/>
X
Why you can trust ZDNet ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Motorola Moto G100 review: A capable mid-range 5G phone with desktop aspirations

sandra-vogel.jpg
Written by Sandra Vogel on
motorola-moto-g100-header.jpg
8.0/10

Motorola Moto G100

Excellent
Pros
  • Snapdragon 870 5G chipset
  • 90Hz screen refresh rate
  • Bundled Ready For dock
  • 3.5mm headset slot
  • Twin front cameras
Cons
  • Two front camera cut-outs are distracting
  • IPS rather than AMOLED display
  • No IP rating for dust/water resistance
  • No wireless charging

Motorola's Moto G handsets occupy a broad swathe of the low end of the smartphone market, but the Moto G100 is something of a step up. With a Snapdragon 870 5G SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and a price tag of £449.99 (inc. VAT), this is definitely a mid-range handset. The Moto G100 also comes with a dock that'll hold the phone in either portrait or landscape mode, which gives it potential for desktop viewing, including use in video calls, and a USB-C-to-HDMI cable. 

The Moto G100 is available in selected Latin American and European markets (at €499.99), but has not been released in the US. 

motorola-moto-g100-in-hand.jpg

Moto G100: A mid-range 6.7-inch handset powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 870 5G SoC with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD card at the expense of a SIM slot). Note the dual front camera cut-outs in the screen.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Motorola has given the Moto G100 an eye-catching colour scheme, with the colour-reflecting back shifting between shades of blue and purple on my Iridescent Ocean review unit. A more sedate Iridescent Sky finish is also available. 

motorola-moto-g100-back.jpg

Four cameras at the (Iridescent Ocean) back: 64MP wide angle; 16MP ultra wide-angle; 2MP depth; Time of Flight (ToF).

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The four cameras at the back are housed in a slightly raised square lozenge on the left side, with three of the lenses surrounded by a turquoise frame. The back is less slippery than some, although it did slide off the arm of my sofa during testing.  

This is a big handset with a 6.7-inch screen sitting inside sizeable bezels all around. It measures 168.38mm tall by 73.97mm wide by 9.69mm thick, weighs 207g, and the screen-to-body ratio is a moderate 84.2%. 

The fingerprint sensor is incorporated into the power button on the right edge, which also houses a fairly small volume rocker. The left edge has a button that calls up Google Assistant, and there's a 3.5mm headset jack alongside the USB-C charge port on the bottom edge. If you're looking for protection against water and dust, you won't find it here: on its website, Motorola says the G100 has a 'water repellent design', but there's no formal IP rating. 

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4
raspberry-pi-4-model-b-header.jpg

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

9
Motorola Moto G100
motorola-moto-g100-header.jpg

Top ZDNet Reviews

Motorola Moto G100

8
Raspberry Pi 400
raspberry-pi-400-header.jpg

Top ZDNet Reviews

Raspberry Pi 400

8.5
OnePlus Watch
oneplus-watch-3.jpg

Top ZDNet Reviews

OnePlus Watch

5.7

The bundled dock and HDMI cable come as part of Motorola's new Ready For system, which is focused on sending the handset's screen to a monitor and using Bluetooth to connect external devices such as keyboard, mouse or game controller. You can also use the handset's screen as a touchpad to control an app running on an external monitor. Motorola suggests you can use your handset for mainstream productivity tasks, although more realistic use cases include video calling, screen sharing and media catch-up, rather than serious application-based work. 

motorola-moto-g100-in-stand.jpg

The Moto G100 comes with a Ready For dock, and software that enables the handset to be used in desktop mode in conjunction with an external monitor.

Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet    

The dock also has a much less sophisticated but important use: with the Moto G100 docked, incoming messages, rolling content,  even your social feeds, are all easy to view. The dock itself, while plastic, feels robust.

The 6.7-inch IPS screen has a 90Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2,520 by 1,080 pixels (409ppi). It's sharp and bright, and perfectly good for watching video. The only downside is the two punch-holes that house the front-facing cameras on the upper right edge: the surrounds for both lenses are large, and very distracting.  

The phone can accommodate two SIMs, or one SIM and one MicroSD card. There's 128GB of internal storage, 18GB of which is used out of the box, leaving 110GB free. The chipset is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 870 5G, with 8GB of RAM. Under Geekbench 5 this platform scored 969 (single core) and 2889 (multi core), which is par for the mid-range course in terms of CPU performance. 

The PCMark for Android Work 3.0 Battery Life test kept the 5,000mAh hour battery going for 12 hours and 28 minutes, which is respectable. And when I asked the phone to stream YouTube video continuously for three hours it dropped 24% from a 100% charge, again suggesting battery life of around 12.5h. 


See also: 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


These tests were with the handset dynamically adjusting the screen's refresh rate. If you force it to stay at 90Hz, battery life will suffer. All-day life may still be achievable, but if you habitually run demanding apps, including games, then daytime battery boosts might be needed. 

The Moto G100 has two front cameras: 16MP f/2.2 wide-angle and 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide angle (118°). Switching between the two is a simple matter of tapping an on-screen icon below the screen viewfinder, and the ultra-wide-angle lens certainly gets a lot more subject matter in. It's nice to have more selfie options, despite the distraction of the two lens cut-outs in the screen.

The four rear cameras are: 64MP f/1.7 wide angle; 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle (117°); a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor; and a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. Test shots were bright and well within the acceptable range for point-and-shoot. There's nothing spectacular here, but photos are perfectly passable.

Motorola doesn't go in for bloatware on its handsets, and extras are mostly limited to specific tweaks accessed via a single Moto app. This allows you to set up gesture controls, personalise gaming settings, set wallpapers and so on. You can play around with what's on offer, but if you're just interested in using the handset 'as is' out of the box, the Moto app is easily ignored.  

Conclusions 

The Moto G100 is a mid-range handset that sits atop Motorola's affordable G range. It supports 5G, has a large screen that's easy on the eye, the two front cameras add more selfie flexibility than usual, and general use is, as usual with Moto phones, pleasantly free of bloatware. The bundled Ready For dock and HDMI cable should both prove useful, too.

The key problem with the Moto G100 isn't the handset itself, but the competition. The mid-range market is crowded, and there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. None come bundled with a dock and desktop-mode capability, but some might have that little bit of pizazz you're looking for.

RECENT AND RELATED CONTENT

Motorola updates the Moto G Stylus with 5G, now $399

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus review: A great budget smartphone, with added 5G support

Nokia X20 review: A solid but unspectacular mid-range 5G phone with good battery life

5G almost cheap: The best affordable 5G phone in 2021

Best Android phone in 2021

Read more reviews

Related

Netgear Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E System (RBKE963): Fast but expensive wireless mesh networking
netgear-orbi-wifi-6e-rbke963-header.jpg

Netgear Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E System (RBKE963): Fast but expensive wireless mesh networking

Networking
NexDock 360 Touch review: Transform your Samsung smartphone into a capable laptop
nexdock-360-5.jpg

NexDock 360 Touch review: Transform your Samsung smartphone into a capable laptop

Mobility
Dell XPS 17 9710 (2021) review: A highly configurable premium 17-inch laptop
dell-xps-17-9710-header.jpg

Dell XPS 17 9710 (2021) review: A highly configurable premium 17-inch laptop

Laptops