Motorola Comes Out Swinging with Unlocked Moto G for $179 Off-Contract

Paul Lilly

An affordable smartphone with no commitment

Google and Motorola are trying to change the mobile game as you know it. For those who want a higher-end smartphone without committing to a long-term contract, there's the Nexus 5 that Google commissioned LG to build. However, some may find the $349 starting price a bit too rich. To combat that, Motorola today held a big press event unveiling the Moto G, an unlocked smartphone that starts at just $179 with no contract to sign.

Talk about throwing down the gauntlet . As you might expect, at that price the Moto G isn't going to challenge the competition's flagship devices, but at the same time, this thing is far from being a piece of junk (based on paper specs -- we haven't played with one yet).

The Moto G wields a 4.5-inch 720p HD display (329 ppi). It also sports a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB ($199) of built-in storage, 5MP rear-facing camera, 1.3MP front-facing camera, and a 2070mAh battery that Motorola claims is good for a full day of use.

Noticeably missing is 4G LTE support, so that's something to keep in mind. It also lacks a microSD card slot for expandable storage and comes loaded with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, though Motorola promises an Android 4.4 KitKat by the beginning of 2014.

Not a bad phone for the money, and it's customizable, too. Motorola is offering 19 customization options, including interchangeable Motorola Shells and Flip Shells in seven colors, as well as Grip Shells in five colors.

U.S. buyers will have access to the Moto G with no contract, no SIM lock, and an unlocked bootloader through various carriers and retailers in early January 2014.

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