Want a great business phone that's affordable? Motorola's new Moto G is a standout Android smartphone that's hard to beat, for the price. The device packs a large 5-inch display, a zippy processor and a bunch of handy software features that will help you be more productive.
The new Moto G is a follow-up to the original Moto G, a 4.5-inch phone that launched last fall. Both phones are more affordable alternatives to Motorola's flagship Moto X line, which was also refreshed this month with a new 5.2-inch version.
Size difference aside, the Moto G lacks a few of the Moto X's best features, including always-listening voice commands and 4G LTE support, so users will have to settle for slightly slower Internet speeds. But the more affordable phone still manages to pack in a ton of great features that will really benefit business users. Check out a full review of the 2014 Moto G on our sister site Laptop Mag, or read on for five features that make it good for work.
So, just how affordable is the Moto G? Unlike most smartphones, it's not even available to purchase at a subsidized price when you sign a contract with a major carrier like Verizon or AT&T. Instead, the phone is only available to buy off-contract — that is, without agreeing to a two-year contract — for an up-front cost of $180. If that seems like a lot to pay for a smartphone, remember that a flagship phone like the Samsung Galaxy S5 costs $200 with a two-year contract, and $600 without one. And since you don't have to sign up for a pricey two-year data plan, budget-minded business users are free to opt for a cheaper monthly plan through a smaller carrier. If you can stomach the initial cost of a contract-free smartphone, you could save a lot of money in the long run.
Most Android smartphone makers ship their phones with tweaked versions of Android, which usually includes altered layouts, graphics and menus, in addition to tons of useless preinstalled software that you can't get rid of (dubbed "bloatware"). One of the perks of buying a Motorola phone is that the devices run on the stock version of Android. That means the Moto G has a cleaner, simpler interface, without a lot of bloatware. And since the phone runs stock Android, users can expect faster updates when Google releases a new version of the mobile operating system. Phones from other manufacturers often suffer from long delays when a major software update is released, as the companies scramble to work the changes into their own custom version of Android.
But that doesn't mean the Moto G is totally devoid of extras. Motorola packed in a few extra software features that will benefit business users. For starters, Moto Assist is an app that lets you define rules for how you interact with your Moto G. For example, it can help you avoid interruptions during morning meetings by automatically silencing your phone at predefinedtimes each day. You can whitelist important contacts, like family members or employees, so they can always get through with a text message, email or phone call.
Another app, Moto Alert, can send out automated, location-based alerts throughout the day. For example, you can set it to alert your spouse when you leave the office so he or she knows when to expect you at home. Or, you can set up alerts for whenever you leave or enter any location. Additionally, the app lets you instantly send a contact a "meet me" or "follow me" text, which includes your current location, for those times when you're meeting a colleague or client for lunch.
Compared to last year's Moto G, the new version gives you a lot more room to work. The 2014 Moto G packs a big 5-inch screen that dwarfs the 4.5-inch display on the 2013 model — and that's a big plus for business users. Tasks like viewing documents and editing spreadsheets are a lot more comfortable on the larger device, and even daily chores, like managing your email inbox, are easier. But although it's slightly smaller than the Moto X, which packs a larger 5.2-inch screen, the Moto G is still a pretty big smartphone. Compared to last year's model, it's harder to use with one hand. Although the device loses a few points on portability and usability, it makes up for it in extra versatility.
Like Motorola's other smartphone, the Moto G has a few handy features that make it easier to view and act on your alerts and notifications. That includes Moto Display, which lets you see your alerts without ever touching your device. When a new text message or email arrives, for example, the Moto G will pulse an image of your email app's icon, showing a white icon on a blank background to preserve battery life. From there, you can press and hold the icon to show a preview of the message right on your lock screen. Slide up to jump straight to your email app for a quick reply, or swipe sideways to dismiss the alert altogether. The feature eliminates the need to pick up and unlock your device every time your phone buzzes if you want to check your alerts. It also lets you respond to messages more quickly, so you can stop fiddling with your phone and get back to work.
Originally published on Business News Daily.