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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  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    363.42 USD. According to Google Calculator.
  • trivor - Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - link

    Carriers (especially Verizon) DON'T WANT CHEAP OFF CONTRACT PHONES - it doesn't allow them to lock in their customers. T-Mobile is working to change this but they are not big enough to actually present Verizon/ATT with a true competitive threat. If you are outside TMo's major metropolitan areas you quickly drop to 2G/no cell coverage. I am lucky enough to have a relatively inexpensive, grandfathered Verizon plan (my costs would go up by 50% if I was forced onto a mobile share plan) but the only option for me is ATT because I live in a small town and need good coverage when I travel and neither Sprint or TMo is an option and ATT is just as expensive as Verizon. Verizon has said they will pick this up on prepaid which works for them as this is a 3G/HSPA+ 21 phone only.
  • stirredo - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    I take it no microSD slot?

    If its going to release the phone in third world country where internet is a luxury microSD should have been an option.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Truely remarkable phone, especially compared to $549 iphone 5C. :D

    So you can switch backplate just like galaxy phones - then can you SWAP battery?
  • kishorshack - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Stupid Indian Markets will still sell it more than $200
    In indian markets we dont see any price drops only
    Indian vendors tend to monopolize n charge premium for phones
    Almost every vendor does the same way
    Its a shame to see no kind of competition to drop the prices down :(
  • kishorshack - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Nexus 4 could be available for $200 in US
    Still we get the device for Rs 29000
    That around $600
  • Krysto - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Nobody got the $200 Nexus 4's outside of the US, and even if they did, I doubt they would lower their initial prices, since the $200 Nexus 4 was available for so little time anyway.

    What you got was the original price of the Nexus 4 at retailers. Here Nexus 5 is around $600, too. My guess is Moto G will be around $250 here, which is still much better price than a Nexus 5 or other flagships. That's what's important, not that it's a little more than what's in US. You'll never get the US prices in other countries.
  • blanarahul - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Which country do you live in?
  • willis936 - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    This means almost nothing unless you're on verizon: in which case it's perhaps the most exciting phone story in years. It's too soon to say which US carriers will get it and if there will be LTE but man this is great to see.
  • Hubb1e - Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - link

    Those are impressive specs for a $200 phone. 4.5" 720p is a great selling point and most customers will be okay with 4 A7s. Single core performance is about on par with a 1ghz A9 which is still workable and with 4.3 it should support trim which is what I found was what was slowing down my device after about a year of use. I know plenty of people that don't need CPU speed out of their phones and yet still want a reasonably sized display.

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