The Motorola Moto G54 5G is like the G53… on steroids. This is one sequel (mostly) worth lining up for.
|Improved screen quality over the G53||Only offering one Android update is poor|
|Solid battery life||We’re not getting all the colour choices in Australia|
|5G ready||Macro lens struggles|
|Buy The Motorola Moto G54 5G!||Buy On Amazon|
When I reviewed the Motorola Moto G53 5G earlier this year, I noted it as a good value handset with just a few rough edges, such as its middling RAM allocation and lower resolution screen.
It very much feels like somebody at Motorola was listening to those complaints, because its successor, the Motorola Moto G54 5G improves on those aspects and more while selling for slightly less.
It’s definitely the superior sequel… and I’m starting to worry that Motorola’s peering over my testing notes given how rather precisely it deals with nearly every complaint I had about the G53 5G.
Motorola Moto G53 5G Review
Nearly every complaint. I’m still me, so there’s still some room for improvement.
Motorola has very much settled on a design idea for its current crop of smartphones. They tend to be flat with clean round edges, holepunch cameras and, in the Moto G54 5G’s price bracket, side mounted fingerprint sensors. While I didn’t have a Moto G53 5G side by side with the Moto G54 5G for comparative purposes, they’re physically very similar phones in the hand.
The Moto G54 5G measures in at 161.56 x 73.82 x 7.99mm and weighs 177g, so it’s ever so marginally smaller and lighter by a whole 6g. Can you feel 6g difference in your hands? I certainly can’t.
Where Motorola’s made the big changes are in the screen, bumping up the mediocre 1600×720 pixel display on the Moto G53 5G to a 2400×1080 405ppi 6.5 inch LCD on the Moto G54 5G.
That’s a very welcome upgrade whether you’re scrolling web pages, playing games or binging video streaming services. Like its predecessor, it’s also capable of up to 120Hz refresh rates, which is quite lovely to see at this price point.
I’m a known fan of blue phones, and furthering my suspicions that somebody at Motorola’s reading my testing notes, the Moto G54 5G is available in two colours in Australia – and both of them are blue. Midnight Blue and Indigo Blue to be precise.
While that does play somewhat to my biases, further research does reveal at least two more hues that Motorola’s building the Moto G54 5G in for international markets. So while we get two blues, we miss out on Mint Green and Glacier Blue. If you wanted those, you’d have to import one – and carefull check specifications to make sure it was otherwise identical to the Australian models.
The rear of the Moto G54 5G has a soft matte finish that’s quite pleasant to hold, though I’ve kept it in the supplied cheap plastic case for the entire review period.
Why? Because every phone deserves a case for protection, that’s why.
In terms of controls, volume and combined power/fingerprint reader buttons sit on the right, the SIM card slot (dual SIM/eSIM/microSD) sits on the left, and there’s USB-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the base.
With my super-pedantic hat on, the headphone jack is offset to the bottom of the phone, which isn’t entirely visually pleasing – but honestly that’s astonishingly pedantic, because you’re probably only going to look at it if you are plugging headphones into the Moto G54 5G.
Motorola’s marketing claim for the Moto G53 5G’s cameras was about allowing you to “up your photography game”. I had my doubts about that one, and for the Moto G54 5G it’s apparently about “unshakeable brilliance”.
Sorry Motorola, but I do have to give you a bit of a shake here – but a fair one, I feel. There’s only so far that the cameras on lower cost phones really go, and the Moto G54 5G certainly isn’t overtly terrible – but “brilliance” is an overshoot.
What you’re actually shooting with is a 50MP primary and 2MP macro lens at the rear, along with a 16MP front-facing sensor. At a pure megapixel level, the upgrade there is for the selfie shooter – the G53 5G has an 8MP sensor there – but you do also get optical image stabilisation on the rear 50MP sensor, which is a welcome addition for those who like clearer photos. If you don’t like clear photos… well, I’ve got nothing for you, basically.
Speaking of photos that aren’t clear, the 2MP macro is just about as good as any other budget phone maker’s 2MP macro… which is to say that it’s not particularly good at all. You can get acceptable shots out of it some of the time, but it’s a lot of work and I do wish that Motorola had opted for an ultrawide sensor here instead.
All of this does have to be balanced against the Moto G54 5G’s budget asking price. Within its price bracket photo quality is fine, and for everyday shooting it’s an adequate enough device. But “brilliant”? No. That doesn’t fly with me.
Motorola Moto G54 5G Sample Photos
Motorola’s changed CPU camps for the Moto G54 5G, shifting from the Snapdragon 480 SoC found in the G53 to a MediaTek Dimensity 7020 processor in the G54.
There was a time where the presence of a MediaTek processor in a phone would give me the shudders, because while they were cheap, they were cheap for a reason, with seriously sub-par performance. That’s not true in 2023, with many MediaTek processors seriously taking the fight to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, especially in the lower price tiers.
So what kind of CPU performance does the Moto G54 5G offer? Here’s how it compares against a range of comparably priced handsets, as well as its immediate predecessor in Geekbench 6’s CPU test:
On the 3D graphics front it’s a little more mixed, mostly because the Dimensity 7020 doesn’t meet the requirements of 3DMark’s Wild Life test, though the older G53 actually did. Using the older Slingshot Extreme test against the same crew of handsets gives the following comparison:
That does suggest not much of boost over the older handset, but here the Moto G54 5G has an extra trick up its sleeve. The Moto G53 5G putters along with 4GB of RAM, which is just about the bare minimum acceptable for a 2023 handset.
The Moto G54 5G has 8GB, giving it more headroom for Android apps including games. Combine that with a 120Hz display and you’ve got a reasonable engine for basic Android gaming. The addition of double the RAM doesn’t turn it into a powerhouse, but it does smooth the way for most apps to run well enough.
As with most of Motorola’s phones, you get their standard and fairly light launcher on top of Android, with the usual Moto actions for elements like flashlight or fast camera access.
That’s good… but what isn’t is Motorola’s Android update schedule. At the time of testing it was running Android 13, and Motorola’s only guaranteeing it for one single Android update to Android 14 at some indeterminate point in the future.
That’s not great from both a feature and ongoing security standpoint, Motorola! Where competitors are running anywhere up to 8 years of upgrades – not that I’d expect quite that out of a phone this inexpensive – having just the one upgrade, and only to the OS that’s actually already available feels poor.
The Moto G54 5G is, as the suffix suggests, 5G capable. The model sold in Australia and used for review is sub 6Ghz only, which isn’t a surprise at all.
Data rates on 5G will always vary depending on your carrier and network circumstances, but I had few issues hitting my typical 200-400Mbps down rates with the Moto G54 5G during my testing.
5G is still in that “nice to have” bucket given the oncoming demise of 3G networks in Australia, but it’s not a reason outright to buy a handset.
The Moto G54 5G packs in a 5,000mAh battery behind its frame, something that many of its Motorola brethren – and many Android phones – do as standard these days.
Motorola’s phones of late have been impressing me with their battery endurance, so I was keen to see whether the shift to MediaTek and a higher resolution screen would have much impact, especially against the G53.
Using my standard YouTube test – running a Full HD video at maximum brightness and moderate volume for an hour from a fully charged phone – gave the following results:
That’s a solid win for the Moto G54 5G again, because while both phones sit above the 90% mark – where phones often struggle to last out a single day’s usage – every percentage point above it can equate to serious extra time on top.
With more anecdotal use that proved entirely true; while I could run the Moto G54 5G flat with lots of app use if I tried, for more regular days I could finish out with 20-30% remaining with relative ease.
Motorola’s even upped its game when it comes to charging; where the G53 sputtered along with a 10W charger in the box, the Moto G54 5G comes with a 20W charger, actually overkill when the unit itself is only rated for 15W.
It’s still nice to have more power capability, however, because that means the Moto G54 5G will charge up faster when you need it to.
Motorola Moto G54 5G Alex’s Verdict
Motorola’s taken nearly everything I had to complain about with the $329 Motorola Moto G53 5G and fixed it in the $299 Moto G54 5G.
Yep, it’s even cheaper than its predecessor was, another tick in the plus column.
It’s faster, the screen is better, it has more RAM, the primary lens has OIS and it comes in fetching blue shades. There’s quite a bit to like here… except for the Android update situation.
Motorola Moto G54 5G: Pricing and availability
The Motorola Moto G54 5G retails in Australia for $299 outright.
|Buy The Motorola Moto G54 5G!||Buy On Amazon|