It’s about time Motorola stopped ignoring its G-series phones

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  • Motorola can and should do better

Motorola has always held a special place in my heart for providing must-have phones back in the day. Whether it’s the original Razr or the first set of Moto G phones that take you back to the good old Moto Maker days, the company has a legacy of delivering some impressive phones.

As a fan of his work, it’s great to see him back at the top of the US smartphone market again. I love how it focuses on familiar strengths to compete squarely in the premium tier with its Edge range and Razr foldables. However, I can’t say the same for its current crop of Moto G series phones.

We live in a world where spending top dollar is no longer a necessity to buy a great phone, but Motorola seems to have missed the memo. Either that or he’s too focused on improving his flagship efforts to grow the business he’s leaving behind the phones that brought him success in the first place.

The basics are missing

The Moto G Stylus (2023) against a brick background.

Photo: Brady Snyder

Modern budget devices from Samsung and Google have solved most of the problems that plagued the old budget phones. Moto G series phones, on the other hand, still have many of these problems. Even the current crop of Moto G series devices looks dated, showing almost no progress on paper. For example, you still won’t find an NFC chip on any modern Moto G-series phone, which is a glaring omission that cripples a phone’s ability to support contactless payments, among other things.

I also find it jarring to see these phones complete with 720p (HD+) panels. That resolution should be limited to devices with relatively small screens as the relatively low number of pixels per inch (PPI) quickly becomes an eyesore on larger screens. Some of the 2023 Moto G series phones sport 6.5-inch HD+ screens, which are simply unattractive to look at. I love that they’re all high refresh rate panels with support up to 120Hz, but you can’t make up for the lack of sharp, colorful visuals with smooth animations.

Motorola G Power 5G 2023 rear plastic back displayed on the table with plants and books in the background

Similarly, I can’t say I’m a fan of how most Moto G series phones in 2023 only support 15W charging speeds, with a couple exceeding 10W. This issue isn’t unique to the Moto series. G, but the lack of any significant effort by Motorola to improve is disappointing. The company also needs to work on its software update policy because I don’t see myself recommending a phone that won’t get a new Android version update after a year. It promises three years of security patches, but is that really enough?

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) is one of the few models that leaves behind these dated specs, with 1080p resolution and 20W charging, but it’s also priced at $400. It’s uncannily close to the Galaxy A54 5G and even a discounted Pixel 7a, and they’re both significantly better than the Moto G Stylus 5G.

I don’t see myself recommending a phone that won’t get a new Android version update after a year.

It’s getting harder and harder to ignore these omissions, which is why I often struggle to recommend the Moto G series phones over the competition. Many of us at XDA who have reviewed Motorola’s new budget phones share the same sentiment, and it’s quite evident in the scores they’ve scored for these phones in their respective reviews.

My colleague Max Buondonno, for example, reviewed the Moto G (2023) model and called it “a $250 mixed bag” with “some serious drawbacks, like poor camera quality and no NFC for payments.” mobile”. He also highlighted how the Moto G 5G’s HD+ panel makes some texts and photos a bit blurry. Our Moto G Play (2023) review also highlights how this “ex-budget king struggles to stay relevant” with a lack of NFC, a lower-res HD+ panel, and 10W wired charging.

Growing competition

Phones like these are a tough sell when you consider the competition, many of which offer far more value for your money. For example, Samsung’s Galaxy A-series phones secured more spots in my roundup of the best budget phones. Both the Galaxy A54 and Galaxy A14 5G top the list in part because both have improved a lot over the years to keep up with current trends. The Galaxy A14 5G, in particular, has been my favorite piece of advice for budget shoppers over the Moto G series phones.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G with screen on

It also outperforms 15W charging, but makes up for it in other areas. It just brings a better package to the table overall with its high refresh rate FHD+ panel, support for NFC, a massive 5,000mAh battery, better software support, and more. You can also get it at a relatively cheaper price, making the Galaxy A14 5G the best value choice in the budget space. Mobile editor Chris Wedel called it “a budget phone with overkill” in his review, noting how it’s perfect for those “on a budget” or those who “want a phone that gets long-term software support.” “.

Other budget phone makers in this space are also improving their offerings year after year in an effort to not only stay relevant but also beat the competition. Take the mid-range Google Pixel 7a, for example. It’s not just another phone that exists in the budget space like its predecessor. It has evolved into one of the best value phones of 2023, making me regret buying its flagship sibling instead of waiting a few more months. Not only does it make significant improvements over the Pixel 6a in terms of display, camera and battery, but it goes above and beyond to include things like wireless charging. It’s basically a Pixel 7 with a great set of cameras and a cheaper price.

Google Pixel 7a (5)-2

The new Moto G series phones aren’t even part of this conversation because all we’ve seen in the last couple of years are just incremental updates. Almost every comparison of the Moto G series that we’ve drawn recently highlights their counterpart from last year as a similarly good choice due to the lack of major updates. I’m all for quality of life changes, but hate it when those are the only “improvements” you get for upgrading. I’m starting to worry about the lineup considering how the latest Moto G series phones have all remained mostly the same, as opposed to rivals who continue to bring more value to the budget table.

How many are too many?


Finally, I’d like to shed some light on how Moto is, for lack of a better phrase, flooding the market with options. Motorola is not alone in this practice, but I believe it is currently one of the biggest culprits of having too many phones. The company has up to eight Moto G series phones on its website right now. Even if you ignore the 2021 Moto G Pure, you’re still looking at a significant number of phones that are very similar to each other. The 5G variant of the new Moto G Stylus does some things better than its 4G LTE version, but it also brings some flaws and costs a lot more. The fact that all Moto G series phones look virtually identical to each one doesn’t help, but I’ll save that rant for another day.

Motorola can and should do better

It’s safe to say that Motorola has held onto cruise control due to the very real lack of competition in the budget space, at least in the US. But it’s time to step things up unless I want to lose ground. While people buying budget phones aren’t clamoring for new features and other improvements, I truly believe that Motorola should do a better job of catching up with the competition. You, the buyer, have many options in the meantime, so feel free to explore all the cheap phones on the market and make an informed decision.

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