System Performance

Like the 2015 Moto E, the Moto G uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 SoC. This is the first time Motorola has updated the SoC in the Moto G, with both the first and second generation models using the same 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 SoC. Because the Moto G shares an SoC with the Moto E one might think this means they are equal in speed. However, the SKU in the Moto G has a peak frequency of 1.4GHz rather than the 1.2GHz in the Moto E. This is somewhat confusing because both are named MSM8916, but it's not dissimilar to how Snapdragon 615 devices run at either 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz on the big cluster.

As far as clock speed goes, the Moto G is 17% faster than the Moto E. It's difficult to estimate how much improvement will be seen compared to the older Moto G models, as the core architecture moves from Cortex A7 to Cortex A53 which comes with its own improvements in IPC in addition to the higher clock speed. It's also important to note that we are testing the model of the Moto G with 2GB of RAM, and this is another factor that can increase performance when comparing to Motorola's 1GB devices. Ultimately, it's important not to assume how much faster the Moto G will be based purely on the CPU frequency, even though it can give some idea about performance relative to other devices with the same CPU but a lower frequency. In order to properly characterize the Moto G's performance relative to many other devices, we turn to our standard workflow of web based benchmarks, followed by PCMark and BaseMark OS II.

Kraken 1.1 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Google Octane v2  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2013 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

WebXPRT 2015 (Chrome/Safari/IE)

The overall picture painted by our web browser tests is that the 2015 Moto G has a healthy lead over the Moto E's performance, and an even greater one over the older Snapdragon 400 based models of the Moto G. The level of performance is certainly good for a $219 device, but I do find myself wishing that Snapdragon 410 and 615 were produced on 28nm HPC or 28nm HPm in order to achieve even greater performance without an increase to power consumption.

PCMark - Web Browsing

PCMark - Video Playback

PCMark - Writing

PCMark - Photo Editing

PCMark - Work Performance Overall

In PCMark, which focuses heavily on replicating real world tasks like watching video and editing photos, the 2015 Moto G again has a strong showing. Overall performance actually sits about the HTC One M9, carried by high scores in the writing and video playback tests. Web browsing performance also improves significantly from the 2015 Moto E and the 2014 Moto G, which could either be the result of additional memory or further optimizations to the Android WebView.

Basemark OS II 2.0 - System

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Memory

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Graphics

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Web

Basemark OS II 2.0 - Overall

The Moto G doesn't perform as well in BaseMark OS II as it does in PCMark. While there's still good performance in the web and NAND memory sub-tests, performance lags in the system sub-test which stresses CPU and memory, and the graphics test score is very low due to how slow the Adreno 306 GPU is.

The Moto G's general performance is pretty good for a device of this price. There's a good level of improvement over the Moto E's performance, with the gap between the new Moto G and the 2014 model being even larger. The ASUS Zenfone 2 still has the best performance of a $200 smartphone, but it's something of an anomaly, and barring it the Moto G provides the best general performance that you'll see at this price point.

Introduction and Design GPU and NAND Performance
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  • Cod3rror - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    I wish Motorola hadn't released two different versions (1GB / 2GB). I knew what would happen and what I expected is exactly what happened... almost all retailers and carriers in Europe/UK are stocking only the 1GB version and 2GB is nowhere to be found. Plus, because of the weak Euro, the 2GB version, if ordered from Motorola UK, comes out at 300 euro, which is very expensive. But don't get me wrong, even if it cost almost the same, the retailers and carriers would still stock the cheaper version.
  • dan.swain - Saturday, September 12, 2015 - link

    I agree with you, My wife has the Moto G 2015 16GB. Got it from Moto website the sales experience was terrible but I couldn't just buy the 16Gb in a shop so frustration ensued. The phone itself is great though, my wife can get multiple days out if it. At just over £200 it seemed a better deal than £200 Apple wanted for a refurbished IPhone 5c.
  • wurizen - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    It seems like this review confirms my suspicion of the new Moto G 2015 regarding the back cover flush gate. Feeling the back cover of a phone inch forward or push inwards when gripping it is a sign of a cheap phone to me. And we know that this is a cheap, budget phone, but, the Moto G 2014 doesn't have this issue. I am also looking at the profile picture of the Moto G 2015 and it looks bulkier than the Moto G 2014. Or it seems bulkier because the removable back cover of the 2015 is not halfway but below the Power and Volume buttons. Whereas, the Moto G 2014's back cover is exactly halfway from front to back, so it goes halfway up from the Power and Volume buttons making the phone--on a design perspective--look and feel balanced!

    What makes me sad is that I don't think Motorola had to sacrifice this decrease in "Phone Feel" and "Phone Ergonomics" or "Phone Design." Whatever you wanna call it.

    I mean, did the design of the Moto G 2015 change because Motorola wanted it to be waterproof? Or, did Motorola purposely make a fatter Moto G 2015 so people will buy their other more expensive phones? Let the conspiracy theories begin!

    My other gripe is that Best Buy, which is the only store I know in the U.S. that carries the Moto G unlocked version doesn't even have the new Moto G 2015 on display so customers can feel and hold it in their hands. I mean, imagine Samsung or Apple doing this? It would never happen. Yet, Motorola is letting Best Buy not have a display version. I also asked if they had the phone on sale and if they could open a box and let me hold one. But, they said that they didn't have any available. I then asked if they had sold out and they said, yes.

    Also, there is no white version available at Best Buy and no 2 GB/16 GB variant available. Just the 1GB RAM and black one.

    Can someone tell me why this is? What kind of marketing scheme is at work here?
  • Demon-Xanth - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    The reason why no 2/16 variant is that they are basically sold out everywhere. I'm guessing production focused on the black 1/8 due to anticipated demand. They aren't mythical devices. Just selling like cold beer at a county fair. Yes, I will be replacing my ATT XT1045 with a retail 2/16 when I can. The only problems I've had have been I'd like more RAM, a better camera, less "extra apps", and updates that aren't delayed until the second coming of christ. This covers all of them.
  • stlc8tr - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    "I don't think anyone buying a device like the Moto G will have adopted an 802.11ac router at this point anyway due to cost reasons."

    An AC router is roughly $75 on Amazon. It's not exactly a huge outlay so I think more points should be deducted for the lack of 5Ghz support. The 2.4Ghz band can be very crowded so being limited to only 2.4Ghz is a serious flaw, IMO.
  • Moto1 - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    Dude, its 179$. Seriously?
  • stlc8tr - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    Yes, I'm serious. In my neighborhood, there are so many 2.4Ghz WiFi networks that using my 2.4Ghz WiFi is hit or miss. I can't even use a Chromecast as the streaming times out half the time.

    So I avoid any devices that are 2.4Ghz only.
  • neogodless - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    As this is a phone, could you comment on the speaker quality at all? It sounds like it still has stereo speakers like the 2014 model. Are they the exact same?
  • hans_ober - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    They're not stereo, bottom is a loudspeaker.
  • neogodless - Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - link

    That's too bad! The 2014 had stereo. In the search for "no compromises" including stereo speakers, I ended up with a Nexus 6.

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