Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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Motorola Moto G Turbo Edition Review 

Same old shell, with powerful innards
By Chakri Kudikala on 2016-03-21
Key Features
  • 5-inch 720p display
  • Water and dust-resistant properties
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • QuickCharge support
What we like
  • Solid build quality and elegant design
  • Water and dust resistant 
  • Quick charge support
  • Stock Android Experience
What we don't like
  • Battery life could be better
  • Lacks Full HD display
8.4
Our Score
Introduction

Choosing the best mid-range smartphone is a tough task given the sheer number of new models hitting the market from the likes of Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung, Gionee, and InFocus. When it was launched two years ago, the first-generation Moto G quickly became the de facto value-for-money option. However, a lot has changed in the budget segment since then; especially with the entry of Chinese smartphone manufacturers. 

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Motorola’s latest offering, the Moto G Turbo Edition, is a faster variant to the 2015 Moto G. Not much has changed except for an upgraded processor and the addition of Motorola’s Turbo Charge feature.

The Moto G Turbo Edition sits well in the budget segment. The Rs 14,499 phone sports the same processor as the Moto X Play, which is priced at Rs.19,999. After having used the phone for a week, here’s what we think about it.

Design
9

The phone’s design is virtually unchanged compared to the 2015 Moto G. That means, you can expect the same sturdy build quality and excellent ergonomics of the standard variant, thanks to a curved plastic back cover that’s great to hold. The most visible design change comes in the form of the removable back panel, which has been patterned for enhanced grip. This is not only functional, but it also looks and feels premium compared to the older design. Rubber inserts incorporated in the rear panel effectively seal the SIM and microSD slots, ensuring IP67 certification.

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The device is dominated by a 5-inch IPS LCD display, with an earpiece and a 5-megapixel front camera along with a proximity sensor on the top. A solitary speaker rests below the screen. There is no LED notification light on this model as well, but this is replaced by the Active Display feature, which always shows notifications at a glance. There is nothing fancy about button placement. The volume and power rocker buttons are placed on the right-hand side of the device, leaving the left-hand side bare. The power button has been textured to make it easy to tell it apart from the rest of buttons. The bottom edge bears a micro-USB slot and primary microphone next to the speaker. The top section houses a 3.5 mm audio port and a secondary microphone for noise cancellation next to it.

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The phone is equipped with a 13-megapixel camera at the rear and augmented by a dual-LED flash. Removing the back cover reveals a pair of Micro SIM card slots and a microSD card slot. The device is 11.6 mm thick and weighs 155 g, which is same as the standard variant.

Display
7

The display of the Moto G Turbo is the same as the 2015 Moto G. It sports a 5-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 720x1280p, offering a pixel density of 294 PPI. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protected LCD panel is sharp and capable of reproducing rich and vibrant colours. However, we wish the screen was brighter because it’s not legible outdoors in bright sunlight. That said, considering its price, the Moto G Turbo offers better screen. The similarly-priced Lenovo Vibe S1, on the other hand, has a better screen than the Turbo. 

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Hardware
8

This is where the 2015 Moto G differs significantly from Moto G Turbo Edition. The phone houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, bearing eight cores running at 1.5 GHz. That’s double the core count as the standard edition. This is the same chipset we have seen in Moto X Play. Graphics are handled by the integrated Adreno 405 GPU. 

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The new Moto G Turbo has IP67 certification, which means the device is now water and dust resistant compared to 2015 Moto G, which was only water resistant. We feel this a welcome upgrade. Every time you pull the back panel off, you'll see an on-screen reminder to make sure that it's reattached properly.

The device supports both 4G LTE network bands – Band 3 (1800 MHz) and Band 40 (2600 MHz) for India. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

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The Moto G Turbo supports quick charging. The company calls it Turbo Charge and claims up to six hours of battery life with a 15-minute charge. A fast charger is thankfully bundled in the box. A lack of detachable cable makes the charger difficult to carry.

Software and apps
9.5

When it comes to software, Motorola has been doing a great job since they re-entered the market in 2012. While Motorola’s customisations have always been subtle, under Google’s shadow the vendor has dialed back even further. If you are a fan of stock Android, but still seek some degree of basic customisation, Motorola is the right vendor for you.

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The phone runs Android 5.1.1 out of the box. The device even received the Android Marshmallow update during the course of the review. There are few tweaks in this version though; the biggest one being the Moto Display feature which employs sensors to display notifications as soon as you pick up the phone. There is no LED notification light, but that’s not a big deal as the function is replaced by Moto Display. Motorola has also added some cool gestures such as flick your wrist twice with the phone in standby to launch the camera app, or shake the device twice to turn on the torch. Most of the popular social apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp ran without any issues.

Camera
8.5

The smartphone comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera with an aperture of F2.0, auto-focus, and dual-LED flash. The device also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with an aperture of F2.2. During the 2015 Moto G launch, the company claimed that this is the same camera that has been used in the Motorola Nexus 6, with the exception of  the Optical Image Stabilisation feature. 

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The camera is quite impressive in both daylight and low-light. The daylight performance is brilliant and the images don’t show any signs of noise. The camera app offers basic modes such as HDR mode, slow motion, Panorama mode, geo-tagging, widescreen mode (9.7MP) and timer. Motorola has done a fantastic job with the camera app, which shows great noise control. Of course, we are only kidding. It’s absolutely horrendous and we recommend replacing it with absolutely anything from the Play Store. Absolutely anything. The device can record 1080p Full HD videos at 30fps as well as 720p HD slow motion videos at 120 fps using both front and rear cameras. The slow motion videos pleasantly surprised us on both cameras.

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Audio and video
7.5

The 2015 Moto G was one of our favourite phones under the Rs 15,000 price bracket in terms of multimedia. The same holds true for the Moto G Turbo Edition. The device was loud enough with both speaker and IEM (Brainwavz Delta). Given the stock interface, you get Play Music as the default media player.

The device comes with a built-in FM Radio. As on every device, the FM Radio starts only when earphones are connected. You can also record programs in stereo quality with the FM Radio app.

Performance
9

Just like the standard variant, this device performs well in day-to-day usage. The smartphone offers decent gaming performance too. Games like Asphalt 8, Beach Buggy Racing, and Mortal Kombat 5 ran without any hiccups. We didn’t notice any frame drops either. As is the case with any visually intensive game, the back of the device gets uncomfortably warm during extended play sessions. Thank god for eight cores. They serve as ideal hand warmers in the cold.

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The signal reception was good and call quality was great too, we did not notice any problems while making calls even in areas where cellular signals are weak. The lack of Wi-Fi 802.11a is a noticeable omission considering that Motorola is known for making communication hardware. There is 16GB of storage in the device, out of which 11.8GB is available to the user. 

The Moto G Turbo Edition scored 34,550 points in AnTuTu Benchmark test. This score is better than that of the 2015 Moto G (23715 points), but that is a given considering it has a faster processor. We did not notice any change in the performance when the device was updated to Android Marshmallow. All in all, the Moto G Turbo delivers better performance than 2015 Moto G in every aspect.

Battery life
8

The battery capacity on this phone is the same as its predecessor. It comes with 2,450 mAh battery, and it now supports Turbo Charge, which is claimed to charge the device from zero percent to 100 percent within 90 minutes. On moderate usage, which involved making voice calls, browsing the web, streaming videos on YouTube, gaming for about half an hour, and little usage of social apps like WhatsApp and Facebook the phone lasted us for a day. Our video loop battery life test surprised us with an underwhelming score of 7 hours, which is significantly below par.

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Conclusion

The Moto G had already set the bar for affordable hardware. The Turbo Edition builds on that by offering a faster processor and fast charging. Motorola is effectively gunning for the Chinese brands by making the Snapdragon 615 available in this segment. Combine this with the device’s water resistance, stock user interface, and stellar build quality, and you have a very compelling alternative to the likes of what Xiaomi and Huawei have to offer.

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