Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moto G

December 21, 2013
USB Connector
At first I thought they had included a proprietary USB connector, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it was the same as our Nexus 7 and Galaxy Player.  That means if I forget a plug at work on in other room we can still use a plug from another device.

Screen Size in Landscape
One concern I had when looking at this phone was the 4.5 inch screen one of the problems I had with my previous device was it's 4 inch screen.  When typing in Google Drive documents in landscape I would get maybe one line of text, so I had no context for where I was typing.  The 4.5 inch screen gave me four maybe five lines.  That was much much better.

Although, as I was trying to write this blog post I used the Moto G for some of it.  As I turned it sideways all I could see was the Blogger utility bar and it wouldn't let me scroll up to the text entry part of the page, but that is likely due to the Blogger website or the browser on the phone and not the phone itself.

Shape and Thickness
Most smart phones I had seen people I knew with were square and bulky.  The was not much thicker than my Ipod 2nd generation and Galaxy Player.  For the most part it was rounded.  My daughter's Ipod Touch 5th generation was more block style (square) than the Moto G.

Technical Support
The Motorola tech support for the Moto G was somewhat lacking, as I described in other post.

Perhaps it will get better as the Moto G has been out longer, since it was just barely released.

When I first got it I thought the Camera is fast.  When I took one picture it appeared it was immediately ready to take another.  When I used it at Christmas with a lot more photo use and quick kids it seemed much slower.

The zoom is very easy, once you understand it is not pinch and stretch. Just swipe up to zoom in and down to zoom out. It is a little tricky to zoom just a little. The last device I had with a camera was much more complicated to try to zoom while holding the frame. With the Moto G I just swipe and tap to take the picture.

The design of the back of the phone is designed in such a way to somewhat protect the camera face from being scratched. It is slightly inset and the body is slightly curved. The inset keeps it from contacting surfaces somewhat. The curve also lifts it further off surfaces.

The Moto G only has one speaker, but it is louder than other devices I have with two speakers. It is not great for music, but my use is mostly voice only and not music.  It would be nice to have a speaker that had solid quality, but the Moto G is the best I have had so far and for my use volume is more important than quality.

Battery Life
I am getting about one and a half to two days on the battery when using it was audio, emails, and texting.  Only an occasional phone call.

Update Feb 1, 2014
Unsettling Behavior
I went to bed last night and the battery was at more than half.  When I woke up this morning, I went to turn the screen on and all I got was the little notification light blinking three times at me.  I tried the power button and the volume buttons, but just kept getting the blinking light.  I thought it was frozen up, so I was looking for one of those tiny pin hole reset buttons.

I finally decided to get out my charger and see if it behaved differently when plugged in.  When I plugged it in the screen came on and showed me a battery indicator of 0%.

I have been really happy with this device, but have run into a few really flaky things, like this, that concern me.

I have pulled it out of my pocket before and found that it shut itself off.

I'm a little worried at a time when I am really counting on it being there for me that it will not function.

If I go to pick someone up at the airport and they are anticipating calling my cell phone to tell me when they are on the ground and where there are when I get there, an cell phone that stops functioning without warning could make for a stressful end of a flight.

Motorola Purchased by Google/Motorola Purchased by Lenovo
I heard the other day that Google was considering selling Motorola to Lenovo.  Google just purchased Motorola for a lot of money not long ago.  The number that I have heard that they are considering selling to Lenovo for is a fraction of what they paid.

Google was likely just buying the patents, but it is unsettling to have purchased a Motorola product and to see the company being bought and sold in quick succession.  It can't make the employees feel secure about their jobs, which could impact quality and service.

One of the reasons I went with the Moto G, in addition to its lower price for a name brand product, was because of their affiliation with Google.  I have a perception of quality standards from Google that i assumed would be required of Motorola as well.  I also assumed that I would get updates more quickly, being owned by Google.  Being owned by someone else makes me wonder if updates will be slowed like with other manufacturers.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Player that I purchased a year and a half a go.  It came with Gingerbread and has never been updated to something more current.  I believe they still sell this device and it still comes with Gingerbread.

Before Google purchased Motorola I had a perception of Motorola that they were a typical low to mid range phone manufacturer.  With the Moto line and being affiliated with Google my perception was starting to change.  I hope I do not regret having purchased a Motorola product.

USB Storage on PC
We found shortly after getting the phones that my wife's phone would not connect as USB storage device.  If we switched it into camera storage mode it would work fine, but that only exposed a limited set of directories to the PC.  Motorola support could not get it working.  It finally fixed itself when the phone updated to Kit Kat.

The strange thing was that mine was also on Jelly Bean and worked fine.

Volume Went Soft
One day I was listening to an audio book on my phone and the volume was very low.  I had been listening to the book the day before and it was much louder.  I tried the volume buttons on the phone and it was at 100%.  I went into settings to make sure that the volume buttons were increasing the right volumes and they were all at 100%

I then noticed later in the day that it was very difficult to hear on a phone call.  A little while later the volume came back to normal on its own.

Volume Controls
I am having trouble getting use to having different adjustments for different volumes.  I like it in theory, but with only one set of volume buttons it is often not convenient.

I will go to start some music or an audio book and in an effort not to blast out those around me I try to decrease the volume.  The volume buttons control the phone volume because not audio is playing yet.  I end up having to drill into settings to change the volume for music and such.

While I agree that the phone volume is the one you often need to get to most quickly, there has got to be a way to make music volumes more convenient.

Update 3-9-2014
The phone it more slippery than I initially thought.  I find that the shape and texture of the phone makes it often try to flip sideways out of my hand.

Frequently I find the battery lasting a rely short time, but the battery length is inconsistent.

Sometimes Buggy
Recently I am finding my Moto G to have flakey hardware. Most recently I am finding the camera often gives an error when an app tries to use it and I have to reboot to get it to work.

Update 3-26-2014
The major battery problem seems to have gone away with an update from Skype and Google.  For the moment the battery life is even better than what it was before the huge decline.  I am getting two days or more of casual use out of the battery.  I hope it stays consistent this time.

Although the Moto G is a bit slippery in the hand, it did see to hold up well when it slipped out of my hand and hit the pavement.  The two corners that hit are scratched up pretty good, but the phone functionality seems unaffected.  Might have been a different story had it landed on its face.  Hoping someone finds a good way to build a phone to make the screen more durable, since it is a huge, vulnerable surface.

Update 5-7-2014
Last night I was transferring audio books and talks to my Moto G.  After a while the transfers stopped progressing.  I canceled them and tried to get my phone to respond and it would not.  I disconnected the data/charging cable and eventually got a white screen with a green circle in the middle.  The circle had the Motorola logo in the middle of it.  The white screen had the word Android in black stylized text at the bottom.

I contacted Motorola.  The good news was that it was about 8:00 at night and customer support was available.  The bad new was that they only seemed to have a script to work from and quickly just offered to send me a new one.

It stinks to be without my phone for 3-5 days and to lose photos I haven't gotten off yet and other files I have on there, but it will be nice if they actually get it here quickly and with no hassle do this exchange.

The email I receive specifically said to not return the charging/data cable.  It will be nice to have an extra cable around.

I was not impressed with the knowledge of the customer support person I worked with initially, but a no hassle return could make up for it, especially if this phone somehow miraculously makes it here before the weekend.

My overall impression of the Moto G so far is that it is buggy.  My wife and I have had weird things with our Moto Gs all the way through this process.  When they work we love them, but often there are things that give us a bad experience with the Moto G.  Unfortunately quality issues seem to be rampant these days in most products we buy.  Quality seems to be the first thing to go to increase stock holder returns.

My hope is that they will have worked some of the kinks out in the manufacturing and design of the Moto G after many have been sold and they will have adjusted the newer ones.  My fear is that they set up the manufacturing process once and I will get the exact same thing I have now.

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