Motorola Moto G 3 review: The Moto G is still king of the low-cost smartphones

£159
Price when reviewed

Camera and audio

If that puts you off, and all the improvements in responsiveness and design aren’t enough, you should be persuaded by the Moto G’s biggest upgrade, which is to the camera.

Impressively, the third-generation Moto G inherits the 13-megapixel camera unit from the Nexus 6. Although it doesn’t have that phone’s optical image stabilisation (OIS), it’s a huge step forward from the slightly iffy 5-megapixel camera of the old.

In good light, photographs are crisp and colourful, and exposures well balanced. It struggles a little in low light – you have to be careful to hold it steady or your photographs will come out blurry – but more often than not Moto G’s new dual-colour LED flash helps out, illuminating indoor scenes with skin-tone-flattering fill-in flash.

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Perhaps the most appreciable leap forward, though, is in the speed of the camera app. Tap the screen and there’s no longer a moment or two of lag while the shutter catches up; photographs are captured near-instantaneously, so you’re less likely to miss that important moment. Combine that with one of the Moto G’s best features – twisting the phone twice in quick succession launches the camera app, even when the phone is in standby – and you have the best smartphone camera in its class.

As for audio, the front-facing stereo speakers remain excellent – ideal if you use your phone as a satnav in a car without a Bluetooth-enabled stereo system. And I had absolutely no issues with call quality during testing.

Software

It’s also good to see that Motorola is sticking to its guns on the software front. The Moto G 3 still runs Android, unfettered by fussy in-house launchers (in this case it’s Android 5.1.1), and it keeps a lid on preloaded apps, too, adding new features only sparingly.

And what Motorola has added improves usability. The new double-chop gesture, used to switch on the torch, is sheer genius (I’ve already used this function a lot), and it inherits the excellent Moto Display feature from the Moto X line of smartphones as well.

Motorola Moto G 3 review: On the bottom edge is the phone's single microUSB socket

Moto Display displays your notifications in circular bubbles on the standby screen – along with the clock – whenever you pick it up. You can then drag the lock icon up and over to the notification in question to launch straight into the source app for that notification, or down to unlock directly to the homescreen.

Verdict

Motorola has nailed it once again with the third-generation Motorola Moto G. Its camera is superb, the upgraded internals make it a more responsive phone, and the extra software features make it feel more like a flagship and less like a sub-£200 budget device than ever.

Before you go and splurge all your cash on the latest whizzbang flagship, eviscerating your bank balance in the process, you owe it to yourself to at least get down to your local retailer and try out the latest Motorola Moto G (2015). It’s a very, very good smartphone – the best budget smartphone on the market – and well worth the asking price.

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