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Home / Features / The Moto G at 10 – remembering the smartphone that brought quality specs to the masses

The Moto G at 10 – remembering the smartphone that brought quality specs to the masses

At least, if you ignored the rubbish camera and miserly 8GB storage

Moto G

The Moto G is now 10 years old. And it’s time to celebrate one of the best budget smartphones ever.

There have been many variants of Moto G over the years, from your debut that shook up the industry, to more recent efforts to keep the magic alive.

At last, you’re writing about the venerable original low-cost Android phone! But whatever did happen to Motos A to F?

Weirdly, the G came after the pricier X and before the dirt-cheap E. You wondered whether Motorola (then owned by Google) would randomly work its way through the entire alphabet, before settling on a Moto Y cheap enough to go inside a Christmas cracker. The G was a cunning play for first-time buyers in emerging markets. But it ended up tempting people worldwide into finally ditching old-school mobiles because it offered such astonishing bang per buck.

So the G stands for ‘Great’? ‘Groovy’? ‘Golden’? ‘Glad to have it in my mitts’?

Or ‘Google’s glorious global gleaming gadget’. Probably one of those. They never said. We did get the boasty slogan ‘Exceptional phone, exceptional price’. Which was fair enough for a $179/£135 blower that had a bright display protected by Gorilla Glass, a snappy CPU, and vivid interchangeable back covers that whiffed of classic Nokias. That said, it wasn’t all glowing goodness. More discerning owners soon discovered the G’s mediocre camera and found its 8GB storage tight once they’d loaded up their music collection.

So the G really stands for ‘Google got your hopes up and cruelly dashed them’?

More like ‘Good enough’. There were certainly compromises, and the case resembled the Moto X’s with the ‘encheapify’ setting ramped up to full. But the G blew away anything in its price range, which then included Firefox phones that still give us night terrors. And flaws were swiftly addressed – although successor devices slowly lost their lead in what inevitably became a race to the bottom. Now the range is loved more by thrifty users than by makers who feel forced to churn out cheap Android phones for no profit.

Moto G: A timeline

Motorola has put together this timeline of Moto G spanning the last decade, from November 2013 through to the present day.

Motorola Moto G timeline

Also check out our guide to the best mid-range phones available today.

Profile image of Craig Grannell Craig Grannell Contributor


I’m a regular contributor to Stuff magazine and Stuff.tv, covering apps, games, Apple kit, Android, Lego, retro gaming and other interesting oddities. I also pen opinion pieces when the editor lets me, getting all serious about accessibility and predicting when sentient AI smart cookware will take over the world, in a terrifying mix of Bake Off and Terminator.

Areas of expertise

Mobile apps and games, Macs, iOS and tvOS devices, Android, retro games, crowdfunding, design, how to fight off an enraged smart saucepan with a massive stick.

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