Just short of a year ago, I picked up a Nexus 4 smartphone for the bargain price of £280. I'd actually been trying to buy one since launch day at the end of 2011, but soon after release it was impossible to get hold of. Well, impossible unless you wanted to pay a small fortune to get one off ebay.
What made this phone so special, is that its build and performance were comparable to the most powerful smartphones of the time, like the Samsung Galaxy SIII which still cost somewhere between £500 and £600 to buy. With the Nexus 4, there was a chance to pick up a great phone at insane value, stick a cheap SIM card in and then stick some fingers up at expensive 2 year contracts.
As 2013 draws to a close, the Nexus 5 offers the same opportunity with up to the minute horsepower, but this time, the excitement of a bargain realised lies elsewhere. Google need not fear though. The bargain phone of the minute is made by a company they own and control.
Behold the Motorola Moto G!
Looks like a normal smartphone right? Well, yes and that's exactly what it is. We have a large crisp HD screen wrapped in 'gorilla glass' from Corning and a light, but solid feeling plastic body with a minimum of physical buttons around the edge.
On board, Google Android steams along on version 4.3, only just recently succeeded by 4.4 (KitKat) so things feel nice and modern and everything runs smoothly.
The camera on the back has a 5mp sensor. It's quite responsive and takes a 'good enough' shot indoors and a very good shot outdoors.
Sadly there is no 4G radio for super fast data, but the fastest flavours of 3G are supported, so most of the time, you may not even notice.
A wide range of accessories are available pushing the fashion for confident pastel colours and an FM radio is present to give you something to listen to when the data connection has run out or the signal has gone.
It's a damned fine phone, but nothing I've written suggests a standout feature. With its quadcore processor and 8GB of storage (only 5GB available and no expansion slot), it's aimed at the midrange market, but it has a feature that could cost Samsung more than the odd sale, but it's not technical.
The feature is the price. It only costs £135.
Thanks to @leighmjones for lending me the device