Display on mobile devices is one area where we’ve seen considerable improvement. Pixel density has gone up, contrast ratios have improved, and the emphasis on low power in a platform gated by its battery size means there’s always innovation happening. In the case of the Moto G, what we’re after should really be a display that looks visually appealing without any of the egregious issues that plague most midrange devices – poor viewing angles, low resolution, low contrast, dim displays.

On paper, the Moto G has what would probably have been a flagship display for a mobile device a year or two ago, it’s a 4.5-inch LCD with 1280x720 resolution and 326 PPI pixel density. The comparison point is the Moto X with a 4.7 inch AMOLED panel of the same 720p resolution and 312 PPI pixel density.

I’m pretty impressed with how the Moto G’s display looks. Subjectively, viewing angles are good, there aren’t any of the issues I normally attribute to non-flagship devices either with low pixel density or contrast that fails to please. There’s no light leakage at all from any of the corners.

One unfortunate thing about the Moto G I was sampled however is the presence of two small bubbles in the cover glass. I initially thought these were dust, but inspection with a microscope reveals they are in fact inhomogeneities in the cover glass.

I’m not sure whether these kind of defects are within spec for the Moto G, but they’re distracting and visible on most solid colored UIs or views. I’ve never seen something like this on any handset I’ve reviewed to date.

Brightness (Black)

Brightness (White)

Contrast Ratio

The Moto G goes plenty bright, at just over 455 nits, and delivers contrast numbers that are pretty darn good for the price point at just shy of 1200. Normally black levels are out of control on the lower end devices, I’m not sure if the Moto G uses an IPS panel, but suspect it does.

Upon inspection I immediately noticed that the Moto G display was very, very blue. To measure color accuracy we turn to the same combination of measures that we have used for a while now.


CalMAN Display Performance - Grayscale Average dE 2000



CalMAN Display Performance - Saturations Average dE 2000



CalMAN Display Performance - Gretag Macbeth Average dE 2000

CalMAN Display Performance - White Point Average

My comparison points are unfortunately primarily high end devices, which makes the Moto G look comparatively poor. The Moto G display tuning is indeed very blue with a white point of nearly 9000K, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn this is a function of the backlight LEDs used or intrinsic properties of the panel.

Color calibration is something we’ve only just now started to see get taken seriously on the high end devices, if we can’t expect it to be a regular staple there, the midrange is obviously a lost cause. I wouldn’t fault the Moto G for not being very accurate, but it is something to be aware of as a sacrifice at this price point if you’re considering it over a high-end phone. On the flipside, the pixel density and contrast of the Moto G’s display seems excellent given the price, and I suspect the defects in my Moto G’s cover glass are specific to this unit.

Performance - Quad Core Cortex A7 Camera - Still and Video
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  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    Um, what? Just did a bit of googling, the Nexus 4 had 4.4 at the end of November (25th is what I came up with most) and Moto X got 4.4 6 days ago on the 12th. Nexus 4 already has 4.4.2. So I have no idea what you are talking about, because it doesn't seem to be reality.
  • cmikeh2 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    It's dependent on the carrier, but the Verizon version of the Moto X actually got 4.4 before the Nexus 4 did.
  • shaduck007 - Saturday, January 4, 2014 - link

    thanks for Mentioning the Lumia, it's 1/3 the price of the MOTO G.

    Thinking of what is the best value!!

  • fortelv999 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    ?? They announced some weeks ago that the RAZR HD, MAXX HD and RAZR M would all get Kitkat sometime soon-ish, even the ATRIX HD i think, all the Snapdragon S4 family
  • fokka - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    the atrix HD? i believe that when i see it.
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    If you think a few months time is enough for a new parent company to take over and magically transform device support for phones that were in the pipeline for over a year, you don't know much about how acquisitions work or how long those kinds of transitions take in a large corporate environment.

    The proof will be evident once we see how quickly, if at all, the Moto X and Moto G are updated beyond 4.4. Being the absolute first non-Nexus device with 4.4 on the X, and getting it right around the same time as the still supported Nexus line was a great start. We'll see if they can keep it up. I'm cautiously optimistic, and I say all of this as a former Atrix owner who never got some planned updates.
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    "If you think a few months time" Google bought Motorola on August 15, 2011.
  • Bob Todd - Thursday, December 19, 2013 - link

    I should have looked it up before replying, but I was mainly responding to the "The phone was out several months AFTER Google's acquisition" comment. And what I said still holds true. Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility on 8/15/2011. The acquisition didn't actually complete until 5/22/2012. The phones in question came out around September/October of 2012, which is indeed just a few months after the acquisition, and not long enough for Google to really have anything to do with their product planning.
  • trynberg - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    I guess you missed the news that Moto was upgrading the RAZR HD to 4.4 in 2014? Confirmed on Moto's website weeks ago.
  • ollienightly - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    i really don't know what you are wining about. razr hd has already been given green light for kitkat update. all you have to do now is being patient.

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