Motorola's latest budget buy might the best cheap smartphone you can buy right now.
The Moto G53 is a bulletproof buy at a budget-friendly price
The Moto G53 is a cheap Android handset that runs surprisingly well, feels shocking nice to handle and looks much more expensive than it actually is. The software is clean and responsive and the battery life is solid and reliable.
The camera can't quite keep up, but the rest of the Motorola G53 5G is geared to over-deliver on your expectations of what a budget phone can offer.
While the mid-tier has been sizzling with competition in recent, the sub $400 segment of the smartphone market has failed to flare up in quite the same way. When you're spending this little on a new smartphone, it's usually easier to spend a bit more for something that makes a lot less compromises.
The Moto G53 5G feels like the exception to that rule. I've been reviewing smartphones for a fair number of years now, and this device genuinely shattered my expectations for what spending this little on a smartphone can get you in 2023.
How much does the Moto G53 5G cost in Australia?
In Australia, the Moto G53 is available outright or through Telstra prepaid (from late April) at a recommended retail price of $329. Check out the table below for a round-up of how local retailers rate when it comes to Australian pricing for the Moto G53.
Moto G53 5G plans
While Telstra will be stocking the Moto G53 as an option for prepaid customers, there aren't any postpaid plans available for the budget-friendly device. Fortunately, that means you're free to pair it up with a SIM-only plan from any provider in Australia.
Check out the widget below for a round-up of the cheapest mobile plan in our database.
Moto G53 5G - Design and features
The Moto G53 5G doesn't look radically different to most smartphones, but a looks noticably nicer than ones this cheap usually do. Although the features here are in large part familiar, they're just that little bit better implemented than they are elsewhere. When you can't compete on specs, that'll get you pretty far it turns out.
The LCD screen on the Moto G53 is a genrous 6.5-inches in size but only HD+ in resolution. Thankfully, a 120Hz refresh rate keeps things smooth from moment to moment and didn't notice that downgrade in picture quality as much as I expected I would. The screen here doesn't look quite as sharp and colorful s something more expensive and OLED might, but the difference in price is just as hard to miss.
It doesn't hurt that the physical feel of the G53 5G is pretty damn polished. I've reviewed countless phones that cost more than twice what this one does that do not feel as nice. That said, Aussies have only one option when it comes to colors: Ink Blue.
As for features, Motorola's latest budget buy is armed with all the niceties that used to be exclusive to more expensive fare. It's got 5G connectivity, an IP52 rating for water resistance, Dolby Atmos audio and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
Unfortunately, it's little surprise that the one aspect of the hardware here that doesn't quite meet that bar is the camera. The back half of the Moto G53 plays host to a 50MP quad pixel main camera and a 2MP macro lens. Meanwhile the front is kitted out with an 8MP selfie camera.
Unfortunately, this array rarely amounts to more than the sum of its parts. There's a version of me that can get away with using this as my daily driver. Unfortunately, that version of me does not take many photos. Every time I tried to take photos with the device I was reminded of just how cheap it is.
While the 50MP quad pixel main camera sounds quite impressive, I found that it struggled to focus on subjects most of the time. I lost a lot of otherwise good photos to blur and other issues. Low-light performance was a little better than I expected, but still far below what I am used to from premium or even some mid-range devices.
Check out the gallery below for a sense of what the camera on the Moto G53 5G can deliver.
Moto G53 5G - Performance and battery life
Under the hood, the Moto G53 is powered by a Snapdragon 480+ 5G, 4GB of RAM and a 5000mAh battery. It's only got 128GB of storage, but it is equipped with a MicroSD slot if you need a few more gigabytes.
Those numbers being what they are, the Moto G53 looks like a natural match for Samsung's newly announced Galaxy A54 (minus a gigabyte or two). However, as someone who tested both devices back-to-back, I found that the the former offered much snappier and consistent performance.
You'll definitely see the Moto G53 5G start to chug if you boot up Genshin Impact but more everyday things or lighter gaming experiences like Super Meat Boy Forever and Legends of Runeterra are well within its capabilities.
App loaded fast, and I had no issues with the brisk and bloat-free version of Android 13 that powers the Moto G53 5G. While it is light on pre-installed apps, you do get access to a bunch of Motorola specific features such as gesture controls and the Moto Secure private folder.
As for battery life, the Moto G53 5G inspired few complaints. I'd usually get through a solid two days of usage on a single charge without hassle. Run down via video streaming over Wi-Fi the Moto G53 5G lasted 19 hours and 8 minutes. That's not quite the best result we've ever seen, but it is a pretty decent one.
When it is out of juice, the Moto G53 5G takes a little longer than I'd like to gather its wits. The device doesn't have wireless charging, which isn't super-common in smartphones this cheap anyway. It also doesn't include Motorola's own TurboPower tech or another form of fast-charging, which is.
Moto G53 vs Samsung Galaxy A14 5G
The Galaxy A54 isn't the only Samsung smartphone that the Moto G53 merits a comparison with. The Galaxy A14 is actually more of a match when it comes to price, with a recommended retail price of $399 in Australia for the 5G version of the device and $329 for the 4G model.
Compared to the Motorola Moto G53 5G, the Galaxy A14 5G has a larger and higher resolution plus faster fast charging and an extra lens on the rear camera. The front-facing camera on the Galaxy A14 5G also has a more megapixels, but the Moto G53 is lighter, thinner and has nicer-sounding stereo speakers.
Is the Moto G53 5G worth buying?
Don't let the name fool you. The Moto G53 5G is as far from by-the-numbers as budget handsets get. This might the most compelling sub-$400 device on the market right now. While the camera is an-admitted weakness, it's not much worse than anything else playing in the same price-bracket and it ticks a lot more boxes.
Even if it isn't likely to topple the mavericks of the mid-range market when it comes value for money, the Moto G53 defies the death by a thousand cuts that afflicts most smartphones this cheap. It's a bulletproof budget buy that's easy to recommend to basically anyone who can't afford to splurge on something with a nicer camera.
How does the Moto G53 5G compare?
|See it at Amazon
|Snapdragon 480+ 5G
|See it at Bing Lee
|See it at The Good Guys
|Snapdragon 888+ 5G
|See it at Kogan
|Snapdragon 778+ 5G
|See it at Telstra
|See it at The Good Guys
|Mediatek Dimensity 900 5G
|See it at Amazon