterproof. The phone can stay submerged in up to 3ft of water for a maximum of 30 minutes without any damage.

A good display

Motorola has packed in a 5-inch display with the same 1,280x720-pixel screen resolution as in earlier versions. It doesn’t look as crisp and colourful as the Xiaomi Mi4i, but it’s a good display for movies, gaming and reading owing to the wide viewing angles. The colour tone is slightly warmer than most other phones; the white colours have a slightly creamish tint. While some may scoff at the slightly inaccurate colour reproduction, most users will find the screen less stressful on the eyes.

Hassle-free OS

The phone runs the latest Android 5.1 (Lollipop) operating system. And like all other Motorola phones, it continues to use minimal customization and doesn’t overwhelm the user with complex features. This translates into better performance and easy navigation. It has the usual Motorola apps, such as Assist and Migrate; these apps are also available on the more expensive Motorola phones such as the Moto X and the Moto Turbo. The phone has a Notifications At A Glance feature, which shows alerts for new notifications on the screen. Another feature allows you to open the camera while you’re holding the phone just by twisting the wrist.

Smooth performance

The Moto G is powered by the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor that also supports 4G networks—a first for the brand here. It has been paired with 2 GB RAM and smoothly handles games such as FIFA 15 and GT Racing 2, as well as HD movies. The apps open quickly. Even with several apps already running in the background, the back panel showed no signs of slowing down or heating up.

Though phones such as the Xiaomi Mi4i have a more powerful processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 615), they tend to heat up when stressed.

Dependable battery

The phone is powered by a 2,460 mAh battery that easily lasts a day on a single charge.

Camera, the only shortcoming

The 13-megapixel camera comes with dual LED flash, full HD video recording and fun features like SloMo (slow motion in HD) video recording. But this phone, like previous versions, continues to rely on autofocus, rather than allowing the user to set the focus. The camera is fast, but is good only in outdoor or brightly lit conditions. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is decent for video chats and outdoor selfies.

Verdict

The Moto G third generation is perhaps still the slickest Android phone in this price bracket. Yes, the Xiaomi Mi4i has a more exciting interface, but it just doesn’t offer the simplicity of use that the Moto offers.

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