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Motorola Moto G50, hands on: Affordable 5G, with impressive battery life

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Written by Sandra Vogel on
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Motorola Moto G50

How affordable can a smartphone be and still be serviceable? Motorola has proved with the Moto G50 that it's possible to produce a decent handset for under £200: it may not break speed records, feature beautiful design, or use the very latest components, but it does have great battery life and 5G support.

Motorola has an extensive stable of Moto handsets, headed by the mid-range Moto G100 (£499.99 inc. VAT), which comes complete with a desktop dock. Then there's the Moto G50 (£199.99, reviewed here), G30 (£159.99) and G10 (£129.99), not to mention the G9 Plus, Play and Power, and the G 5G Plus and G Pro. 

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Moto G50: 6.5-inch IPS screen, Snapdragon 480 5G SoC with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage (expandable via MicroSD card).

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Moto G50 is fairly chunky and weighty, measuring 74.9mm wide by 164.9mm deep by 8.95mm thick, and weighing 192g. The bundled transparent bumper adds a little to the dimensions and weight, but protects the plastic chassis. Motorola says the shell is 'water-repellent', but doesn't go into any further details or offer up an IP rating. Best not to drop it in the sink. 

The 6.5-inch screen is an IPS rather than AMOLED panel, which means it is a bit lacking in vibrancy. That's not a huge issue and it's nice to see a 90Hz refresh rate, but the screen resolution is disappointing at 720 by 1,600 pixels (269ppi). If you read a lot of text on your phone a degree of graininess will be apparent, as will a certain amount of fuzziness around text as you scroll. By comparison, the 6.7-inch Moto G100 has a resolution of 2,560 by 1,080 pixels (409ppi). 

There are sizeable bezels on all sides of the screen, particularly at the bottom, resulting in a moderate screen-to-body ratio of 82.6%. The front camera sits in a 'teardrop' in centre of the screen, where it's pretty inoffensive.  

All of these factors combine into a screen that's perfectly usable, but which isn't going to be the best choice for anyone who does a lot of reading on their phone. 

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There are three rear cameras on the Moto G50: 48MP wide-angle, 5MP macro, 2MP depth.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

There are two colour choices for the backplate: Steel Grey and Aqua Green. My grey review unit showed off a reflective finish to good effect. Sadly it was also very keen on grabbing fingermarks. The backplate houses the triple camera array in a vertical lozenge, plus a fingerprint sensor -- a rare sight in this location these days. The sensor is a fair way up the backplate, where it sits comfortably for the long-fingered but might prove awkward to access for users with smaller hands. Those who are fans of Google Assistant will like the shortcut button on the right side of the phone. 

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Side buttons: power, volume up/down, Google Assistant.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 480 5G SoC plus 4GB of RAM makes for a distinctly low-end platform, so don't expect to run anything that needs a great deal of performance. For everyday functions, however, Moto G50 is responsive enough. Storage might prove to be a bigger issue: there's just 64GB built in and 17GB used out of the box, leaving just 47GB for your own use. Fortunately, you can boost storage capacity via a MicroSD card, although you'll need to sacrifice the second SIM slot to do so. 

Battery life is impressive: although the Moto G50 refused to run my standard PCMark for Android rundown test, the 5,000mAh battery got me well into a second day of usage before needing a charge. The low-resolution IPS screen might not be the best to look at, but it certainly helps eke out the battery life. Fast charging is available, but -- as usual at the budget end of the market -- not wireless charging. 

The front camera is a 13MP f/2.2 unit that takes perfectly adequate selfies. There are three cameras on the back: 48MP f/1.7 wide angle, 5MP f/2.4 macro; and a 2MP f/2.4 depth-sensing camera. Point-and-click images are OK for social sharing, but if you want a smartphone with a camera that'll take photos you'll be keen to keep as memories, look elsewhere. 

The Moto G50 is an affordable 5G handset that's well worth considering if flagship phones are off the scale, budget-wise. Don't expect much in the way of screen or camera quality from the Moto G50, but you'll get a capable and long-lasting 5G phone at a good price.

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