My LG E960, better known as the Google Nexus 4, decided to let me down. Around the same time, the radio stopped working properly and the digitizer stopped recognizing touches right in a fairly important spot — above the "e" key. Clearly it was time to take a right-hand turn and buy a new device from a different manufacturer. At just this moment, Amazon offered a discount on the second-generation (2014) Moto G, and the sale was made.
I briefly browsed a handful of reviews, all quite positive, and I have to say most of them have been spot on. Some of the reviews have been a bit puzzling, as the question they asked (and answered) was whether the Moto G would be a good upgrade from the Nexus 4. That's an easy question to answer, because the answer is no. You can tell that from a brief comparison of the vital statistics; the display has notably less lumens, the GPU has egregiously less grunt, and the Moto G has half the RAM of the Nexus 4 — Just 1GB to its 2. There's just three things that the Moto G has over the Nexus 4 which are worth mentioning, so here they are: It's got Gorilla Glass 3, it's got water resistance, and it's got a MicroSD card slot. Everything else is subjective, inferior or basically identical, except what's missing like NFC and a baro sensor.
Other reviews cover the differences in the specs in detail, so I'm really not going to do that here. Suffice to say that the Nexus 4 has Adreno 320 and the Moto G has only Adreno 305, so graphics performance is not the Moto G's strong point, and the reduced RAM will impact both gaming and multitasking. The Moto G is not a fancy phone. It is an amazing bargain on a completely capable phone with a great display. With that said, the CPU actually gets great marks, and may be faster in some or even most situations than the one in the Nexus 4, according to benchmarks. If you're trying to flip back and forth between apps, though, the lack of RAM will prevent you from getting any outstanding performance out of the phone.
Okay, so what will you actually notice when using the phone? I noticed that when I really stared into the screen, I could see the digitizer grid in the screen. I can't do that easily on the Nexus 4. I noticed that the rounded back of the Moto G actually isn't any easier to hold than the flat back of the Nexus 4, but also that I got used to it fairly rapidly. I've got the Ringke Fusion case on the Nexus 4, and I went for a Ringke Slim case for the G, which nicely preserves its original contour while still adding a bit more protection. If you like to cram a lot of data onto your phone you'll also notice the MicroSD card slot, and that Motorola has provided a nice little app to move common data (that is, music, pictures, and video files) to the SD card. They also deliver a slightly modified version of the camera which will save directly to the SD card. I also noticed that flipping between apps is a bit slower.
Overall, my only complaint about this phone at this price is that the charger that it comes with has a cord permanently attached. This may be a clever way to avoid problems with people substituting scrawny cables which won't properly carry their charging current, but it's also a minor annoyance in that I'd like to be able to use it to charge other devices, some of which have a different connector. I'll survive. I could also complain that Motorola hasn't yet dropped Lollipop for my XT1063 Global GSM phone, but I presume they're still working on localizations and they'll release something eventually. I downloaded a new recovery and a zip package from XDA-Developers in the meantime.
Here's a picture I shot in uneven light with my Moto G. This is a crop of the full frame, because this is the good part. It's otherwise unedited.