Nikhil SubramaniamSep 06, 2014 09:50:06 IST
Let’s not bury the lede: Xiaomi will not be the hottest smartphone brand in India for much longer. Welcome back, Motorola.
The US mobile giant has been relatively quiet in India after the Moto E launch and we have only heard from them about price cuts for the Moto G (now last-gen) and Moto X exchange offers. But all that has changed with the launch of the second-gen Moto G (no G2 or G 2014) and the new Moto X, as well as the Moto 360, arguably the most coveted smartwatch in town. While the latter two will only hit markets (i.e Flipkart, thanks to the exclusivity) later this month, the ‘Moto G2’ goes on sale from midnight tonight.
Nearly everything about the new Moto G seems better. It packs a larger 720p IPS display covered by Gorilla Glass. There are front-facing stereo speakers, which are very rare in the sub-Rs 15,000 range. In fact, very few smartphones have stereo speakers at all. In doing this, Motorola has taken some inspiration from its entry-level Moto E. The thing that remains unchanged is the processor, which is still good in our opinion this late into the year, though we would have loved to see the 64-bit Snapdragon 410 that many manufacturers are using.
What’s more it now has couple of decent-sounding cameras on board and the Moto G will receive Android L, as announced by the company. And finally the 12,999 price for the 16 GB version is quite stunning in our opinion, since there's a microSD card slot too.
The 2014 Moto G sounds great in all respects, but the Xiaomi Redmi 1S matches the specs at less than half the price. However, we are yet to be satisfied about our MIUI experience on the phone, and in our assessment it’s well short of the possibilities of Android L.
Something like user experience may seem an insignificant factor in the buying decision, but the Indian market has matured since the days of the first Moto G. Then the Moto G was a pioneer; it drove hordes to Flipkart for the sales.
It may sound pompous, but the first Moto G gave Indians used to feature phones and low-end BlackBerry’s a smooth Android experience at a low cost, which was unheard of till then. Now everyone expects it; the thing is Google’s strategy of naming Android 4.4 KitKat to boost recall value, among other reasons, has worked like a charm. Everyone wants KitKat on their phones and manufacturers are providing it. That in effect has greatly improved user experience at the low end.
The second-gen Moto G has to expand on the first one’s success in a market chockfull of good low-end and mid-range phones. It’s a tough ask, but it has the right hardware tools, the right complementary device in the Moto 360, and the right idea about putting experience ahead of individual specs. The increased focus on creating a balance of specs and user experience in the low-end segment has also resulted in a sort of flavour-of-the-week effect, and for the past few weeks everyone’s been lapping up Xiaomi. The new Moto G looks good for a longer haul.
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