Monday, May 20, 2024
Smart Phones

Motorola Moto G54 5G review


The Moto G54 is Motorola’s latest attempt at achieving the perfect balance between price and performance. With a starting price of just €199, the smartphone undoubtedly is affordable. But we all know some corners had to be cut to achieve its price point. The big question is whether its shortcomings are something the average smartphone user can put up with. Let’s find out together.

Like its predecessor, the Moto G53, the G54 offers a buttery-smooth 120Hz display and decent battery life. It features a higher display resolution than the previous generation, boasting 2400 x 1080 resolution compared to just 1600 x 720 pixels before. It also supports higher charging speeds and has a bigger screen-to-body ratio.

I have been using the EU version of the phone with a 5,000mAh battery that supports 20W wired charging. Keep in mind that other markets may offer slightly different configurations. Also, a Moto G54 5G Power Edition is available in some places. This one has a significantly bigger 6,000mAh battery.

In what’s become customary for Motorola, the Moto G54 arrives in plain packaging in an eggshell-like color. There’s no unnecessary fuss and puss on the box. You won’t get this device in a flashy container.

Inside the box, you have the smartphone itself (duh!), a 20W charger with a USB-C charging cable, a SIM ejection tool, and user guides. Unlike other phones from the Moto G series, this one doesn’t come with a protective case.

Motorola must have listened when users complained about the poor charging speeds on the Moto G53. The G54 features higher charging speeds of 20W. For more details, check out our dedicated Motorola Moto G54 specs page.

Moto G54 5G Design and Colors

As thin as a wafer
The Moto G54 may be inexpensive, but you can’t really say it’s cheap by looking at it or holding it. The device is fully made of plastic, with a matte-like surface on the back that feels very smooth to the touch and resists fingerprints to some extent. Also, you don’t have oversized and messy logos on the back that may spoil the phone’s appearance. There’s just one fairly unobtrusive Motorola logo positioned in the middle of the device.

The display doesn’t have a curved glass, something users may appreciate. Also, although the phone has a mid-sized 6.5-inch panel, it’s very comfortable to hold in one hand, primarily due to its lightweight design. Even users with smaller hands, like me, should be able to use it effortlessly. The sound controls felt a bit high, but I believe users with longer fingers won’t find it uncomfortable.

The smartphone is pretty lightweight, which took me by surprise. It’s about 10 grams lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at just 177g. The Moto G54 features an IP52 rating and is advertised as being water-repellent. In truth, this IP rating means the device is protected from limited dust ingress and water spray. We suggest being extra careful with it near water.

As for the colors, Motorola’s budget phone comes in:

  • Midnight Blue
  • Indigo Blue
  • Mint Green
  • Glacier Blue

Moto G54 5G Display

Not good enough

The Moto G54 features a 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS LCD panel with a 2400 x 1080 resolution. As highlighted above, this phone’s display resolution is much better than what you get on the G53. I didn’t notice any pixelation whatsoever.Further enhancing the decent display is the fast and responsive refresh rate of 120Hz. Browsing the web and watching videos, even those in 4K, feels great on this phone. There are no unpleasant stutters or lags.

In tune with the times, the Moto G54 offers three refresh rate modes, just like its predecessor. So, you get Auto, 120Hz, and 60Hz. I’ve stuck to the Auto option since I got this phone, which allows me to get the best of both worlds: fast refresh rate when I need it and optimization for better battery life when I don’t. It’s worth mentioning that the phone has just a 60Hz refresh rate when in Battery Saver mode.

The color temperature is more than acceptable, and you can also switch between two color modes: Natural and Saturated. I tested both of these and finally opted for the former mode, as it felt more natural to my eyes.

On the downside, the glass that protects the front display is way too reflective for my taste. As if that’s not enough, the screen is a bit dark, primarily because the brightness is far from ideal.

Also, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with the LCD display technology. That is already a very outdated technology. Even budget-friendly devices like this one have started adopting OLED displays, so Motorola could have done better on that front.

We run independent lab tests relying on professional color calibration equipment and software. You can see what we’ve found in the table above. Given that its maximum and minimum brightness is far from sufficient, it’s very hard to recommend this phone.

I found it incredibly challenging to see visuals when outside. But what’s even strange is that the phone doesn’t really look that bright when you’re using it indoors. Overall, even though the display boasts a responsive 120Hz refresh rate, I don’t think it’s good enough to satisfy the needs of the average user.

Moto G54 5G Camera

Uncannily good performer

Right off the bat, I must advise you to abstain from any high expectations on the camera front. With that being said, the photos the Moto G54 produces are far from bad for its price range.

The device features a dual camera setup on the back with a 50MP primary sensor with OIS and a 2MP macro camera. The latter is practically useless, but it’s still there if you want to play with it. On the front, you get a 16MP camera with a Portrait mode that allows you to capture great Instagram-worthy photos (so long as you abstain from using the Portrait mode.)

Main Camera – Day

I found trying to shoot the perfect photo with the Moto G54 to be something of a hit-and-miss. Under direct sunlight, the shots appear pleasant, sharp, and with accurate colors. But when natural sunlight is absent (or insufficient), you get over-saturated colors that make the images look rather unnatural.

Main Camera – Low-light

As you can see from the photo samples, you get respectably detailed images when you shoot low-light snapshots with Night Vision. There’s no oversaturation of the colors, nor did I notice oversharpening.

But once you turn off the Night Vision mode, you get images that aren’t exactly perfect. I noticed some blurriness here and there, and detail is lacking, too. If you have the choice, I advise you to stick to Auto Night Vision, as photos in that mode are much sharper and more detailed.

Portrait Mode

With this mode, you should have a little patience. If the object you’re trying to capture isn’t perfectly still, you can get rather unappealing results. If you get things right, though, you may get some quite decent shots.

Zoom Quality

I’ve tested the 2X zoom on the Moto G54. As you can see from the photo samples above, the details are pretty crisp, and the colors appear natural.

However, While shots look decent at 2X zoom, quality deteriorates substantially the more you zoom in. Overall, this smartphone isn’t very good at zooming.

Macro Camera

As you might expect, the 2MP macro camera is practically useless. While the phone does a good job of focusing objects from a small distance, the photo quality is rather disappointing. What surprised me, though, was that colors appeared mostly natural. Then again, you can’t really expect anything much from this sensor.

Selfies

To me, the front snapper tends to oversharpen selfies a bit, especially when you’re taking daytime selfies. Still, at no point did I think colors are way too saturated, i.e., the selfie camera does a pretty good job of capturing accurate colors, both daytime and nighttime.What’s rather disappointing is how selfies look in Portrait mode. As you can see from the photo samples, I look perfectly fine right until you get to my hair. Indeed, as we’ve noticed with its predecessor, the Moto G54 can’t really handle anything apart from sharp and clean edges in this mode.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

Video Thumbnail

As I’ve noted in the video samples, the Moto G54’s camera is capable of shooting videos in two modes – 1080p at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. By default, the phone shoots videos in the former mode, but you can easily switch to the other one.

You can’t shoot videos in 4K with this smartphone, which is undoubtedly a minus. Not necessarily a big one, though, for we have to stay mindful of the phone’s price point.

Overall, I believe this phone is capable of shooting pretty neat videos without any unpleasant oversharpening of the details, considering its price point.

Moto G54 5G Performance and Benchmarks

Acceptable…or is it?

Unlike the previous-generation Moto G53, where Motorola opted for a Snapdragon 480+ 5G SoC, the Moto G54 features an Octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 7020 processor clocked at 2.2GHz and an IMG BXM-8-256 GPU. The phone I’ve been using comes with 128GB of internal storage space and 4GB RAM, and I found it to be just about enough.

As for its performance, the Motorola phone handles everyday tasks with acceptable but insufficient speed. You can expect good performance without hiccups when watching YouTube videos, browsing through social media, and even playing some games. I tested it with Call of Duty and NFS: No Limits, but I guess it can handle other undemanding titles well, too.

Switching between apps and games is easy, but some stutters are to be expected here and there when you start pushing it. One thing about this phone’s performance set me aback, though. That was the fact that it heats up quite quickly.

It doesn’t need that much pushing around to start getting warm, either; it would sometimes get hot from simply scrolling through Facebook. Things don’t get better when you start playing games. Of course, this issue could be fixed with future software updates.

As for the biometrics, I was left with mixed feelings about it. While the fingerprint reader, positioned at the power button, didn’t give up on me at any point, the face unlock worked relatively haphazardly. Sometimes, it would recognize my face from weird angles, but it wouldn’t always work in low light or if I attempted a smile.

As an additional note, people who like wearing oversized sunglasses would probably have to take them off if they wish to unlock their phones via the face unlock option.

Performance Benchmarks

From the metrics above, it becomes painfully clear that the Moto G54 5G doesn’t really impress with performance. In fact, it has about half the performance power of the Pixel 6a.

Moto G54 5G OS/ Android version

A spanking-clean Android experience
The Moto G54 5G runs on Android 13 out of the box and provides a clean and seamless experience. As an Android user, I found navigating through this phone to be as easy as pie, and it’s just as enjoyable, in my opinion.

The Moto app is perfect for individuals who want to check out the extra features Motorola throws to sweeten the pot. Via this app, you can get a detailed tour of how to use Motorola’s unique features, and set up different gestures (more on those follows), among other things.

There’s a pretty neat sidebar that provides quick access to key apps like Calculator, Google Calendar, and Messages. You can also tune it to fit your taste by adding or removing apps.

Motorola’s neat and useful gesture controls are present on its Moto G54. For context, I’ve listed some of the other gestures you can set on the smartphone:

  • Access the camera by twisting your wrist twice
  • Turn on/off the flashlight with two chopping motions
  • Lift your phone to unlock it
  • Swipe your finger through the middle of the screen to access split-screen mode
  • Place three fingers on the screen for a screen snapshot

As you can see, those are pretty handy and add extra convenience to the interface. In terms of support, we expect this device to receive Android 14 and about three years of security updates. Although three years of security updates is normal for a phone from this price range, just one major OS update seems a bit inadequate.

Moto G54 5G Battery

Just about enough

The Moto G54 5G has a 5,000mAh battery on deck that supports 20W TurboCharging.

Generally, you get about a day with moderate use. When you’re not touching it way too much, you can get as much as a day and a half. That is definitely decent, but I can’t say it’s super impressive, given that Motorola’s made it a habit to provide users with devices that last up to two days.

Without further ado, I suggest you check out the PhoneArena battery test results to get a better idea of how well this smartphone competes with others in the same price bracket.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results

On the PhoneArena browsing battery test, the Moto G54 5G endured 10.8 hours of video streaming and about 12 hours and a half of web browsing. When you play games, this device will keep going for a tad over seven hours before the lights go out.

The test we used consists of automated web browsing and scrolling over a Wi-Fi network at a pre-set screen brightness.

Moto G54 5G Charging Speeds

Who needs fast charging anyway?

In the box, you get a 20W charging brick for the Moto G54 5G. There’s no wireless charging on deck. Also, unlike the Moto G54 5G Power Edition, this smartphone doesn’t support reverse charging.

Like its predecessor, the G54 could have supported higher charging speeds. Unbelievably, it takes over two hours to charge the smartphone completely. Things get even worse when you enable the Optimized Charging.

Then again, Motorola did build on the charging speeds, giving us 10W more than what we got on the Moto G53. However, that’s not enough to meet modern standards, in my opinion.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

Moto G54 5G Audio Quality and Haptics

A bitter disappointment
Like many other Moto G devices, this one features a Dolby Atmos-enhanced speaker system. There’s one speaker located at the bottom of the device, which is assisted by an earpiece positioned on top. In theory, the Dolby Atmos system should produce good sound, but I was particularly disappointed with what I actually got.

The smartphone isn’t loud enough. It delivers mushy mids and even worse highs. Making matters worse is the complete lack of bass. I tried playing different music genres, but whatever I tried, I still wasn’t getting any better results. The speaker system should be about enough when listening to podcasts or playing games, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anything else.

This smartphone has a headphone jack, which is located at the bottom of the phone. Contrary to what you might think, that’s not all that uncommon for a device in this price range.

The Moto G54 delivers decent performance on the haptics front. I’ve been using the phone for about a week now and didn’t notice any lag when typing.

Still, there are plenty of competitors that dig a bit deeper into your pockets but provide a performance increase. Let’s check out some of those.

Moto G54 5G Competitors

Cutthroat competition
Like every other budget smartphone, the Moto G54 5G has plenty of challengers.

Galaxy A14 5G

Although released in March 2023, the Galaxy A14 5G is a decent Moto G54 5G alternative. The phone is a bit more expensive than the Motorola, arriving at £209 for the basic 4GB RAM and 64GB storage configuration. One area where the Galaxy performs better is the camera, and unlike the Moto G54 5G, the Samsung smartphone has a triple camera setup on the back.Still, the Galaxy A14 5G has a lower refresh rate than the Moto G54 5G. The latter also boasts better Bluetooth connectivity than the Samsung device and comes with more storage space.

Motorola Moto G73 5G

Arriving at €300, the Moto G73 5G is decidedly the better option for people looking for a phone with more storage space and RAM. The device sports 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It also features a far better speaker system. The Moto G73 5G additionally offers better battery life and has a slightly better SoC than the Moto G54 5G.

What’s more, this smartphone offers higher charging speeds, meaning users won’t have to wait hours for the battery to charge completely. Then again, the G73 5G is a much more expensive device than the Moto G54 5G. So, it’s not unexpected that it’s the more adequate performer among the two.

Moto G54 5G Summary and Final Verdict

Albeit nothing far too impressive, the Moto G54 5G is still good enough to do the job. True, it might not have the brightest display, the best speakers, or the ideal performance. Still, it’s decent enough to meet your most basic needs.

Undoubtedly, the unimpressive charging speeds may put some people off. The same goes for the overall camera quality. Additionally, it’s rather disappointing to see or, to put it more accurately, not to see an ultra-wide sensor. But we have to stay mindful of the device’s price range.

In short, as long as you’re aware of its shortcomings and are willing to live with them, the Moto G54 5G will deliver good enough performance for most everyday tasks.



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