The Moto G84 might set a new bar for budget-friendly smartphones.
Moto G84 review: The budget smartphone to beat
While the camera can't keep up, the rest of what the Moto G84 brings to the table is effortless to recommend. It's got two-day battery life, a screen that swings above its weight class and much better specs than you'd expect given the price tag.
Motorola has been making plenty of moves in the premium space recently, but the arrival of the new Moto G84 is a timely reminder that the brand hasn't lost touch with its roots. Motorola's track record when it comes to budget-friendly Android smartphones is second to none and a pleasently frequent reminder that cheap doesn't have to mean compromise.
The Moto G84 lives up to that reputation and then some. It's not without its compromises but it's as painless as sub-$400 smartphones get. If that's all you have to spend, then Motorola has you covered here.
How much does the Moto G84 cost in Australia?
In Australia, the Moto G84 starts (and ends) at $399. The device comes in three colors. The Midnight Blue and Viva Magenta variants are available widely but the Marshmallow Blue model is exclusive to JB Hi-Fi.
Regardless of which shade you settle on, you'll be able to find the device through the aforementioned plus Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Bing Lee, and Big W and Amazon. For a sense of how these retailers compare when it comes to Moto G84 deals, check out the table below.
The Moto G84 is not available on a postpaid plan, but it can be paired with any of the SIM-only plans seen in the widget below.
Moto G84 - design and features
If you feel like the phrase 'premium without the price-tag' gets deployed so often its almost lost its meaning entirely, the Moto G84 might help bring things back into focus. The display here is 6.5-inches in size, clocked at 120Hz and built an AMOLED panel with 10-bit and DCI-P3 color.
Even if it's not likely to sate those who have strong feelings about larger or smaller sized devices, the colorful canvas here gives you plenty to work with. The screen on the Moto G84 can't hold a candle to the likes of the iPhone 15's Super XDR Retina display, but apps, websites and games looked pretty great regardless.
Flipping things around, the back side of the Moto G84 skews towards minimalism just as much as it does style. While the Midnight Blue model has a nice sheen and shimmer to it, the vegan leather on the Viva Magenta variant is the real star of the show. It's basically the same shade found on the special edition of the Moto Edge 30 Fusion released this time last year.
Regardless of what color you choose, the form-factor you're getting with the Moto G84 is a relatively-but-not-razer-thin one. I don't know if I could confidently pitch the Moto G84 as the thinnest and lightest smartphones doing the rounds in 2023 but at 166g it does feel like a featherweight to handle.
Other perks here include Dolby Atmos speakers, an in-display fingerprint sensor, 30W fast-charging, IP54 water and dust resistance, a pair of physical SIM slots, expandable storage and even a headphone jack. The main omissions here are wireless charging and eSIM.
When it comes to cameras, the Moto G84 is built around a dual-lens setup that consists of a 50MP main camera with optical image stablisation and an 8MP ultra-wide lens. There's also a 16MP selfie camera that you can use in a pinch.
In practice, this camera system proved to be something of a weak link. While it would be a mistake to expect what's here to compete with the likes of the Google Pixel 7a, I often found that the results the Moto G84 delivered were just short of what I wanted. It'd nail the color, but fumble the focus. It'd cope with the low light, but fall short on the fidelity.
For a sense of what the camera on the Moto G84 can do, check out the image gallery below.
Moto G84 - Performance and battery life
Under the hood, Motorola's latest mid-ranger rocks a Snapdragon 695 5G processor, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of on-board storage and a 5000mAh battery. That's surprisingly high-spec for a device of this price and the everyday realities reflect that overkill factor. Apps loaded fast, games ran smoothly and the Moto G84 rarely missed a beat.
When it came to more demanding mobile games like Genshin Impact, the play experience wasn't without hiccups but it was more or less playable. Honkai Star Rail, Warcraft Rumble and Diablo Immortal fared better. Still, given the way that gaming can eat into the battery life of a more modest device like this one, it's probably best to stick to more lo-fi fare like Vampire Survivors or Marvel Snap.
Out of the box, the Moto G84 is powered by Android 13 spliced with Motorola's My UX Android skin. Motorola said it plans to support the device with one year of software updates and three years of security patches. That's nice enough for a device this thrifty, though it does lag behind the likes of Google's pledge to support the Pixel 8 for a solid seven years.
It doesn't hurt that the battery life offered by the Moto G84 is such a highlight. In line with other budget-friendly devices attached to the brand, I'd comfortably make it through two-days of usage on a single charge. Even on longer days, I'd usually hit 60% charge remaining at around 10PM at night. Your individual mileage may vary, but those are the results I got with a mix of social media, web browsing, a little bit of gaming and a lot of audio playback. Burned down from 100% to zero using video streamed over WiFi, the Moto G84 lasted 21 hours and 12 minutes.
Is the Moto G84 worth buying?
When you've got such a strong track record for budget friendly smartphones, every addition to that legacy can feel like a small tweak on the formula. Fortunately, where Motorola's previous plays in the space have sought to offer the look of a premium device without the price-tag, the Moto G84 goes all-in the feel. Combine that with the two-day battery life and overkill specs, and you've got the makings of a device that can keep up with even some of its pricier competition.
There are a few spots where that magic trick doesn't struggles to sustain itself under scrutiny, but plenty more where the sheer bang-for-buck here makes you feel like a mug for ever considering spending more than the $399 that the Motorola is asking of you here.
The Moto G84 shoots for the moon and mostly hits its mark.