on 19 February 2014
People have different needs from their phones so that different handsets will have varying strengths and weaknesses.
For me, I have a Nexus 7 as my 'go to' device at home for reading, news, social, email, watching etc. And I'm in front of a computer all day. So, my needs from a phone are; that it should be a call / messaging center, with sufficient 'on the move' capability for searching, calendar, contacts etc. I only use the camera for remembering things (white board etc.) And - importantly as I cycle to/from work - it does PodCasts nicely. So, my 'space' for smartphonery isn't the 'do it all' type where a big screen and many cores are must-haves. Rather I split the capacity between two devices. Finally, should be said, I have had an iPhone for the past 3 years or so. So that's quite a high baseline to be coming from. Another personal preference is that I tend towards wanting a pretty basic Android + Google Play experience (I use gmail, drive, calendar, contacts a lot) and resent manufacturer bloatware, preferring to pick-and choose what few features I want from the app store.
The Moto G fits this space perfectly. It's price point is excellent, it's on the small side (not as small as iPhone, but not as over sized as most) so is no hassle to have in a jacket pocket all the time. I keep it on 2G (only switching to 3G if I need browsing etc. required) which keeps notifications etc. rolling in (2 Gmail and one MS Exchange account). Like that, it lasts way over 48 hours on a charge, with medium use (few calls, some poking around etc.) The RAM is fine for the few key applications that are always needed (Kindle is by far the worst memory hog... but I prefer the N7 for that, but nice to have on the phone if I have to take the bus). Personal and work Calendars, contacts, email, etc. work perfectly. And 16GB is more than enough for the podcasts turnover I have (I use PocketCasts, but that's s different recommend). Call quality seems fine. The camera is sufficient for 'remembering' things and, actually, cloud sync is more useful than SD card for low usage patterns where one wants to see the pictures quickly on a laptop etc. without having to fuss with cables or bluetooth.
When I bought my Moto G, the Sony Xperia X1 Compact was about to be released as was the Moto X, in the UK - in the sub 5'' range. For that form factor, these seemed to be the best competitors... but in both cases, at almost twice the price. Other smallish devices, even for basic use, seem to be perpetually under powered (to little RAM etc.). And, of course, there are a wide range of > 5'' devices with performance coming out their USB ports! But a key performance feature of a phone is that you can comfortably have it with you all the time (high availability, innit). So, for me, for the money, N7 + Moto G seem like a perfect combination.
On the Android 'purist' front, the Moto G comes with only a couple of bits of bloat ware - MotoCare and Assist + something quite opaque called Motorola Services). MotoCare seems to me, like a waste of RAM, only really doing what Google's Andorid Device Manager does (find phone, remote lock etc.) It's reported load is quite high, I might delete it. Assist switches notifications to silent depending on your calendar - but you can't control which calendar(s) it uses... so it can silence the phone when my partner is in a meeting, as we share google calendars!! Bit silly. But it does silence the thing at night, so that's nice. Over and above these, it's a pretty pure experience.
As a final word on bloat-ware... as other people coming from a Nexus might notice - the Moto G is distributed with the standard Android Keyboard (AOSP)... means if you have got used to gesture typing, all of a sudden - gone! Somehow I managed to install the google keyboard - worth it.