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Moto G10 review

Step right up if you need a very cheap phone

Moto G10
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Moto G10 is the phone to get if you want to spend as little money as possible – it's decent enough value for the price. If you want anything else, like impressive camera shots and speedy performance, you're better off spending a bit more on your next upgrade.

For

  • Very affordable
  • Decent battery life
  • Runs Android 11

Against

  • Slow performance
  • Low resolution display
  • No 5G on board

Two-minute review

Let's get straight down to brass tacks: the Moto G10 is just about as cheap as you can go for a mobile phone, and still have it actually work properly – it scrapes the barrel when it comes to the specs you need to run Android to a satisfactory level, and it's worth bearing in mind right at the start that a lot of compromises have been made to hit this price point.

But oh – what a price point. This phone will cost you just £129.99 (around $180 / AU$235). It's not quite cheap enough that you won't miss the money leaving your bank account, but for a modern-day smartphone it's very affordable. You can buy eight Moto G10s for the starting price of an iPhone 12 Pro Max and still have change left over, so is it 8x worse than Apple's biggest flagship?

Well, yes and no. We certainly like the solid design and robust build quality of the Moto G10, which shouldn't be a surprise with a Motorola phone. The company (now owned by Lenovo) has a long history of churning out phones that look more stylish than you would expect from the price tag, and the Moto G10 is no different. It definitely looks the part as long as you don't examine the low resolution screen too closely.

The phone is also a winner when it comes to battery life, as we've been getting two days rather than one day between charges with this handset. While there's no wireless charging, and the wired charging speed is on the slow side, the Moto G10 holds its charge better than a lot of handsets on the market at the moment.

With just 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 460 chipset on board, however, you are going to notice the budget nature of this phone in its performance. While you'll be fine watching movies and checking what's happening on the web, anything demanding tends to give the phone pause and cause a moment's thought.

Even simple tasks like opening the software keyboard are noticeably slower than on mid-range and flagship models.

Ultimately, this is a bargain-basement phone that actually impresses for the price – it's just that the price isn't very high at all, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

Moto G10 price and availability

  • Available now in the UK for £129.99
  • Very few phones come cheaper
  • Not on sale in the US or Australia

You can pick up the Moto G10 right now in the UK for £129.99, with the recommended retail price in the rest of Europe set at €149.99. That UK price works out at roughly $180 or AU$235, though as yet Motorola hasn't announced any plans to make the handset available in the US or Australia.

If you are in the UK, you can buy the phone direct, unlocked and SIM-free from Motorola, as well as from third-party outlets such as Amazon. As always, check the widgets on this page for the latest online deals for the phone.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Motorola)

Design

  • Nice back cover texture
  • Appealing, modern design
  • Feels solid and robust

The Moto G10 is quite a smart-looking phone, with two well chosen colors available – the purple-ish Aurora Grey and the silver-ish Sakura Pearl (the one we had in for review was the former). These two shades are both stylish and subtle, and beat the boring black, white and gray options we often have to settle for without being too flashy. The extra dedicated Google Assistant button is also a nice touch that we're always happy to see.

We also like the texture on the back of the phone. At this price you're not going to get anything other than plastic of course, but Motorola has done well with the ridged surface, and it's comfortable to hold and easy to grip. It adds a touch of class and stops the phone from looking too cheap and throwaway.

We'll get on to the camera capabilities shortly, but in terms of the design of the rear camera module we've got no complaints: it looks polished and rather premium in fact. The fingerprint sensor is on the back as well, under the Motorola logo – it's quite old-fashioned tech now compared with today's in-screen fingerprint scanners, but we actually find the back position more convenient to reach.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Future)

At a weight of 200g and with overall dimensions of 165.2 x 75.7 x 9.2mm, the phone doesn't feel overly bulky or heavy – at least if you've got large-ish hands, anyway. It's just a shade thicker and bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S21, for example, and it's exactly the same in terms of size and weight as the Moto G9 Play that this phone is replacing... sort of.

Motorola's phone naming strategy hasn't been particularly easy to follow in recent years, especially with multiple versions of each G edition phone, and the same handsets given different names in different markets. In some ways the Moto G10 is actually a step down from the Moto G9 Play, with the Moto G30 more of a successor – you can read more about the differences here.

You wouldn't expect waterproofing and dustproofing at this price point, and nor do you get it – there's no hint of an IP rating here. Motorola does describe the handset as "water-repellent" though, so we're guessing it can stand up to a few splashes or raindrops (we didn't put this to the test in our review, though). It's also worth noting that you do get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Moto G10.

Display

  • 6.5-inch LCD display
  • Lacks HDR support
  • Stuck with a 720p resolution

You don't make a phone this cheap without cutting a few corners, and the display on the Moto G10 isn't going to blow you away in any department: it's just about good enough for movie watching and web browsing, but it's a low resolution (720 x 1600 pixels), it lacks HDR support, and it's fairly dim too.

It is at least nice and big, measuring 6.5 inches from corner to corner, so it works fine for your video streaming apps in terms of the size of the canvas. The bezels are reasonably thin, though the bottom chin is on the large side, and there's a teardrop notch up at the top of the screen housing the selfie camera.

We put the Moto G10's display through its paces with all the standard smartphone uses, from scrolling through social media feeds to looking at photos to viewing video clips. It stands up pretty well we found, though there's absolutely no chance of you confusing this with a top-tier display like the OLED screens you would find on flagship or even mid-range devices from the likes of Apple, Samsung and OnePlus.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Future)

The screen is also stuck on the 60Hz refresh rate that's usual for phones at this level, and it's a serious step down if you're accustomed to the 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rates that you can get on the best smartphones on the market. The display is fine, really, but it gives away how little the phone costs.

Everything about the Moto G10 has to be evaluated with that low, low price in mind, and considering you're spending so little, the screen actually isn't bad – it's adequate and not much more than that. If display quality really matters to you, it might be worth spending a little bit more.

Camera

  • Capable camera in good light
  • Usable photos at night
  • Lacks optical zoom

The Moto G10 comes carrying an 8MP selfie camera on the front, and a quad-lens 48MP wide + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth camera on the back. Don't let those four cameras on the back fool you, because the photo and video-taking capabilities of the Moto G10 are pretty much on a par with what you would expect from a phone costing this much.

In other words, it takes some decent shots in decent light but falls down when it comes to challenging shots in darkness or with moving subjects. In terms of the interface, the slower internal components of the phone are in evidence with an interface that can be quite sluggish and a shutter speed that isn't quite up there with the best in the business.

If you're snapping shots to show off on social media then the Moto G10's rear camera will do just fine – it is definitely capable of taking impressive photos if the framing is right and the sun is out, with colors looking natural and well balanced.

Issues with noise and blurring start to appear once you take a closer look at the detail of these snaps, but unless you're running a canvas print business then you're probably not going to bother.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Future)

There's no optical zoom, and we didn't find the digital zoom worth bothering with really. There is an ultra-wide camera, which works well enough, but seems to add to the problems with noise and blurring. The macro mode can also come in handy, but the rear camera occasionally seems to get confused when you're right up against your subject.

Like most phones now, the Moto G10 comes with a night mode that boosts brightness and detail if you can hold the phone still for a couple of extra seconds. It works okay, and it's fair to say that you can get some usable night shots from the Moto G10 – even if you lose a lot of detail and sharpness in low light.

Splash out on a more expensive phone, and you'll get significantly better results when there's not much light available.

You're buying not just a cheap phone, but one of the cheapest phones on the market though – and with that in mind it's hard to complain too much about the camera capabilities. It's satisfactory most of the time, but tends to struggle with anything even slightly challenging.

Camera samples

Image 1 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

You can get some good shots from the Moto G10, with well-balanced colors and light. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

There's no optical zoom – and the digital zoom isn't something you'd want to rely on. (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Close-ups come out okay, but the phone can get confused about where to focus. (Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Some of the shots you'll get look like they came from a much pricier phone. (Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Another shot where the colors and contrast are well processed. (Image credit: Future)
Image 6 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Ultra-wide is available, though it does tend to lead to more noise and blurring. (Image credit: Future)
Image 7 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Macro mode can be a bit hit and miss, but often does a really good job. (Image credit: Future)
Image 8 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

As long as you don't examine them too closely, photos from the Moto G10 are perfectly fine. (Image credit: Future)
Image 9 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

As you would expect for a budget phone, low light performance isn't great. (Image credit: Future)
Image 10 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

The dedicated night mode does a reasonably good job of bringing out details in low light shots. (Image credit: Future)
Image 11 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

You can still get some okay photos in the dark even without night mode. (Image credit: Future)
Image 12 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

If you can keep the camera still for an extra couple of seconds, night mode can help. (Image credit: Future)
Image 13 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Low light shots are better than you might expect from a phone this cheap, with night mode on. (Image credit: Future)
Image 14 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

For comparison, the same shot taken with the Pixel 4 XL with Night Sight. (Image credit: Future)
Image 15 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

Zoom in on the detail and the difference between the Moto G10 photo... (Image credit: Future)
Image 16 of 16

Moto G10 camera sample

...and the much sharper Pixel 4 XL photo is more obvious. (Image credit: Future)

Specs and performance

  • Basic, budget specs
  • Runs Android 11
  • Expandable storage

Don't expect too much from the Moto G10 in terms of performance, because it's powered by a distinctly low-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 chipset, and just 4GB of RAM (the top handsets of today can stretch to three or even four times that amount).

Your storage configuration options are 64GB or 128GB, and that can be expanded through the microSD card slot built into the phone.

We wouldn't really want to try running Android on anything less than that, and it's fair to say the Moto G10 is fairly ponderous in day-to-day use.

It's by no means unusable, but be prepared for a few extra milliseconds of waiting while you switch between apps, load up videos, scroll down menus, wait for the keyboard to pop up, and so on. This is really a phone for people who stick to the basics rather than power users.

Geekbench 5 scores of 241 (single-core), 1094 (multi-core) and 267 (OpenCL) reflect the phone's low-level specs – in these benchmarks at least, it's outperformed by the Moto G9 Play that came before it, as well as just about every other phone on the market at the moment (including the Nokia 3.4, which has the same chipset inside). There's no getting around it: this is a slow phone.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Future)

We tested the Moto G10 with a couple of reasonably demanding racing games, and found the phone managed fairly well – the games ran without too much trouble, but were occasionally jerky in terms of frame rates and loading screens. Casual games will be fine on the handset, but if you're serious about Android gaming then you're going to want to upgrade to something with a little more oomph.

As is usually the case with Motorola phones, the Moto G10 comes with a clean, close-to-stock version of Android on board, and we're pleased to report that you've got Android 11 here, which is the latest version at the time of writing.

Judging the Android variants produced by manufacturers is somewhat subjective, and you might have your own preferences, but we'll always take as little bloat as possible, so we're fans of the approach taken on the Moto G10.

The flip side is that you could accuse the Moto G10 of being a little on the dull side in terms of software, but for us it's one of the highlights of the phone, and the inclusion of the latest version of Android is definitely a bonus. Motorola is usually fairly reliable when it comes to pushing out future Android updates too.

There's no 5G here – you wouldn't necessarily expect it in a budget phone, but new handsets without the next-gen connectivity are starting to become less common.

It's fair to say that 4G LTE is still plenty fast enough for most users, but as 5G networks continue to get rolled out, you're going to miss out on that extra bandwidth and capacity. As long as you're not planning to hang on to the Moto G10 for too many years though, you should be fine.

Battery life

  • 5,000mAh capacity battery
  • Up to two days of general use
  • Around 12 hours of video streaming

There is a silver lining to using a lower resolution screen and slower internal components, and leaving 5G out of the equation, and that's better battery life. The 5,000mAh capacity battery inside the Moto G10 does a commendable job of lasting between charges, and even after a couple of days of use in our testing the handset still had some battery life left.

Judging battery life on brand new phones can be tricky, with no degradation or system bloat to worry about when you've just unboxed a device, but there's no doubt that the Moto G10 is way above average when it comes to the time you'll get between charges.

It also seems to hold its charge very well when it's not being used at all, so you don't need to worry about major battery drain if it sits in a drawer for most of the day.

Moto G10

(Image credit: Future)

It's the same if you forget to charge it overnight – you're only going to see a drop of a few percentage points. If you're only an occasional phone user rather than someone who is glued to your screen for several hours a day, then you shouldn't have to worry about charging the Moto G10 every evening.

In terms of video streaming, you're losing about 7-8% of battery an hour at maximum brightness, while gaming knocks down the battery level around double that. Even with heavy use then, the Moto G10 should still get you through the day comfortably, making it one of the better phones out there for battery life.

As is the norm for budget phones, you don't get any wireless charging here, and the wired charging speed is limited to 10W – that's very low for a new phone nowadays, and means a full charge is going to take several hours. Motorola has at least gone with USB-C for the charging port, which is a relief (and saved us having to dig out an older micro USB cable, as some other budget phones insist on).

Should I buy the Moto G10?

Moto G10

(Image credit: Motorola)

Buy it if...

You don't want to spend much
The biggest selling point of the Moto G10 is undoubtedly its super-affordable price: you can't really get a working smartphone for much less than the cost of this handset.

You need a phone that will last
Battery life on the Moto G10 can stretch to two days, depending on how you use it, and that's unusual on a modern phone. The 5,000mAh battery is one that you can rely on.

You want clean software
We like Motorola's take on Android more than most of the offerings from other manufacturers in the business, and the phone comes running Android 11 too.

Don't buy it if...

You want top speeds
You don't get any 5G with the Moto G10, and the internal specs lead to a rather pedestrian software experience. You're best off sticking to the basics with this particular handset.

You need the best photos
The Moto G10's camera can do the job and get you some good shots, but it's worth spending a bit more cash if you want images that are really going to stand out.

You love bright screens
The display on the Moto G10 is another component that's adequate and no more: it's a low resolution 720p panel, not particularly bright, and sticks to the standard 60Hz refresh rate.

First reviewed: March 2021