Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen) 2015 XT1550 Review: The Budget Moto G Flagship Redefined

Motorola Moto G 2015 is the latest Motorola smartphone in the Moto G series. You can either call it Moto G3, Moto G 2015 or Moto G 3rd Generation, all means the same thing. The previous two versions of Moto G series were so popular that they completely changed the mid segment smartphone market. Since then many popular brands like ASUS, Lenovo, Gionee, Xiaomi, OnePlus etc. started to bring their mid-segment smartphones in the market. But with the launch of Motorola Moto G 2015, it is clearly visible that Motorola  is going to repeat the history again.

This time, Moto G3 came with some unique features that can’t be found in other android smartphones within the same price range. In this post, I am going to review Motorola Moto G 3rd Generation and will also tell you why you should buy this phone.

Motorola Moto G(3rd Gen) 2015 XT1550 Hands On And Review

moto g 2015 retail box

1. What’s In The Box

The Moto G 2015 retail box contains dual USB charger, headset, USB cable, a couple of user guides and the handset itself. Below is a list of Moto G 3rd Gen variants.

  • XT1540 (Single SIM) - US, Canada, Latina America
  • XT1541 (Single SIM) - Europe
  • XT1542/43/44 (Dual SIM) - Brazil, Latin America
  • XT1548 (Single SIM) - US (Sprint, US Cellular, Virgin Mobile)
  • XT1550 (Dual SIM) - Asia, Australia

2. Build Quality

  • The phone body is composed of good quality plastic that is durable enough against accidental breakage or opening from either side. Since the phone’s design is water resistant, there is no reason for it to break during accidental falls.
  • The phone’s design is sturdy, slim and looks like a nexus device.
  • Moto G3’s back cover is also made of plastic with a durable and grippy finish. The back cover has got a line pattern which accompanies good grip in the hand.

moto g 2015 review

  • The back cover also has rubber seals inside it, which prevents the water from getting in. Once this back cover is installed properly, the Moto G3 becomes water resistant.
moto g 3rd gen back cover seals

  • The phone is light weight due to its polycarbonate body.
  • The front part of the phone is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, so scratches will not be a problem for this.
  • The Moto G (3rd Gen) has got IPX7 certification with which it can survive under water for 30 minutes at 3 feet deep without any problems.
  • Overall a build quality is good and I have not found any issues while holding the phone in hands.

3. Design

  • Coming to the front part of the phone you will see a big earpiece, front camera for selfies, light sensor and proximity sensor.

    front camera and speaker
  • At the top a secondary noise cancellation mic and a 3.5 mm headset jack is located.

    3.5 mm jack
  • At the bottom you can see a big mono speaker with built in mic and a micro USB port for data cable and battery charging.

    micro usb port
  • The volume rocker and the power button are present on the right side of the handset.
  • Coming to the back, the 13 MP rear camera with dual CCT LED flash and a Motorola Logo is situated.
  • The camera strip with Motorola logo is customizable. The strip can be changed to different colors along with the back panel.
  • The Moto G3 weighs only 155 grams and is just 11.6 mm thick. It weighs 6 grams heavier than its previous generations, but this does not make much difference.
  • Moto G 2015 has a non-removable battery. If you open the back cover then you will find two SIM card slots, both of them are LTE and a microSD card slot.

    moto g 3rd generation review

Hardware Specifications

1. CPU

The Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen) is backed by a 64-bit Quad Core 1.4 GHz Qualcomm cortex A-53 CPU which is an integral part of the Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8916 410 chipset. The same processor can be found in most mid segment android phones, but is a faster SOC than its previous generations. But at this price range, a quad core CPU is acceptable. The CPU can handle multitasking easily, so you can browse while listening to the music without even lags. The cortex A-53 CPU also handles the FULL HD video playback without delays. The chipset has built in light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer and sensor hub.

2. GPU

The Adreno 306 GPU allows Moto G 2015 to run the heaviest android games like the GTA San Andreas, Modern Combat 5, Asphalt 8, FIFA 15, Mortal Kombat X, only NOVA 6 showed some lags during gameplay, but rest of the games run smoothly. While playing for longer, the Moto G may heat up but this is completely normal. You can check the Moto G3 gaming review below.

3. RAM/Memory

Moto G 2015 comes in two variants, one comes  with 1 GB RAM and the second one comes with 2 GB RAM. I prefer the 2 GB version as there is not much price difference between the two. 2 GB RAM ensures that the apps I am installing have enough memory to run without slowing or crashing the phone. Almost 1.3 GB RAM is always free if you haven’t installed any apps. This much amount of RAM can allow a user to run and switch between multiple apps even faster than its previous generations.

4. Storage

The Moto G (3rd Gen) as I told you above comes in two variants, one is the 8 GB model and another one is the 16 GB model. So, I suggest anybody to go with the 16 GB model with 2 GB RAM because there is not much price difference between the two and you should be running your phone without lags for more than 2 years. So buy the 16 GB model. The user available storage on Moto G 2015 is around 12 GB and can be further expanded to 32 GB via microSD card. The Moto G (3rd Gen) fully supports OTG function, so you can either connect USB flash drives or buy a separate USB OTG drive specially designed for android phones. You can grab one here SanDisk OTG For Android

Moto g 2015 OTG cable connection

5. Display

Motorola Moto G’s display stands tall with a 5 inches HD IPS touchscreen covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The resolution is HD 1280x720 pixels and screen has 294 ppi which is pretty good at this price range. The viewing angles are great and I can not complain much in this price range. The screen is able to produce vibrant colors and is bright enough to display darker blacks. The screen’s superior color production can be seen while watching a Full HD (1920x1080) video. The Moto G 2015 display gives immersive experience while watching movies. Since the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, then you need to take care of it and should prevent accidental drops, in this case, a powerful blow to the screen may completely break the glass, so invest some money in tempered glass, you can get one here, Moto G3 Tempered Glass Protector

6. Camera

The camera’s are superior this time as compared to its previous versions. The Moto G has a 13 MP f/2.0 rear camera with dual tone CCT LED flash and 5 MP front camera. The camera can be activated just by twisting your wrist while holding the phone. The camera UI is minimal and contains features like Night Mode, Auto HDR, resolution selection, Auto focus, panorama, slow motion video, burst mode, manual focus, and exposure. The camera can capture photos within a blink of an eye. It can also be activated from lock screen.

The camera quality is awesome while taking photos outside. If you take photos inside then they will come somewhat noisy but capturing photos with the camera flash delivers high-resolution photos without color loss. Moto G 3rd Generation has a stunning camera when it comes to an outdoor photo shoot.

According to my usage, there are three most useful camera features found in Moto G 2015 which are listed as follows.

  • Quick Capture: While the phone is in your hand, twist your wrist two times so that the phone’s screen should face the floor, this will activate the rear camera while if you do the reverse the front camera will be activated. With this useful feature, you can activate camera anytime despite being locked.
  • Bar Code Reader: The Moto G’s camera automatically decodes the QR codes when they come in the viewfinder. Isn’t it a nice feature, this feature is hidden and not even described on GSMARENA’s review of Moto G (3rd Gen).
  • Manual Focus and Exposure: You can manually choose to focus on any object and manually increase brightness around that object.
  • Slow Motion Video: You can also capture slow motion video with your Moto G.

Coming to the 5 MP selfie camera, I can say that you can capture awesome selfies with good brightness. You can also record videos from it. The selfie camera is capable of capturing bright images without loss of colors, so images don't look grainy even indoors with good lighting.

Camera Samples

Click on any image to view it in full resolution.

moto g 2015 camera sample 1
With Camera Flash
low light capture
In Dark
Normal Indoor Light
moto g 3rd gen camera sample 13mp
Moto G 2015 Camera Sample With Flash

7. Connectivity

Except the NFC, Wi-Fi (ac), and IR port the Moto G has all the basic connectivity options like the Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi hotspot, screencast. Both SIMs are LTE compatible.  The 2015 Moto G has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G. The GPS location services are managed by AGPS and GLONASS. It also has FM radio with stereo and RDS support. Moto G doesn't support dual-band Wi-Fi this time, especially the 5 GHz frequency.

8. Battery

The new Moto G ships with a 2470 mAh battery which can easily last a whole day with mixed usage. The battery performance is backed by battery saver mode when there is less battery juice left. The battery has an endurance rating of 76 hours and can easily cover a whole day even with heavy usage. The battery is non-removable. The Moto G battery is powerful enough to deliver 10 hours of continuous video playback or 9 hours of continuous web browsing. The stock charger is a dual USB charger and takes around 2 hours to charge the Moto G’s battery completely. Quick charge is not supported by Moto G (3rd Gen). With the dual USB charger of Moto G, you can charge two phones simultaneously.

dual usb charger

9. Android OS and UI

The new Motorola Moto G runs stock android 5.1.1 Lollipop and has recently got the 'stagefright' update in various countries. The UI is completely stock without any modifications, with a recent Google app update, the Moto G UI has changed to android Marshmallow’s style UI. The phone does not contain any bloatware app, which is a plus point as these apps can not be uninstalled and drain the battery and lower down phone’s performance, but Moto G 2015 is completely free from bloatware. It does contain some Motorola apps like ‘Motorola Migrate’ and ‘Moto Assist’. Motorola Migrate will be retired with the official release of android 6.0 Marshmallow for Moto G (3rd Gen).

moto g 3rd gen android 6.0 style UI

10. Software Features

  • Karate Chop: This action activates the LED flash to be used as a torch. Just hold the phone and perform a quick karate chop twice. The LED torch will be activated. Do it again to switch it off. This is an extremely useful and the quickest way to use the camera flash as LED torch. It doesn’t matter whether the phone is locked or unlocked, the karate chop will work in both situations.
  • Twist To Quick Capture: This is a camera feature, as I have told you above. Hold the phone and twist your wrist two times so that the screen faces the floor. This will activate the rear camera and the reverse will activate the front camera, again it doesn’t matter whether the phone is locked or unlocked.

11. Speaker Sound and Call Quality

This time, Motorola has put a mono speaker in the Moto G 2015 with an inbuilt mic. The mono speaker is not bad at all, and it is very loud and clear, also you can hear clear bass while watching full HD movies. Call quality is also very good and is free from noise. The call dialer app is good enough and automatically tells the ISD codes of the phone numbers that you type, but they are always not correct especially when you are dialing a mobile number within your country. The calling app interface is basic with useful buttons like hold, speaker, disable mic and add a new call. The conference call feature is supported in Moto G 2015.

call ui

12. Headset Sound Quality

The headset sound quality is not much good because the headset is a basic one. It has no bass, so I recommend you buy another headset for listening music. Go for earbud type headset as that of Samsung or Sony if you want good quality sound. The Moto G has inbuilt equalizer. The default music player is the Google Play Music.

13. Benchmarks

I really do not believe in benchmarking apps as these are just apps which contain pre-installed figures for various mobile chipset. Apart from these benchmarking apps I prefer using the phone myself and try to find the cons. But after using it for more than a month, I can say that Moto G’s performance is mind blowing. I have tested games like real racing 3, Modern combat 5, EA UFC, Asphalt Nitro. None of the game lagged except the Nova 6 which gave some frame drops while playing. The 1.4 GHz 64 bit quad core processor, 2 GB RAM and Adreno 306 GPU are enough to run any android game at max settings without lag.

14. Notification LED

Moto G 2015 does not notification LED but has active screen notifications features. Whenever notifications arrive like a call or message, the screen notifies you via interactive icons and, believe me, these screen notification are far better than having a notification light, because a notification light just glows and doesn’t tell what kind of a notification has arrived, but the Moto G’s screen does it well.

15. Water Resistance Test

Moto G (3rd Gen) has got IPX7 certification, so the phone is waterproof against accidental drops in water and liquid spills and exposure to rain water. You should know this that Moto G has no way from where water can get in its circuit boards except the SIM and sd card slots, to cover these 3 slots Moto G has given watertight rubber seals in the back cover. If you use any other cover instead of the original Motorola back cover then your phone will be damaged due to water.

Another important thing to note that besides having the original back cover properly installed, water can get under the back cover. This is normal, you will see that water is everywhere except the SIM slots and the sd card slot, which will appear dry because the rubber seals have done their job well and prevented the water from getting in. See the image below.

moto g 2015 water resistance test

In the above image, you can see that water is there on the Moto G's body, but it is totally waterproof. Also, you can see that the slots are completely dry which shows that the original Moto G back cover rubber protection seals has done their job well and prevented the water from getting in, these three slots are the only way for water to get in, once these slots are blocked your phone becomes waterproof. Just wipe the phone with a cloth.

Note: Never use other back covers which do not have rubber seals. And always make sure that you have properly installed the original back cover.

16. Moto Maker

With Moto Maker, you can customize your Moto G 3rd Generation before buying. You can choose the color of the back panel, camera stripe, front colour, leather cases and cover and directly buy it from Motorola. But Moto Maker service is only available in the USA.

Missing Apps

Motorola Moto G is missing some apps like the file manager and the video player is not accessible anywhere except the Gallery app also, the Google Play Music is not that good. So, I have a good music and video player for Moto G 2015 you can download the apk and install it.

1. Music player for Moto G3
2. Video Player for Moto G3

Retro Gaming On Moto G (3rd  Gen)

Apart from regular android gaming I am a great fan of retro games like NES, SNES, Playstation, DOS, CPS1, MAME. I play these games on Moto G and they run very smooth without hiccups and lags. You can read the tutorials below to play these retro games on your Moto G3.


After reviewing the new Moto G, we have found following conclusions that prove it an overall good performer in the mid-segment smartphone range.

  • Good screen quality with built-in light sensor. Better colour production from its previous generations. 
  • 5 inches HD IPS touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and 294 PPI density.
  • A 64 bit CPU with 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage and Adreno 306 GPU which is a good hardware combination to get the desired performance while running various apps or games. No lag issues are found.
  • Moto G (3rd Gen) is upgradable to android 6.0 Marshmallow which is the biggest plus point of this phone, other phones at this price will not even see a glimpse of android 6.0.
  • Good rear and front camera with minimal camera UI and all useful functions with Full HD video recording.
  • Overall good speaker sound and call quality with active noise cancellation.
  • A whole day running battery with a capacity of 2470 mAh. The phone fully supports OTG function.
  • Water resistance feature ensures protection from accidental drops in water and liquid spills. Has an IPX7 certification which allows the Moto G to survive 3 feet under water for 30 minutes. Can be taken outside on a rainy day.
  • Dual 4G SIM capacity with smart SIM selection feature.
  • Unique software features like Karate chop and twist for quick capture makes it unique among the crowd, though inspired from Moto X but yet useful.


  • What I don’t like about this new Moto G is that the camera becomes miser when it comes to autofocus. This may be due to the recent update. But using the manual exposure and focus fix this problem. The indoor photos are noisy without camera LED flash. The camera is good for the price.
  • The new Moto G lacks the newer 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, but if your router only supports 2.4 GHz frequency then this topic is not much of concern.


Overall Motorola Moto G 2015 is an excellent smartphone within its price range with some unique and useful features. The phone will get android 6.0 Marshmallow update which is a solid reason to buy this phone because with latest android OS you will be getting more app features. I am recommending this phone to anyone who wants a smartphone which is good in hardware, design, free from bloatware, waterproof and is upgradable to latest android OS.

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If you feel that this review helped you then you can buy this phone anytime by clicking the link below.

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