Motorola G14 review

Motorola G14 review: affordable smartphone hits the spot

Covering the basics without breaking the bank, the Motorola G14 is the sweet spot for those shopping on a very tight budget.

While it’s great to own the latest flagship smartphone with all the bells and whistles, often the feature set and price tag are far beyond the needs of many people. These days there’s a great range of mid-range phones that fit the bill, although even these can seem overkill if your needs are simple and your budget is tight.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options on the table if you need change from $250, or you’re shopping on behalf of family and friends with basic needs. The $229 Motorola G14 offers impressive value for money for those who require an affordable but dependable Android smartphone in their pocket.

Motorola G14 first impressions

Motorola makes a vast range of handsets these days and it’s settled on a standard design that offers plenty of real estate while still fitting in your hand and your pocket.

The Motorola G14 features a 6.5-inch display, which is tall but not too wide thanks to the 20:9 aspect ratio. It tips the scales at 177 grams, ensuring it’s not too heavy for your hand, pocket or bag.

The power button is on the right, close to the centre of the handset with the volume buttons above. This puts the power button, with its built-in fingerprint reader, nicely under your thumb (or your pointer finger if you’re a southpaw). On a tall phone, this makes life easier than reaching for an onscreen fingerprint reader at the bottom of the display.

The Moto G14 features a plastic frame with a shiny faux-metallic finish and a textured coloured plastic back – dubbed vegan leather – which give it an elegant look and feel. 

It’s not blessed with slender curved edges, which gives it a bit less of a premium look, but in return, it’s easier to keep a grip on the handset – especially if you’re using the supplied transparent protective case. It’s a welcome addition that offers some impact and scratch protection, but doesn’t seem as robust as something like a Tech 21 case.

Fire up the screen and its sharpness and colours are respectable, but those with an eye for detail will pick that the IPS LCD screen isn’t quite as rich and vivid as a mid-range AMOLED screen, which in turn isn’t as impressive as a top shelf OLED screen. You also miss out on the higher refresh rates found on many handsets these days.

There’s no screen notch for the front camera, just a pinhole, but the fact it sits in the middle of the Android status bar means that it’s unlikely to get in the way.

As for connectors, you’ve USB-C for 10W charging – but no fast charging or wireless charging – and an old-school 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Motorola G14 specifications

Display size6.5-inch, 20:9 aspect ratio
Display resolution2400×1080 pixel, 405 ppi
Display technologyIPS LCD
AudioStereo speakers and Dolby Atmos support
Moto Spatial Sound support
3.5mm headphone jack
Bands3G, 4G
ChipsetUnisoc Tiger T616
CPU1.8 GHz octa-core CPU
GPU50 MHz Arm Mali-G57 MP1 
Rear camera50 MP sensor (f/1.8, 0.64 µm) 4 in 1 with 1.28 µm | PDAF | Quad Pixel technology
Front camera8 MP (f/2.0, 1.12 µm) | FF
RAM4 GB
Onboard storage128 GB
microSD slotup to 1 TB
ChargingUSB-C 10W AC charger supplied
Battery5000 mAh
Wi-FiWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac | 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz | Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth5.0
Operating systemAndroid 13
SecurityFingerprint reader, Face Unlock
RuggednessWater-repellent
Dimensions161.46 x 73.82 x 7.99 mm
Weight177 gm
ColoursSteel Gray, Pale Lilac
Price$229 RRP
Warranty24 months from carriers, 12 months for retail
Official websiteMotorola Australia

Features

The Motorola G14 runs Google’s Android 13 smartphone operating system, with minimal bloatware that ensures a clean interface that is likely to appeal to everyday users. 

While Motorola promises three years of bi-monthly security updates, it’s only guaranteed one OS update, taking it to Android 14. That seems a bit stingy when many Android handsets are promised at least two OS upgrades these days.

As you’d expect in this price range, you won’t find a high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon powerhouse under the bonnet, just a basic Unisoc accompanied by 4 GB of RAM. That’s certainly enough for basic day-to-day tasks, keeping in mind that the Moto G14 isn’t aimed at people who like to push their phones to the limit. Those who do would prefer at least 6 GB of RAM, not to mention a bigger power plant.

When it comes to photography, the Moto G14 packs in a dual-camera rear array. There’s a 50 MP primary shooter and 2 MP macro, while the front sports a single 8MP selfie camera.

When it comes to audio, you’ve got stereo sound but, unlike some high-end Android handsets, there isn’t a dedicated speaker along the top edge. Instead, you’re relying on the earpiece speaker that you use for listening to calls.

Another key concession is that the phone can only take advantage of 4G LTE and not Australia’s new superfast 5G networks. That’s not unreasonable at this price point, but something to keep in mind if you’re keen to get a taste of 5G speeds.

The middling processor, standard refresh rate and lack of 5G all help boost the battery life, which is already generous thanks to a large 5000 mAh battery which should easily go a day between charges.

Take care as it’s only a “water-repellent design” so you don’t want it to go for an unexpected dip. More durability is reserved for the $699 Motorola Edge 40 which comes with a strong IP68 design.

Quality

The GeekBench 6 benchmarks really emphasise the fact this is an entry-level model, with the phone scoring 450 on the CPU single-core test and 1587 on the multi-core, plus 508 GPU OpenGL. It’s enough grunt to remain responsive when performing basic everyday tasks, but it’s certainly not aimed at serious multitaskers or gamers.

When it comes to photography, that 50 MP camera figure sounds impressive but megapixels aren’t everything. The phone’s picture quality reflects its price tag and small sensor pixels, producing reasonable shots in good light but falling a little short when it comes to detail and colours. That said, its low-light capabilities are surprisingly good, at least for this price range.

Who is the Motorola G14 for?

Realistically, the Motorola G14 is for someone who absolutely needs change from $250 when buying a budget Android phone which still does the job. Its most likely market is pre-teens and pensioners, as even tech-savvy teenagers may end up hitting its performance limitations.

To be fair, it makes compromises in all the right places to hit the sweet spot in this price range. If your budget will stretch a little further there are other options from Motorola and a few other Android handset makers worthy of your attention. If not, the Motorola G14 might hit the spot.

Motorola G14
A budget-friendly Android phone for those with simple needs, the Motorola G14 makes compromises in all the right places.
Features
7.5
Value for money
9
Performance
7.5
Ease of use
9
Design
8.5
Positives
Large screen
Long battery life
Elegant look
Negatives
No fast or wireless charging
Mediocre grunt
Mediocre photography
8.3