Life Tech The telcos don’t want you to own this phone
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The telcos don’t want you to own this phone

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Many Australians will miss out on what is arguably this year’s best reasonably-priced smartphone because the big telcos refuse to stock it.

When released in mid-September, Motorola’s new mid-range phone, the Moto G, will be sold outright for $369 or less, but only by electronics retailers like Dick Smith and Harvey Norman.

That is “a real shame”, a phone comparison expert told The New Daily, because the Moto G “looks excellent”.

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“It’s a shame more people won’t have a chance to look at the Moto G,” WhistleOut editor Joseph Hanlon said.

moto-g-cup
The Moto G can even receive calls underwater.

“The price tag is right. It’s a really affordable but powerful phone for money.”

The fact the Moto G will not be sold via expensive lock-in contracts will potentially save consumers hundreds of dollars a year – without sacrificing quality.

“If you go out and buy a phone like this outright and then you put in a cheap monthly SIM card you can actually save a bunch of money,” Mr Hanlon said.

Motorola is proudly marketing the Moto G as an “everyday workhorse phone”.

“In terms of style, there are snazzier phones out there,” a company spokesman told The New Daily.

“But this is designed to be a phone that anyone can use, whether you are young or old. It gives you all the performance you get from a high-end product, but it’s a much, much lower price point.”

The good stuff

The New Daily has tested the phone and can confirm it is the perfect fit for the budget-conscious consumer who doesn’t want to skimp on quality.

It’s water resistant (supposedly to one metre for 30 minutes), something only about a dozen smartphones on the market can boast. We tried it in a glass of water and a kitchen sink and found no ill effects.

The battery easily lasts a whole day of use. This is helped by the Active Display feature, which allows you to move your hand over the handset to check email, SMS and other notifications without fully turning on the phone.

side-back
Motorola doesn’t claim ‘snazziness’. Just power and price.

It is dual SIM, so you can combine your home and work phone in one device.

Its almost 13cm screen (nearly a full centimetre larger than the iPhone 6) has a bright display that performs better than its relatively low 720×1280 pixel resolution (a step down from the iPhone) would have you expect.

Its 13 megapixel back camera (and five megapixel front camera) is enough for the casual user – neither exceptional nor inferior.

Even the back cover is functional. You simply use your fingernail to pry it off with force, slide your SIM card straight in and push it back on. No difficult manoeuvring. No need for paper clips to force open impossible little holes.

Motorola may not brag about its appearance, but its simple exterior (which only comes in black) is sleek. The lightly-textured back cover makes it easier to grip, harder to drop.

The Australian version has 16GB of internal memory, which is the same as the entry-level iPhone. It runs the pure Android operating system without extra ‘crapware’, which improves speed.

The downsides

moto-g-in-hand
The Moto G might be hard to find, but will be worth looking for.

The Moto G is slightly too long to use comfortably with one hand. But all smartphones have the same problem.

Its battery is non-removable, which means you cannot perform a manual hard reset. And you can’t swap it out if damaged.

Its battery-saving Active Display feature is temperamental. It’s supposed to activate when you swipe your hand over the screen, but you can never predict when it will work.

Sometimes, internet connectivity is buggy.

Without the support of the big telcos, the phone will be difficult to find. If you don’t want to visit an electronics retailer or can’t wait until mid-September, an 8GB version of the Moto G is available online from Yatango Shopping (but as it’s a foreign version, there’s a risk it won’t work with Australian networks).

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