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The Moto G50 is Motorola’s cheaper route to a 5G life – here's what our experts had to say.
While the Moto G50 won't win any awards for cutting-edge innovations like top-notch processors or zoom cameras, it is a solid budget proposition all the same. It's got a long-lasting battery, a large (enough) screen - and it will set you up with 5G.
You should consider a Motorola Moto G50 if you want a 5G phone but don’t have lots of money to spend. It is one of the cheapest 5G Androids around at the moment.
Battery life is great too. That is where the truly notable stuff ends: 5G, long battery life, low price.
If you want a killer camera or the sharpest screen £200 can buy, you should look elsewhere. But most of the compromises here aren’t too glaring in real-world use.
The Moto G50 is a good fit for the classic Moto G audience, normal folk who don’t stress over the specs and just want a fairly reliable, easy-to-use, and affordable phone.
The Motorola Moto G50 will likely not immediately appeal to the tech obsessive who cares about processor power and dreams of 10x zoom cameras. But it does get you 5G for relatively little money, the battery lasts ages, and the screen is large enough to do justice to Netflix and Android’s more involving games.
Price: £179.99 (£199.99 RRP)
The Moto G50 is Motorola’s cheapest 5G phone at the time of review. It’s a great choice if you are after a no-nonsense upgrade that lasts a long time between charges.
The Motorola Moto G50’s original price was £199. However, at the time of review, it is available for £179 online at Amazon.
This discount sounds minor but helps bring the cost down below that of some of the very aggressively priced Xiaomi alternatives. You'll find the most competitive prices listed directly below.
The Motorola G50 is good value at its original £199 price and seems even better at £179. It cost that much at all the major retailers at the time of review.
If you can only find the phone for around £200, we might suggest you also consider the Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite. Its price jumps between £200 and around £220 and has a significantly better screen than the Moto G50.
However, at £180, this phone is hard to beat and bests the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G for value. That Samsung costs around £50 more and is not significantly better in most areas.
Don’t care about 5G at all? You should also consider the £200 Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC. It has double the storage, a better screen and a better camera array. But it only has 4G mobile internet.
The number one job of the Moto G50 is to bring you 5G mobile internet for not too much money. A 4G phone isn’t suddenly going to become obsolete in a few years, but if you like to keep your Androids for a good 3-5 years or more, 5G is a sensible feature to have.
It means faster download speeds in 5G areas and less congestion once the networks’ 5G infrastructure extends a little further across the country.
5G and attractive pricing are the Moto G50’s two big “features”. Oh, and battery life, which we’ll cover later.
The rest sees Motorola tread water and try not to be too badly outclassed by more expensive Androids and 4G ones at a similar price. It does a mostly fine job, too.
The Moto G50 has a 6.5-inch screen. This is a sort of middle-of-the-pack size, good for video streaming and playing games if you don’t mind a reasonably large phone but don’t want an outright whopper.
You also get a highly capable and popular processor, the Snapdragon 480. This is a budget 5G chipset, but Qualcomm has made sure these latest models have enough power to handle pretty taxing games.
Fortnite runs, for example, but you will see some obvious jerky frame rate dips. Everything else we tried plays nicely, mind. The big gamers should probably buy a Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro instead. It’s far more powerful but doesn’t have 5G.
The Moto G50 also has a fairly loudspeaker that does not sound thin. However, unlike some other Moto phones, this one has just a single mono speaker, not a second one on the front. We love it for podcasts, but those stereo movie/game soundtracks will sound better with headphones.
Screen resolution is one of the most obvious cuts to keep the Moto G50’s cost low. It’s a 720p LCD screen with a teardrop notch, not the 1080p “Full HD” you get with the only slightly more expensive Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite.
The big question: will you notice the difference? Small text looks a little less pristine on a lower-resolution screen like this. And switching from a high-res one, we do notice within the first three seconds. But we always get used to it within the first day or so, and it affects reading articles or social media feeds much more than Netflix movies. It’s the opposite of what you might guess.
Given the relatively low-spec screen resolution, there’s a neat surprise here. The Moto G50 has a 90Hz refresh rate. This means the screen can refresh its image up to 90 times a second rather than the usual 60. It makes scrolling through web pages, and your app screen looks smoother, which is nice.
Other Moto G50 points to note include that it has a decent rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a headphone jack, and — most important of all — good general performance. The number one thing we ask of a budget phone is that it is not frustrating to use. No such problems here.
Battery life is a Motorola Moto G50 highlight. It has a 5000mAh battery like loads of phones in this class but, perhaps thanks to its power-saving processor and lower-resolution screen, it seems to last for ages between charges — longer than most.
We tend to use our phones at least a little more heavily than the norm and still find we often end up with a 40% charge or slightly more by the end of the day. This is an excellent result. It should last a full two days for many people.
Charging speed is not as good, though. It supports up to 15W charging and only comes with a 10W charger in the box. This thing is very slow and takes a good two-plus hours to get you from flat to 100%.
We always recharge the Moto G50 overnight because it just doesn’t have the charging speed to make quick occasional top-ups an attractive alternative.
The Motorola Moto G50 has a more basic camera setup than you might guess from a quick glance. There are three lenses on the back, but you don’t get an alternative field of view, an ultra-wide or zoom lens. Ultra-wides are pretty common in cheaper phones, and they add fun and versatility to a phone camera.
So what do the other two lenses do? The Moto G50 has a 5-megapixel close-up macro camera and a depth sensor used for the Portrait mode. This blurs out the background.
While the macro camera is miles better than the 2MP ones you often get in £180-250 phones, we’d trade it in for an ultra-wide in a heartbeat. We just don't use macros that often.
The main camera is OK, but little more than that. We had a chance to compare the Moto G50 directly with a bunch of phones, including the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, Mi 10T Lite and Pixel 4a. The Moto was the weakest of the bunch.
Photos look a bit scruffier up close, and fine detail is marginally worse. Low-light photos aren’t great either, even if you use the dedicated Night mode.
However, it’s our job to look for weak points in phones, and we still have a good time shooting images with the Moto G50. It has solid image processing to keep 95% of your shots looking well exposed, and there’s only minor shutter lag, which is where it seems the phone takes its sweet time to actually capture a photo.
There was always going to be a compromise or two to fit 5G in at this price in 2021, and while they do hit the camera, Motorola has balanced things out rather well here. We used the way more expensive Sony Xperia 10 III before the G50, and it has far more significant camera problems than seen here.
The Motorola Moto G50 design is very similar to that of other recent G-series phones. That means the back is intended to look a bit like glass, which was used in Moto G phones a few years ago, but is plastic.
Its sides are plastic too, but this is now the norm for virtually every phone available at under £200.
The Moto G50 has a light reactive finish, which creates metallic-looking lighter patches across its back as you turn it around in your hand. However, there’s nothing too ambitious or polarising going on here. It doesn’t have the slightly juvenile style of some Xiaomi and Realme alternatives.
You also get a simple silicone case in the box, so there's no need to buy any accessories. A screen protector wouldn't be a bad idea, though. Motorola does not apply one in the factory, and the phones do not use Gorilla Glass, the most popular kind of scratch-resistant glass in phones.
This glass is still toughened, but we’ve managed to put a couple of light scratches in it after a few weeks of use.
We don’t think there's much of the learning curve to the Moto G50. It has a Motorola interface on top of the core Android 11 software, but it’s very similar to the default Google style in most respects. You'll be asked to log in to your Google account on setup, and as part of the start-up guide, you can make the phone install all the apps present on your current phone.
The Moto G50 is a solid, no-nonsense Android for someone keen on having 5G in their next phone but who is otherwise more concerned about long battery life than other tech frills.
It doesn't have a particularly advanced camera or a Full HD screen, but we think it’s a good buy for the non-tech obsessed crowd, particularly if it's available for £180 (rather than its original price tag of £200) when you come to buy.
General performance is solid, long battery life is something we always appreciate, and a speaker that doesn’t sound thin and weak is great for the podcast fans out there. The Moto G50 is no revolution, but it’s certainly a sensible budget buy.
Overall rating: 4/5
There are a number of different Motorola Moto G50 contracts to choose from at Carphone Warehouse.
Don't miss our wider pick of the best Motorola phones to buy in 2021.