Hands-on Motorola Moto G review: A Nexus by stealth

Motorola has announced a new handset, the Moto G, that's designed to deliver a premium experience at a price that all can afford.

Launched at an event in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the new handset is looking to avoid the pitfalls of current budget handsets, by delivering a great display, plenty of power and battery life that will see you through the day.

The Moto G takes design leads from the Moto G, launched a few months ago and a big hit in the US and in the hand it feels better than you'd expect for a phone that costs only £135. Motorola called out phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fame as cheap rival devices that fall short of the mark and we have to commend Motorola: the Moto G feels like it should be more expensive.

But it's the display that will grab your attention. At 4.5-inches, it has the sort of size that lets Android breathe: you'll have space to play, you'll be able to get to grips with all those apps. 

Not only is it large, but the resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels puts it on a par with this year's mid-range handsets and last year's flagship. With a pixel density of 329ppi, it's detailed and sharp. Our initial impressions are that it's nice and vibrant although we'd need to spend more time with the handset away from the launch event demo room to see how it performs in real life.

READ: Motorola Moto G: Where can I get it?

There's a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset packed in, along with 1GB of RAM, which is a respectable load-out. It's going to be slower getting into action than the current run of flagship handsets, but moving around Android 4.3 didn't show any real noticeable signs of lag. Motorola stated in launching the device that it was designed to perform and we'll be looking at the how it copes in a full review soon.

When it comes to storage, the Moto G doesn't quite give you the versatility of some of the other devices out there. It comes with either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage and there's no option for microSD expansion. 

This is probably the biggest limitation of the handset: install a couple of heavy games with lots of data and the 8GB model will soon run out of space. Something has to give on a device that costs £135 for the 8GB or £159 for the 16GB. It's incredibly cheap and our first impressions are very favourable. 

But going further, the look and feel of the Moto G reminds us of Google's home-grown Nexus phones. The low price combined with specs that impress and a recent version of Android that's almost entirely untouched by Motorola, makes the Moto G feel like a Nexus by stealth. It's a way to put a Google smartphone, with a promise of performance, into the hands of those who can't afford the £299 Nexus 5.

Additionally, the Moto G isn't going to be left languishing on Android 4.3 for long: the company - owned by Google - has already promised an update to Android 4.4 KitKat. Motorola's additions include a revamped photo interface, as well as migration and assist apps.

The Motorola Moto G goes on sale today, from £135.