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Unlocked Motorola Moto G: Review Roundup



criteria 1
4/ 5


Get this for...

Travelers looking for a GSM unlocked phone that packs in lots of features for the price.

Don't get this for...

Travelers who are willing to pay an extra $150 for an all-round powerhouse smartphone.

Bottom Line

This may not be the perfect handset, but in its price range, the Motorola Moto G stands out as the best international unlocked phone money can buy.

Posted June 3, 2014 by

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Full Article

Check out the Motorola Moto G at Amazon

Update: I just upgraded to the Moto G a couple weeks ago.  So far, it’s a great fit!  Zippy performance, easy to navigate, and it’s the only phone I found (in this price range) that’s on the right 3G bands to get fast internet in both Europe and the USA.  I hope this roundup is useful for you, too.  Happy travels!


Tired of spending a fortune on roaming fees every time you leave the country?  Or are you looking to ditch that throwaway unlocked phone that only sometimes puts calls through?

The Motorola Moto G (Price Not Found at Amazon) deserves a spot on your wish list.  This bestselling phone isn’t just affordable — it’s also top-performing and sold unlocked by the manufacturer.

Why write an unlocked Motorola Moto G review roundup?  Because a “roundup” lets me pull together pros and cons based on many different reviews.  For example, this unlocked Motorola Moto G Review Roundup uses reviews at CNET, PCMag, Engadget, Laptop Mag, IT World, and Amazon to help you figure out if this is the right phone for you.

With the Moto G, Motorola presents a affordable, fewer-frills alternative to their flagship model, the Moto X (Price Not Found at Amazon.  That top-rated phone has also earned great reviews.  However, the Moto X’s higher price tag pushes it beyond some travelers’ budgets.

The budget-friendly Motorola Moto G cuts away the fluff without compromising (too much) on features.  It’s not without a few quirks, but the Motorola Moto G presents a fantastically versatile, travel-friendly package — especially for the price.



Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review Roundup

Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at PCMag

Over at PCMag, Sascha Segan gave the Motorola Moto G 3.5/5 stars.  This unlocked Motorola Moto G review suggests that it’s worthwhile to splurge on the faster, pricier Nexus 5 (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon) — but in its price range, the Moto G stands out as the best unlocked phone money can buy.

He launches the review by discussing the phone’s physical features. He notes that the black Moto G can be spiffed up (my words, not his) with a brightly colored, snap-on back cover. (Those are currently going for Price Not Found at Amazon.)  Segan describes the Moto G’s LCD screen as very sharp, with “excellent color fidelity and viewing angles.”

He isn’t crazy about the lack of 4G, but notes the strong Wi-Fi performance as a decent alternative.  Another balancing act comes up with storage: while the phone lacks an SD card slot, the 12.92GB of internal storage offers plenty of space for games and apps.  The camera isn’t the phone’s best feature, with his report on images ranging from “noisy” to “blurry.”



Check out the Motorola Moto G at Amazon

Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at CNET

Brian Bennett’s unlocked Motorola Moto G review at CNET gives the phone a 7/10 rating.  Bennet’s all in favor of the Moto G’s low price, but he’s critical of the compromises Motorola made to get there.  With a relatively slow processor and and low-resolution camera, he suggests that the Moto G can’t measure up to more expensive competitors like the Nexus 5 (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon) and the Moto X (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon).  In contrast to Segan in his unlocked Motorola Moto G review at PCMag, Bennett describes the Moto G as having a lackluster screen with dull display colors.

On the positive side, he admits that the Moto G surprised him with its premium build quality and attractive design elements (like its slim, pocketable size).  He also praises its native support of popular Google services like Gmail, Chrome, and Google Now, an advanced search engine.   Finally, a small but notable (or is that audible?) point: he makes it clear that the speakers can be cranked up to a high volume with very little distortion.


Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at Engadget

Jaime Rigg’s unlocked Motorola Moto G review at Engadget gives the Moto G a score of 89/100.  Overall, Riggs describes it as offering “superb all-around performance” at a reasonable price.  

Like Bennett at CNET, Rigg comments on the phone’s slim form factor and the fact that it’s easy to use with one hand.  Noting the excellent build quality, he praises the Moto G’s screen resolution and the clean and functional Android 4.3 Jelly Bean implementation.  He also sets himself apart from other reviewers by applauding the 5MP camera’s simplicity and versatility.  While he says the phone is pretty speedy, especially with games, he suggests that its performance can’t to that of higher-priced competitors.  

Travelers will be happy to hear Rigg’s observation that the Moto G’s GPS is both fast and accurate.  Also on the international front, he suggests that the Moto G’s lack of 4G support is tied to its intended global market — a market in which many people don’t have access to 4G networks.


Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at Laptop Mag

Lisa Eadicicco doesn’t give the phone a number rating in her unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at Laptop Mag.  She does recommend it, though, to “contract commitment-phobes” who aren’t looking to spring for the higher rated but more expensive Nexus 5 (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon) or Moto X (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon).

Like previous reviewers, Eadicicco offers positive comments on the phone’s design.  She contradicts Segan’s praise of the screen’s color fidelity in his unlocked Motorola Moto G review at PCMag, though, saying that the screen has a “noticeable purple tint” that’s absent from the Nexus 5 and Moto X.

While she’s not enthusiastic about the camera, Eadicicco offers positive comments on the close-to-stock Android interface and the available apps.  The Moto G’s performance is smooth, she notes, though it can’t measure up to that of “flagship” (read: pricier) competitors.  A further positive note for daily usage: the battery life is above average.


Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review at IT World

Florence Ion’s unlocked Motorola G review at IT World doesn’t give the handset a number rating.  However, Ion offers lots of positives for the phone, going so far as to call it “one of Motorola’s smartest moves to date.”  With a durable feel, good battery life, and a processor that “gets the job done,” this phone becomes a great choice for those looking for a solid mid-range phone without any unnecessary frills.

While the screen isn’t great, the quality is decent.  Ion praises the mostly untouched Android interface and its rare inclusion of an FM radio tuner.  Her critique of the camera as turning out inconsistent results might resolve the question of why some reviewers praised it while others saw it as an unfortunate sacrifice by the manufacturer.


Unlocked Motorola Moto G reviews by customers at Amazon

A huge majority of Amazon customer reviews for the Motorola Moto G give the GSM unlocked phone 5 stars.  Regardless of specific pros and cons, most people seem very happy with this purchase.  Digging into the details, you’ll see that the biggest criticisms of the Moto G are the unimpressive camera, the lack of an SD card slot, and the fact that there’s no support for 4G.  The average unlocked Motorola Moto G review, though, gave the phone high marks for battery, screen quality, and of course, value for the money.



Check out the Motorola Moto G at Amazon

My Summary: A Top-Quality Unlocked Phone for Travelers on a Budget (4 Stars)

The Motorola Moto G is extremely popular, and it’s sparked strong opinions from pretty much anyone who cares about unlocked phones.  The design and build quality are a hit, even if the Moto G isn’t as sleek as its pricier competitors.  Most reviewers appreciate the close-to-stock Android interface, though some would prefer a few tweaks for heightened convenience.  Also, the battery life is excellent.

Now, for the confusing: everyone seems to disagree about the screen’s quality.  Are the color fidelity/viewing angles on this phone good or bad?  The general consensus is that it’s somewhere on the better side of average.  The handset’s performance is a second sticking point.  While some reviewers slammed the Moto G as having sluggish performance, others seemed very happy with the phone’s speed for using apps and gaming.

After combing through these reviews, I can offer a couple basic recommendations.  First, if you’re wondering about storage, spring for the 16GB Moto G.  Right now it costs just $20 more than the 8GB version, and that extra storage space could make a real difference in your daily usage.

Second, figure out your price point and stick to it.  More than one unlocked Motorola Moto G review tosses this handset into a pool with much fancier, higher-priced handsets, then points out that the Moto G doesn’t compare to those alternatives.  This phone’s great specs make that a tempting leap, but don’t forget that it costs a fraction of what’s charged for other unlocked phones with similar capabilities.

En fin, if you’re looking for a solid mid-range phone that offers fantastic all-around performance at an affordable price, you’ll love the Motola Moto G.  If you’re willing to pay more for a faster, snazzier alternative, you might want to check out the Nexus 5 (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon) or Moto X (Price Not Found unlocked at Amazon).


Check out the Unlocked Motorola Moto G at Amazon


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Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review Roundup
This Unlocked Motorola Moto G Review Roundup draws from five authoritative reviews to present the biggest pros and cons of Motorola’s bestselling phone.


I'm a travel addict and shopping lover with six years abroad and seventeen countries under my belt. Now that I've settled down in Cambridge, MA for a couple years, TravelGiftList helps me keep up with the world of fun, quirky, and practical travel gifts!


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