Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Android Smartphone For Those On A Budget - Moto G (2015)

There are subtle changes taking place in the Smartphone markets. Carriers in the U.S. are moving away from the "subsidy model" that has been with us for many years. Under this plan you walked into a store, dropped $200 for a "Flagship" Phone (IPhone, Android or Windows), signed a two year lock-in contract and paid a monthly service fee for your phone and data. Of course, that top of the line IPhone or Samsung device retails for $600 - $750 and the carrier is subsidizing the rest.

We are now seeing more prepaid, no contract plans, and the major carriers are moving away from "locked" smartphones. You can now purchase an "unlocked (one that can be moved between carriers)" device and pay a monthly fee. You are free in many cases to stop paying and switch providers whenever you want - assuming your device's hardware supports the appropriate frequencies and technology.

This is great for the consumer, but there is one glaring consequence. Buying a "Flagship" smartphone, upfront and unlocked, may induce "sticker shock". The IPhone 6 Plus starts at $749.00. Fortunately, those that are unwilling to invest that much cash have a couple of options. First, the carriers will, generally, let you spread out the payments by adding a monthly fee to the cost of your service. Second, consider buying a "non-flagship" phone.


Unless you are a person who has to have the "latest and greatest", there are some excellent bargain smartphones. Some will provide 90% of the capability of the Flagship products, for a fraction of the cost. A recent entry from Motorola is, in my opinion, one of the best - at a bargain price.

The 3rd generation Moto G (2015) "one ups" the 2014 model, which was highly rated. This new customizable Andoid smartphone can be purchased for a mere $179.00 (8GB), although I would definitely recommend the 16GB version for $219.00. Keep in mind that this price is for an unlocked device that you can use with most any GSM carrier and a few CDMA options - this excludes Verizon & Sprint, at the present time. Grab this phone and a $40 - $50 prepaid plan and you are good to go. Want to switch carriers for a better deal? No problem, no contract - just make sure they support GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile and many MVNOs like Cricket, etc.).

So, what's so special about the new Moto G? It's just about the closest thing to a "Flagship" smartphone you can buy - for a fraction of the price. I will not attempt to run through all of the specs, since they are readily available online. Here are a few highlights:

1. An excellent 5" 720p HD Gorilla Glass display.

2. A slot for a removable micro SD card - store your photos and music.

3. 4G LTE on GSM.

4. Rear Camera Auto HDR - 13 MP, Front Camera - 5 MP.

5. Splendid, all day battery life.

6. Build your own custom color options.

7. Water resistant.

In addition, the Moto G is almost pure Google Android. There are very few manufacture addons, which often cripple the standard Android experience. "Vanilla" Android also I enables more timely Android OS updates, which are very slow to arrive on many devices. The Moto G 3rd Gen ships with the latest Android 5.1.1 - Lollipop. Presently, the 16 GB models are very popular and often in short supply. This will change as manufacturing ramps up.

So, if you are tired of the paying top dollar for the latest and greatest, and you are interested in Android, you can't go wrong with the new Moto G (2015).