But does the £200 Moto G50 sit neatly between the underpowered entry models and the underwhelming premium version, or is it just an awkward middle child?
Motorola Moto G50 review: What you need to know
The Moto G family has grown in ranks in recent years. Not content with just having a Play, Plus and Power variant of the G each year, Motorola has now gone into double and triple figures with its numbering system.
As I mentioned in my introduction, the Moto G50 sits between the G10, G30 and G100 in terms of price, and that means you also get (on paper) middle child performance, although the G50 is certainly closer to the G30 than it is for the G100. You’re looking at a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset backed with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, with microSD expansion if required.
There’s also a triple-camera array on the back and it’s got a couple of cool features that are pretty rare at this price: a 90Hz display and 5G connectivity.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Price and competition
So what else can you get around the £200 mark? Well, the best value proposition right now is the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFCwhich also retail for £200. The Moto G9 Plus costs that a lot these daystoo, although it originally retailed for £260.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Design
Motorola’s phones, from the cheapest to the most expensive (Razr aside), have followed a fairly similar design trend in recent years, and the Moto G50 once again has a look that belies its low entry price.
If there was a hint to its low cost, though, it comes in the form of the bezels, which are a bit thicker than you’d expect on a 2021 phone. This isn’t particularly distracting, though, except at the chin, where it stretches up to a couple of millimeters wide.
There’s no fancy in-display fingerprint reader here, instead Motorola uses a circular sensor on the back which, while functional, makes unlocking the phone when it’s flat on your desk a bit of a hassle. Next to the scanner is the three-camera array, neatly tucked into a rectangular box in the upper left corner. Unsurprisingly for the price, it’s plastic up to here.
Motorola has traditionally been good at offering consumer-friendly extras that the big players like Samsung and Apple often neglect. To that end, you’ll find expandable storage for microSD cards up to 1TB in size and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Display
The Moto G50’s 6.5-inch screen is an IPS panel with a resolution of 1600 x 720, giving it a pixel density of 269ppi. That’s low for smartphones, but it’s what you’d expect from most laptop screens, making it more than sharp enough for most people’s needs.
And in true Motorola fashion, it’s a solid display, offering excellent value for such a low-cost phone. Using a colorimeter, I found that it covered 92.2% of the sRGB gamut at 99% sRGB volume; in other words, color coverage is broad and accurate. Furthermore, the measured contrast of 1764:1 is more than sharp enough.
In terms of brightness, the measured 431 cd/m² is a bit low for an IPS display, but still bright enough for comfortable use on all but the sunniest of days.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Performance
The Motorola uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor, a chipset we’ve only tested once before when reviewing the £300 average nokia x20. Suffice it to say that at £100 cheaper, it’s easier to be complimentary of the Moto G50.
Below, I compared their benchmarks against the two cheapest members of the double-digit Moto G family, as well as the top version of Moto’s last-gen phones, the Moto G9 Plus (which is roughly the same price). . As you can see, the Moto G50 does a much better job of going up against the other members of the £200 club.
Crucially, when it comes to 3D performance, it’s a huge improvement over the G10 and G30. Don’t be too drawn to the conspicuous red line though, that’s mostly due to the comparatively low resolution 720p display. But even on the pale orange bar’s level playing field (where output is matched at 1080p across the board), the Moto G50 goes toe-to-toe with all comers, narrowly losing out to the wonderful Xiaomi Poco X3. NFC (note: we were unable to get GFXBench to work on the Redmi Note 9T, so it is omitted here).
And when it comes to battery life, probably helped again by the low-res screen, the Moto G50 is the new champ, achieving a heroic 25hrs 45mins in our looping video test. That’s a couple of hours ahead of the other Motorola-branded competition, and seven hours ahead of the non-Motos in our roundup. Really impressive.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Camera
As there now appears to be a law that all phones, regardless of price, must have at least three rear cameras, the Moto G50 does the same, with three lenses of varying degrees of usefulness. The 48MP (f/1.7) main camera is joined by a 5MP (f/2.4) macro lens and a 2MP (f/2.4) depth sensor for artistic shots with a bokeh effect. motorola-moto-g50-review-6.jpg
On paper those specs sound extremely promising for the price (even if the Moto G30 packs a 64MP sensor for £30 less), but in reality the numbers only tell half the story, and while the Moto G50’s camera it’s not exactly bad, nor will it blow your mind in terms of image quality.
Admittedly, it was a cloudy day when I shot my usual church, but even with that concession, the picture is a bit of a disappointment. Everything looks good (more or less) from a distance…
…but zoom in and you’ll see a worrying amount of noise, especially around windows. That doesn’t bode well for low-light conditions, but at dusk the Moto G50 managed reasonably well, all things considered. Here is a photo of my garden when the sun started to go back.
It’s not that bad at all. You can clearly make out each distinct sheet, and while it’s not packed with detail, you certainly won’t have a problem figuring out what you’re looking at.
Zoom in and you’ll find that daytime shots struggle more in these low-light conditions. The image is even noisier, and any sense of detail is replaced with a blur as the camera sensor clearly struggles to cope.
To be clear, this is an issue with all budget phone cameras, but the issue is less severe with Motorola’s latest generation Poco X3 NFC or Moto G9 Plus. You can do much better if you have an extra £150 to spend on the Google Pixel 4awhich has the same camera sensor and image processing credentials as the company’s high-end phones.
The front camera for selfies is 13MP (f/2.2) and the images taken are not the most detailed I have seen, although it can be used perfectly for selfies and video calls. Motorola offers a single beautification slider, which is sensibly off by default (left), but I’ve turned it up to half (center) and full (right) to give you an idea of the overall impact. It looks like it’s just softening as the marks on my skin gradually disappear with the airbrush.
As far as I can tell, video can only be captured at 1080p at 30fps, either that, or Motorola has stashed the setting in a very hard-to-reach place. Stabilization is good, managing to stay fairly steady even when I deliberately shook the phone a lot, but footage is a bit soft and very light on detail.
Motorola Moto G50 review: Verdict
Slight camera disappointments aside, there’s a lot to recommend about the Moto G50. It looks great, has a decent screen, includes 5G support, has amazing battery life and is just a hair behind the Poco X3 NFC in terms of performance for £200. Factor in the nice, clean install of Android and you’re clearly Motorola has a winner here.
I’d probably still buy the Poco X3 NFC if £200 was my absolute budget thanks to improved performance and a 120Hz Full HD display, although it lacks 5G. And if photography is your thing, I’d probably suggest looking at last year’s Moto G9 Plus, which offers better shots and similar performance for the same price.
Regardless, the Moto G50 is probably my pick of Motos under £200, offering an excellent all-round package that’s hard to beat for low cost of entry. And if 5G is vital to you, there really isn’t much more to it at this price.
|Specifications of the Motorola Moto G50|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 octa-core (2 x 2 GHz, 6 x 18 GHz)|
|Screen size||6.5 inches|
|Screen refresh rate||90Hz|
|Frontal camera||13MP (f/2.2)|
|Rear camera||48MP (f/1.7), 5MP macro (f/2.4), 2MP depth (f/2.4)|
|Dust and water resistance||Do not|
|3.5mm headphone jack||Yes|
|wireless charging||Do not|
|USB connection type||USB-C|
|Memory card slot (supplied)||Micro SD|
|Cellular data||5G, 4G|
|Dual SIM||Yes (shared with microSD)|
|Dimensions (Width Width)||165x75x9mm|
|Operating system||android 11|