Moto G 4G full review

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Despite over nine months elapsing since we originally reviewed it, the Motorola Moto G remains the best budget Android smartphone we've seen. Recently, Motorola released an updated model, adding support for 4G and expandable storage via a microSD card. This review covers both models, but be careful when you're buying to ensure you're getting the model you intended.

KitKat Update: We are aware that many owners have had problems with their Moto Gs following the software update from Android Jelly Bean to KitKat 4.4. Such issues include loss of mobile signal and dropped calls (or incoming calls going straight to voicemail). Some of these issues also apply to the new 4G version of the Moto G. We have not seen these issues on our review model, but acknowledge that other users are experiencing them.

We asked Motorola for an official response to these problems, and this is the statement we received:

"A very small number of people have reported an issue after the upgrade and the majority of those have now said that the issue has not persisted. We're continuing to monitor the situation but so far we are not seeing a persistent signal loss issue after the upgrade. We are happy for customers to contact our support team providing their IMEI number details, should they have any issues."

See also: The 34 best Android smartphones.

Moto G review: A new upgraded 4G model with expandable storage

We've been using the Moto G since launch and we still really love this phone. It's affordable and - for us - has been reliable. Performance remains excellent too, partly thanks to software updates, including Android 4.4 KitKat, which have arrived promptly when promised - a rarity in itself. The latest update, 4.4.4, is rolling out right now.

Also see: Best budget smartphone 2014: Motorola Moto G vs Motorola Moto E comparison review

Nevertheless, the Moto G isn't flawless. The camera is mediocre, and that means we don't use it that much. Our main problem remains storage as the original Moto G has no microSD card slot for adding more storage, our 8GB model is seriously lacking in space for the apps we want to download and use. There's also a 16GB version.

If you need more storage, then opt for the new version, which has a microSD slot. It also supports 4G LTE for faster mobible broadband, but you'll need to be on a 4G tariff to benefit of course. For more details see: Motorola Moto G 4G LTE release date, price and specs.

Motorola Moto G Moto Shell

Motorola Moto G review: The budget smartphone market and alternatives

As we've said, the Moto G is coming up to year old, yet we've still not seen a worthy rival for its best budget smartphone crown. It still tops our best budget smartphones chart. 

If you are strapped for cash, then the Moto E is cheaper (albeit without 4G support), and you can buy EE's Kestrel for £99 if you absolutely need 4G.

Moto G smartphone

Motorola Moto G review: What you get

There's nothing particularly interesting going on here design-wise, with just the essential buttons, ports and a classic smartphone shape. It does have some style though; interchangeable covers which are relatively cheap provide easy access to customisation. We're quite fond of our aptly red rear cover. The flip case even has a magnet built-in so it sticks to the screen and the Moto G comes to life as soon as you open it up.

When it first appeared, it was astonishing that the Moto G had an HD screen. That's 720p and with a 4.5in screen, the result is the same amount of pixels per inch as the iPhone 5S, a device which costs five times that of the humble Moto G. However, a 720p screen isn't quite so rare at this price now, but do watch out for budget phones with 800x480-pixel displays which are inferior.

Impressively, the Moto G has a quad-core processor, 8- or 16 GB of internal storage, a 5Mp camera and the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat. It's not too surprising that there's no NFC or features such as infrared or wireless charging. The only really downside of the device is a lack of expandable storage; there's no microSD card slot here.

Next page - Motorola Moto G review: Design and build, hardware, performance and calling.