Motorola g-series has long had a business ‘fleet’ following because its price, reliability, and durability align. The Motorola g50 5G carries on that tradition – and at $399, it is a winner with consumers as well.
It is up against some tough price competition from OPPO, vivo and realme, but it has a winning hand bang-for-buck. Large 6.5” 90Hz screen, decent processor, big 5000mAh battery and 48MP triple camera to top it off.
I suspect its main competition may be from the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 8.5/10 that at $100 more offers a 108mp camera, faster processor, bigger screen. This is a good device, but I’d lean that way.
JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Big W, Motorola Online. Available at Vodafone by the end of September
Country of Manufacture:
Owned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
All genuine Australian 5G models use unique Australian 5G sub-6Ghz and 5G low-band frequencies and require local activation first. That means a grey market phone likely won’t be able to use 5G here.
We have named and shamed the major grey marketers here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.
First impression – a solid glass slab
This is a solid, square edge, phone at 167 x 76.4 x 9.26mm x 206g. While it has a plastic frame and back, it is well-made and even more rugged in the clear TPU cover.
There are three camera lenses on the back, a ‘Dotch’ selfie on the front. It has a 3.5mm port and a fingerprint sensor on the power button. The bezels are quite thick, especially at the chin and the Android gesture/home keys sit above that.
If you are reading various reviews, this is the MediaTek Dimensity 700U 5G version for Australia – not the Qualcomm SD4805G version with quite different specifications and performance.
Screen – 90Hz
6.5”, 1600 x 720p, 269 ppi, 20:9 ratio,
Centre dotch selfie, flat, IPS – no glass protection specified
Auto or fixed 60Hz or 90Hz
8-bit 16.7m, Standard definition
Tests: Approx. 300 nits typical and 330 nits maximum 1800:1 contrast (good black levels) 88% sRGB Delta E 5 on ‘Boosted’ but rises on saturated and natural settings to 8 (<4 is good). 52ms G-T-G response
Daylight Viewing angle Always on
No Reasonable off-angle viewing but gets a cold cast No, but it has an attentive display
Widevine L1 HDCP 2.3 plays Netflix and Amazon HD SDR content
60/90Hz refresh but gaming more depends on the Dimensity 700 SoC, which generally tops out at 30fps
The screen is typical of this price. It is fit for purpose, and while the 90Hz is nice, I suspect most will leave it on auto.
Max: 211,182 GIPS, Average: 195,511 – 17% loss over 15 minutes CPU temp reached 50°.
The MediaTek Dimensity 700 is a 7nm chip, so it runs quite cool and is energy efficient. It is a very popular chip used in realme 8/V3, vivo V21/Y72, Samsung A22, OPPO A53s/55 and dozens of other phones.
Throttling is a given in any lower-cost device, and this is within a typical range. The raw power is 7% faster than an SD732G, but its overall AI power is about 20% lower. Overall a suitable chip for the price.
USB-C 2.0 480Mbps/65MBps half-duplex achieving a maximum of about 30MBps
Combo Accelerometer and Gyroscope, e-Compass, Proximity, Ambient Light, Fingerprint sensor on the power button
It is similar to all phones in this bracket.
LTE and 5G
Hybrid Dual sim either 5G or 4G or both (if using 5G, it is always active) or use one as microSD to 1TB Dual ringtone
VoLTE – carrier dependent – generally yes Wi-Fi calling – carrier dependent – generally yes
All aprox 1km line-of-sght to Telstra tower
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 38, 40, 42, 43, 66 This a world phone
n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66, n77, n78 This supports n78 sub-6Ghz (all carriers) and Telstra n5, Optus n40 and Vodafone n28 low-band.
Using a Boost Mobile (Telstra retail network) sim at 1km line-of-sight from Telstra tower. Expressed as -dBm (lower is better) and Femtowatts (fW) or picowatts (pW) where higher is better. Tower (nearest to furthest) 1: -81dBm/199fW (average) 2: No 3: No 4: No
I am beginning to see a pattern with MediaTek Dimenmsity 5G chips – that is, they don’t have the signal strength for anything outside the city or suburbs. If you need a phone for regional or rural use, it will cost more.
Battery – impressive 23 hours and 13 minutes
5V/2A/10W but can handle up to 5V/3A/15W 0-100% charge – above 5 hours Using 5V/3A standard USB charger and cable – 3 hours 33 minutes It can use any USB-C PD charger but will not charge above 15W.
Adaptive screen rate unless shown
100% load everything on, battery drain – 5.30 hours PC Mark Work 3 battery test: 23 hours 13 minutes GFX Benchmark T-Rex: 530.7 minutes 8.85 hours and 4354 frames GFX Benchmark Manhattan 3.1: 564.8 minutes 9.41 hours and 2785 frames Idle drain screen off: 250mA about 30 days
The 5000mAh battery is a significant benefit, and with prudent use, you will see two days. Even though it comes with a 10W charger, you can reduce charge time by about an hour with a 15W or higher PD charger.
Sound – mono
Mono earpiece and down-firing speaker. It is not fair to measure the sound signature of a mono speaker system. The primary use is for clear voice. It is not for music or movies with no bass or mid before 1000Hz and no treble after 10kHz. There is no sound stage.
Codecs SBC and AAC (missing aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX TWS+, LDAC Sony Hi-Res)
Extreme Bass, Bass Punch, Balanced, Brilliant Treble, Vocal, Flat – make absolutely no difference for built-in speakers but helps in BT Headphone use.
Two – top, bottom for effective noise cancellation
Tests dB Anything over 80dB is excellent
Media – 75 Ring – 76 Alarm – 80 Earpiece – 50 Hands-free – adequate noise cancelling but not quite loud enough
The BT 5.0 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC and AAC modes and provides clear sound and adequate volume. It does not have Qualcomm aptX codecs or LDAC
This is a typical mono setup you find in this price bracket. It is flat from 1kHz to 8kHz for clear voice. A basic EQ makes no difference to the mono speakers native sound signature but does help with earphones.
52 – some dust ingress protection and dripping water 3mm per minute
In the box
Bumper cover 10W charger USB-A to USB-C cable 3.5mm buds
IP52 means so little that it is hardly worth quoting. If water resistance is important, then you need to look at at least IP67.
Apart from that, it is well made but use the bumper cover.
Google Android 11 Security patch date: 1 July 2021 (September review)
MY UX – a light overlay that adds value to Android
Clean Android install. All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant. Dedicated Google Assistant key.
Mostly productivity and utilities
As this is Android Enterprise recommended, we expect at least one OS upgrade and two years of bi-monthly security patches. If you want a more generous upgrade and update policy, the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is a good alternative.
Fingerprint in the power button: Test 10/10 FaceID: 7/10 Motorola ThinkShield offers business-grade hardware and software security protection against malware, phishing, network attacks, and more threats.
It offers a reasonably competitive upgrade/update policy, and MY UX adds considerable value to stock Android.
Missing – in comparison to some competitive handsets
IP52 is a joke
No BT aptX codecs, which means SBC lower quality sound
It can charge faster – why not supply a 15W?
Camera – better than social media needs
This is a fairly typical 48+2+2MP setup where the 48MP bins to 12MP and the 2MP are for macro and depth. Given the Dimensity 700 relatively low TOPs rating AI is a light touch at best.
We also managed to find all the sensor models used, and as you would expect, these are not Samsung or Sony sensors. Sensor brands can change if there are component shortages.
On the plus side, Motorola’s move to MY UX from pure Android has allowed it to focus on adding more depth and features to the camera app – it shows.
Primary 48MP bins to 12MP
Selfie – 13MP
Pixel size um
.8 bins to 1.6um
FOV° and cropped
1080p@30 not stabilised
Shot Optimisation (Portrait, Night Vision, Macro) Auto smile capture Gesture selfie Smart composition HDR Timer Active photos Pro mode Portrait mode, Cutout Spot Colour Cinemagraph Panorama Live filter RAW photo output Best shot Google Lens
HDR Timer Face beauty Auto smile capture Gesture selfie Shot Optimisation (Group Selfie, Night Vision) Active photos Pro mode Portrait mode Spot Colour Cinemagraph Live filter
Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)
Low light (room with <100 lumens)
I was disappointed by the selfie. Narrow field of view and a very ‘harsh’ lens. Group selfie is similar to panorama.
It is fine at 1080p@30fps for day and office light. It fails under low light (<200 lumens). There is no EIS or other stabilisation.
The Motorola g50 5G has a budget system-on-a-chip, 720p screen, mono speaker and plastic construction. That, my friends, is how you make a $399 phone. It works well, has Wi-Fi AC, NFC, 5000mAh battery, and the camera is OK.
But it does the question – do you need to spend $100 more for the Edge 20 Fusion?
If $399 is all you have, then the is no better. Or if it is a stretch then 5G phones start from $349 and frankly there are some excellent devices – Samsung A22 128GB $299, vivo Y52 128GB $379, OPPO A54 64GB $399, realme 7 128GB $439 and OPPO A74 128GB $449.
If you see enough difference and value, then go to the $499 Edge 20 Fusion. That is not to belittle the g-50, but there is way over $100 value in moving up.
From September 2021, we have adjusted our ratings to give us more ‘headroom’ to recognise exceptional features and performance. Until now, 8/10 was considered a ‘pass’. It is now 6/10. If you compare the Edge 20 Fusion with older smartphone reviews, reduce them by two points.
The g50 Fusion starts at a pass mark. Add almost pure Android and at least one upgrade, a better than average camera (although not perfect), incredible battery life, and support from Motorola Australia, and it creeps over 7. It is only the IP52 rating that disappoints.