If Google’s strategy of releasing Play edition devices isn’t working, the company is sure doing a good job of hiding that fact: In the space of a month the number of smartphones and tablets bestowed with that title has grown from two to five. None of these devices are brand-new; they’re all existing devices created by popular Android manufacturers. The difference is that each one has been unlocked, stripped of custom firmware features/modifications and blessed with a stock version of the latest Android build. As a result, you get a Nexus-like experience on a wider variety of devices, and you typically receive updates much faster than any other Android gadget out there. Motorola’s Moto G is the most recent device to be given this treatment, and at $180 (8GB) or $200 (16GB), it’s the least expensive Google Play edition you can buy.
We’re the first to applaud the opportunity (and ability to choose) to use flagship devices without pre-installed bloatware, unnecessary features and user experience that’s been dictated by the manufacturer. That said, we have to wonder if the Moto G really needs to be turned into a Google Play edition — after all, the GSM version of the smartphone already comes unlocked, uses a mostly stock Android UI, is void of needless bloatware and has only a few additional software features like Moto Assist, Migrate and a different camera interface. It even got an update to Android 4.4 KitKat shortly after the device’s launch. How exactly does the Google Play edition differ from the original, and which one is the better choice? We just got our hands on the new version of the Moto G, so keep reading to find out. by engadget
Finally, there’s one important caveat you’ll want to know about if you’re planning on using the Moto G on T-Mobile. The GPe uses the same frequencies as the global GSM model (quad-band GSM/EDGE and HSPA+ 850/900/1900/2100), rather than the US-specific one (quad-band GSM/EDGE and HSPA+ 850/AWS/1900), which means you won’t get AWS support on HSPA+. Granted, this isn’t as huge a deal anymore as it once was, primarily because T-Mobile now has a large amount of refarmed 1900MHz coverage, but this may be a frustration if you live in an area that still relies solely on AWS. Conversely, if you do any amount of international traveling and want to take advantage of T-Mo’s new global roaming plans, the GPe is a better option because of its support for 900/2100, which is used in many other parts of the world. If you’re an AT&T customer and can’t get your hands on a global version of the Moto G, the GPe is a valid choice because of its international support.
Aside from carrier and frequency support, will you get any sort of benefit from purchasing the Google Play edition of the Moto G instead of the original one? Only if you prefer the bootloader unlocked without the risk of doing something wrong, and there’s always a small chance that this version will get Android updates earlier than its counterpart. On the other hand, is there any reason to get the original Moto G instead of the GPe? Yes, but only if you plan to use Motorola services like Assist. Usually the differences are a lot more significant, so we apologize in advance for not being able to make the decision any easier for you. That said, we still believe this is one of the best — if not the best — phones you can get for $200 or less, regardless of if it’s the Google Play edition or not. by engadget