I liked the Xperia Z1, so my initial thought was to just simply purchase an Xperia Z3. Alas, the price I got from Amazon did turn out to be too good to be true. Upon receiving the phone, I checked it against Sony's website and discovered that the "new" phone I was sold only had 2 months of warranty left. In other words, some reseller had bought the phone from Sony or T-mobile, and was reselling it to me as "new." The full price of the phone ($550) was more than I could stomach, so I went looking for other choices.
My criteria were:
- Waterproof: having learned from the Xperia Z1 how useful a feature that was, I wasn't willing to give this up.
- MicroSD card storage. Sorry, I'm not paying $100 to get an extra 16GB of storage. That's for Apple users. (I paid $25 for a 64GB MicroSD card)
- 2GB of RAM, preferably 3.
- 5" screen. More than that, and it's too awkward to hold one-handed.
- Camera shutter button preferred.
- Cheap. Let's face it, phone processor performance hasn't improved in years
Sound quality is, not surprisingly, lacking compared to the Z1, but not so much so that I found it objectionable. Some have reported annoying cross-talk when plugging in headphones into the microphone jack. I was prepared to have to do without (most of my listening is via blue-tooth over the SBH52 anyway), but when I plugged in headphones it sounded just fine.
To my surprise, going from the Z1's 1080p screen down to the 720p screen didn't bother me at all. Of course, watching movies on the Z1 has always drained the battery so fast that I rarely did it, and in any case to save storage I'd always watched movies in 720p.
Motorola is well known for providing a near-stock Android experience with no additional UI tweaks. I didn't expect this to make a big difference to me, but it does and is a pleasant welcome after the Sony modifications to the OS. I also expect that this also contributed largely to the higher performance of the UI and software despite the supposedly slower processor.
After my experience with the Z1, which begged to be recharged nearly all the time, so much so that I put the phone into stamina mode full time, any change had to be better. The Moto G was disappointing at first, barely lasting 12 hours without a charge. But 2 charge cycles later the battery life improved dramatically, with me typically ending the day somewhere around 40-50% of battery life. On a heavy use day it'd drop to 15%. This is a huge improvement over the Xperia Z1, and makes use of say, the Garmin Livetrack feature much more feasible than before. With the Xperia Z1, even with stamina mode, I was unlikely to make it to the end of the day without a mid-day recharge. Lithium ion batteries will generally lose 20% of their capacity after 300 recharge cycles. If your battery is barely able to get you through the day, after a year, your battery will absolutely not get you through the day. And yes, this applies even if you're the type to keep it plugged in as often as possible. The relatively long battery life of the Moto G means that you can expect to get at least 2 years of use out of the phone before the non-replaceable battery starts to lose enough charge capacity to be annoying.
All in all, given the price of the phone and the features (waterproofing is huge for me), the performance of the phone is such that I will be happy to hang on to it for a good long time. I expect that if you manage to buy this phone during the inevitable black friday sales, you'll get it for a significant discount which will be an even better deal.