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motorola moto g 5g 2023 hero
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) review: Should you buy it?

5G speeds are no longer an exclusive feature on Motorola's budget-friendly Moto G.
By
January 25, 2024

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)

The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) doesn't pick up too many upgrades, but it delivers a $150 price cut that brings new value to the budget device, even if it's still not the best in its price tier. With near-stock Android, a solid primary camera, and two-day battery life, the Moto G 5G (2023) is easy to recommend as a decent starter smartphone.

What we like

Crisp 120Hz refresh rate
Solid main camera
Great battery life
Loud stereo speakers
Significant price drop

What we don't like

Weak update commitment
Limited camera flexibility
Poor video settings
Only HD+ display
No NFC

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)

The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) doesn't pick up too many upgrades, but it delivers a $150 price cut that brings new value to the budget device, even if it's still not the best in its price tier. With near-stock Android, a solid primary camera, and two-day battery life, the Moto G 5G (2023) is easy to recommend as a decent starter smartphone.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Moto G 5G (2023) is Motorola's most affordable 5G-enabled device. It carries a Snapdragon 480 Plus chipset, a 6.5-inch HD Plus display, and a 48MP primary camera. The Moto G 5G (2023) has a 5,000mAh battery and 15W wired charging. It replaces the previous Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) and has a lower price tag.
  • What is the price? The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) is priced at $249 in the US and will also be available in Canada later in 2023.
  • Where can you buy it? The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) is available unlocked through Amazon, Best Buy, and Motorola or select carriers, including T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, AT&T, Cricket Wireless, and Google Fi Wireless.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) for seven days. The review unit was supplied by Motorola.
  • Is it worth it? If you're after Motorola's simplest, most affordable 5G experience, you'll find it in the Moto G 5G (2023). It covers the basics nicely and holds onto creature comforts like a headphone jack and expandable storage, though Motorola's update promise is still lacking and there's still no NFC for contactless payments. An upgraded 120Hz refresh rate, decent primary camera, and battery-sipping processor help to make the Moto G 5G (2023)'s price cut even more valuable.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
MSRP: $249.00
See review
See review

Should you buy the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)?

motorola moto g 5g 2023 display on table
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Motorola built its budget Android lineup on the idea of having a model for everyone. The Moto G Power went after those who wanted big batteries, the Moto G Stylus covered those who wanted a stylus, and the Moto G Play was the most affordable entertainment-focused option for everyone else. Then, the Moto G 5G brought top-end speeds to the company’s budget portfolio for the first time. Now, with the exception of the super-cheap Play line, 5G has trickled out to other Moto G devices while remaining the Moto G 5G’s only real defining feature. However, to compensate for the lack of new tricks, the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) packs a serious price cut compared to its predecessor — down to $249 from $399.

As usual, Motorola’s budget design is a game of follow the leader. The Moto G 5G (2023) is almost identical to the Moto G Power 5G, sporting a square camera bump, matching plastic construction, and a textured fingerprint-averse finish. It’s not far off from the Moto G Stylus 5G (2023) either, though the Moto G 5G (2023) is slightly smaller and sacrifices the eponymous pen. Motorola’s most affordable 5G device has the thickest side rails of the trio, though they make all of the buttons and ports easier to find with the headphone jack tucked away on the bottom edge. The fingerprint reader is hidden in the power button and proved quick and accurate during our testing, even if it’s not convenient for left-handed use.

The Moto G 5G (2023) nails the basics while hanging onto comforts like expandable storage and a headphone jack.

The Moto G 5G (2023) runs Android 13 out of the box, with Motorola’s light, smooth My UX skin on top. It’s about as close to stock Android as you can get, though there’s quite a bit more bloatware than we’ve seen in recent years, including gaming, shopping, entertainment hubs, and curated apps like Publishers Clearing House Plus — all familiar faces from my time reviewing other recent Moto G phones. Motorola’s underwhelming update support hasn’t improved, either, with the Moto G 5G (2023) pegged to a single Android update and three years of bi-monthly security patches. On the bright side, Motorola has confirmed that the phone will, in fact, receive Android 14 (as expected) — though Motorola was less forthcoming with how soon the update might arrive. Unlike most phones, even at this price, there’s still no NFC either. That means you won’t be able to use Google Pay or Nearby Share.

On the bright side, there’s no shortage of screen real estate on the Moto G 5G (2023). It packs a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The refresh rate is nice, but it’s a little dim in sunlight and the 720p resolution is a little lacking even at this price. Hiding behind that display is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 Plus chipset, backed by 4GB of RAM. The chipset was good enough for casual use during my time with the phone, including scrolling social media and responding to work emails while away from my desk, but gaming is a virtual non-starter. Intense titles like Genshin Impact lagged heavily, and lighter games like Marvel Snap were still enough to beat up the battery.

Motorola has learned a few lessons with its budget-friendly camera phone setups, the most important of which is ditching the 2MP depth sensor. The Moto G 5G (2023) now carries just two rear lenses — a 48MP wide shooter backed by a 2MP macro option. While the dedicated macro lens wasn’t particularly impressive, the primary camera offers larger pixels and a wider maximum aperture than its predecessor. Motorola is also slowly but surely making progress in image processing, with generally accurate colors and decent details in good lighting. However, the two-camera setup significantly limits the Moto G 5G (2023)’s zoom flexibility. You can check out a gallery of camera samples here.

Unfortunately, the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) isn’t a video shooter’s best friend. Quality tops out at 1080p at 30fps on both the front and back — including the macro sensor. This is in line with other budget phones at similar price points but is probably not useful for much more than sharing on an Instagram story that will disappear after a while. What’s more interesting is that the Moto G 5G (2023) defaults to a 9:16 aspect ratio for video instead of its 3:4 standard for photos. It’s meant for social media shooting, just not high enough quality. On the bright side, the Moto G 5G (2023) has stereo speakers, pairing a single down-firing unit with the earpiece. I was impressed and pleasantly surprised by the volume — even if there’s some distortion once you hit the highest level.

Sticking with the good news, a modest 5G processor and excellent battery life are still a match made in heaven. While the Moto G 5G (2023) won’t cruise through intensive gaming, I pushed through around two days of mixed usage. I spent time scrolling on social media, streaming music through Spotify, and some light navigation while in New York City. The Moto G 5G (2023) seems to handle any of these tasks without issue, though when you combine two — like Spotify and navigation — battery results suffer. Thankfully, the Moto G 5G (2023) supports 15W wired speeds, an upgrade from the previous 10W rate so that you can get back up to a full charge in around an hour and forty minutes. There’s no wireless charging, nor is there a charger in the box, so you may want to invest in a new one with the money saved from Motorola’s price cut.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Crisp 120Hz refresh rate • Great battery life • Significant price drop
MSRP: $249.00
Moto G for less.
The Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) delivers a $150 price cut that brings new value to the budget device. With near-stock Android, a solid primary camera, and two-day battery life, the Moto G 5G (2023) is easy to recommend as a starter smartphone.

What are the best Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) alternatives?

motorola moto g 5g vs nord n300 and galaxy a14
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Motorola’s latest Moto G 5G (2023) chops its asking price, bringing it up against some of the most affordable Android phones you can find. Here are just a few worth considering:

  • Samsung Galaxy A14 5G ($199.99 at Samsung): Like the Moto G 5G, Samsung’s most affordable 5G device got a price cut to go with its flagship-inspired style. It beats Motorola’s entry with better software support and a more reliable 50MP primary camera. Both phones share an affinity for plastic constructions, however.
  • OnePlus Nord N30 ($249.99 at Amazon): The step-up Nord is, in many ways, closer to the Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2023). It sticks with a simple design, adds a third rear camera, and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate for good measure. We prefer Motorola’s software experience, though arguing with the Nord N30’s 33W wired charging is tough. OnePlus also beats Motorola in offering a less-than-impressive two years of security coverage.
  • Motorola Moto G Power 5G ($249 at Amazon): Motorola’s own Moto G Power 5G steps in to take most of the Moto G 5 G’s defining features, offering 5G for the first time. It bumps up to a Full HD+ display and picks up 2GB of additional RAM for a little more processing punch. As a Moto G phone, the Moto G Power 5G has plenty in common with the Moto G 5G in terms of software and updates, but its extra cost is worth the improvements.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) specs

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
Display
6.5-inch LCD
1,600 x 720 resolution (HD+)
120Hz refresh rate
269ppi
Processor
Snapdragon 480+
RAM
4GB
Storage
128GB
Power
5,000mAh battery
15W wired charging
Cameras
Rear:
- 48MP wide, f/1.7, PDAF
- 2MP macro, f/2.4

Selfie:
- 8MP wide, f/2.0
Audio
Stereo speakers
2 microphones
Video
Primary: 1080p at 30fps
Macro: 720p at 30fps
Durability
Plastic back and frame
IP52 rating
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Biometrics
Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Ports and switches
USB 2.0 via USB-C
Software
Android 13
1 full Android updates
3 years of bi-monthly security patches
Dimensions and weight
163.9 x 74.9 x 8.4mm
189 grams
Colors
Ink Blue
Harbor Gray
In the box
Motorola Moto G 5G (2023)
USB-C cable
SIM ejector tool
Quick start guide

Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) review: FAQ

No, the Moto G 5G (2023) does not have NFC.

The Moto G 5G (2023) is not waterproof, though it does have an IP52 rating against splashes and some dust.

Yes, the Motorola Moto G 5G (2023) supports a single nano-SIM and one eSIM.

Yes, the Moto G 5G (2023) has expandable microSD storage.

Yes, the Moto G 5G (2023) has a side-mounted fingerprint reader.