The Moto G (2015) Reviewby Brandon Chester on August 19, 2015 8:00 AM EST
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While CPU performance has improved significantly in low-end and mid-range smartphones, the same can't be said of GPU performance. Adreno 306 is really just a variant of Adreno 305, which we have covered time and time again in reviews of Snapdragon 400 devices. I already discussed in my Moto E review that I'm not happy with the graphics performance in Snapdragon 410 and with the GPU configuration in the Moto G being exactly the same there won't be any significant changes to graphics performance.
Due to the way 3DMark calculates its overall score, it's not possible for a device to pull ahead based on the score of one test being substantially higher than the other. Because of this, the Moto G's improvement in the physics test doesn't lead to it coming on top overall due to its slightly lower graphics score. I would just attribute the lower graphics test score to testing variance, and so in reality the Moto G will be slightly faster than the Moto E or older Moto G in any physics heavy games.
Driver bugs had previously prevented me from running BaseMark X on Snapdragon 410 devices. This appears to have been resolved, as the test runs and completes on the Moto G. There's not much to be said about the scores, which are at the bottom of the charts in every single test.
As expected, performance in GFXBench on the new Moto G is essentially identical to that of other Adreno 305/306 devices. Unfortunately they all share a space at the very bottom of each chart, and end up being between 1/3 and 1/2 the speed of the Adreno 405 GPU in Snapdragon 615.
When I reviewed the Moto E I gave the GPU performance a pass because the phone sold for $100-130. With the Moto G priced as high as $219 for the high end model, I have to say that $30 more gets you the Huawei P8 Lite which uses Snapdragon 615 and Adreno 405 which is substantially faster. There's not much Motorola could do about this apart from using a completely different SoC, but obviously that wasn't a possibility when building a device that does start at $179 even if it scales up to $219. I just hope that we see some improvement in GPU performance on devices at this price point in the near future.
Flash memory performance can often be an invisible performance bottleneck when applications are running in the background, writing files, or performing updates. Low-end and mid-range devices often suffer from very poor NAND performance which can cause stuttering or slowness whenever there's heavy I/O activity occurring.
Random read speeds on the Moto G are much faster than the Moto E or the Huawei P8 Lite. They're certainly not the fastest on record, but they're at the point where I wouldn't worry about them causing performance problems in most circumstances. The random write speed is a very curious case, with it being faster than every other device on record. There doesn't appear to be any problem with the testing, and it seems that the Moto G's NAND simply has relatively fast random write speeds.
Sequential read speeds on the Moto G are faster than other mid range phones, but not as fast as the Zenfone 2 or flagship Android devices. Sequential writes sit right in the middle of the chart and are around the same speed as the NAND in LG's flagship devices. Whether it's random or sequential access I don't expect users will encounter any performance issues on the Moto G caused by poor NAND performance.
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kmmatney - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkThey are in the $115 - $130 range on Swappa (at least the Sprint version). Of course that is used - but the phones I've bought from Swappa all looked brand-new when I received them. You can also get a used Galaxy S4 for ~$130, and will come with 2 GB of RAM and 16GB of storgae, and will be faster.
Moto1 - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkNope, sorry
amdwilliam1985 - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - linkMoto G 2015 will probably beat Galaxy S6 and Note 5 in general phone usage speed test, lol. So Galaxy S4 is probably not a good comparison to.
3DoubleD - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkIt is not clear in the charging section whether the Moto G is limited to 2.75 W charging internally, or whether it is because a 2.75 W charger was used (because it was shipped with one). Could one conceivably use a 5 W or 10 W charger and cut the charge time in half or a quarter? This is not clear. I honestly didn't know they made 2.75 W chargers, the smallest charger I've ever seen is 1 A @ 5 V.
Also, how crippling is this GPU performance? From what I can tell, an Adreno 305 is about 1/4 of the speed of the Nexus 5 (2013) in offscreen testing with Basemark X. But this doesn't describe the context of what it is like to use an Adreno 306 device. Does the UI studder? Does video playback work flawlessly? Does it play most games? Are there any notable games it does not play?
Also, I take issue with the comment that waterproofing is not a desirable feature because you can't use the display while wet. That is an insane comment to make! Most people would like some piece of mind that if their phone gets a little wet it won't become an expensive paper weight. That is a huge feature, especially considering the target market for this phone - a group that may likely be careless with their phone that it needs to be inexpensive and waterproof. So I'll say this in the comments since it wasn't said in the review: Motorola, good job making this phone waterproof.
Lastly, I don't think Motorola was praised enough for adding a bigger battery at the cost of not decreasing the thinness of the device. Phone manufacturers frequently shift the balance the wrong way, and finally Motorola stepped up and did it right.
Despite all of my question and critiques, I really appreciate the timely review! Thanks!
hans_ober - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkYeah, nice to see Moto worked on the battery and didn't go for 'omg 7mm slim' type of device.
Thick phone > dead slim paperweight.
Brandon Chester - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link1. It's just that the phone is shipped with a 2.75W charger. I will be listing a charge time using a 5W charging block, but to my knowledge there's no quick charge support so there's no additional advantage to using an even higher wattage QC 2.0 block
2. You can play 2D games and very simple 3D ones like temple run, but there's not much hope for what one would call AAA mobile games. My big issue is the lack of GPU performance in mid range Android devices ends up limiting the availability and quality of those games on Android as a whole.
3. At no point did I ever say that waterproofing was not a desirable feature, or anything of that sort. I said it's nice to have, but I don't think it's a selling point. There's no evidence that any significant number of consumers are buying devices specifically because they're waterproof, so I don't think my observation was incorrect.
4. Not everyone shares the opinion that devices should get substantially larger to fit bigger batteries.
hans_ober - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkThanks. Yeah, theres no QC 2.0 support, but using 5W and even 10W chargers has reportedly cut short charging time. No harm in adding QC 2.0 to the graph too; it will show max possible charge rate, with the phone as bottleneck.
Brandon Chester - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkI'm just trying to kill the phone's battery now so I can charge it.
hans_ober - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - linkHaving a bad time? :)
hans_ober - Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - linkUpdate on charging time?