(Pocket-lint) - It seems kinda mad that we've arrived here, but the Moto G is now up to number 10. It's no surprise though: as the G series is Motorola's most successful range and it has consistently delivered great value, simple and reliable phones.
But for 2021, the numbering and naming system has changed - the lower the number, the lower down it sits in the ranks. Therefore the G10 is the entry-level affordable phone in a series that's long looked a bit crowded.
That causes a bit of a self-administered issue for the Moto G10, however, as it's no longer the default choice in the range. Why? Because for a little extra money the Moto G30 also exists.
The G10 might be the first entry-level Moto G we don't unequivocally recommend as an easy purchase. There's nothing wrong with it, per se - indeed, the battery life, software and practical design make it more than good enough for most people - but there's the Moto G30 to consider.
Our experience with the G30 was just better, especially when it comes down to daily performance, so if you can afford the little extra then we'd recommend opting for that one.
With all that said, the Moto G10 offers great battery life, so if you don't need anything too taxing then it's still a decent option considering its asking price.
- Great battery life
- Main camera is decent
- Grippy texture is practical
- Good software experience
- It's quite slow and stuttery
- Macro camera isn't up to much
- The Moto G30 exists
- Dimensions: 165.2 x 75.7 x 9.2mm / Weight: 200g
- Finishes: Aurora Gray, Iridescent Pearl
- Rear positioned fingerprint scanner
- Glass front, ribbed plastic back
- 3.5mm headphone port
- Single loudspeaker
- microSD expansion
Moto G design has never been all that fancy or premium, which makes sense for a budget phone. Some corners need cutting to get it down to the right price. This generation Motorola has taken on something of an unusual finish with its ribbed back panel (it's still better-looking than the G30's odd colour choices though).
That wave pattern you see isn't just a visual thing, it has texture too. It's a little weird to begin with, but the texture has its merits. It definitely makes it feel less likely to slip out of your hand, and you'll never find it randomly slipping off a surface like a completely glossy glass back might.
That's not the only practical decision made here either. Unlike some more expensive phones, the Moto G10 is equipped with everything you could need. That means you get a 3.5mm headphone port at the top for plugging in your hands-free buds, or wired headphones.
There's also a microSD card slot for expanding the storage. You might find that useful if you like to keep a physical copy of all your own media offline. And if you have have the 64GB phone, you may just find you fill up the internal storage quite quickly.
So what else is there? Well, you'll find three buttons up the right side. One is the usual power button, and there's the volume rocker switch, but then curiously there's also an additional button which - when pressed - will launch Google Assistant. Which is fine, but we can't imagine it's used by most people all that much.
As for that fingerprint sensor on the back, usually we laud the appearance of physical scanners because they're fast and reliable, but that's not the case with this one. Most times it would take two or three goes before a successful scan, meaning it was often quicker just to type in the multi-digit PIN instead.
The G10's front is pretty standard too, with its relatively skinny bezel up the sides and the dewdrop-style notch at the top of the display, barely cutting into the available screen real-estate. And while there's only one loud speaker, placed on the bottom edge, the speaker grille is long enough that we didn't find it was all that easy to completely block, meaning you can hear it whether you hold the phone in portrait or landscape.
- 6.5-inch IPS LCD display
- 720 x 1600 resolution
- 269 pixels per inch
- 60Hz refresh rate
- Android 11
On to that display and - as with most affordable phones - this one uses a long aspect ratio HD+ resolution panel. That means, specifically, it's IPS LCD and has 720 x 1600 pixels spread across that 6.5-inch diagonal.
Obviously that means it's not super sharp, but it's adequate for daily use and won't leave you squinting. In fact, it's pleasant enough when inside and watching movies, gaming and browsing the web. It's not the most vivid panel around though - its dynamic range does suffer, but that's almost to be expected from an LCD screen on a cheap smartphone such as this.
The one place we did notice it struggle the most was outside in daylight. Trying to frame shots with the camera to shoot in sunlight was difficult. We could barely see what was on the screen, even with the brightness cranked right up.
Performance and battery
- Snapdragon 460 processor, 4GB RAM
- 64GB or 128GB storage
- 5000mAh battery
If what you're after in a phone is really solid battery life, we're happy to report the G10 delivers that - by the bucket load. Even in a phone with a high-end flagship processor and a top-of-the-line display, a 5,000mah capacity battery would be generous. So stick it in a phone with a low power chip and only a HD resolution panel, and you get one of the longest-lasting phones on the market.
In testing we'd often get to the end of a second day and still have some juice left over, even after using it for testing the camera and playing a couple of hours of games each day. For most people we think this is a genuine two-day phone. You'll never have to worry about it dying during the day if you've taken it off charge in the morning. It's pretty epic.
Moto also takes care of battery life long-term too. It has a couple of different tools in the battery settings designed to get the most out of the battery for as long as you own the phone.
Optimised charging learns your usual charging pattern and then using that can predict when you need the battery to be fully charged. So if that is at 7am when your alarm goes off, it'll charge all the way up to 80 percent, and hang there until it needs to charge the final 20 per cent, in time for you to wake up.
There's also overcharge protection. So if you're a really light user and have a habit of just leaving your phone plugged in costantly for days at a time, it will limit the charge to 80 per cent if your phone has been plugged in continuously for three days.
Being 5,000mAh does mean charging times are a little slow, especially with the charging speeds maxing out at 10W. So it's definitely one to plug in at night while you sleep. Thankfully, you'll probably only have to do it once every other night.
As for general performance, this is where the G10 slips up against its slightly more expensive sibling, the G30. The Snapdragon 400 series processor inside isn't unusable by any means, but it does feel quite slow and laggy a lot of the time. Loading web pages, or backing up photos to Google Photos, seems to take longer than it should, while animations in the general interface appear quite stuttery.
In fact, Google Photos did - on a couple of occasions - just hang and crash, and then failed to upload our photos to the cloud. On a similar note, there were a couple of occasions where a chosen game would just freeze and crash too. It wasn't just Google Photos getting up to these shenanigans.
The G30 just seems more reliable day-to-day in that regard, which is why we'd recommend that over this phone. It's not that the G30 is super smooth and fast all the time, it just didn't leave us hanging as much. Still, for most tasks, the G10 is fine, if unremarkable.
As for software, that's the usual Moto style of having an almost Google Android stock experience with a couple of added extras from Moto. That means all your default apps are Google's, and you get fun gestures like swiping down on the fingerprint sensor to get your notifications, or a chopping motion to switch on the flashlight.
- Quad camera system:
- Main (26mm focal length): 48-megapixel, f/1.7 aperture, 0.8µm pixel size, phase-detection autofocus
- Ultra-wide (13mm): 8MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm
- Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
- Depth: 2MP, f/2.4
- 8-megapixel front camera
As for camera quality, the quad system is lead by a 48-megapixel primary camera, which is joined by an 8MP ultra-wide, and pair of low-resolution depth and macro sensors.
Stick to the main sensor and you'll be mostly fine. In good daylight pictures will be sharp, colourful and feature decent depth. It's not flagship level, naturally, but it's good enough for social media use.
The ultra-wide is just ok. It often struggles to focus though, and often leaves colours looking unnatural, completely different to the main sensor.
The macro lens can be useful for close-ups at times, but results are not consistent, and being a low resolution sensor means details aren't that great either.
So the G10 is yet another case of a budget phone having more cameras than it knows what to do with. Ignore the depth, macro and wide-angle and you've got a solid main camera - but that's hardly selling itself to the "quad camera" standard, is it?
This might be the first entry-level Moto G we don't unequivocally recommend as the default purchase. There's nothing especially wrong with it - indeed the battery life, software and practical design make it more than good enough for most people - but there's also the Moto G30 to consider. So if you can, we'd recommend stumping up the little extra money and going with that model instead.