Motorola g50 review: Can the budget smartphone impress for under £200?

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  • Weight: 192g
  • Dimensions: 16.49cm x 7.49cm x 0.89cm
  • Display: 6.5in
  • Battery: 5000mAh, over two days fo battery life
  • Camera (rear): 48MP5
  • Camera 2: 5MP macro vision
  • Camera (front): 13MP
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB built-in, up to 1TB microSD card expandable
  • Memory: 4GB (RAM)
  • Rating: 8/10

In terms of design, the moto G50 doesn’t look much different from other Android handsets launched by Motorola in recent times. On the front, there’s a large 6.5in display and a selfie camera. Unfortunately, while it’s great to see such a large display on a sub-£200 phone, it’s surrounded by pretty thick bezels for a modern smartphone. And the bottom bezel is even thicker.

On the right-hand side of the phone, you’ll find a Google Assistant button, a power button and volume controls. Meanwhile, the left-hand side has a single sim-card tray. At the bottom, you get a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C port, a microphone and a speaker. The top of the phone houses a single microphone, while the back has a triple-camera system and a fingerprint scanner disguised as a Motorola logo.

When it comes to size, the moto G50 is a hefty handset. It measures 16.49cm x 7.49cm x 0.89cm and weighs 192g. However, despite not being the lightest smartphone available, the moto G50 provides a solid grip overall. But donning a plastic design, it’s clearly a cheap handset.

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Unfortunately, the moto G50’s glossy back does attract fingerprints, although you should be able to solve this issue by keeping the handset in a protective case. What’s nice to see is that the moto G50’s design is water-repellent, which Motorola claims provides a “barrier to help protect against moderate exposure to water such as accidental spills, splashes or light rain”. It’s available in aqua green or steel grey.

Display

One of the highlight features of the moto G50 is its 6.5in IPS display, which is a perfect size for browsing the web, scrolling through social media, reading ebooks, streaming movies, playing games and more.

Although the moto G50 has a nicely sized screen, its 1600 x720 resolution is a little disappointing when you consider many smartphones have 1080p displays in this day and age. But you pay for what you get, and overall, it should be fine for most everyday tasks.

It would have been nice to see a punch-hole selfie camera, rather than a more distracting teardrop notch. However, this certainly isn’t the end of the world.

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On the bright side, the moto G50 sports a 90z refresh rate. This is a feature you’d normally expect to see on a more expensive smartphone, not a device that costs under £200, and it helps provide a smoother scrolling experience. The touchscreen is also very responsive to use.

Performance

Under the hood, the moto G50 boasts a Qualcomm snapdragon 480 processor. Announced in January 2021, the chip brings 5G connectivity to low-cost Android smartphones like the moto G50.

While the reality is that you might not have 5G in your area yet, it’s still a great feature to have on an affordable Android handset. For starters, Apple only announced its first 5G-capable smartphones late last year in the form of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. And they cost considerably more than the moto G50.

Paired with 4GB of RAM, the moto G50’s snapdragon 480 processor provides modest speeds that’ll suit the needs of most users. But if you plan on using this handset for compute-intensive activities like gaming or streaming, you might notice a laggier performance.

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When we ran a Geekbench 5 test on the moto G50 – which measures how well your device would perform during everyday use – it came back with a 501 single-core score and a 1568 multi-score score. These scores suggest that the moto G50 performs well for a budget Android smartphone. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy A71 (£405.75, Amazon.co.uk) has a 500 single-core score and a 1608 multi-core score.

As for memory, you can get the moto G50 in a 64GB version – which is pretty low for today’s standards. But should you need more memory, you’ll be happy to learn that the moto G50 also provides 1TB of expandable storage via a MicroSD card.

Battery life 

Another area where the moto G50 impresses is battery life. It features a humongous 5000mAh battery, which is the same size as the one that powers the high-end Samsung Galaxy S21 ultra (£1,199, Samsung.com).

According to Motorola, the moto G50’s 5000mAh battery can provide up to two days of battery life. During our time testing the device, it certainly lived up to these bold claims and consistently had plenty of battery life left after a full day.

So, you could easily go a day without charging it. But, of course, the battery life will drain faster when using the device regularly for power-hungry activities like gaming and streaming.

While the moto G50 has amazing battery life, the 10W wired charger included with the handset is a let-down and takes several hours to charge the phone to its full capacity.  That said, you could buy a more powerful wired charger as the G50 supports 15W charging. You don’t get wireless charging, either.

Cameras

Like many other smartphones today, the moto G50 packs more than one rear camera. In total, it has three: a 48mp main camera, a 5mp macro camera and a 2mp depth camera. Noticeably, there isn’t an ultra-wide camera.

Overall, the moto G50’s cameras don’t take the most detailed or colourful photos. But if you only plan on taking a few photos every so often and aren’t purely buying a smartphone for its photography abilities, this will be fine for most people.

If you’re in a darkly lit room, the phone cleverly identifies this and asks if you’d like to enable night vision. You can also make use of its single LED flash when taking photos in a dark environment.

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The rear cameras also come with lots of other features, including shot optimisation, HDR (high-dynamic range for a better image), a timer, a portrait mode, macro, panorama, live filter, smart composition, auto smile capture, gesture selfie, cinemagraph, active photos, RAW photo output, best shot, a high-res zoom and more.

In addition to three rear cameras, there’s also a single 13mp selfie camera on the front of the device. As is the case with the rear cameras, it doesn’t produce highly detailed photos. But it’s adequate for taking the odd selfie. You can, however, use a beautification slider to make your skin look smoother in selfies. The moto G50 provides 1080p video capture at either 30 or 60fps, too.

Other features

The moto G50 runs on Android 11, which is the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. While smartphone makers like Samsung and Huawei have created heavily modified user interfaces for Android, Motorola has opted to keep the moto G50’s UI mostly the same as the stock version of Android 11.

It comes pre-loaded with Google apps such as Gmail, maps, drive, and YouTube. And, of course, you can download even more apps from the Google Play Store. Google Assistant is also handy for checking on the weather, finding out specific facts, setting alarms, creating calendar entries and more, using your voice.

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Along with the latest Android software, the moto G50 also provides ample security and privacy. In fact, you can securely access the device via a pin code, a pattern, a password, fingerprint scanning or face unlocking.

The verdict: Motorola moto G50

If you’re looking for a decent Android smartphone with lots of different features and have a limited budget, the moto G50 is definitely one to consider. For under £200, you get great features like 5G connectivity, a 5000mAh battery, a large screen, the latest Android software, decent performance and so much more. But just bear in mind that it doesn’t have the best cameras.