Motorola Moto G04 review
Image: Chris Button.

Motorola Moto G04 review: entry-level convenience

Providing convenience for budget shoppers, the Moto G04 is a no-frills phone that focuses on the basics.

When Motorola first announced its latest G-series phones, NFC drew the spotlight. One of the cheapest phones in Australia to wield the close-range wireless technology, the Moto G04 also includes a fingerprint sensor – a rarity at this price point. It means you can leave the wallet at home and use Google Pay in lieu of your physical bank card.

A powerhouse this phone is not, but that’s not what you expect from a device as cheap as $149. It’s a solid budget handset made for the essentials, pure and simple. The fact that it adds a bit of visual flair is an added bonus.

Motorola Moto G04 review

First impressions

When I think of what “looks” like a budget phone, the Moto G04 isn’t what I picture. It’s bright and colourful, conjuring fond memories of my lime green iPhone 5C from back in the day. With a smooth back and shined edges, the Satin Blue-coloured Moto G04 looks nice and fits comfortably in the hand.

Included in the box is a clear case to provide some extra protection. It’s not a particularly rugged case but better than nothing considering the Moto G04’s plastic build. One thing you won’t find in the box, however, is a wall charger. You’ll need to source your own, with the phone capable of charging at speeds up to 15W.

Moto G04 rear
Satin Blue makes for a nice and vibrant finish. Image: Chris Button.

Its touted fingerprint sensor is easy to activate with your right-hand thumb, or the pointer finger for lefties. Although the large 6.6-inch screen isn’t the sharpest or brightest going around, the 90Hz refresh rate makes scrolling a pleasantly smooth experience.

I also appreciate that Motorola hasn’t lost touch with the target market, including a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top left-hand corner. The last thing you want be forced to shell out for a pair of wireless headphones that cost as much, if not more, than the actual handset.

As for the general user experience, there’s minimal bloatware on top of the Android 14 operating system. Some apps, like LinkedIn and Booking.com, come pre-installed, likely due to a commercial arrangement, but they don’t get in the way.

Specifications

Display6.6-inch HD+ (1612 x 720) LCD
90Hz refresh rate
Dimensions163.49 x 74.53 x 7.99mm
178.8g
ProcessorUNISOC T606
Storage + Memory64GB built-in storage (expandable up to 1TB via microSD card)
4GB memory (expandable up to 8GB via virtual memory)
Cameras16MP (f/2.2, 1.0μm) rear camera
5MP (f/2.2, 1.12μm) front camera
Battery and charging5000mAh
15W wired charging (charger not included)
ConnectivityUSB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
Dual SIM
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Network bands4G: LTE (1/3/5/7/8/20/28/40/41)
3G: WCDMA (1/5/8)
2G: GSM (3/5/8)
SoftwareAndroid 14
DurabilityWater repellant
Price (RRP)$179
$149 from Telstra
Warranty12 months
Official websiteMotorola Australia

Performance

At its heart, the Moto G04 is essentially a more affordable version of the Moto G14. To get well under the $200 mark, it has a lower resolution display, a 16MP camera (down from 50MP), and no included charger. The Moto G04 still has a decent-sized 5,000mAh battery, which easily gets through a day of moderate use.

On the flip side, the Moto G04 benefits from a smoother 90Hz refresh rate. Its 1,612 x 720 display resolution is fine for reading, although you’ll notice less clarity when viewing photos or videos. When shopping at this price point, it becomes a matter of which features you value more.

Moto G04 and Moto G24 comparison
The Moto G04 (left) next to the Moto G24 (right). Image: Chris Button.

For the most part, navigating between apps and scrolling through web browsers is relatively smooth. There’s a bit of lag when first opening an app or swiping up to view the currently open apps. You can get a bit of extra speed out of the phone by enabling the memory boost function, using spare storage as virtual RAM to provide the equivalent of 8GB. Even with this function, the Moto G04 isn’t a speedster, which is fine for the price.

When you look at how it compares to other phones using the Geekbench 6 benchmarking tool, there aren’t any surprises. In terms of processing power, the Moto G04 is near-identical to the Oppo A18 and Moto G14 phones, even though it costs as much as $80 less. It’s also more powerful than the Aspera Nitro 2, which couldn’t run Geekbench 6 in the first place.

DeviceCPU single-coreCPU multi-scoreGPU (OpenCL)
Moto G54 5G9212,329N/A
Oppo A79 5G7181,8361,163
Nokia G426441,9261,083
Moto G144501,587N/A
Oppo A184351,454565
Moto G244111,405549
Moto G043811,335446
Geekbench 6 results

In the real world, the Moto G04 lives up to its promise of being a convenient NFC device. Its fingerprint sensor is quick and responsive, and Google Pay let me tap and go without holding up shoppers behind me. Job done.

My only issue with the fingerprint sensor derived from my sweaty hands. Trying to unlock the phone with sweat on my thumb took a bit longer, which was easily solved by wiping my clammy mitts before tapping the sensor.

Photography

Arguably the most basic aspect of the Moto G04 is its camera array. On the back is a sole 16MP camera, with a 5MP selfie lens. They take serviceable photos in good lighting conditions but you miss out on details and the ability to zoom in. Keep in mind that this won’t come through very well in the below examples because of web compression.

Using the selfie camera shows plenty of colour saturation with a very warm colour temperature, almost as if run through a filter. It’s not a bad photo, although my face does look uncannily smooth. In contrast, the Moto G24 captures more natural colours and facial details. When you then look at a photo from the iPhone 15 Pro – a device 10 times the price – you can see more pores and freckles on my face, and closer to lifelike colours.

Taking a landscape photo in daylight produces a nice image with vibrant colours. Just don’t zoom in. There’s no telephoto optical zoom – nor should you expect it at this price – so any enlargements are solely digital. Once you zoom in, either before or after taking the photo, visual noise sets in.

Moto G04 landscape photo
Image: Chris Button.

This is particularly evident at night. Faraway objects in this photo taken at the footy lack sharpness, while the Moto G24 is clearer. Between the two, I think the G04 automatically set the exposure and white balance better, though.

As a camera, the Moto G04 is fine for well-lit conditions and when you’re close to the subject. Otherwise, it quickly reaches its limits. Also, there’s a slight delay between pressing the shoot button and the camera activating. You’ll need to allow for that, which might be tricky with moving subjects.

Who is the Motorola Moto G04 for?

Motorola’s Moto G04 is a well-priced handset for those who know exactly what they want in a phone. Its fingerprint sensor and NFC technology work as intended, making it easy to pay while out and about.

In the case of the Moto G04, budget doesn’t mean boring, either. It’s a nice-looking phone that comes in various vibrant colours and a stylish design that belies its affordable status.

This is ultimately a device aimed at first-time users and older generations who just need the basics.

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Motorola Moto G04
Getting the basics right, the addition of contactless NFC technology adds another layer of convenience to the tidy Moto G04 entry-level phone.
Features
7.5
Value for money
8.5
Performance
7.5
Ease of use
8
Design
8
Positives
Well-priced
Vibrant design
Highly responsive NFC and fingerprint sensor
Negatives
Slight lag moving between apps
Low-res display
Cameras need perfect conditions to take good photos
7.9