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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  • mmrezaie - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    Which one: Should I go with this, Moto X Play, or new Nexus 5? Reply
  • boozed - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    I think you should get the iPhone 7 mini. Reply
  • mmrezaie - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    I was almost going to get iphone for battery balance but I really cannot take he appalling interface!!! I understand others may disagree with me. Reply
  • RaLX - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

    I agree with you, the iPhone is a nice piece of hardware but iOS feels now noticeable rigid, restricted and antiquated compared with Android 5.1+. Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    I think Android is suffering from "Metro-syndrome" where it's interface is changing so radically that it's actually jarring to jump between versions or support the damn things in the workplace. Every single Android phone is different.

    If Google knew what was good for them, they would do what Apple does and a) put an end to carrier/manufacture bloatware b) standardize the interface, specifically, the settings menu c) standardize the stock apps such as Calendar, Contacts, Mail.

    Ask any IT department and they will unanimously tell you they'd rather support iOS, WinMo or even Blackberry devices over Android because at least they are all standardized.
    Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Thursday, August 20, 2015 - link

    I do not disagree but it doesn't take away the point that the new iOS interface is already outdated compared to Android 5.x/material design. Reply
  • LoganPowell - Friday, November 27, 2015 - link

    Well, I think choosing a phone really depends on someone owns preference. But between the two...I recommend going to for the highly rated phones (like http://www.consumerrunner.com/top-10-best-phones/ for example) Reply
  • barleyguy - Saturday, August 22, 2015 - link

    Android is an open source OS. Google has no legal standing to tell the carriers to do anything, or not do anything. They could bribe them, which they have in some ways done by having "Google Play Editions".

    As far as a phone recommendation in the $200 range, my choice would be the LG G2. I realize it's 2 years old, but it's a faster SOC than the phone reviewed in this article, obliterates it in GPU performance, has excellent battery life, and has a 1080p screen.
    Reply
  • Brianbeastsu - Sunday, August 23, 2015 - link

    Ive been thinking of getting the G2 but feared it would feel completely dated and slow......Just as a nice backup device....I have nexus 6 now but for instances where I need long life I thought it would be a nice and cheap alternative......Has any phone ever had better battery life? Anyone that I have talked with that owned it says its incredible Reply
  • mwarner1 - Monday, August 24, 2015 - link

    If you mean the LG G2 (and not the 2nd gen Moto G) it won't feel underpowered at all - the SoC is the still very fast Snapdragon 800 and the 1080P IPS display is really very good. I have owned both the G2 and G3 and personally I much prefer the G2. Reply

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