The Moto G gets reinvented with a cheaper price, and it shows.
The $250 Moto G 5G marks a big reimagining of the phone since last year's more-expensive $400 model. This year's Moto G 5G scales back on storage and cameras to help hit its lower price but steps up the refresh rate on its 6.5-inch display to a smooth 120Hz. All that, while keeping the 5,000mAh battery and its roughly two-day battery life, should make the phone a decent value for its price.
The Moto G 5G has 4GB of memory, runs on a Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G chip and comes with 128GB of storage. This is a decent amount of storage space for this price and can be expanded up to 1TB with a microSD card. The phone's stereo speakers and headphone jack are also quite nice for when I watch videos or listen to music. It ships with Android 13, and like other Moto G phones, will get only one major software update to Android 14 along with three years of security updates
I spent a few days with the Moto G 5G so far, and, while it looks and feels like it's fallen down a few rungs of the price tier, the phone might meet enough essential needs to satisfy most people. However, by no means does it punch above its weight. The Moto G 5G has 4GB of memory, runs on a Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G chip and comes with 128GB of storage. This is a decent amount of storage space for the price and can be expanded up to 1TB with a microSD card. The phone's stereo speakers and headphone jack are also quite nice for when I watch videos or listen to music. It ships with Android 13, and like other Moto G phones, will get only one major software update to Android 14 along with three years of security updates.
However, when testing other features, I can't help but compare this phone to the slightly more expensive $300 Moto G Power 5G -- which includes quite a bit more for that extra $50. For instance, the Moto G 5G's 6.5-inch display runs at a 720p resolution. Even though that screen animates smoothly with its 120Hz refresh rate, I find that the lower-resolution makes photos and videos look rather plain. The Power 5G runs at a 1,080p resolution at the same refresh rate, and in my review of that phone the display was a particular highlight.
Performance also seems to take a noticeable hit during my early tests, which could be attributable to the phone having 4GB of memory compared with the 6GB available on the Power 5G. Often when I test phones, during casual use I play games while taking calls or texting. I find that when a call comes through while I'm playing a game, in this instance Marvel Snap, that the game needs to reload itself after I answer the call. Lighter multitasking, however, has been fine, for instance reading news articles while I'm listening to music has not led to any noticeable issues.
The Moto G 5G also moves down from three cameras on last year's model to two, with this year's phone including a 48-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. This is an area that cheaper phones often struggle, and my early photos taken by the Moto G 5G don't change that opinion. Like other cheaper phones, photos taken in outdoor environments or indoor locations with good lighting come out OK, but without much detail.
The 8-megapixel front-facing camera is similarly serviceable, but photos look a little plain.
I'll reserve judgment after I have taken the Moto G 5G through more photo scenes, but my early indoor photos are comparable to the Moto G Power 5G -- which is to say that they are fairly blurry and lack detail. Photos are usable but more for quick group chats and social posts.
The Moto G 5G's 5,000mAh battery, however, easily lasted two days during my early tests, matching the performance that I saw on the Moto G Power 5G and the $200 Moto G Stylus. As we continue to test phones in the $300 price range, it has been comforting to see the 5,000mAh battery become a standard feature in 2023. However, I hope Motorola finds a way to speed up charging, as the Moto G 5G's 15-watt max speed takes about 90 minutes to charge from 4% to 88%. It's not awful, but is slow when compared with the 33-watt charging included on comparable phones like the OnePlus N300 and OnePlus N20.
Motorola has been releasing several phones over the last few weeks, with the Moto G 5G arriving alongside the $800 Motorola Edge Plus. The Moto G 5G appears to be offering a middle ground between the 4G-only Moto G Stylus and the Moto G Power. The main question as I continue testing is whether this phone's trade-offs are worth the lower price, or if someone searching for a deal should consider paying slightly less for the Stylus or more for the Power.