|Cameras are only OK
|12GB of RAM plus Snapdragon 695 is a good combo
|One year’s Android updates is measly
|Decent battery life, plus included charger
|Vegan leather can feel weird, so go hands-on first if you can
|Buy The Motorola Moto G84 5G!
|Buy On Amazon
2023 saw Motorola release a lot of mobile phones; everything from the interesting premium Motorola Moto Razr 40 Ultra through the mid-range Edge 40 and all the way down to the basic and affordable Motorola Moto G14.
The Motorola Moto G84 5G sits in the slightly odd position of sitting at a price point just above the Motorola Moto G54 5G, a phone I really do like a lot.
That gave the Motorola Moto G84 5G the tough job of justifying itself by comparison to a cheaper model. Here there are some definite high points – this is a very good phone – though I think for most users at this price who are looking for an affordable buy, the Moto G54 5G might just be the better bet.
Getting the Motorola Moto G84 5G felt like a very familiar process – but then, I have reviewed a lot of Motorola phones in 2023. Like every other phone maker, Motorola’s got its design notes down pat, and they’re all here, right down to the use of the iconic Motorola “batwing” logo on the rear of the phone.
The Motorola Moto G84 5G measures in at 160×74.4×7.6mm with a carrying weight of either 166.8g or 168.3g.
Why two weights? It depend on the phone rear casing you pick from. The Midnight Blue model I’ve tested out is in a regular PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate) plastic, but there are also options in “Marshmallow Blue” or “Viva Magenta” in Vegan Leather.
I’ve written before about how I find the feel of Vegan Leather. Vegan Leather is, ultimately, just a slightly different form of plastic, and if there’s any oil base in there it’s likely made of dinosaurs and therefore not technically Vegan… but I digress…
I personally find it has an odd feel that I find unnerving under my hands, but I can accept that different folks have different reactions to it.
If you like it, great – I do know it’s not for me, but the practical takeaway here is that it’s a wise idea to get some hands-on time if you can to ensure that it feels OK for you. Then again, that may be moot, as the Motorola Moto G84 5G comes with a simple clear plastic case anyway, which does rather solve for the vegan leather feel problem.
At the front, you’ll find a 6.5 inch pOLED display with a 2400×1080 resolution and support for up to 120Hz refresh rates. Motorola’s been very forward in offering faster refresh rate screens across its phones this year, and it’s a step I do welcome at this kind of price point.
It’s also stepped up a little in terms of water resistance ratings too. At one time the best you could hope for was that they would say something vague like “water repellent”, which doesn’t tell you much.
The Motorola Moto G84 5G is IP54 rated, not the toughest phone on the block, but probably OK for a little light rain or simple dust. Don’t jump into a pool with it, however, because it’s not rated for that.
Motorola’s phones in 2023 have tended to offer fair cameras at best… and the Motorola Moto G84 5G is basically no exception to that rule.
It’s powered by a primary 50MP wide lens paired with an 8MP ultra-wide lens, while a 16MP selfie camera lurks around the front.
All fairly standard fare, and I did wonder for a while if Motorola had forgotten to put the near-standard 2MP macro lens of uselessness on this particular model. But no, while its camera app does have a macro function, it’s just using the old trick of pushing the ultra-wide lens into macro duty, with predictably less than stellar results.
That’s kind of the story of the Motorola Moto G84 5G’s camera all over. It’s certainly not bad, but it’s also not massively good.
The Motorola Moto G84 5G can be used to take photographs of trees. And also other items.
At some points I missed shots because it was deciding to fuss about focusing oddly, while at other times it would snap away merrily.
At this price you’re just starting to peek towards some really interesting mid-range price camera phones, but the Motorola Moto G84 5G isn’t one of them.
Again, I stress, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad and horribly disappointing camera phone. It’s just an ordinary one.
Motorola Moto G84 5G Sample Photos
The Motorola Moto G84 5G runs off a Snapdragon 695 processor, an interesting choice given the cheaper Moto G54 5G opted for the Dimensity 7020 as its processor of choice.
The Snapdragon 695 isn’t the newest kid on the block, to put it mildly, but Motorola does give it a little more appeal by packing the Moto G84 5G with 256GB of onboard storage and 12GB of RAM.
That’s not a combination you see all that often at this price point at all.
What does that do in terms of performance? To measure that, first of all I ran the Moto G84 5G through some standard benchmarks. Here’s how it compares with similarly priced phones and some of its Motorola brethren using Geekbench 6’s CPU test:
It’s outpaced by the G54 5G, a testament I feel to the fact that the Snapdragon 695 is an older processor choice. However, if we look at GPU performance, it’s a different story. Here’s how they compare using 3DMark’s graphics benchmarks:
The G54 5G has no 3DMark Wild Life score there because it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for that test, while the Nokia G22 is MIA entirely as it crashed every time I tried to run 3DMark at all. Put the Moto G84 5G and Moto G54 5G head to head in the test that they can both run, and the G84 wins rather easily.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that while you probably won’t push all 12GB of RAM all the time, having it there gives you a lot more scope for more demanding applications or faster multi-tasking, depending on your application needs.
That’s born out in actual day to day usage, where the Moto G84 5G acquitted itself well. It’s not a total premium phone, so there’s still some slowdown on more demanding apps (and especially games), but within this price space – and the likely expectations of most users at this price – it all mostly works well.
The Moto G84 5G runs on Android 13 with Motorola’s usual array of Moto Actions and light launcher upgrades on top. I do like the Moto actions part, but once again I feel a little let down by Motorola’s promises when it comes to operating system upgrades.
You do get three years of security patches, but only a single year’s worth of operating system upgrades – and that’s only going to get you to Android 14, which is this year’s version of Android, not next year’s.
Motorola’s competitors are doing better than they are in this respect, and it’s especially annoying as I otherwise do like the Moto G84 5G quite a lot.
The Moto G84 5G is also 5G compatible, predictably on sub-6Ghz bands only here in Australia, though it might vary that for international markets. My experiences with 5G testing in Australia all tend to fall between predictable speed ranges of between 200-400Mbps down, and the Moto G84 5G did not divert from that at all.
As always with mobile networks, there’s a lot more to do with network quality and carrier choice than hardware at this stage if we’re just comparing sub-6Ghz phones with each other.
Like so many other Motorola phones, the Motorola Moto G84 5G packs in a 5,000mAh sealed battery. Frankly these days, for regular non-folding smartphones, I’m more surprised when an Android phone doesn’t have a 5,000mAh battery.
Still, battery life is more than just numbers; it’s a question of what a phone can do with the power it’s got. The G84’s 120hz display will have an effect on refresh rates, but also on overall battery performance too.
To put that to the test, I ran the Motorola Moto G84 5G through my standard battery test, running a 1 hour Full HD YouTube video at maximum brightness and moderate volume.
That’s not a 100% exhaustion test – nobody really just runs video non-stop on their phone anyway – but a comparative measure test. Phones that fall below 90% battery remaining after an hour typically struggle to last out a day. So how did the Motorola Moto G84 5G compare?
While it sits at the bottom of that table, it does so while still nicely hopping above the 90% barrier – and with markedly better performance than the phones that sit above it.
That’s the kind of comfortable balance you should want in a smartphone, so while it’s not the best in class for a budget phone, its balance is just right. It’s backed up in day to day use, where it mostly lasted out a day unless I pushed it particularly hard.
On the charging front, you never really see wireless charging on new phones in this price bracket, so its omission isn’t surprising. The Motorola Moto G84 5G charges via USB-C with a supplied 33W charger in the box, which is a nice inclusion.
Motorola Moto G84 5G: Alex’s Verdict
The Motorola Moto G84 5G is yet another good quality, good value phone from Motorola. I do feel that the Motorola Moto G54 5G is perhaps just slightly better value – because it’s slightly cheaper without dropping too much in quality terms – but if you have a need for that extra storage and RAM, it’s quite a worthy upgrade if you can bear its cost.
Motorola Moto G84 5G: Pricing and availability
The Motorola Moto G84 5G retails in Australia for $399 outright.
|Buy The Motorola Moto G84 5G!
|Buy On Amazon
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Motorola Moto G84 5G: Alternatives
At the time of writing, at or around the Motorola Moto G84 5G’s price point you could opt for phones such as the Nokia XR20 – an older handset by a fair margin, but a significantly tougher one if that matters to you (here’s my Finder review from back in the day) or the Samsung Galaxy A23. Oppo also has phones at this kind of price point, but as they’re not willing to have them reviewed by me, I can’t comment on whether they’re worth getting for now.