5G connectivity isn’t just for the more expensive phones now. We see more and more affordable, entry-level options in the market. Motorola has been one of the companies working on bringing 5G to more people. And the moto G50 5G is one of the results of that effort.
But is that all the smartphone can offer? Let’s look at the other features that might make it a more enticing buy for you.
There’s been a steady influx of smartphones coming into the LiTT office from brands that tend to heavily customize the Android user interface. It was refreshing to open a phone that gives a clean, uncluttered version of Android 11 with pre-installed apps kept to a minimum. (An upside to being a former Google brand.)
There are only two Moto-branded apps pre-installed on the phone, one for wallpapers and another offering tips about the device. I prefer deciding what apps I install instead of being bombarded by bloatware, so I appreciate this move from Motorola.
The design of the moto G50 is kept simple, too. Our test unit came in Meteorite Gray. When hit by light, it looks bluer. The finish is quite reflective, so you better put a case on it (whether the included jelly case or not). Unless you prefer wiping it down constantly, of course.
The build is unmistakably plastic. But for a device in its price range, that isn’t surprising. It’s on the chunky side, so slim smartphone lovers, this isn’t the phone for you. The fingerprint sensor/power button is easily reachable with the right hand. You can also reach the volume rocker above that. But you’ll have to slide the phone up a bit to reach the dedicated Google Assistant button.
This will be handy if you want to pull up Google’s voice assistant when you need it. But if you don’t really use it, it’s just an extra button on your phone. I’m not too fond of its position because I sometimes mistake it for the volume rocker or power button. It would’ve been better placed on the left side of the phone.
It doesn’t seem to be reprogrammable. By that, I mean you can’t change it to quickly launch an app or setting of your choice. That would’ve been a more helpful hardware feature to me.
The moto G50 is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. It is a dual SIM-supporting device, but there’s no dedicated slot for the microSD card. You either have a second SIM or a microSD card.
One of the older phones I’ve used running on a Dimensity 700 chip was the POCO M3 Pro 5G, and that was a pretty good device. For the past week that I’ve had the moto G50, it’s been a pretty reliable performer. It’ll take a second or so to react when I sometimes move too quickly between apps. But otherwise, it’s a steady performer. Whether I use it for work and content creation or for watching or listening to things on streaming services. (You get HD playback on Netflix!)
I wonder if that 90Hz refresh rate on its 6.5-inch Max Vision screen has something to do with that. We’re happy to see a better refresh rate on a phone at this price point. That’s slowly becoming common, and I welcome that change.
The same goes for 5G support. Motorola has said they wanted to “democratize” or bring 5G to more users. Putting it in a device at its price point is an excellent way to do that.
Some last thoughts on the display. By 2022 standard, it does have some thick bezels around the screen. It’s not the sharpest or brightest display. But if you aren’t picky about that, the phone should work for your purposes.
LITT Tip #1: If you aren’t sure what refresh rate the moto G50 is running on, head to Settings > Display > Advanced > Display refresh rate. You can pick between 60Hz, 90Hz, and Auto. Auto allows the phone’s AI to select the refresh rate depending on what you’re doing. So, you get the smoother scrolling sometimes, or it switches back to the standard to help conserve battery life.
Practical and fun software features
There’s a Moto app on the moto G50 that gives you the highlights of this phone. You’ll quickly find all the intelligent and fun software features on this phone. It’s a nice touch from Motorola because it makes it less daunting and more approachable for first-time and non-techie users.
Some of my favorites are:
- Peek Display: It allows you to interact with notifications from your lock screen.
- Fast Flashlight: Let you make two chopping motions to turn the flashlight on or off.
- Power Touch: Double-tap on the power key for quick shortcuts.
- Quick capture: It launches the camera app with a couple of twists of your wrist.
There are also some unique camera features on this phone, like Spot Color, Cutout, and Cinemagraph.
Spot Color lets you pick a color in your frame, and it’ll highlight that and turn everything else monochrome (like you can do on the OPPO devices).
Cutout lets you take your subject from the background and then swaps them into a different one in the moto G50’s gallery.
Cinemagraph makes it easy to create GIFs or an MP4 video with a bit of motion on a frozen image.
The results are a mixed bag, but it’s fun for experimenting.
Talking about regular camera quality, it performs as well as I’d expect at its price point. It does as best as it could do. They come out pretty sharp in bright environments but temper your expectations.
Selfies aren’t as sharp, especially if you have enabled the Shot Optimization feature. That tends to soften the image. If you’re looking for Night Mode, it has Night Vision, too. I would still recommend using Shot Optimization for shooting with the rear camera. And if you like that softer look, it should be fine for you.
Also, if you wanted to see zoom quality:
My gripe with it is that the zoom slider is a bit finicky. It’s hard to get the magnification I want. I have to do it a few times.
To recap what cameras you get here: 48-megapixel main rear camera with 2-megapixel macro and depth sensors alongside a 13-megapixel selfie camera.
LiTT Tip #2: If you don’t want to bother with editing photos for posting, use Shot Optimization. Head to Settings (the cogwheel on the upper right) > AI Settings > Shot Optimization. This feature automatically tunes your photos based on the kind of picture.
Energizer Bunny-esque battery life
I’m checking the phone as I write this story. And it’s been eight hours since its last full charge with a screen-on time at four hours and 48 minutes, and I’m still at 47%. During testing, I could get up to two days of use before I needed to recharge. I’ve kept the refresh rate at Auto while I tried the phone out, but if you keep it at 90Hz, expect to drain it faster.
There are few phones at its price that I think can offer up to two days use. So, if more extended battery life is a top priority for you, it’s definitely a phone to consider.
There is a tradeoff, though. With support for only 10W charging, it typically took me two and a half plus hours to fully charge the moto G50. If it means I go longer between charges, that’s a tradeoff I can accept.
What’s lit and what’s not?
What’s lit about it:
- Clean and simple interface
- Not too many pre-installed apps
- Stable performance
- 90Hz refresh rate for smoother use
- 5G support in an affordable package
- Moto app makes it friendly for first-time users
- Long-lasting battery life
What needs the extra spark?
- Bit of a smudge magnet without the case
- Chunky build
- Google Assistant hardware button’s position
- Camera quality can use some improvements
- Better interface for the zoom feature
- Longer charging time
The moto G50 5G is built for first-time smartphone users or those wanting the next step from their more affordable device. It gets a lot of features we expect more expensive handsets to have in 2022, like 5G, a higher refresh rate, and longer battery life. The uncluttered user interface makes it easy to navigate, and then you get simple tutorials on using the phone.
Of course, there are tradeoffs at its price. I’ve listed them up just above this section. So, if those things aren’t dealbreakers to you, you can get a lot of value from this phone.
The moto G50 5G‘s suggested retail price is PHP 10,495 (around USD 200 or EUR 183 converted).
Philippine buyers can get it at a discounted price on Lazada during its Epic 10th Birthday Sale kicking off tomorrow, March 27, until Tuesday, March 29. The moto G50 5G will be available at a discounted price of PHP 8,295 (~USD 159 or ~EUR 145).