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Review: Boost Mobile Moto G Android smart phone

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Boost Mobile's new Moto G by Motorola offers an extremely low price point on a full-featured no-contract smart phone if you don't mind 3G mobile service rather than 4G.

A nice Android 4.4 KitKat phone at $99.99 off contract represents an extraordinary deal, but there's more - through July 13, Boost Mobile offers a $100 bill credit when you buy and activate a new phone from participating retailers. That would pay for the phone in this case.

Boost Mobile offers several mobile plans with varying amounts of full-speed data per month - $40 for 500 MB, $50 for 2.5 GB and $60 for 5 GB. All of their plans come with unlimited voice minutes and texts.

Boost Mobile doesn't cut you off if you happen to go over the limit but can slow down the speed. You'll want to use Wi-Fi whenever possible anyway, since it's much faster than 3G.

Nicely sized with great features
Nicely sized with great features Beth McIntire

Nicely sized with great features

The Moto G weighs 4.59 oz, measures 5.11" by 2.59" by .45" and sports a 4.5" 720p HD display - quite similar in measurements to an iPhone but with a half-inch more screen real estate. With a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, the Moto G lets apps install quickly and run smoothly.

All current iPhone models have an 8 MP camera compared to 5 MP on the Moto G, something that could make a difference only if you plan to blow up huge prints of your photos. The Moto G has similar camera features to the iPhone, including LED flash, slow motion video, burst (continuous shot) mode and tap to focus. The Moto G also adds 4X digital zoom and panorama capabilities.

The Moto G's rear-facing HD camcorder takes exceptional videos with high sound quality, picking up the noise you want and leaving out the background clutter. The device also includes a 1.3 MP front-facing camera with HD video. You can use Google Hangouts for video calls with friends, family and business associates.

Both iPhones and the Moto G lack microSD card slots, and the Moto G comes with just 8 GB of storage space, only 5 GB or so of which is available for apps and media. This should prove sufficient for most people, especially if you use Google Drive or Dropbox to sync photos and videos to the cloud and your computer. That way, you can periodically clear photos and videos from the phone to conserve space.

Gorgeous display with great battery life
Gorgeous display with great battery life Beth McIntire

Gorgeous display with great battery life

The Moto G's gorgeous display means YouTube videos look fantastic and text appears clear and crisp. Games such as Words With Friends and Angry Birds play smoothly and look great, featuring bright colors and easy manipulation with the touchscreen's excellent sensitivity level.

Smart phone users have complained about battery life - or lack thereof - since the dawn of iPhones and Android phones. Many recent Android phones seem to have conquered this deficiency, though, including the Moto G. The phone keeps going and going, lasting several days with light or even moderate usage.

To enhance battery life further when you won't have a charger nearby for awhile, temporarily turn off auto-upload of photos and videos to Dropbox or whatever cloud storage you choose.

The Moto G offers a standard onscreen keyboard with multi-function keys (hold in a letter to get a number or symbol).  As with similarly sized iPhones, people with large fingers may have some trouble getting used to typing on the keyboard's small keys.

Fortunately, Android phones offer outstanding voice recognition capabilities. You can always switch to voice typing by hitting the keyboard's microphone icon.

Does everything you want it to do
Does everything you want it to do Beth McIntire

Does everything you want it to do

You can also control the Moto G by speaking to it. You can touch voice search and immediately speak a Google search request. From the Google Search app, you can touch Voice then dictate one of these commands, along with your specific instructions: navigate to, send text, call, send email, map of, go to (Web site), note to self (voice note) or directions to (destination).

In addition, the Motorola Assist app lets you automate common tasks such as replying to texts when you're driving, silencing your ringer when you have a meeting scheduled and conserving your battery when it runs low. It'll even suggest actions based on your phone usage, giving you the option of accepting or deleting its recommendations.

For working with MS Office documents and spreadsheets, the Moto G comes with Quick Office.

With Boost Mobile's low monthly nut and no hard limits on data, voice or texting, it's an ideal choice for teens. You won't see any surprise bills if your kid goes overboard on mobile activity. Anyone certainly enjoy saving a lot of money on their monthly mobile phone bill, though.

In addition to being able to buy a new phone at any time with no penalty, you can also return a Boost Mobile phone within 14 days if you decide you don't like it.  Just save all the original packaging.

All mobile carriers have some dead areas. If you'll need frequent access to a reliable mobile network, I recommend trying a friend's phone that uses the Sprint network in your neighborhood or workplace to make sure you have adequate coverage.

The cheapest iPhone uses 3G and has 8 GB of storage like the Moto G, but has only a 3.5" display and costs $300 off contract. Boost Mobile offers a few Android phones, including the Moto G, which cost less than $200.

I did encounter an issue with the Moto G after it went through a system update. The device lost its mobile connection to the Sprint network and required tech support to fix. It doesn't seem like a common occurrence as I haven't seen anything written about it in online reviews. It's probably one of those things that could occur with any smart phone when it goes through a system update.

If you mostly want to make phone calls, send texts and emails, take pictures and play a few games, you probably won't notice having 3G mobile data instead of 4G, particularly if you connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible. You can perform these tasks along with much more at a rock bottom price with the Moto G.

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