Motorola Moto G10 Review: An affordable handset with appealing battery life
Quick verdict: Motorola brings some solid budget sensibilities to play with the Motorola Moto G10, along with a clean Android UI and some really good battery life.
- Great battery life
- Clean Android runs well at this price point
- Choice of colour styles
- Cheap plastic build
- Camera app can be slow to fire up
- Slow charging
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
The line between Motorola's affordable E-series phones and its more general-purpose G-series handsets has never been massively wide, but in 2021, it feels closer than it's ever been. The price difference between the Motorola Moto e7, a phone we rather liked for its balance of price and features, is only $50.
That price jump means that the Motorola Moto G10 has its work cut out for it justifying itself, because you could just save $50 and get a pretty good phone for your money if you like the Motorola brand.
The Motorola Moto G10 does do a good job of justifying that extra money and if you can wear the extra $50, it's mostly money well spent.
- Choice of two colours
- Protective case included
- 6.5 inch display, but only 720p capable
- Good fingerprint sensor
- Google Assistant button
With budget phones you often don't get much choice when it comes to finishes. The Motorola Moto G10 certainly won't stun you with its plastic body build, but you do at least get a choice in what it looks like, with either a sedate "Aurora Grey" finish (as tested) or more ostentatious "Sakura Pearl" style to choose from.
The Motorola Moto G10's plastic body probably wouldn't take to a drop kindly, but thankfully Motorola does provide a simple clear plastic case in the box to keep it protected. As always, Finder's recommendation is to put a case on your mobile phone, because it's a simple and effective protective step.
One of the key ways that mobile phone makers keep costs down in budget phones is with lower quality displays. While the Motorola Moto G10 has a reasonably large display at 6.5 inches, it's only an HD (720p) capable screen with a 1600x720 pixel resolution. It's not notably bright or punchy even for a lower cost screen, and you only have to shift it slightly to see angular colour changes on the display.
The price point of the Motorola Moto G10 doesn't lend itself to an in-display fingerprint reader, but that's arguably for the best. Slower phones will typically struggle with reading and authenticating that way, whereas the rear-mounted sensor on the Motorola Moto G10 is nicely quick for rapid unlocking.
All of the Motorola Moto G10's controls sit on the right-hand side of the phone, with power, volume and dedicated Google Assistant buttons running bottom from top. If you're like me, the odds are that you'll hit the assistant button when you mean to hit the power button more than once (or vice versa). It would be just a tad easier if they sat on opposite sides.
- Quad rear cam shoots competently
- Some lag when opening camera app
We've seen a big shift in camera quality in the budget space in recent years. No longer do you have to put up with dodgy single lens cameras at the rear, and the Motorola Moto G10 is a good example of what you can get for a moderate price.
At the front sits a fairly ordinary 8MP f/2.2 sensor sitting under that teardrop notch. At the rear you get a quad-camera array, based around a primary 48MP f/1.7 sensor, using quad pixel binning to sharpen images for your everyday shots.
That's joined by an 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide 118° sensor for landscape shots, and rather inevitably, a 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor. There are precious few phones in this kind of price bracket that don't shoot macro, and most of them don't do it all that well. Still, a little photographic flexibility is no bad thing to speak of. The final lens is one you won't shoot directly with, because it's a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor used purely for creating bokeh style effects.
The end result isn't a spectacular camera for its price range, but it's a very capable one if you've got some patience with it. The Motorola camera app isn't terribly quick to launch, and if you're using the wide angle or macro lenses, you may have to wait a little longer to get your focus lined up and produce a truly pleasing shot.
You can switch (with a little patience) between the macro, standard and wide lenses, and like any other mobile, also use a two finger sweep motion to activate digital zoom at up to 8x. Even with that 48MP sensor to crop down, the results are rarely all that pleasing. Here's a standard shot at 1x zoom, or in other words the standard sensor shooting a standard shot:
And then again with 8x digital zoom:
While it's not a fancy composition, it does show off how quickly the Motorola Moto G10 loses definition when zooming. You'd be better off taking the regular shot and cropping from there in every instance.
One factor I did appreciate with the Motorola Moto G10 was that it shot just a touch better in lower light conditions than the recently tested Moto e7 or Moto e7 power cameras, although it's far from the industry's best.
- Snapdragon 460 with 4GB of RAM is decent for this price
- Android 11 onboard
- Moto action capable
Many low-cost mobile phones opt for a cheap MediaTek processor to keep costs low. Indeed, that's what Motorola itself does for the even cheaper Motorola Moto e7 and Motorola Moto e7 power. The Motorola Moto G10 is somewhat the premium option here, beneath the fancier Motorola Moto G30, shipping with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor and 4GB of RAM. That's not a high-end processor by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a tad better than you'll generally see in this kind of price bracket.
That's evident within the Motorola Moto G10's benchmark results, where it scores handily against much of its competition. Here's how it compares using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
Here's how the Motorola Moto G10 compares using 3DMark's graphics benchmarks on its Adreno 610 GPU:
The Motorola Moto G10 does run slightly behind the realme C3 in those tests, but if you asked me which I'd prefer to use daily, the Motorola Moto G10 would take it cleanly. That's because it's an Android 11 handset with a remarkably clean UI, where the realme C3 (for all its benefits) runs on realme/Oppo's realme UI, which rewrites core Android functions in somewhat annoying ways.
By way of comparison, Motorola keeps it fairly lightweight in terms of additional apps and features. You do get the familiar moto actions, so chopping twice with the phone quickly turns the flashlight on, but beyond that it's very much yours to customise.
- 5,000mAh battery delivers easy two-day battery life
- USB C charging isn't fast, but it's easy to use
Typically when Motorola throws a 5,000mAh battery into a phone, it adds the suffix "power" to the phone to make that clear. Maybe that sticker fell off in the factory? In any case, the Motorola Moto G10 uses a 5,000mAh sealed battery to provide power that it claims is good for two day battery usage.
A lot of phones make that claim, but many do fall short of the mark. Your phone usage can be highly variable naturally, with some apps chewing up battery like candy while others sip meekly at just a few stray electrons.
To test battery life, we put each phone through a one hour YouTube streaming test from fully charged, with screen brightness set to maximum and moderate volume. Phones that drop below 90% in this test will typically struggle with just a single day of usage, let alone two.
Here's how the Motorola Moto G10 fared:
The Motorola Moto G10 sits right where I'd expect it to be given its budget status, but actually a little above expectations given that it's running a faster processor than its Moto e7 or Moto e7 Power siblings. That should suck up more battery life, but the Motorola Moto G10 does an admirable job of keeping its power usage in check.
That equates out to good battery life for a budget phone, with two days of usage being entirely feasible for many users, although, as always if you really want to send a phone flat, you can do so quite quickly.
Recharging the Motorola Moto G10 isn't a speedy process to speak of with a 10W charger supplied, but at least Motorola's made the jump to USB C charging connectors across its entire 2021 phone range. That means it's much easier to plug the Motorola Moto G10 in when it is running low on power.
Should you buy the Motorola Moto G10?
- Buy it if you want a good all-purpose budget phone.
- Don't buy it if you want a fast phone, or one with a sturdy build.
The Motorola Moto G10 does indeed do enough and justify itself enough relative to the cheaper Motorola E series phones you can buy right now if you're a brand fan.
If you're not, there's a very wide array of phones at this kind of price point, and it's well worth considering your core phone needs, because at this price point you're talking some level of compromise. For the G10, that's somewhat around camera speeds and the actual build quality of the phone. However, against that you've got good performance for the price and a nice clean Android UI to make your own.
Pricing and availability
PriceThe Motorola Moto G10 retails in Australia for $249 outright.
Where to buy
Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman