Good morning kiddos! I have a surprise review for you all today. The Moto G LTE. I got mine in yesterday afternoon and I've had some time to play with it and examine it, so this is my review of it.
First off, this is the same device as the original Moto G in every single way with the addition of two notable items.
1. A microSD card slot.
2. LTE radio.
The other thing of note is that the Moto G LTE only comes in an 8 GB version, differing from the regular Moto G (which has both 8 GB and 16 GB versions). Obviously though trade-offs have to be made to keep the price down, so my guess is that a 16 GB version would have caused it to go up and brought it closer to $250-300 territory thus defeating the purpose of the device. That being, an incredibly well made phone with LTE capability and expandable storage at an off contract $220 price point (which is beyond reasonable).
Some people might note such a lack of a 16 GB example and start foaming at the mouth. I know I saw more than a few doing that on the various Android websites. Here's the thing, the average person DOES NOT need that much storage space. Not when the device has expandable storage. (It's worth also noting that the phone ONLY supports up to 32 GB microSD cards.)
As for build quality, the device itself lives up to Motorola's last few offerings. It is amazing. In fact, it's almost too good. Being that this is a Moto G, the previous cases and backs made for the original Moto G will work on the device. I wanted to be sure though and also get a look at the microSD card slot. Well, to do that I had to pull off the back. Jesus. Talk about sturdy and really on there. I started on one corner and snapped it back into place within seconds. I honestly was worried I was going to use too much force and somehow break the device. It's really on there. It does come off though, it just took a shot of my morning caffeine fix to work up the nerve to pry off the back.
As for software, out of the box is running 4.4.3. That's right, out of the box it's running the latest and greatest. Seriously, Motorola is killing it when it comes to software and updates, they're even beating Google with updates lately. Of course there is a slight drawback, given the limited built in storage on the device, you're only getting 5.52 GB of free space and realistically more like 4.99.
Now, Motorola had previously said they were going to enable the microSD card to be used in conjunction with the device but they never said how that was going to work. Having the device in hand, but not the microSD card to put in it (I ordered a Class 10 32 GB Sandisk one from Amazon two days ago for only $13), I decided to look around and see what if anything related to that. I found something, although it's not what I'm sure many were hoping for. Going into Settings and then Storage and scrolling down you'll see a listing for SD Card. In there is the option that's going to allow you to take advantage of the microSD card you put in your device. "Move media: Move your pictures, movies and music to the SD card to free internal memory."
I feel like it needs to be stressed again, this is a device for the average person. The average person is going to care about taking pictures, recording video and listening to music on their device. A 32 GB microSD card can be had for under $20, the option to move those things to it basically has them covered. It also leaves them room on the device for the handful of apps they'll likely need and use regularly. The average person is not installing games that are over a gig in size, they're playing a quick game of Angry Birds. They're not doing video/picture editing on their phone, they're checking their bank account and taking selfies.
So the storage might seem limited but for general and average use it is more than enough, especially when used in tandem with the microSD card.
UPDATE: Got my microSD card in just now. This one here from Amazon. Usable space after inserting it into the phone is 29.71 GB. Not too shabby. I loaded it into the phone, while powered off, turned it on and went into settings and it was already mounted and showing the space as available for usage.
Beyond that the app comes with the usual assortment of Google Apps and has two apps that are useful from Motorola.
Motorola Assist: This app as I've mentioned before lets your phone do things on your behalf. Since this phone does not have the same hardware and software as the Moto X, the app itself won't be used for the same things and as such it has limited but still useful functionality. It will silence your phone and/or auto-reply when you're in meetings (which it does when it notes the relevant Calendar entries, if I remember correctly). It will also keep your phone quiet at night with it's sleep setting. You schedule a time (from midnight to six AM for example) when you normally sleep and it will kick in and disable all alerts. Now, that doesn't mean you can't make certain changes. You can. If you want to hear calls from your "favorites", you just check the box and their calls will get through. If you want to make sure you don't miss any emergency calls, same thing. The catch on this one is that someone has to call twice within five minutes. That of course makes sense, if it's an emergency I would definitely expect more than one call before giving up.
Motorola Migrate: I am going to write this one in a rant-like manner because I had to deal with this when the original Moto G came out and I picked one up for a certain friend of mine. THIS FUCKING APP WILL TRANSFER OVER YOUR CONTACTS, CALL LOG, TEXT MESSAGES, MUSIC/VIDEOS/PICTURES, etc. (Sorry, but last year I told my friend exactly what to do and for some reason she decided to go to T-Mobile anyway instead of listening to me and they told her all kinds of retarded nonsense that had her head spinning and basically went, "Uh, nothing we can do. Not an official T-Mobile phone. Sorry." And then she went to some so called "tech expert" moron friend of hers and he said even more retarded nonsense. All of which came back to me via a lengthy phone call where I got bitched at because she listened to idiots who don't know shit about technology. At which point I explained how to do things again and she went with "but so and so said" and I said "Well so and so and T-Mobile are idiots. Who knows more? I do! So either listen to me or quit asking me for help with stuff I explained easily the first time around." [starts slowing down breathing to calm down again] But seriously, if you're going to listen to other people over me when it comes to Android and Android devices then don't call me period. I know more, I am the Ron Swanson of Android stuff when it comes to the general public and the majority of customer service reps. /end rant) Here's how this app works. You install the app from the Play Store on your old device, you run it and it tells you "what would you like to transfer", you make your selections and it generates a QR code (or bar scanner code). At that point you fire up Motorola Migrate on your Moto G and scan that QR code. The app then works its magic and your stuff transfers over to the device. That's it. Click, select, scan, wait. Profit! You can listen to one Pink Floyd song and it'll finish doing its thing before Pink Floyd finishes doing theirs.
I would like to also add that while the device itself did not come with it out of the box, Motorola Alert is compatible with the device and can be installed from the Play Store. (Devices that previously were incompatible received it with the 4.4.3 OTA update, but since this one comes with 4.4.3 out of the box it seems like you'll have to install it manually.)
For those wondering what Motorola Alert, it's basically an amergency alert app to let designated contacts know you're in trouble or even just your location (as in when you get home or to work and when you leave either place).
I feel like I can't do enough justice to explaining the app itself, so be a dear and just head over to Android Central and check out Phil's write up on it. He does a much better job than I ever could.
Apart from that, not much else to the phone. It's incredibly well made and affordable.
I highly recommend if you're considering picking one up that you do so through Motorola's website. Doing so will allow you to pick up the 2 year Moto Care plan on top of your device's already included warranty. What does the plan entail/cover? Glad you didn't ask.
The cost of that is $59.99, which might seem pricey but if you're accident prone with your device then it's more than worth it. As I stated elsewhere, Motorola customer/tech support is amazing and helpful. So even just the Moto Care app (also included on the phone out of the box) is worth it. (That's free by the way, Moto Care app and 1 year help/support per the regular warranty. It can be seen in the screenshot of the apps on the device, it's the one called Help.)
Definitely consider getting this if you can afford it. The cost of adding this on top of the device cost itself will bring your grand total to $302.01.
So there you have it. Thoughts? Questions? Comments?