The Moto G is one phone that I have a lot of respect for. The reason — this phone single handed-ly managed to turn its parent company around and bring a lot of limelight on budget category of phones. Motorola was struggling to find a foothold in the smartphone market and its then flagship the Moto X didn’t do really well. It was a few months later when Motorola launched the Moto G with the intention of capturing the budget conscious users, that the floodgates really opened, especially in developing markets like South Eastern Asia.
Motorola recently launched the Moto G 3rd Gen which, as the name suggests, is the third smartphone to bear the Moto G branding. The Moto G, when launched was a value for money product offering the same stock experience and good hardware. The company has still stuck to the same winning formula with their phones but the competition has gotten tougher with players like Lenovo, Asus, Microsoft etc joining the fight in the budget category.
The Moto G Turbo Edition is a mid-life upgrade of the Motorola Moto G3 as it gets a bump in the processor while all the other internals of the device remains the same. The phone looks exactly the same, weighs the same making the task of distinguishing them a little hard. While the battery is rated at the same 2470mAh, Motorola has added Turbo Charging which helps the phone to charge faster using the provided charger.
Motorola has stuck to the same design language for a really long time now, to the point that we would like them to refresh the same sometime soon. Like I’ve said before, the Moto G 3rd Gen and the Moto G Turbo share the same body. The only noticeable difference is the back cover of the Turbo Edition, which has a slight difference when compared to the Moto G 3rd Gen. The ribbed pattern on the back panel makes the phone less slippery to hold and the curved back makes it comfortable to use. The side trim of the phone has a gunmetal finish but the device in itself is made of plastic. While the left side of the phone is completely blank the right side has the power button and the volume buttons right next to each other. The power button has a pattern on it making it easy to distinguish from the volume rocker. The headphone jack is placed on the top with a secondary microphone next to it. The back cover on the phone is removable and has rubber sleeves to ensure a perfect seal to give the phone an IP67 Water and Dust Resistance Rating.
The Moto G Turbo has a 5 inch LCD display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. Motorola hasn’t changed the display specifics from the Moto G 2nd Gen. The display has a pixel density of 294PPI and is good to look at indoors. It is reflective and isn’t easy to read in direct sunlight. The viewing angles on the phone were generally good, and there is not a lot of color shifting. While it looks like the phone has Stereo Speakers on the front, it has to make do with one speaker that is placed in the lower grill while the upper one is the earpiece. The single speaker is audible and we have no complains on that front from the device.
The Moto G Turbo has no notification light present on the device, it uses the Moto Display feature to light up the display to show an incoming notification. The display lights up when the phone is picked up from the table or pulled out of the pocket to display the last three notifications. Although it is not as fast like it is on the Moto X, it is at least better than a blinking LED light. Internally the Moto G Turbo gets a Snapdragon 615 Chip, an Octa Core Processor clocked in at 1.5GHz which is a little lower than the stock 1.7GHz tune. The chip has been in the news for heating issues and it might be the reason for Motorola to underclock the device. To support the processor in functioning smoothly, the device gets 2GB of RAM which keeps the device from slowing down.
While the Moto G 3rd Gen is available in 8GB and 16GB variants, the Turbo only comes in the 16GB flavour. The microSD card slot at the back allows the user to add cards up to 32GB. The expansion capacity is low considering other smartphones can go as high as 128GB.
Software and Performance
Motorola smartphones are known to provide a near stock Android experience and the Moto G Turbo is no different. The phone runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop and has only a very few useful apps from Motorola installed. Migrate and Moto are the only two apps that Motorola has pre-installed here, making the phone really bloatware free. As the interface is stock it also enables Motorola to push faster OS updates when compared to the competition. Hopefully, like the other Motorola devices, the G Turbo too will get the update to Android Marshmallow soon (It is already out for the Moto G3 and a soak test for the G3 Turbo has also begun).
This no bloatware approach from Motorola has gained them a strong user base. While the earlier Moto G was compared to what a budget Nexus device would be like, the Moto G Turbo still evokes the same thought. The software is so smooth that I didn’t find any difference in the day to day usage between the Moto G3 and the Moto G Turbo. The Octa Core processor would make no difference if you use your phone just for social networking and instant messaging. It would however, make a lot of difference when gaming and multitasking as all the muscle is put to use.
In synthetic benchmarks, we saw a significant difference in the score posted by the two phones in the debate with the G Turbo posting higher scores when compared to the G3. This however, comes at the cost of battery life as the 8 cores sap a lot of power when compared to its frugal sibling.
Cameras on Motorola phones have always been a hit or miss. The devices are known to capture some brilliant shots sometimes while delivering some mediocre shots the rest of the time. At the back, the phone has a 13-megapixel camera which is the same sensor from the Google Nexus 6 and a Dual Tone LED flash. Motorola has a few tricks up its sleeves here, the signature Double Crank gesture can be used to quickly launch the camera on the smartphone. The same gesture can also be used to switch between the front and rear camera.
Once the camera fires up, the interface is bare basic and has not changed in a really long time now. Swiping from the left reveals the camera settings and a swipe from the right takes you straight to the Gallery. Under settings Moto does provide an option to get manual focus and exposure controls. These manual controls can help you get the best out of the camera. Else you can simply put it in HDR and hope that the phone delivers. All in all the Moto G Turbo, just like the G3 isn’t the choice for photographers but good enough for casual clickers like the shots above taken with the phone prove. All the images were shot without HDR mode.
The front camera is a 5-megapixel shooter and clicks some really good selfies. While other manufacturers provide a lot of gestures and different modes, Motorola offers absolutely nothing. Photo and Video, these are the only two options you have, a setting to change the resolution and enable Slo-Mo and that's all. In some ways, we love the simplicity as it mimics the iPhone, but only if it delivered the quality that the iPhone does. And for that sake alone, we wish there were some options to tweak things a little, here and there.
Battery and Charging
The battery on the Moto G Turbo remains the same like the Moto G3, a 2470mAh non-removable unit. The main difference between the two is Turbo Charging. The G Turbo supports rapid charging thanks to the Snapdragon 615 Chipset. Motorola provides a 25W fast charger in the box which can charge the device from 0 to a 100% in an hour and a half. This isn’t all that great considering my Nexus 6P takes the same amount of time for a 3450mAh battery, that too with a 15W charger. A quick 15 min charge will result in a 15-17% charge, which is just about borderline average.
While the charging feature is great, the device isn’t as efficient as the Moto G 3rd Gen. With heavy use the phone will give up before the end of the day. To manage better life, Motorola may have underclocked the processor to a slightly slower 1.5GHz clock but it only does little to keep the phone going. However, the shortcomings in the battery is covered by the charging time of the device.
Motorola has spiced up the offering by bundling a powerful chipset in the body of an older phone. The Moto G Turbo without a doubt if much better than the Moto G 3rd Gen it is based on. The IP67 rating is an added advantage and makes it safer from the elements. If you aren’t a power user the Moto G 3rd Gen will fit your usage just fine. The Moto G Turbo makes sense only if you are a power user and need the power that the chipset offers.The increased power use is compensated quickly by the the Turbo Charger.