Sporting a premium display without the premium price tag, Motorola’s Moto G84 5G is a decent phone that performs stronger in some areas than others.
While some people insist on always having the latest and greatest of everything, the truth is that most of us don’t really need an uber-expensive flagship smartphone. Thankfully, those high-end features gradually trickle down to more affordable devices, meaning these days you can get a decent smartphone without breaking the bank.
Naturally, compromises are still made in order to keep the price in check, so you need to decide what’s important to you and what you can live without.
The G84 5G is the successor to the G82 5G, considering that the G83 5G didn’t make it to Australia. Motorola has shaved $100 off the price tag, getting it down to $399, which is much appreciated during these challenging economic times. In terms of price and performance, it’s not the budget model of the Motorola family but actually one of the mid-range handsets among a choice of around 20 Motorola smartphones available in Australia.
In terms of design, the Motorola Moto G84 5G mostly sticks to the solid design of the G82. The body is a tad thinner and lighter, which means scaling down the display size a fraction of an inch. It’s still a generous 6.5 inches and thankfully not too wide thanks to the 20:9 aspect ratio.
One key change is the switch from an AMOLED display to P-OLED, sticking with 1080×2400 resolution but delivering a higher peak brightness and the ability to display more colours. It’s the stand-out feature of the phone considering its price bracket.
That said, the screen’s colours might be a tad overdone for your liking, because they’re set to “Saturated” by default, but you can easily change this to “Natural” in Android’s Settings if preferred.
Surprisingly, the Moto G84 5G doesn’t make the most of its impressive display, lacking support for both HDR10+ high dynamic range and the premium Dolby Vision HDR favoured by the likes of Netflix.
Looking at the body, Motorola has stuck with its standard approach of placing the power button on the right, just above centre, with volume controls above. This puts the power button comfortably under your thumb, or pointer finger for southpaws, although the fingerprint reader has moved from the power button to be built into the lower half of the screen.
At the bottom of the handset, you’ll find the ubiquitous USB-C, a speaker and an old-school 3.5 mm headphone jack. The earpiece at the top doubles as a second speaker for stereo sound, with support for Dolby Atmos.
Flip the phone over and you’ll find one of the key sacrifices compared to the G82 5G – the triple-array rear camera has been stripped back to a dual array with the loss of the macro lens (handing that task across to the ultrawide lens).
It seems to be a common theme with Motorola’s recent batch of phones. For example, the Moto G54 5G shed the ultrawide lens found on earlier handsets while retaining the main shooter and macro lens. Realistically, many people would be better off without a macro lens rather than losing the ultrawide lens.
Like most Motorola phones, the Moto G84 5G comes with a basic transparent protective case. It offers some impact protection but doesn’t appear as robust as something like a Tech 21 case. The phone has a “water-repellent” design, although this time Motorola has gone the extra step of getting an official IP54 rating, meaning it should survive a splash but won’t be happy with an unexpected dip.
As you’d expect at this price point, the body features a plastic frame and back, rather than aluminium or glass. It comes in a choice of three colours – Marshmallow Blue, Midnight Blue and Viva Magenta, the latter courtesy of Motorola’s partnership with Pantone. Some colour options come in a vegan leather back.
The Moto G84 5G ships with Android 13 and minimal bloatware thanks to Motorola’s light-touch My UX. The handset will only get one year of OS upgrades, presumably taking it to Android 14, and three years of security updates. That seems rather stingy these days, considering that many manufacturers are offering much longer support and people expect their handsets to last longer.
Under the bonnet, the G84 5G packs a Snapdragon 695 5G processor, which should deliver middling performance without punishing the battery too hard. It’s the same mid-range power plant as the Moto G82 5G, which helps keep down the price but will disappoint those who feel the need for speed.
The Snapdragon is accompanied by a rather generous 12 GB of RAM, perhaps overkill considering the mid-range processor. You’ve got 256 GB of onboard storage, along with a microSDXC expansion slot that handles up to 1 TB cards.
The Motorola Moto G84 5G comes in a choice of colours and finishes.
Like most 5G handsets in Australia, the G84 5G only supports sub-6 GHz 5G networks and not faster millimetre wave 5G. It features a dual Nano-SIM tray, rather than supporting eSIM, with one SIM slot doubling as the microSD slot.
When it comes to the cameras, the main shooter remains 50 MP but relies on a larger sensor and changes from f/1.8 to f/1.9 aperture. You’ve still got the advantage of Optical Image Stabilisation. Alongside this, the 8 MP ultrawide retains the f/2.2 lens but manages to stretch a fraction wider, up from 118 to 120˚. At the front, the 16 MP selfie camera changes from f/2.2 to f/2.5.
Rounding things out, the generous 5000 mAh battery should easily soldier on for at least 24 hours before recharging if you don’t push it too hard.
When you do need to top up, there’s still no support for wireless charging, which is frustrating but forgivable at this price range. Thankfully, the phone retains 30W wired fast charging, and Motorola includes a 33W AC fast charger in the box.
On the test bench, the Motorola Moto G84 5G delivers GeekBench 6 results of 916 single-core, 2061 multi-core and GPU OpenCL 1410. That makes it fine for day-to-day tasks but it’s certainly not enough to impress anyone who likes to push their devices to the limit. Sticking with the old Snapdragon 695 5G isn’t doing the phone any favours in terms of performance.
For comparison, the Moto G54 5G, running a MediaTek Dimensity 7020 chip, returned slightly faster CPU Geekbench scores. It still provides a reasonably cheaper alternative to the likes of the Oppo Reno 10 and Samsung Galaxy A54 5G phones.
Meanwhile, the 50 MP main shooter sounds impressive, but we all know by now that there’s much more to picture quality than pixel count. It does benefit from a larger sensor, producing solid images in good light that aren’t over-processed, with decent skin tones. Its low-light capabilities are sometimes found wanting.
It’s worth noting the mid-range grunt of the Snapdragon 695 5G processor limits the handset to 1080p video capture, which may frustrate budding filmmakers.
Who is the Moto G84 5G for?
If you’re looking for a decent budget Android handset and care about screen quality then the Motorola Moto G84 5G is certainly a contender, although the lack of high-end HDR support is disappointing but consistent with similarly-priced phones. Alternatively, if your primary concern is raw grunt or premium photo quality then you might look elsewhere.
Bumping up the grunt and/or camera quality, even if it came at the expense of screen quality, might have produced a better all-rounder. As it is, if the Moto G84 5G’s varied strengths and weaknesses don’t match your needs, there are plenty of other good options like the cheaper Moto G54 5G, or the more powerful Edge 40.
GadgetGuy occasionally uses affiliate links and may receive a small commission from purchased products.
Motorola Moto G84 5G review: screen time
Sporting a premium pOLED display but struggling in other areas, the Motorola Moto G84 5G is not a perfectly balanced all-rounder.