Since a smartphone is primarily a large display that you interact with, it's important that manufacturers prioritize including a high quality display. As smartphones advanced we first saw increases to display resolution to improve sharpness, as well as a shift from TN displays to VA or IPS panels in order to improve viewing angle. With specs like resolution reaching a point where there isn't much more improvement to be made, manufacturers have moved on to improving display accuracy. While some have begun to focus on the color accuracy of their mid-range devices, others have not. To evaluate the various aspects of a display we use X-Rite's i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer along with their i1Display Pro colorimeter, and SpectraCal's CalMAN 5 software.

Display - Max Brightness

Display - Black Levels

Display - Contrast Ratio

The Moto G has a good peak brightness, although the black level is higher than most recent devices, including the 2015 Moto E. What makes the Moto G somewhat difficult to use outdoors despite its brightness is the fact that the display seems fairly reflective, and the capacitive touch sensors show up very easily in the light which creates a pattern that obscures the content on the LCD.

Display - White Point

Display - Grayscale Accuracy

The Moto G's gamma is very accurate, but the overall greyscale accuracy is let down by the panel's blue shift. The white point average is 7627K, which is noticeably more blue than the desired average of 6504K. From 20% grey onward one can notice the blue tint in grey shades, and in the end the average error is a somewhat disappointing 4.5532, with the error in the lightest shades being even higher at around six. In all of these aspects, the 2015 Moto G's display actually regresses significantly from the 2014 model. It's not clear if this is just model variance, or if this is applicable to all versions, but in any case it is disappointing.

Display - Saturation Accuracy

In our saturation sweep test we see that blue has a degree of over-saturation at all points, with saturations past 60% overshooting significantly. Red demonstrates some saturation compression, and there's general inaccuracy in yellow, cyan, and most of all, magenta. This is another situation where the 2015 Moto G's display regresses compared to the 2014 edition, and it's to a much more significant degree than the greyscale test, with the older 2014 Moto G having achieved a result that rivals high end smartphones.

Display - GMB Accuracy

Due to the inaccuracy in the greyscale and in rendering primary and secondary colors there's not much hope for accurate reproduction of color mixtures on the 2015 Moto G's display. Shades of green tend to have a decent level of accuracy, but most other colors and shades of grey suffer from over-saturation or under-saturation depending on what primary/secondary color they most relate to, and are just generally inaccurate. When using the Moto G this was fairly evident to me throughout the UI, particularly on icons that I see very often such as those for Google's own apps.

While I don't know how consistent the calibration across Motorola's devices is, based on the results measured for our samples of the 2014 and 2015 Moto G it's clear that the display of the 2015 model regresses in most respects. Peak brightness increases substantially which is appreciated, and maintaining black level has boosted contrast. Unfortunately, the display is far too blue, and this causes significant greyscale errors despite the display's relatively straight and accurate gamma. The inaccuracies in rendering primary and secondary colors combined with the greyscale errors means that there aren't many shades the display actually does render accurately outside of some that primarily consist of a green component. Ultimately I'm let down by the Moto G's display, because this year's model saw no upgrade to resolution, and I had hoped that there would be some improvement, or at the very least no reduction in the display accuracy.

GPU and NAND Performance Camera and WiFi
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  • mmrezaie - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - link

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

    I think you should get the iPhone 7 mini.
  • 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.
  • 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+.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

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