Motorola, or should we say 'Moto by Lenovo' has been trying to find its spot ever since brands such as Xiaomi, Asus and Lenovo entered the Indian market. The Moto G was their thing, it was a smartphone and a product category that Motorola came up with, the budget smartphone that offered the perfect balance of specs and value in a package that seemed pretty much perfect.
Today, there are more than a handful of brands who are vying for that space, the same category that helped Motorola through tough times. In fact, the Motorola Moto G is touted as the most successful Motorola smartphone of all time.
Motorola recently launched Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition with an improved chipset, better resistance to dust and quicker charging at Rs 12,499. So is the smartphone that comes with minor upgrades worth paying for, instead of the standard Moto G?
Build and Design: 7.5/10
There's nothing new in here that would make the Turbo Edition stand out from the standard Moto G (3rd Gen). In short, it is pretty much the same stuff with a few upgrades when it comes to water-resistance. The body is entirely of plastic with metal buttons on the right side that jut out of the body.
The front of the device, similar to the older Moto G packs in a speaker at the bottom with top area packing in the receiver and front-facing camera (with the proximity and ambient light sensor squeezed between them).
Things remain unchanged on the back as well with a centered elongated patch that contains the camera, dual-tone LED flash and the typical Motorola logo placed on a dimple.
Open the back cover and things have changed to an extent. No the battery is not removable, but the Turbo Edition comes with an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating while the older Moto G came with just IPX7. What this means is that the smartphone is not just waterproof upto 1 metre, but dust proof as well. For those who are unaware, the '6' in the rating stands for 'Totally protected against dust' while the '7' stands for 'Protected against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m' and yes, an IP68 rating also exists!
Overall, the quality is top notch and the grippy rubberised texture of the back cover, along with the heft and colour selections of the smartphone, felt a lot better in the hand as compared to the Moto G that felt a bit cheap and plasticky.
Since the Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition looks very similar to the Moto G (3rd Gen) it indeed all boils down to the hardware and software tweaks, something that Motorola seems to have focussed on.
We get a 5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touch display, which is the same as the older Motorola Moto G , sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and pixel density of 294ppi. Behind it sits the only differentiator that separates the Moto G Turbo Edition from the Moto G 3rd gen, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset. The octa-core chipset is clocked at 1.5GHz and is a step up from the earlier Snapdragon 400 and recent 410; this is paired with 2GB of RAM. Also another upgrade that came along with the new processor was the Adreno 405 GPU. Onboard storage is limited to 16GB and yes the Turbo Edition does support microSD cards of up to 32GB in capacity.
Motorola also seems to have packed in the same 13MP camera with a dual-tone LED flash as on the Moto G3, which is once again paired with a 5MP f/2.2 camera.
On the connectivity front you get 4G and 3G bands, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, A2DP, LE and Micro USB v2.0 port for charging and data transfers. Also added on board is an FM Radio.
Considering its launch price of Rs 14,499, we did expect something better from Motorola. But the company seems to have packed in the same old stuff from the Moto G (3rd Gen), which results in a not so great first impression when you power it up. The display is an IPS LCD module with a 1280 x 720 pixel array with protection coming from a layer of Corning's Gorilla Glass 3.
It is pretty average and while it gains plenty of points for brightness it looses them all with its low pixel density and lack of sharpness. While text looks crisp, it is the icons that loose sharpness with edges that appear to be slightly blurry (shown in the image above). The casual user may not notice this, but Motorola could have done justice to this G upgrade by simply adding a Full HD Display. Viewing angles are fine and things do not get worse coming from the Moto G (3rd Gen) so we will not be deducting any points either.
Motorola always went with the stock Android philosophy and with the Moto G Turbo Edition, that tradition continues. The software is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and is what we would call, an almost stock version of Android that comes with limited Motorola tweaks and a few app additions like Help, Migrate and Moto. The customisations are far and few and according to us is what keeps the UI running smooth without any hiccups.
What you also get with any other Motorola smartphone are additional software features like Assist, Actions and Display. In short, these are those features that work in the background and respond when needed (just like OEM customisations should).
Assist works by helping users out in situations where they are unable to access their phones, by reading text messages aloud or mentioning the name of the caller while driving. Actions are basically gestures that you can perform with the device like waving your hand over the display turn it on, or wave your hand to silence an alarm. Also present among the customisations is Motorola's Quick Capture functionality that goes from a powered-down display to the camera viewfinder in a mere two seconds, at the flick of your wrist. While we did find this feature useful, there were plenty of instances where camera turned on by mistake and this eventually forced us to turn the feature off.
As expected the Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition does show a slight bump in the numbers when compared to the standard Moto G (third gen). Overall performance of the device is smooth, and as with other Snapdragon 615 chipsets, the smartphone did heat up upon extended gameplay. However, the smartphone handed the heat well, with the only area getting hot while holding it horizontally was the front of the device, with little or no signs of the textured back warming up, that would otherwise make it uncomfortable to hold.
Talking about games, the Turbo Edition ran casual games smoothly and surprised us with great performance on intensive 3D games like Dead Trigger 2 on Medium settings. Real Racing 3 was not up to the mark (thanks to the lack of optimisation on the developer's part) but Asphalt 8 Airborne ran smoothly without any hiccups thanks to the Snapdragon 615 and the Adreno 405 GPU.
Call quality was good and the caller on the other end could hear us clearly. The same can be said about the front-facing speaker, which was loud enough to stand alone by itself as a music player. Audio quality in terms of music was again pretty much on par with the rest of Motorola devices out there, with the only problem being the useless bundled headphones.
The camera performance of the Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition was better than we had expected. The smartphone packs in the same hardware as compared to what you get on the standard Moto G. However, Motorola seems to have made some software tweaks that results in some great-looking images.
PS: Image samples have been resized here. To check the full resolution, please click on the images
The 13MP camera delivers a sufficient amount of detail for a smartphone at this price tag. Daylight photos look impressive and pack in plenty of detail. The HDR mode also does a commendable job in bright situations.
Close ups is where the Turbo Edition excelled and we managed to get a couple of images with plenty of detail and very little noise. Video recording quality was at par with the competition and maxed out at 1080p at 30fps. The video recording mode did a good job with low light shooting as well.
All of the images however showcased a blue tinge and this was visible in both images and video no matter how different the shooting scenarios were. Making things worse for what would be some great optics, is the lack of manual controls on the camera's interface.
The only manual feature available was the touch to focus and ability to change the exposure, which was of no use thanks to the better HDR mode. The 5MP selfie camera however did a great job at producing great looking selfies.
As with every other smartphone in this range it all boils down to low-light performance.
The Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition produced some share worthy images, but it would only make sense to share these on Instagram as the level of noise in these image ruined every low light shot. What did however survive the wrath of Motorola's weird image processing algorithms were images clicked in dimly lit conditions, but again, the Moto struggled to lock focus resulting in blurry images.
Battery Life: 7.5/10
The Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition packs in a non-removable Li-ion 2470 mAh battery, which is the same as is on the older Moto G. We did expected better when it came to battery life thanks to the octa-core setup, which technically should help with battery life, but the results were similar to what we got with the standard Moto G.
Still then, it got us through a whole day of WhatsApp, some casual gaming, two emails accounts on sync and some calls but we had to plug it in by the end of the day. On a work day, users would not need to plug it in. However, those who love to click photos and play 3D games will be looking for a power outlet by the end of the day.
Eitherways, Motorola has packed in a TurboPower Charger which charges the phone quickly and it gets the job done. The downside to that charger is that it comes with a fixed cable and the same cannot be unplugged for use as a data cable.
Verdict and Price in India
The Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition stands a bit taller than the Moto G (third edition) launched earlier last year. One can think of the Moto G Turbo edition as a more refined or polished version of the trusty Moto G, that is now priced to compete at Rs 12,499.
At this range, Motorola has managed to distance the Moto G Turbo Edition from its very own Moto X Play. While this is a good thing, the Turbo Edition certainly fell short of our expectations and we strongly felt that the Turbo is what the Moto G3 should have been to begin with.
The problem with the Turbo Edition lies in the fact that there is a very tiny bump in terms of performance and features that would fail to entice a buyer who is looking for a Moto G3 (since the G3 is priced at Rs 9,999). At the same time neither will a Moto G3 user upgrade to the Moto G Turbo Edition, because it is not a big deal. What would be a better upgrade for those looking to buy a phone under Rs 20k, would be the Moto X Play, that is now priced at a slightly higher Rs 16,499 on Flipkart for the 16GB version, making it a much better deal with a Full HD Display, a 21 MP camera, 3GB of RAM and let's not forget that 3630 mAh battery!
Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.