I recently bought a dual SIM 2nd generation Moto G to use while I was in Malaysia so I could keep both an Australian number and a Malaysian number active at the same time. Since I’m in a bit of a ranting mood, here goes nothing.
Amusingly enough, this Moto G is the cheapest Android device I’ve ever bought, and I think it’s actually the best experience I’ve had with Android so far too. No weird Chrome crashing, no crashing my wireless router and decent battery life, even with two SIMs in it!
The device does have a few flaws. It only has 1GB RAM which unlike on iOS makes itself known very quickly - almost every time you switch apps, you are looking at a reload time. The camera is so-so, but probably decent given the price. 8GB of storage was something I thought was enough for Android devices 4 years ago, but in this day and age, it’s not enough. It does have a microSD slot, but given that KitKat got stupidly strict with SD card permissions, it’s not necessarily predictable what you can use it with.
It’s a got a plastic back which definitely doesn’t feel as good as the metal or glass you can sometimes get nowadays, but it does the job - battery isn’t replaceable unfortunately, but it gives you access to the 2 SIM card slots and microSD slot. I found the headphone jack less than ideal, being slightly angled which made it less secure for my headphones - not everyone will have this problem.
It’s been slightly over a year since my last rant on an Android device - things have changed since then. Gmail now supports non-Google e-mail accounts, which solves my issue with the Email app being generations behind the Gmail app. Bluetooth behaviour is unfortunately still not great. The Moto G doesn’t crash my headset - but pressing play on the remote is still a dice roll if you don’t actively kill your audio players.
While my Moto G is still on KitKat, it still benefits from the Material Design revamp - the most useful of which I’d say is the swipe-from-left gesture to bring up the sidebar menu. It’s still a ways off from the huge library of accepted gestures on iOS, but anything that saves me reaching for the top-left of any screen larger than 3.5” is a win. The back button behaviour feels more random - this might be the fault of developers using Material Design incorrectly, but it’s gotten slightly more difficult to correctly predict if the back button will send me to the right place.
The Play Store CDN is still slow. Don’t know why, don’t know how, still a mystery to me how this is like the one odd department Apple is better at than Google. I’ve been looking and I still haven’t found a great Android substitute for some of the software I use:
- Alien Blue: Flow Reader was a glimmer of hope which has died now. I’m using Reddit Sync Pro now (maybe Sync for Reddit by the time you read this.)
- Downcast: Doggcatcher has improved significantly for the higher DPI screens now. I’ve actually replaced Downcast with Overcast now, and considering how difficult it can be to replicate Overcast’s headline features on Android with acceptable performance, I don’t think I’m finding an equivalent podcast player on Android anytime soon.
- Reeder: Press is still in about the same place as last time, good, but not great. I’ve actually considered using Unread to replace Reeder since it’s full of more comfortable gestures.
- Tweetbot: I’m still using Plume, which seems to have gotten worse - not sure how, but it’s still the only one which seems to have sane list support. Unfortunately there isn’t one I like now, chances are there won’t be one I like in the future, thanks to Twitter’s API user limits.
In general, I’m finding Android software quality still a notch below what’s available for iOS - while I’ve found candidates for replacing my iOS regulars without shopping for them, I’ve yet to find great Android candidates with shopping for them.
They’ve locked down the media scanning in KitKat which I think is generally a good move. Unfortunately, they haven’t gotten their rules for media scanning up to scratch to compensate, which can lead to a lot of frustration trying to get files to show up in MTP or in your music player if you don’t have root. I’ve wasted hours trying to get images and music off the thing.
I think the Moto G is an excellent Android device if you can live with the constant app reloading, slightly slow to appear share menu and doing a bit of juggling with the microSD card. Otherwise, you might want to get a higher-end phone with a little bit more RAM and more internal storage.