To sum up this Motorola Moto G50 review: it's a low-cost phone that will work just fine across the board. It’s not the best cheap phone you can buy but it’s definitely good enough for this price.
The Motorola has something to offer everyone - from basic, budget smartphones right up to impressive mid-range handsets with plenty of power and some interesting extra features.
The American manufacturer launched the newest additions to their G series of smartphones earlier in 2021, ranging from the Motorola Moto G10 up to the Motorola Moto G100. I’ve actually reviewed both of these phones and was surprised by just how much the manufacturer can squeeze into such affordable packages. Sitting in the middle of their refreshed lineup, you’ll find the Moto G30 and this, the Motorola Moto G50.
You’re unlikely to see it in T3’s guide to the best phones you can buy because there aren't loads of sophisticated features and it won't give you knock-out performance. Everything about this phone is modest and it's the small price tag that is likely to draw you in. Read on to find out more about the Motorola Moto G50.
Motorola Moto G50 review: price and what’s new
You can buy the Motorola Moto G50 from retailers like Amazon for $260 in the US, £195 in the UK and AU$350 in Australia.
The next phone down in the G series, the Motorola Moto G30, is slightly cheaper. So what makes the Motorola Moto G50 different and is it worth spending more money on? Truth be told, these phones are quite similar and the Moto G30 even outperforms this Motorola Moto G50 in some areas.
The Motorola Moto G50 is ever so slightly smaller and lighter despite having the same 6.5inch HD+ screen. Both phones also have a 90Hz refresh rate. The biggest differences come down to speed. The Motorola Moto G50 has a more powerful chipset and it’s a 5G phone whereas the G30 isn't, so if better performance and fast internet are must-haves then it’ll definitely be worth spending a little more.
Both phones use a 5,000mAh battery, but the G50 only has a 10W charger included in the box as opposed to the G30’s 20W. It’s not going to be a huge difference in practice though. They also have different camera systems, the cheaper Moto G30 has a quad-lens system with a 64MP main lens while the Motorola Moto G50 only has a triple camera with a 48MP main lens. There’s no dedicated ultrawide lens on the Motorola Moto G50. So although you do get better performance overall, you’re likely to get less when it comes to smartphone photography.
Motorola Moto G50 review: design and display
Available in Steel Grey and Aqua Green, the Motorola Moto G50 looks like a simple, cheap smartphone measuring 164.9 x 74.9 x 9mm and weighing about 192g. Its back casing is made from shiny plastic, while a matte plastic frames the phone. I found the phone fine to hold. It is a little prone to picking up fingerprint marks, though.
On the back, the three-lens camera module sticks out slightly, but not so far that it’s annoying. It sits beside the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor which I think is placed too far up the back of the device, but then I do have small hands. The bezels on the front are relatively thin, yet definitely still visible with quite a substantial camera notch at the top. You get a power button, volume controls and a dedicated Google Assistant button on the edge of the phone, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C charging as well.
The 6.5inch HD+ (1600x720) display has a refresh rate of 90Hz so although it won't match up to the most impressive smartphone screens, it feels very fluid and smooth to use. The IPS display is colourful and bright as well as being big enough to comfortably stream video on. It could be sharper, but you don’t expect it to be super crisp at this price point anyway. It would have been nice to see a boost in the quality of the display over the cheaper G30, but overall what you do get here is perfectly fine.
Motorola Moto G50 review: camera system
The rear camera system uses a 48MP main lens, a 5MP Macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor, while the front camera is 13MP. There's no ultrawide lens here which is a massive shame. Take a look at the gallery below for some examples of shots taken on the Motorola Moto G50.
The camera is okay. It struggles to balance light and dark areas of the shot, and won't be able to pick up finer details from a distance. Up close it does a better job, but it seems pretty inconsistent. Some shots came out looking quite bland and colours didn't quite pop, yet in some photos that wasn't so much of an issue. It was alright at taking macro shots, however even these didn't have the level of detail you would get from a more sophisticated lens.
The 8x digital zoom wasn't much use, photos came out blurred and grainy. You definitely won't be able to use it for social-media worthy shots. There are few other camera modes to play around with, there's nothing that I haven't seen before though.
Motorola Moto G50 review: performance and battery
Inside the Motorola Moto G50, you’ll find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 budget chipset alongside a respectable 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which can be expanded using a MicroSD card. This particular CPU supports 5G connectivity if you live in an area that supports it as well.
This is by no means a fast phone, it will struggle with the most demanding mobile games but for most casual use it’ll do everything you need it to even when you have a few different apps and tabs open at once. On Geekbench 5, it scored 504 in single-core and 1,574 in multi-core which is better than a lot of other cheap phones. It even matches up to more pricey budget handsets like the OnePlus Nord CE 5G or the Oppo Find X3 Lite.
The fact that the Motorola Moto G50 uses a 5,000mAh battery certainly bodes well for it lasting the full day without needing to be charged. In my experience, it easily got through a day of streaming music, scrolling social media and browsing the web.
To test it out more rigorously, I ran a local video on full brightness over two hours, in that time the battery dropped by 16%. That suggests it would have lasted about 12 and a half hours from a full charge. That will be good enough for most, you’ll be able to rely on it not to run out of juice before you make it back home. Using the 10W charger, it took almost 2 and a half hours to fully recharge the phone from empty so you will need to remember to plug it in long before you need to leave the house in the morning.
Motorola has one of the best versions of Android 11. It’s not quite as clean as on the best Samsung phones but even so, it feels intuitive to use without being overly simple. The phone comes with all of the Google apps pre-installed and you’ll get all of the benefits of Moto Actions like lift to unlock, swipe to split the screen and the three-finger screenshot, all of which make using the phone more efficient.
Motorola Moto G50 review: verdict
If you’re on the hunt for a cheap phone with 5G then this will be worth considering. It’s not going to wow you with specs or features but it’s so cheap that you can’t really expect too much from it.
You will get decent performance and battery life from the Motorola Moto G50, as well as a large colourful screen which will be well suited to those who spend a lot of time browsing the web, streaming video or scrolling through social media apps. But if you’re looking for a good camera then that’s not something you’ll find here. You can definitely find a cheap phone that's just as good if not better elsewhere, although you may have to make a few sacrifices when it comes to speed.
Motorola Moto G50 review: also consider
The Motorola Moto G50 is a definite step up from the cheaper Motorola Moto G10 which is an even more basic smartphone than this. However, if you want something a bit more sophisticated and you value a better camera over fast performance, then you should look towards the Motorola Moto G30 (opens in new tab) instead.
If you’re searching for a phone with a good camera and you don’t mind spending just a little bit more then the Realme 8 Pro could be a good choice. The main lens is 108MP and manages to pick up plenty of detail. You’ll also get impressive battery life from it, even if it does fall down slightly in performance.
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