Many of us expected the Moto X to be sold for an affordable, off-contract price. That wasn't to be, but Moto does have a new handset on its way that blends respectable specs with a rock-bottom, budget price tag. Meet the Moto X's baby brother, the Moto G.
Remember back before Apple dropped the iPhone 5c, and pundits were buzzing about a "budget iPhone?" But then it turned out to be only US$100 cheaper than the most expensive iPhone? Well, the Moto G is kinda like Motorola's version of what they were hoping for from Apple. It carries the overall design aesthetic of the higher-end Moto X, but cuts a lot of corners to hit a much sweeter price.
Solid hardware, killer price
One hundred and eighty bucks, off-contract. That's what the Moto G will cost, and that killer price is the phone's killer feature. That price range usually gets you no more than a slow-as-molasses handset with a low-res screen and uninspired design, but the Moto G gives you some pretty solid hardware for your money.
We're looking at a 4.5-in 720p screen, which comes out to a sharp 326 pixels per inch (actually sharper than the Moto X's 313 PPI screen). The Moto G carries some big name silicon, with Qualcomm's budget-friendly Snapdragon 400 under the hood. The phone runs the second-most recent version of Android, 4.3 Jelly Bean, and Motorola promises an update to 4.4 KitKat in early 2014. Like with the Moto X, it gives you stock Android, with no wacky skins pasted on top.
Those aren't mind-blowing specs, even if they are noteworthy for the price. But what about the Moto X's other features? It's known more for its sensors and innovative experience-based features. Unfortunately, Active Display (persistent notifications without picking up your device), Touchless Control (hands-free Google Now voice commands), and the shake-to-camera features are nowhere to be found on the Moto G.
You also don't get the Moto X's Moto Maker customization. The only way you can personalize the Moto G is with interchangeable Motorola Shells and Flip Shells. So instead of a solid, sealed phone that's customized in a variety of colors at the factory, you get exchangeable battery covers. It's a vaguely similar result, but these are the trade-offs you make when your phone's unlocked price dips below $200.
The Moto G will ring up at that sweet $180 for 8 GB of internal storage, and it climbs to $200 for 16 GB. The phone launches this week in Brazil and "parts of Europe." In the next few weeks, that will extend to Latin America, the rest of Europe, Canada, and "parts of Asia." The US won't see the budget phone until January.
You can watch Moto's first pitch for the G in the video below.