Motorola Moto G7 Smartphone Review

An affordable smartphone that's perfect for teens, tweens, and the budget-conscious

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Tshaka Armstrong
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April 21, 2020
5 min read

Motorola Moto G7.

It sounds like a high-end motorbike or a private jet.

But no, this is not a luxury item.

Even so, the Motorola Moto G7 is a highly capable, durable, value smartphone with some enhancements that focus on function over flourish, practicality over theatricality.

And let's be clear about something from the top:

You can snag this phone for $250.

Maybe it's time you said, "Hello, Moto!"

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What you do and don't get with the Moto G7

So, what does saying hello to Moto get you? Let me start off on the opposite end of that question.

What doesn't it get you?

You're not gonna get wireless charging.

You aren't going to get three cameras.

You aren't going to get the top of the line processors.

You're not gonna get an AMOLED display.

But here's what you do get:

A splash-resistant device with a 6.2-inch, 2270x1080 display with thick bezels and a center camera teardrop notch. It's fine indoors, but it could be a bit brighter outdoors. But at 405 pixels per inch (the human eye can really only discern a bit over 300), the icons and text on display look sharp and scale really well. I actually enjoy watching content on this phone rather than some others because its display is wider. Your mileage may vary there, but I'm not a huge fan of the trend of tall, really narrow displays.

The right side of the phone is where you're going to find a ridged power button and volume rocker.

There's nothing on the left.

The bottom has your 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and USB-C charge port with 15-watt fast charging enabled. That means you're gonna get about nine hours of power with 50 minutes of charging according to Motorola.

Also on the bottom is a speaker, and that's it.

Top of the phone, you'll find a SIM tray, which also doubles as the micro SDXC holder. And below that a speaker grille for calls.

Around the back of the phone is where you'll find the fingerprint sensor, which worked reliably and consistently for me. That's also where you're gonna find a 12-megapixel camera and five-megapixel depth sensor for effects.

And that's pretty much all you're gonna get out of the hardware.

Like I said in the beginning of this review, this is not a luxury device.

Shop for the Motorola Moto G7

What is the Moto G7's user interface like?

Motorola has been adding value to users via their user interface enhancements for some time now. Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Moto Voice are all user interface enhancements that are well thought-out and add solid functionality to Android's operating system.

If you're new to Moto devices, I'm gonna briefly walk you through a few interface highlights:

Moto Actions are gesture-based shortcuts that allow you to interact with phone functions.

  • Quick Capture allows you to launch the camera with the twist of your wrist.
  • Fast Flashlight allows you to turn the flashlight on and off with two chopping motions.
  • One-Button Navigation is an intuitive way to use the single pillow navigation bar option in Android. Turn it on and then choose your swiping options to navigate the operating system.
  • Three-Finger Screenshot is just what it sounds like. Once activated, tap three fingers on the screen to take a screen grab and go directly into edit mode.

There are several more in the Moto Action menu that you can choose from, but these four tend to be my favorites.

Moto Display allows you to do a few things.

If you don't necessarily want to have an always on Active Display, you can turn on Peak Display. What this option does is allow you to see notifications on your lock screen, but only when they initially arrive or when you interact with the phone by approaching it.

You can then interact with the notification itself to dismiss it or launch and look at it. You can choose how much info is displayed here as well as which apps are allowed to display information on your lock screen.

Moto Voice is fairly basic here, but it can be set to automatically detect when you're driving and announce incoming calls and messages. It can be set to do the same automatically when it detects that it's connected to a supported device like a Bluetooth earpiece, for example.

One aspect of this feature which is pretty cool is that you can make Talk to Me activate based on location. So, when you arrive at the office, it knows, and will automatically begin announcing incoming calls and texts based on geo location.

Popular Motorola Moto G7 plans

Are the Moto G7's cameras good?

What do you get for $250's worth of smartphone camera technology?

Quite a bit. As I like to remind folks, you won't be blowing up 8x10s of these images or making billboards, but you do get a phone which produces some pretty darn solid captures at this price point.

Under ideal conditions, the rear- and front-facing cameras both take solid photos of course. Images are sharp and colors look great. Saturation may be a bit much for some folks' eyes, but I tend to like warmer images personally.

If you watch the video, you can see some of that heavy color saturation in the selfie I took in the middle of the day with plenty of sunlight. But in the image on my patio, the camera does a solid job of balancing the shaded areas of the image against the brighter areas and keeping the contrast in balance. The shadows on my balcony were actually darker, but that sky was so bright that the camera compensated, but it did so without losing a great deal of detail in the stucco, fence posts, or that tree in the background.

At night, the camera sensor still does a quality job of capturing images which have solid color reproduction and contrast, even if they can be a bit noisy in the darker areas. And while you don't get a Night Mode with the G7, you do get a manual mode so you can adjust ISO, shutter speed, and other functions in low-light situations to get the most of what light you do have.

Recap: Is the Motorola Moto G7 smartphone worth it?

So, are you ready to say, "Hello Moto"?

Great for tweens and teens: As a father of three, I'm in love with this phone as a device for tweens, teens, and anyone living in your home who doesn't have a job to buy their own phone. Sure, I know a lot of parents buy their kids iPhones, but when my children were younger, I wasn't that parent. I actually bought my sons previous generation versions of the Moto G series and they were just fine. And they've gotten even better since then, this G series.

Perfect for the budget-conscious: The great thing is that this phone is fine for people with a job who just don't want to spend a lot on a phone. Those folks do exist, despite what manufacturers will try to sell us. They really only want a phone so that they can make calls and send a text and maybe snap the occasional photo if some extraordinary situation arises. For that user, I'd say you should definitely say, "Hello, Moto."

Hey, if you have any questions, anything I didn't address here in the review, please let us know in the comments section below!

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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