Motorola Moto G32 review: Basic – but that’s not bad
- 90Hz display is nice at this price
- Basically clean Android UI
- Headphone jack if you like wired headphones
- Only 4GB of RAM on the Australian model
- Security updates are already falling behind Motorola’s claims
- Cameras don’t live up to Motorola’s hype
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
Stop me if you've heard this before: A budget Motorola phone walks into a mobile phone store.
That's the whole gag right there, and the reason I tell it is because Motorola has been on a roll with so many new G and E series phones under $500 of late. The Motorola Moto G32, retailing at $299 – but already available a little cheaper than that if you shop around – on the surface really does feel like just another cheap Motorola phone.
There's nothing wrong with that if your needs are basic, and Motorola has made enough differentiated changes to the Motorola Moto G32 to make it a worthwhile purchase, especially if you want a phone with really solid battery life.
Design: Truly basic
The Motorola Moto G32 is built around a 6.5-inch LCD screen with a simple hole-punch camera notch at the top. Resolution maxes out at 2400x1080 pixels with support for up to 90Hz refresh rate, something that's fast becoming an accepted normal part of many non-Apple Android phones, even at this price point.
At 161.78x73.84x8.49mm sans included plastic case, it's an easy enough phone to grasp in one hand, although like any other 20:9 aspect ratio phone, it's quite a tall beast for single-handed use. The right-hand side houses a combination fingerprint reader and power button beneath slender volume buttons, while at the base you'll find a USB-C charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
All of this is very basic, and the same is true for the colour choices you get when buying the Motorola Moto G32. The model tested was the Mineral Grey – which almost everyone else would call black – and there's a silver model as well. They don't look exceptional in any way at all, and even arguably a little more dull than Motorola's usual design language allows for.
One interesting inclusion that Motorola always historically shied away from is an actual level of IP-rated water resistance. Before you get all floaty with the Motorola Moto G32, it's only IP52, which means it's rated against splashes rather than full immersion. Still, this beats the days when Motorola simply used to use much more vague terms like "water repellent screen", as though glass typically absorbed water if you did nothing to it.
Fundamentally, the Motorola Moto G32 is a functional phone at a lower price point, and that's all you'll get for your $299.
Camera: 50MP triple lens sounds fancy, but don't expect photo magic
The Motorola Moto G32 runs with a trio of lenses at the rear, comprising a 50MP primary wide sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide and a 2MP macro. At the front, selfies are handled via a 16MP wide sensor.
Camera quality, as I've stated so many times before, isn't just a megapixels numbers game, and the Motorola Moto G32 shows this quite clearly.
The practical reality for most everyday consumers is that the cameras even on cheap phones are fine for simple everyday spray and pray type shooting in decent light, and the Motorola Moto G32 is no different in this respect.
However, if you push it even slightly, whether that's action shots, lower light or telephoto, it all starts to fall apart very quickly. Like just about every other 2MP macro lens on a cheap phone of late, I struggled to get anything halfway decent out of the Motorola Moto G32 for close-up shots.
For telephoto, the Motorola Moto G32 maxes out at 8x zoom, but I'm not sure that Motorola really ought to have gone even that far. It's not a real zoom naturally, just a digital crop of the primary 50MP sensor.
So how does that look? Here's a nearby landmark, first taken with the ultra-wide 8MP lens. It's an ugly fountain in my view, but some people like it, and the landscape view does give it a sense of drama:
The standard wide lens shoots fine, and as you'd expect, you don't natively shoot at that full 50MP resolution to save on shot space and eke out a little extra low-light detail where appropriate:
If you wanted a close-up of the fountain and couldn't walk up to it, this is what you'd get with the 8x telephoto:
Despite Motorola's claims of "Photo Magic" with the Motorola Moto G32, the results are a little more down to Earth. Within this price range, you've obviously got to temper your expectations, but even then, there's little that makes the Motorola Moto G32 stand out in camera terms.
Motorola Moto G32 Sample Photos
Performance: Predictably slow, but not bad for its price
The Motorola G32 runs on a Snapdragon 680 processor with just 4GB of RAM, relying on an Adreno 610 GPU for graphics tasks. If you ever wanted a recipe for likely middling performance in a 2022 handset, this is pretty much it – but it's not unexpected at this price point. The 128GB of inbuilt storage is on the lower side for this price point, but it can be boosted up with microSD cards if you find it limiting.
All of this is reflected in the way that the Motorola Moto G32 benchmarks, sitting roughly in the middle of the pack of similarly priced phones. Here's how it compares using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
The Motorola Moto G51 5G dominates here, and to be fair to other handsets, that's based on its asking price at the time of writing; it's typically a more expensive phone than the $299 Motorola Moto G32.
With just 4GB of RAM and that Adreno 610 GPU, the Motorola Moto G32 isn't built as a gaming phone. Here's how it scored in 3DMark's benchmark tests:
Annoyingly, it appears that certain European models of the Motorola Moto G32 ship with 6GB of RAM; within the Australian market as tested (and Latin America and India), 4GB is all you're going to get.
The Motorola Moto G32's performance is in no way surprising, and again I feel like I'm stating truths that I've observed in plenty of prior Motorola models too. If all you need is basic performance at a lower price point, then the Motorola Moto G32 will fit the bill nicely. If you push heavier-duty gaming titles at it, expect to pay the price in load times, frame rates and more than just a little bit of heat in the phone body.
The Motorola Moto G32 does fall behind in terms of network support, specifically 5G network support. Will that be an issue for the likely life of the handset? Probably not, as it's 4G capable, and that network coverage across Australia is still far wider than 5G and will be for some time to come.
The Motorola Moto G32 runs Android 12 at launch. It's set to receive Android 13 at some point according to Motorola's own documentation as well as promised security updates on a bi-monthly basis.
The only issue there is that writing this review in September 2022, the supplied review model was only running with a June 2022 update, so Motorola's already slipping there. This is an area where Motorola has a poor track record compared to other brands, sadly.
Battery: Good battery life and fast charging makes the G32 stand out
The Motorola G32 runs with a 5,000mAh internal sealed battery, which in 2022 is absolutely dead-set average for this category. What I've seen in my testing in this category is that even with lower-end CPUs and GPUs, there can still be quite a bit of difference in actual battery life, no matter what a vendor might claim.
Turning to Finder's YouTube streaming test, the Motorola Moto G32 compares very favourably indeed:
That 3% difference might not seem like much, but my experience in this field shows that every single percentage point can add up to significant boosts in overall battery performance. That played out in using the Motorola G32 in day-to-day usage, where it was quite easy to get a single day's use out of it except in the most heavy-duty scenarios.
It's undoubtedly helped here by the lack of 5G support. As is always the case, if you hit up a phone really hard, it's still possible to drain its power away within a day.
This is where the Motorola G32 can pull out its trump card because it supports wired charging at up to 33W. Faster charging hasn't really been a big point of differentiation for Motorola's phones over the years – it's a territory usually more occupied by Oppo and other BBK Electronics sub-brands – so it's great to see it here. What makes this especially appealing is that you get a 33W charger in the box; Motorola isn't just providing capacity and leaving you with a much slower 10W charger as you'll find in a lot of cheaper phone boxes.
Should you buy the Motorola Moto G32?
- Buy it if you want an all-day phone at a good price.
- Don't buy it if you want a fancier design or faster handset.
Is the Motorola Moto G32 just another cheap Motorola phone?
For sure, it absolutely is, and as such, you'd be well served to check what else is available at or around this price point. At the time of writing, the much faster Motorola Moto G51 5G can be had at this price and that's a better bet than the Moto G32… except for battery life.
That's where the Motorola Moto G32 really stands out, giving better general battery performance and faster charging than much of its competition, even from within the Motorola ranks.
Pricing and availability
The Motorola Moto G32 retails in Australia for $299 in Satin Silver or Mineral Grey finishes.
Power, storage and battery
How we tested
I tested the Motorola Moto G32 over a 2-week period, running it through multiple benchmark runs, battery endurance tests and more ad-hoc app usage to get an idea of its general performance. Its camera was tested extensively to see where it lived up to (or failed to live up to) Motorola's promises. The unit tested was loaned to me by Motorola for the purposes of review.
As a reviewer, I have more than 2 decades of reviewing tech products under my belt, including hundreds of mobile phone reviews. I'm a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.
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