It’s been a big year for Motorola with the launch of their premium razr phones, as well as the substantial portfolio of full featured mid-range phones. Rounding out the year here at DRN is the moto g84 5G.
November 2023 is the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the moto g family. The moto g84 5G was launched alongside the moto g14 and moto g54 5G, giving consumers access to the latest technology at a range of accessible price points and in an array of colour options and finishes.
I grab hold of one for a quick wrap of the Motorola year rather than a full in depth look.
If memory serves me correctly, the Moto X a good decade ago (2013) was one of the first, if not the first phone to offer a back cover that isn’t just the standard plastic or glass back. Back then you could custom order a wood grain panel back although I believe it was an AT&T customer exclusive. The 2nd gen Moto X added a leather back option and the worn patina looked damn amazing after some use.
Why did I reminisce on the Moto X? Because I specifically requested a vegan leather backed motorola g84 5G.
This vegan leather option has been available on a number of the 2023 moto devices and I really wanted to see it for myself.
With the g84 5G, the review unit came in Marshmallow Blue which is a JB Hi-Fi exclusive. The other vegan leather option is Viva Magenta which is the Patone colour of the year 2023.
Looking at the colour, it’s a a subtle pastel sky blue that has a matching frame, and a slightly different hue on the buttons and camera module as highlights.
It is very easy on the eye, softer than the Pixel 8 Pro Bay colour from Google in comparison.
In the hand it feels .. personal, the grains engages with your fingertips and it resonates. With this kind of finish, you would want to forgo the clear case that Motorola includes with the moto g series.
It is always difficult for consumers to work out what is the differences in a crowded space. To be fair it is hard for us reviewers too when we see so many launches and devices come and go.
But what sets the moto g84 5G apart from the moto g54, other than a cool watermelon (Aussie $100 bill)?
At the top of the list, is the pOLED screen running at 120Hz, 10 bits screen that is capable of reproducing about 1 billion tones, full DCI-P3 compatibility and 1300 cd/m2 peak brightness. In comparison the g54 “only” sports an IPS LCD although still at 120Hz refresh rate.
It comes with 256 GB of onboard storage and 12GB of RAM, which is exceptional at the price point. On top of that the sim slot can handle either a second sim or a microSDXC slot that supports up to 1TB capacity.
Motorola also opted for a Snapdragon Kryo 660 octacore CPU and Qualcomm chipset, rather than a generic ARM processor and Mediatek chipset.
Full disclosure, this review was done under a tight timeframe with limited time resources on my end.
Throwing the unit into the review grinder, I can immediately appreciate the difference with the hardware combination that Motorola has chosen.
The screen is bright, sharp and responsive. In fact the phone itself feels snappy to use when I am typing away to get it all set up.
As I have noted in previous reviews, the Motorola UI is pretty close to stock Android with some very useful tweaks built in. The things I have raved on about previously such as the gesture controls are all present and accounted for. My teenager loves the double chop action to turn on the torch, or the quick wrist twist twice to open the camera app. These are thoughtful extensions to what the stock Android experience provides.
There is also some moto specific widgets which gives you a slightly different look and feel to your phone.
None of these changes are intrusive, they exist and as I have experienced previously on other motorola reviews, quickly integrates into my standard use of the phones.
Taking the phone outside in this very variable Melbourne weather of late, the pOLED screen is a real bonus with good readability in daylight.
Let’s be honest, mobile phone speakers are never the experience one wishes to have. Regardless of tuning, codecs and black magic, physics is a hard boundary.
The speakers are not too shabby if you are using it for a voice call, or a podcast. The volume is sufficiently loud and clear for voice projection, but is bordering on offensive if you are trying to enjoy music. To be fair, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel if you need to blast music out of the speakerphone for enjoyment.
On the other hand though, the support for the full suite of BT 5.1 audio codecs including Qualcomm aptX means you can really upgrade your audio experience with a decent pair of buds or cans. My quick test with a pair of buds in the review cycle shows night and day difference to the speakers.
The camera set up has been kept simple, a large 50MP 1/1.5″ sensor and a 8MP ultra-wide lens adorn the main camera module backed with OIS. The front of the unit has a 16MP selfie camera.
Under good lighting conditions, the main camera takes good photos with good clarity and colour reproduction. I like the warmth to the photos that is not over processed or unnatural. Auto focus was fast and I had no issues getting a few decent photos off for testing.
When the light level drops though, so does the quality and speed. For example the photo of my cat Tapioca down the corridor struggled to maintain some details and it also took longer to capture which in most cases meant Tapioca is already moving. He isn’t one to sit around for long unless he wants to sleep.
The ultrawide camera is quite a significant drop to 8MP from the 50MP main sensor, and the image quality suffers as a result. It is not unusable but it takes more effort and energy to get a clean capture.
Night time photos are pretty hit and miss, and you will definitely need to work it to get that shot you want.
That said, at this price point I am pretty satisfied with the results that is achieved.
The Motorola phones of 2023 has not disappointed in this area.
The g84 5G comes with a 5000 mAh battery. The size of the battery has seen it go the distance to easily see through a work day and with 30W for wired charging, you can top up fairly quickly.
The Motorola g84 5G was shipped with Android 13, with the promise of two major OS upgrades which will bring it to Android 15 eventually.
The review unit which I received at the start of December 2023 was running security patch from 1 September 2023. Motorola has publicly stated they will provide bi-monthly security updates but experience has shown that this commitment is more a guideline.
This is probably my one complain and why despite everything I love about the phones, has stopped me from getting a Motorola phone as my daily driver.
Motorola has a number of contenders in the mid-range space. I myself has reviewed three in 2023 including the motorola g84 5g.
What sets the g84 5G apart is the decisions around hardware. A pOLED screen, 256GB base storage AND 12GB RAM and two major OS updates. One would expect this kind of inclusions at something that is double the price tag, not the RRP $399 that Motorola is selling it for.
It is the kind of phone that goes that little extra mile in the right demographic – people who don’t need a power house but would appreciate a little extra from the bare basic. This one has been an impressive device to use in the brief time I could afford it.
DRN would like to thank Motorola for providing the review unit.