Motorola Moto G04 Review: Simple and cheap

Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman)
The Motorola Moto G04’s big selling proposition is that it’s very affordable. Cheap phones are often bad phones, and while the Moto G04 won’t win any sprint races any time soon, it’s a decent value offering for those who just need a simple phone.

Pros Cons
Inexpensive Unisoc T606 is NOT fast
Dual Nano SIM plus microSD card slot Cameras are quite ordinary
Nice range of colour choices No Android OS upgrades

Score: 3.5/5


Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman) Buy The Motorola Moto G04! Buy On Amazon

In this review

Moto G04 Specifications
Moto G04 Design
Moto G04 Performance
Moto G04 Battery
Moto G04 Conclusion

Even Motorola knows that the Motorola Moto G04 isn’t exactly a high-end masterpiece of a phone – which is why its marketing blurb simply reads that it is “a high resolution camera phone with good sound quality.” Not the most hyperbolic of praise there, is it?

Within the true budget space – which these days I count as phones that come to market at under $200 AUD – there’s still some significant competition, however, so the way that a phone can stand out can vary quite a lot.

Also read:

Motorola Moto G14 review

Motorola Moto G54 5G review

While Motorola might not be going all out with the hyperbole for the Motorola Moto G04 in the way that it (and its competitors) do for some otherwise unremarkable phones, the Moto G04 just gets on with being a basic phone – and one that, at this price point is basically good.



The Motorola Moto G04 is built around a 6.6 inch 1600x720 pixel IPS LCD display, pretty average for a sub-$200 phone, though it is somewhat pleasing to see 90Hz refresh rate support in a phone this inexpensive. As is the style for every budget phone right now there are bezels around that display, most noticeably at the base of the phone, as well as lightly around the holepunch selfie camera.

The Motorola Moto G04 is a plastic body phone that sells in Australia in Concord Black, Satin Blue or Sunrise Orange finishes, though it appears there’s also a “sea green” variant in other markets. I’m less inclined to complain about that, because frankly in the sub-$200 space it’s rare to get any colour choices at all.

The Sunrise Orange version Motorola sent my way is certainly eye-catching, even if you do drop it in the included clear phone case, which you totally should. Even cheap phones deserve protection, and that’s especially true for plastic body phones like the Motorola Moto G04. I didn’t have any mishaps during my time with the Motorola Moto G04, but its plastic body does not feel notably robust to speak of, and it’s only rated by Motorola as being “Water repellent”, rather than having any strict IP-rated water resistance.

All of the Motorola Moto G04’s controls sit on the right hand side, with a volume rocker sitting above a combination fingerprint reader and power button. It’s your typical very thin fingerprint reader, which is often a recipe for misidentified fingerprints. That hasn’t been a big issue during my testing time with the Motorola Moto G04, though it’s not the fastest phone to unlock even once it’s identified its owner.

On the top of the Motorola Moto G04 you’ll find a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, while the left hand side houses a dual nano SIM and micro SD card tray. Unusually for a lower-cost phone this is all three, rather than sharing that second SIM slot with microSD, which is a touch I always appreciate.

It is worth noting that in Australia  Telstra will be offering the Motorola Moto G04 as a prepaid phone at an even lower price than its $179 outright market price at just $149. I strongly suspect based on prior models and general telco approaches that the Telstra variant might just skip out on the extra SIM slots. If that’s an important feature to you, make sure you check that detail before you buy.


Flip the Motorola Moto G04 over and you could be forgiven for thinking it sported two lenses, but that’s not the case. What you get is rudimentary, with a single 16MP rear sensor sitting above a flash, while the front selfie camera features a simple 5MP sensor. That’s all very much expected at the Motorola Moto G04’s $179 price point.

What all of that adds up to is a phone camera that can’t help but feel a little bit compromised, even in the low cost space. In regular light it’s not what I’d call bad, but you will very quickly hit its limitations for any kind of photo you want to take.

16MP at the rear doesn’t give much scope for digital zooming, and Motorola’s rather sensibly limited this to 4x. Even then the results aren’t great.
Here’s a nearby landmark fountain taken with the regular 16MP lens:

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


It's acceptable, although the poor weather on the day even on a wider shot like this does result in a loss of detail.

The same shot at 2x, bearing in mind that this is just a digital crop, and there's some definite issues creeping into the shot:

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

And then at 4x maximum digital zoom, it's visually representative, but also quite compromised:

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

It’s the same story for the rest of the phone’s camera usage, with drops in quality if there’s less than stellar light or you want to capture the full detail of darker objects:

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


Other specific camera modes such as portrait also fail to impress; I look like I've been photoshopped into my own selfie here!

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Against its direct competition at this price point the Motorola Moto G04 isn’t actually bad, mind you. There are plenty of phones at this price point that I could name that take far worse photos.

Still, we live in an age where basically everyone has a camera in their pockets, and if you were relying on the Motorola Moto G04 to be yours, you’ll probably find yourself wanting something better.

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photos




Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


Motorola Moto G04 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

The Motorola Moto G04 is built around a Unisoc T606, the budget phone maker’s real friend for keeping costs low these days, paired up with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. That’s an interesting mix, because while 64GB isn’t much, it’s far more common to see 3GB or 2GB of RAM on phones in this price bracket.

Still, the Unisoc T606 is not fast, and it shows. Here’s how it compares against a range of lower-cost smartphones using Geekbench 6’s CPU test:

It's much the same story for GPU performance, with a low-level result in 3DMark’s benchmarks:

At this price range there are other phones available such as the Oppo A18, but as Oppo won’t supply review handsets to me because they’re not keen on independent reviews, I can’t comment on their comparative value.

In day to day use, the Motorola Moto G04 actually ran a little better than I expected, but with some obvious stutter if I pushed it particularly hard. The inclusion of 90Hz refresh rates might make you think that it could be a bit of a gaming phone bargain, but the reality is that a lot of the titles I tested that supported high frame rates explicitly blocked those features out when testing with the Motorola Moto G04. I was surprised that Diablo Immortal would even install on a phone this cheap, but it does so by blocking you into lower quality visuals and frame rates only. Essentially for fast action games, the GPU isn’t up to the task of matching what the screen can actually do. 90Hz is still nice for matters like smooth web page scrolling, but it’s not really a factor if you’re keen on anything but the most basic of games.

The Motorola Moto G04 is an Android 14 phone… and that’s all it will ever be, with Motorola only committing to providing two years of security updates for the phone, and no OS upgrades.

While it’s good to see Motorola being upfront about this, and at least two years beats the “nothing at all” that you get from some other super-cheap phones, it’s still a little disappointing to see.

Motorola’s own launcher is thankfully pretty lightweight, adding just a few apps (and some optional pre-installs) and features like a double chop action to activate the flashlight, which always amuses me on Motorola phones. That appears to be the only Moto Action you get however, based on my own testing.


Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

The Motorola Moto G04 has a 5,000mAh battery, because basically every Android phone sans a flexible screen these days packs in that quantity of power.

Still, as your favourite euphemistic joke would say, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts – and here the Motorola Moto G04 worked acceptably well, albeit not best in class. Here’s how it compared using my standard YouTube 1 hour battery test:

90% is my typical pass/fail for that test, because phones that fall beneath that level often struggle to last through a day. At 93% remaining the Moto G04 ran well enough, though more anecdotal usage did see it deplete within a day if I really pushed it. That’s true for any phone however, with the real takeaway here being that for most users, it’ll be fine for a day, maybe even two if you’re a really casual phone user.

Recharging the Moto G04 isn’t particularly rapid at a maximum 15W rate. If you’re buying the Australian model you’ll need your own charger as well, with only a USB A to USB-C cable in the box.

Motorola Moto G04: Alex’s Verdict

Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Assessing budget phones is all about balance, because outside theft, you’re never going to score an actual premium phone for this kind of money… and I’m not suggesting you should start a phone-stealing crime wave. What would your mother think?

The Motorola Moto G04 strikes a decent balance overall. The battery life is decent, application performance is decent and it’s a nice looking unit. It’s not massively powerful by overall phone standards or even within its class, though I have tested slower phones at this price point. The cameras are nothing worth getting excited about either.

However, if you’re working on the kind of budget where this is all you can spend on a phone, you’re getting decent value here. Maybe not a supremely exciting phone, but a solid workhorse of a unit.

Motorola Moto G04: Pricing and availability

The Motorola Moto G04 is available outright for $179. Telstra will also be selling the Motorola Moto G04 as a standalone phone for $149, though it has yet to start selling it at the time of writing this review.

Motorola Moto G04 (Photo: Alex Kidman) Buy The Motorola Moto G04! Buy On Amazon

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