Motorola has refreshed its budget smartphone line with three new models: the third-generation Moto G, the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style. The Moto G is available now, while the Moto X Play and Moto X Style launch in August and September respectively.
All three are pitched as cheap alternatives to Apple's and Samsung's premium devices. As such, they feature more high-end specs than might be expected for under £400, or in the Moto G's case under £200, along with the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS.
Here's what we think of the three new models so far, having got our hands on them briefly at an event in London.
All three smartphones can be fitted with customised back covers; we saw panels made of wood, silicon rubber and a variety of coloured plastics. They also sport distinctively curved backs, making even the giant 5.7in Moto X Style reasonably comfortable to hold.
The Moto G has a trick of its very own - it's waterproof to the IPX7 specification, meaning it can survive depths of up to 1m for 30 minutes. We tested this by dunking it into a handily-provided tank of water, and can confirm that the Moto G survived without problems.
Generally, the Moto G, Moto X Play and Moto X Style don't look and feel too cheap. They're all fitted with microSD ports, which is another plus, although even the latter two probably won't be mistaken for premium handsets with their largely plastic construction, middling weight and unremarkable thinness.
The £379 Moto X Style is the most expensive of the three, but also features the best screen: a 5.7in display at 1440x2560 resolution. It looks beautifully crisp, with vibrant colours and wide viewing angles.
The Moto X Play's slightly smaller 5.5in display runs at 1080x1920, not as sharp as its bigger brother but it's still full HD and offers enough pixels for practically any task.
The Moto G's 5in, 720x1280 display is exactly the same specs-wise as it was on the previous second-gen model. This missed opportunity for improvement is a little disappointing, but the screen is still fine in practice. Nothing looked blurred or desaturated, which is pretty respectable for a £159 handset.
As we said, each of these smartphones will run Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. Considering that this latest version hasn't even rolled out to many older, more expensive, phones, the Moto line already looks like a great way to take advantage of 5.1's security, performance and mobile device management improvements over 5.0.
Even better is that Motorola has refrained from adding a custom skin or any kind of bloatware. The former, while sometimes capable of adding helpful features, is often a nuisance that delays the delivery of vital updates, so we're glad to see Motorola keeping things basic.
We didn't get a chance to run benchmarks, but the Moto X Play and Moto X Style both felt sufficiently nippy when navigating menus and launching apps.
This is probably down to the upgraded internals. The Moto X Play packs a beefy Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM, while the Moto X Style has a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with 3GB of RAM.
It's odd that the pricier option (the Moto X Play starts at £299) includes fewer cores, although the extra gig of RAM should help with multitasking.
Only the Moto G lapsed into sluggishness when opening apps and rapidly switching between tasks. To be fair, these occurrences were brief, and it's worth noting that the third-gen model's specs are a significant upgrade on its predecessor - a 1.4GHz, 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor compared with the second-gen's 1.2GHz, 32-bit Snapdragon 400 - plus double the RAM at 2GB.
The most impressive aspects of the Moto X Play and Moto X Style are their main rear cameras, both of which include vast 21MP sensors. On paper, at least, that puts them easily among the best smartphone cameras around.
The Moto G's 13MP rear snapper is also a huge number of pixels for the price, and a marked improvement on the older model's 8MP.
It's hard to judge the true quality of pictures on a smartphone screen, but all three cameras took seemingly strong snaps even under the glaring lights of the event venue's showroom.
The front-facing cameras also put in a decent showing. The Moto X Play and Moto X Style both have 5MP sensors to capture fairly smooth, clear images. Unsurprisingly, the Moto G's 2MP front camera produced much noisier, less colour-rich shots.
For consumers and even businesses on a budget, there isn't much in the £300-£400 bracket that will be able to match the specs of the Moto X Play and Moto X Style. With good processors, great screens and an up-to-date OS, these smartphones are already looking like very tempting prospects.
The Moto G, meanwhile, is likely to continue Motorola's dominance of the sub-£200 market, having received some worthwhile upgrades while keeping its almost bafflingly low price.
We'll take a more in-depth look in our upcoming review, particularly at what it can offer enterprise users, but for now it appears that Motorola has created yet another solid entry-level smartphone.
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