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Motorola g50 5G – a good value business or consumer phone (review)

Motorola g50 5G

Motorola g50 5G – a good value business or consumer phone (review)

Motorola g-series has long had a business ‘fleet’ following because its price, reliability, and durability align. The Motorola g50 5G carries on that tradition – and at $399, it is a winner with consumers as well.

It is up against some tough price competition from OPPO, vivo and realme, but it has a winning hand bang-for-buck. Large 6.5” 90Hz screen, decent processor, big 5000mAh battery and 48MP triple camera to top it off.

I suspect its main competition may be from the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion 8.5/10 that at $100 more offers a 108mp camera, faster processor, bigger screen. This is a good device, but I’d lean that way.

We compare all three Motorola Edge models here. The reviews for the $699 Motorola Edge 20 8.8/10 and the $899 Motorola Edge 20 Pro 8.7/10 may see your pocket open a little wider.

Let’s talk about business needs

Motorola g-series typically have Android Enterprise validated by Google as well as Motorola/Lenovo ThinkShield for mobile. This offers a consistent and easy way to configure, secure and manage one or a whole fleet of phones. It also means regular security updates and OS updates. At $399, it offers ‘staff’ a fleet phone that does everything they need and will go the distance.

To put that in consumer terms, it has a Pure Android base overlaid with its My UX offering a great Android experience on a phone that punches above its weight.

Motorola g50 5G Model XT2149-1 5G 4/128GB Dual Sim

Australian website Australian site
Price: $399
Colours Meteorite Grey for Australia
From: JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Big W, Motorola Online. Available at Vodafone by the end of September
Warranty: 12-months ACL
Country of Manufacture: China
Company Owned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, and it has grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
More Other GadgetGuy Motorola news and reviews
Motorola g50 5G – a good value business or consumer phone (review) by All-Android.com

Grey market – no Australian warranty

All genuine Australian 5G models use unique Australian 5G sub-6Ghz and 5G low-band frequencies and require local activation first. That means a grey market phone likely won’t be able to use 5G here.

We have named and shamed the major grey marketers here. If you are going to spend this much money, get a genuine ‘Made for Australia’ model.

First impression – a solid glass slab

This is a solid, square edge, phone at 167 x 76.4 x 9.26mm x 206g. While it has a plastic frame and back, it is well-made and even more rugged in the clear TPU cover.

There are three camera lenses on the back, a ‘Dotch’ selfie on the front. It has a 3.5mm port and a fingerprint sensor on the power button. The bezels are quite thick, especially at the chin and the Android gesture/home keys sit above that.

If you are reading various reviews, this is the MediaTek Dimensity 700U 5G version for Australia – not the Qualcomm SD4805G version with quite different specifications and performance.

Screen – 90Hz

Size 6.5”, 1600 x 720p, 269 ppi, 20:9 ratio,
Type Centre dotch selfie, flat, IPS – no glass protection specified
Refresh Auto or fixed 60Hz or 90Hz
Colours 8-bit 16.7m, Standard definition
Gamut Tests:
Approx. 300 nits typical and 330 nits maximum
1800:1 contrast (good black levels)
88% sRGB
Delta E 5 on ‘Boosted’ but rises on saturated and natural settings to 8 (<4 is good).
52ms G-T-G response
Daylight
Viewing angle
Always on
No
Reasonable off-angle viewing but gets a cold cast
No, but it has an attentive display
DRM Widevine L1 HDCP 2.3 plays Netflix and Amazon HD SDR content
Gaming 60/90Hz refresh but gaming more depends on the Dimensity 700 SoC, which generally tops out at 30fps

The screen is typical of this price. It is fit for purpose, and while the 90Hz is nice, I suspect most will leave it on auto.

Processor – Dimensity 700 keeps costs in check

SoC MediaTek Dimensity 700 7nm
2 x 2.2GHz, 6 x 2GHz
Test:
GeekBench single/multi-core: 551/1692 (similar to an SD732G)
GPU Mali-G57 MC2 Test:
Open CL: 1361 Vulcan: 1390
Modem and Other Integrated MT 4/5G
AI 3 TOPS (approx)
RAM
Storage
4GB LPDDR4X
128GB UFS 2.2 (98GB free) – microSD to 512GB
Test: Sequential read/write Mbps
Internal:  701/266
External 1GB Orico iMatch USB-C 3.1: 28 /24 – slow USB-C 2.0 figures
Throttle 15-minute test Max: 211,182 GIPS, Average: 195,511 –  17% loss over 15 minutes
CPU temp reached 50°.

The MediaTek Dimensity 700 is a 7nm chip, so it runs quite cool and is energy efficient. It is a very popular chip used in realme 8/V3, vivo V21/Y72, Samsung A22, OPPO A53s/55 and dozens of other phones.

Throttling is a given in any lower-cost device, and this is within a typical range. The raw power is 7% faster than an SD732G, but its overall AI power is about 20% lower. Overall a suitable chip for the price.

Comms – all you need

Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 AC 1×1 MU-MIMO 433Mbps
Test Signal Strength 5Ghz – distance from Netgear RAX200, AX11000, 12 stream router
-dBM lower is better, and Mbps higher is better
2m: -34/433
5m: -58/350
10m: -65/251
Bluetooth BT 5.0
GPS Single accuracy <10m
NFC Yes PayWave
USB-C USB-C 2.0 480Mbps/65MBps half-duplex achieving a maximum of about 30MBps
Sensors Combo Accelerometer and Gyroscope, e-Compass, Proximity, Ambient Light, Fingerprint sensor on the power button

It is similar to all phones in this bracket.

LTE and 5G

SIM Hybrid Dual sim either 5G or 4G or both (if using 5G, it is always active) or use one as microSD to 1TB
Dual ringtone
Support VoLTE – carrier dependent – generally yes
Wi-Fi calling – carrier dependent – generally yes
Tests All aprox 1km line-of-sght to Telstra tower
UL/DL 16.4/18.5/39ms
LTE Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 38, 40, 42, 43, 66
This a world phone
5G n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66, n77, n78
This supports n78 sub-6Ghz (all carriers) and Telstra n5, Optus n40 and Vodafone n28 low-band.
Test Using a Boost Mobile (Telstra retail network) sim at 1km line-of-sight from Telstra tower.
Expressed as -dBm (lower is better) and Femtowatts (fW) or picowatts (pW) where higher is better. Tower (nearest to furthest)
1: -81dBm/199fW (average)
2: No
3: No
4: No

I am beginning to see a pattern with MediaTek Dimenmsity 5G chips – that is, they don’t have the signal strength for anything outside the city or suburbs. If you need a phone for regional or rural use, it will cost more.

Battery – impressive 23 hours and 13 minutes

Battery 5000mAh
Charger 5V/2A/10W but can handle up to 5V/3A/15W
0-100% charge – above 5 hours
Using 5V/3A standard USB charger and cable – 3 hours 33 minutes
It can use any USB-C PD charger but will not charge above 15W.
Tests Adaptive screen rate unless shown
100% load everything on, battery drain –  5.30 hours
PC Mark Work 3 battery test: 23 hours 13 minutes
GFX Benchmark T-Rex: 530.7 minutes 8.85 hours and 4354 frames
GFX Benchmark Manhattan 3.1:  564.8 minutes 9.41 hours and 2785 frames
Idle drain screen off: 250mA about 30 days

The 5000mAh battery is a significant benefit, and with prudent use, you will see two days. Even though it comes with a 10W charger, you can reduce charge time by about an hour with a 15W or higher PD charger.

Sound – mono

Speakers Mono earpiece and down-firing speaker. It is not fair to measure the sound signature of a mono speaker system. The primary use is for clear voice. It is not for music or movies with no bass or mid before 1000Hz and no treble after 10kHz. There is no sound stage.
AMP MediaTek mono
BT codecs Codecs SBC and AAC
(missing aptX, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX TWS+, LDAC Sony Hi-Res)
Presets Extreme Bass, Bass Punch, Balanced, Brilliant Treble, Vocal, Flat – make absolutely no difference for built-in speakers but helps in BT Headphone use.
Mic Two – top, bottom for effective noise cancellation
3.5mm Yes
Tests dB
Anything over 80dB is excellent
Media – 75
Ring – 76
Alarm – 80
Earpiece – 50
Hands-free – adequate noise cancelling but not quite loud enough
Headphone The BT 5.0 drove our reference Sony WH-1000xM4 in SBC and AAC modes and provides clear sound and adequate volume.
It does not have Qualcomm aptX codecs or LDAC

This is a typical mono setup you find in this price bracket. It is flat from 1kHz to 8kHz for clear voice. A basic EQ makes no difference to the mono speakers native sound signature but does help with earphones.

Build

Size/Weight 167 x 76.4 x 9.26 mm x 206g
Colours Meteorite Grey – vacuum paint deposit on plastic
Build Front: Toughened
Frame: Plastic
Back: Rounded plastic
IP 52 – some dust ingress protection and dripping water 3mm per minute
In the box Bumper cover
10W charger
USB-A to USB-C cable
3.5mm buds

IP52 means so little that it is hardly worth quoting. If water resistance is important, then you need to look at at least IP67.

Apart from that, it is well made but use the bumper cover.

Android 11

Android Google Android 11
Security patch date: 1 July 2021 (September review)
UI MY UX – a light overlay that adds value to Android
Google Clean Android install. All standard apps, Google Lens and Assistant. Dedicated Google Assistant key.
Bloatware Mostly productivity and utilities
Update Policy As this is Android Enterprise recommended, we expect at least one OS upgrade and two years of bi-monthly security patches. If you want a more generous upgrade and update policy, the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion is a good alternative.
Security Fingerprint in the power button: Test 10/10
FaceID: 7/10
Motorola ThinkShield offers business-grade hardware and software security protection against malware, phishing, network attacks, and more threats.

It offers a reasonably competitive upgrade/update policy, and MY UX adds considerable value to stock Android.

Missing – in comparison to some competitive handsets

IP rating IP52 is a joke
Qualcomm No BT aptX codecs, which means SBC lower quality sound
10W charger It can charge faster – why not supply a 15W?

Camera – better than social media needs

This is a fairly typical 48+2+2MP setup where the 48MP bins to 12MP and the 2MP are for macro and depth. Given the Dimensity 700 relatively low TOPs rating AI is a light touch at best.

We also managed to find all the sensor models used, and as you would expect, these are not Samsung or Sony sensors. Sensor brands can change if there are component shortages.

On the plus side, Motorola’s move to MY UX from pure Android has allowed it to focus on adding more depth and features to the camera app – it shows.

 Camera  Primary 48MP
bins to 12MP
Macro 2MP Depth 2MP Selfie – 13MP
Sensor SKHynix HI4821 GC02M1 GC02M1B SKHynix HI1336
Focus PDAF FF 4cm FF AF
Aperture f-stop f/1.7 f/2.4 f/2.4 f/2.0
Pixel size um .8 bins to 1.6um 1.75 1.75 1.12
FOV° and cropped (68.6°) N/A N/A (67°)
Stabilisation No      
Flash Single LED     Screen fill
Zoom 8X digital      
Video Max [email protected] not stabilised [email protected]   [email protected]
Features Shot Optimisation (Portrait, Night Vision, Macro)
Auto smile capture
Gesture selfie
Smart composition HDR
Timer
Active photos
Pro mode
Portrait mode, Cutout
Spot Colour
Cinemagraph
Panorama
Live filter
RAW photo output Best shot
Google Lens
    HDR
Timer
Face beauty
Auto smile capture Gesture selfie
Shot Optimisation (Group Selfie, Night Vision)
Active photos
Pro mode
Portrait mode
Spot Colour
Cinemagraph
Live filter

Daylight, outdoors

Indoors Office Light (400 lumens)

Low light (room with <100 lumens)

Selfie

I was disappointed by the selfie. Narrow field of view and a very ‘harsh’ lens. Group selfie is similar to panorama.

Video

It is fine at [email protected] for day and office light. It fails under low light (<200 lumens). There is no EIS or other stabilisation.

GadgetGuy’s take

The Motorola g50 5G has a budget system-on-a-chip, 720p screen, mono speaker and plastic construction. That, my friends, is how you make a $399 phone. It works well, has Wi-Fi AC, NFC, 5000mAh battery, and the camera is OK.

But it does the question – do you need to spend $100 more for the Edge 20 Fusion?

If $399 is all you have, then the is no better. Or if it is a stretch then 5G phones start from $349 and frankly there are some excellent devices – Samsung A22 128GB $299, vivo Y52 128GB $379, OPPO A54 64GB $399, realme 7 128GB $439 and OPPO A74 128GB $449.

If you see enough difference and value, then go to the $499 Edge 20 Fusion. That is not to belittle the g-50, but there is way over $100 value in moving up.

Rating explanation

From September 2021, we have adjusted our ratings to give us more ‘headroom’ to recognise exceptional features and performance. Until now, 8/10 was considered a ‘pass’. It is now 6/10. If you compare the Edge 20 Fusion with older smartphone reviews, reduce them by two points.

The g50 Fusion starts at a pass mark. Add almost pure Android and at least one upgrade, a better than average camera (although not perfect), incredible battery life, and support from Motorola Australia, and it creeps over 7. It is only the IP52 rating that disappoints.

Motorola g50 5G, Motorola g50 5G, Motorola g50 5G, Motorola g50 5G, Motorola g50 5G

The $399 Motorola g50 5G is all you could expect from a phone in this price bracket. Battery life is superb.

Positives

Solid SoC performance

Excellent battery life

OK all-around camera

Negatives

Mono – use headphones instead

IP52 is not enough

Only for city and suburbs reception

Can uise a 15W charger but 10W supplied

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