Motorola Moto G (Boost Mobile) review

The Motorola Moto G is a well-built phone for a great price on Boost Mobile, but its lack of LTE limits its appeal.
Photo of Motorola Moto G (Boost Mobile)

The Motorola Moto G is an ambitious phone. It debuted for $179 as an unlocked device and made us rethink what we could get from a low-cost handset. The Moto G now lands on Boost Mobile for an even more wallet-friendly $129.99, with access to Boost’s affordable no-contract plans. But the Boost Moto G comes with the same no-LTE caveat as the unlocked version. And with the equally impressive, LTE-packing Warp 4G available for $149.99 at the time of this writing, the Moto G isn’t quite the steal it is as an unlocked device. Our Editors’ Choice on Boost remains the year-old Samsung Galaxy S III, which is still one of fastest performers available through the carrier.    

We’ve already reviewed the unlocked Moto G, so head over to that review for a full rundown on the design and features. The Boost Mobile version is physically identical, so we’ll focus on the carrier-specific differences for this review.

Network and Call Quality
Boost piggybacks on Sprint’s nationwide 3G and 4G LTE networks, but the Moto G only supports 3G CDMA (800/850/1900MHz). Don’t expect too much in the way of data speed, as we found Sprint had some of the slowest 3G test results in our Fastest Mobile Networks survey. In my own tests in New York City, the Moto G struggled to crack the 1Mbps mark for downloads or uploads. The Warp 4G, meanwhile, averaged 13Mbps down and 3Mbps up connecting to Sprint’s much faster 4G LTE network. The Moto G supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi on the 2.4GHz band only, and I’d stick with that for any serious data usage.

Note: The slideshow below is of the unlocked Moto G, which is physically identical to the Boost Mobile Moto G.

Call quality on this version of the phone was about average in my tests. Earpiece volume gets plenty loud without distorting, though voices coming through the other line tended to sound overly harsh at upper volumes. Transmissions through the mic sounded clear and natural, while noise cancellation blocked out a wide range of street noises.

Bloatware, Competition, and Conclusions
Thankfully, Boost didn’t go overboard with the software pre-loads on its Moto G. The Boost Zone account managing app is the only non-removable piece, while Boost Music and an airG chat client can both be uninstalled. Of the 8GB of internal storage, only 4.95GB are free to users out of the box, so don’t count on loading up a ton of apps or media. The Warp 4G has 5.44GB free, plus an all-important microSD card slot for adding much more storage.

The Moto G isn’t the cheapest phone on Boost, as there are a number of options for $100, like the Kyocera Hydro Edge or Samsung Galaxy Rush. Neither of those comes close to matching the Moto G in features or build quality, though. The biggest competitor is the ZTE-made Warp 4G, which matches the Moto G’s 720p display and Snapdragon 400 processor, while offering far better mobile data speeds thanks to its 4G LTE support, as well as the potential for more media storage. Boost is currently discounting the Warp 4G to $150, but even at its normal $199.99 price, it’s a great value. You get a lot of phone for not a lot of money with the Moto G, but if you can afford to stretch your budget, the Warp 4G is a better choice. And if you can go even higher, the Samsung Galaxy S III remains our Editors’ Choice on Boost thanks to its faster performance and wider feature set.

Specifications
Phone Capability / Network CDMA
Screen Resolution 1280 x 720 pixels
NFC No
Dimensions 5.5 x 2.6 x .46 inches
802.11x/Band(s) 802.11 b/g/n
Video Camera Resolution 720p
Available Integrated Storage 4.59 GB
Processor Speed 1.2 GHz
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
GPS Yes
Service Provider Boost
Total Integrated Storage 8 GB
High-Speed Data EVDO Rev A
Weight 5.04 oz
Screen Type IPS LCD
Operating System as Tested Android 4.4
Physical Keyboard No
Camera Resolution 5 MP Rear
1 MP Front-Facing
Screen Pixels Per Inch 329 ppi
Bands 800, 850, 1900
microSD Slot No
Form Factor Candy Bar
Screen Size 4.5 inches
Bluetooth Version 4.0

Verdict
The Motorola Moto G is a well-built phone for a great price on Boost Mobile, but its lack of LTE limits its appeal.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc