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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  • Impulses - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    FLAC on a phone is a massive waste of space... MP3 w/a high enough bitrate as to be indistinguishable take up like 1/10th the space and a large 100-200 disc collection takes an hour or two to transcode (on a modern laptop).
  • apertotes - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    that is true, but it is also true that 1000 songs is a very low number for many people, and having to change your collection every week sucks. So yes, 16 gb may be enough. Of course, even 8gb. If you have no other option, you manage with what you got. But that does not mean that many people will find themselves cursing at the lack of internal space a short time after their purchase.
  • sprockkets - Thursday, December 19, 2013 - link

    Use 160kbps ogg vorbis.

    160kbps = 1.2mb per minute. Avg 4 min a song gives 2560 for 12GiB capacity.

    Need more music? Then you are either weird and think you need more than 2500 songs at once so spend $ elsewhere.
  • bhima - Monday, December 23, 2013 - link

    FLAC for your phone? Are you using $600 Grado cans, an amp and DAC with your phone? If you aren't, you literally have zero reason to be using FLAC over 320kbps MP3s. Hell, you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference in 256kbps even with great IEMs or cans unless your powersource/dac is good.
  • flyingpants1 - Friday, December 20, 2013 - link

    What kind of stupid person are you? 8GB?
  • Bob Todd - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    Nice timing on the review. I just gave my wife's mother my old N4, and her dad has been looking longingly at it. I was thinking about the Moto G for him, and in truth even it would be overkill. I think a lot of folks, myself included, were wondering what the hell Google was going to do with Motorola (beyond patent acquisition and some potential gains for Google TV...before selling the division responsible for the STB business anyway). It looks like they are going to carve out a really nice niche in the midrange. A device like this could be huge in places like India. CPU performance is more than reasonable for the price, NAND performance is good, and I was just plain surprised by the battery life showing. Excellent device for the off contract price.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    I wonder if this will support those new LTE frequences on Virgin Mobile. Assuming of course the Delay on Virgin Mobile is due to adding LTE.

    I hope that's the case SO badly!

    Anyone paying over $35/month for their smartphone is part of the problem. STOP doing that people. Fucking Verizon, with it's $130/month bullshit.
  • erple2 - Sunday, December 22, 2013 - link

    The problem I have with Virgin is that they piggyback off Sprint, which has the worst coverage in my area of the big four. Plus I average about 500 minutes a month. So I'm looking at their $45 plan. Or I can go with another mvno that piggybacks off the gsm providers for the same price but with unlimited calls. And get much better coverage/speeds in my area. Which I do. Either way, this Motorola G looks like a great phone to have.
  • gus6464 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    Moto X and G are exceptional phones that definitely got me drinking the Motorola koolaid.
  • darwinosx - Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - link

    I don't know who this phone is for especially in the US. You are going to pay LTE prices and get rapidly diminishing 3G service. You can get top end smartphones for good pieces online etc...I just can't see the market. Even the Moto X which as an iPhone user I still think is a great phone, is not selling well at all. Moto

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