Wednesday 31 August 2016

Motorola Moto G - 2nd Generation vs 3rd Generation

A few weeks back I bought my son a Motorola Moto G 3rd generation and for what is, a mid-range handset, I have been seriously impressed with it.

So when looking for a phone for my daughter I instantly looked at the Moto range. A faulty Moto E had to be returned, and finally I settled on a Moto G 2nd generation.

The Moto G range are Motorola's mid range phones sandwiched between the budget Moto E and the top end Moto X, so you don’t expect premium performance - but the Moto G are decent performers and are reasonably priced. You get serious bang-for-your-buck.


The 2nd gen was released in September 2014, less than a year later the 3rd gen was released. The 2nd gen is slightly smaller, thinner and lighter than its successor. They both feature a similar body shell, 5.0” IPS LCD screen with 294 ppi and Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1GB RAM. The 3rd gen adds IPX7 certified - it is water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes.

The 3rd gen is available in 8GB model which has 1GB RAM - which my sons is - as well as 16GB model which has 2GB RAM.

Where the two differ are marginal. The quad-core 1.2Ghz processor in the 2nd gen is upped to a beefier 1.4Ghz. The GPU has been upped slightly too. The cameras go from a 8 megapixel main with LED flash capable of 720p videos and 2 megapixel front, to a 13 megapixel main with dual LED flash capable of 1080p videos and 5 megapixel front. 

Mobile Network

My 2nd gen is a XT1068 model which has no 4G, whereas later ones did. The 3rd gen however does have 4G.

Android Version

The 2nd gen shipped with Android ‘Kit Kat’ but is upgradeable to ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Marshmallow’, whereas the 3rd gen shipped with ‘Lollipop’ and upgradeable to ‘Marshmallow’ with a possibility it will received ‘Nougat’.


Both feature built in non-removable batteries, but the 3rd gen increases capacity by about 20%.


I ran both side by side. Both are running Marshmallow and there really is a negligible difference. Apps and games ran pretty much the same, with only a second or two between them and not always in the 3rd gens favour.

Pokemon Go and Facebook - two rather heavy apps for any device ran the same on both. Opening Chrome and loading pages over WiFi there was no difference.


The cameras on both handset are very impressive. The 8 megapixel camera on the 2nd gen produce crisp, sharp and well balanced pictures and the increased 13 megapixel on the 3rd gen do just as well.

Front cameras aren’t for much more than taking selfies or video calls. The 2 megapixel on the 2nd gen produced decent images and the upped 5 megapixel on the 3rd gen were even better.

Call and Audio Quality

Both handsets were great for calls, producing clear and very loud calls. Music playing on both were as good as you get from any phone. Personally I don’t like music blasting out from a small plastic device - couple it with a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of decent earphones and I am much happier.


My kids are happy with both handsets. There isn’t much difference between the two. The 3rd gen has slightly higher specs, improved camera, water resistance and a possibility of receiving Android ‘Nougat’.

Both handsets are decent performers.

Written by Simon Royal. Follow me at

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