Moto G34 Review: Affordable 5G

Moto G34 Review: Affordable 5G
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Moto G34 5G launched in India on January 9 as an affordable 5G smartphone and is now available for purchase as well. The Moto G lineup has been around for more than a decade now. I still remember the very first Moto G launched in 2013 with stock Android, some Moto exclusive features, a single 5-megapixel rear camera, and thick bezels. 10 years later, there are a lot of changes with the G lineup, but Motorola has managed to keep the pricing affordable. The new Moto G34 5G costs less than the launch price of the original Moto G. And instead of a 5-megapixel camera, you now get 50-megapixels.

I’ve been using the newly launched Moto G34 5G for over a week now, and here’s my take on the latest G phone!

Moto G34 5G price in India

Before I start on the Moto G34 5G, I’d like to mention its pricing in India. The base variant, which gets 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, is priced at Rs. 10,999. We’re reviewing the 8GB + 128GB variant, which is priced at Rs. 11,999. The original Moto G was launched at Rs. 12,499 in 2013 and had 1GB RAM and 8GB storage. Its predecessor, the Moto G32, was priced at Rs. 11,999 for the base model. What I’m trying to say is that the Moto G34 is an affordable 5G smartphone.

The phone is available in Charcoal Black, Ice Blue, and Ocean Green colour options. The Ocean Green variant has a vegan leather finish rear panel, and that’s what we’re reviewing.

In the box, the Moto G34 5G is accompanied by a SIM ejector tool, some paperwork, a USB Type-C cable, and a 20W TurboPower charger.

Moto G34 Review: Design

The Vegan leather finish of our review unit gives the Moto G34 5G a nice premium feel. It’s a nice change from the usual glass or plastic rear panel that we’re all used to. The rear panel has the famous Moto logo in the centre. The Vegan leather finish is soft and leaves no fingerprints or smudges, which is nice. It has flat panels with rounded corners and a slight taper where the rear panel meets the frame. The phone is also decently slim at just 8mm and weighs 180 grams.

Motorola has been using a similar camera bump on its recent G series phones, with the module placed in the top left corner, and I think it looks good. There’s barely a camera bump, to be honest, but whatever is there, it’s done nicely. It’s got a different finish compared to the panel and adds a nice contrast. There’s not too much branding going on either, which is nice. I’m not a fan of manufacturers writing the phone’s entire history on the back panel.Moto g34 5g review design moto-g34-review-design

Overall, the Moto G34 5G has got a nice in-hand feel.

Since there’s no glass or metal here, the Moto G34 5G is light, but not in a bad way. The display bezels are slim on the sides, but the top and bottom are thicker and not uniform. The phone has a flat panel with no tapered edges, but it doesn’t dig into your skin. Motorola has given the phone an IP52 rating, which means basic splash resistance.

Moto G34 Review: Specifications and software

Alright, now let’s talk about specifications. Motorola has used the tried and tested Snapdragon 695 chip on the Moto G34 5G. The chipset is paired with up to 8GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, which is expandable. The phone has a hybrid SIM tray that can accommodate either two nano SIM cards or a nano SIM card, and a microSD card. For connectivity, there’s a USB Type-C port at the bottom, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 5.1, 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi, and support for all the GPS standards. The phone supports 13 5G bands.

The Moto G34 5G comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner placed underneath the Power button. I’m a fan of capacitive fingerprint scanners and prefer them over the in-display sensors. The scanner works well and is fast.

Moving on to the battery, the Moto G34 5G has a big battery. It gets a 5,000mAh unit that supports up to 18W fast charging. However, the box contains a 20W charging adapter.Moto g34 5g review software moto-g34-review-software

The phone runs Android 14-based MyUX out of the box. The user interface is very much like stock Android, but there are plenty of additional features baked in. You get software features such as a Game mode, a Sidebar to quickly access apps in Windows mode, Split-screen multitasking, and Family Space. There’s also a Moto Unplugged mode that lets you unwind for a set period of time. I also liked the Moto Gestures available on the phone that support easy gestures to perform tasks such as turning on the flashlight, launching the camera app, silencing calls, and more. Motorola has promised 1 year of OS updates and 3 years of security updates. This is usually the norm in this price segment, so I wasn’t very surprised.

However, I was surprised by the bloatware and pre-installed apps on the Moto G34 5G. There are three folders that you’ll find on the phone, namely GamesHub, Entertainment, and Shopping. While these folders don’t have any apps installed, if you tap on them, you are bombarded with ads, and you can install the games. All of these folders are by Swish Apps. However, you can uninstall the Entertainment, Shopping, and GamesHub folders.

Moto G34 Review: Performance

Motorola claims that the Moto G34 5G is the fastest phone in the 5G segment, but it mentions in the footnotes that this claim holds true among other Motorola phones in the same price range. And that may be true. The phone is equipped with an octa-core 6nm Snapdragon 695 SoC that’s a good mid-range chipset.

We ran Geekbench 6 and got a single-core CPU score of 912 and a multi-core score of 2050. It scored 1411 points on the GPU benchmark. On AnTuTu, the phone managed a score of 3,50,965, which is decent. I was able to perform basic tasks on the phone without any lag, and I can say that the phone was good for daily use. I also managed to play BGMI on the phone but with graphics limited to HD only. Still, you can totally use this phone for some light BGMI gaming. The phone also doesn’t hit up as much as I expected it to, but that’s probably because demanding games don’t run on their highest settings.Moto g34 5g review gaming moto-g34-review-gaming

Now, let’s look at the phone’s display. The Moto G34 5G comes with a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display that offers HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and 240Hz touch sampling rate. It gets a hole-punch cutout for the front camera and Panda glass protection. The panel delivers 580 nits brightness and is good enough to enjoy watching videos, playing games, and so on when indoors, but visibility outdoors isn’t great. The phone offers a Natural or Saturated colour mode, and you can choose to set the screen at 120Hz, 60Hz, or auto. Overall, the display is good enough for the price.

The phone offers a dual stereo speaker setup, with one speaker at the bottom and the second one being the ear speaker at the top. While the phone offers Dolby Atmos support and the audio from the speakers is clear, it lacks bass. The phone gets loud enough for indoor use, but you’ll need to use headphones when outside. Talking about headphones, the Moto G34 5G comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.Moto g34 5g review hardware moto-g34-review-hardware

In terms of overall performance, the Moto G34 5G did quite well with what it comes packed with. The software, although not as stock as it used to be, is without lag and the impressive 120Hz refresh rate certainly helps with making things appear smoother than they are. The scrolling in apps is smooth, but only if you aren’t running multiple apps or multitasking. When things get heavy, the phone does start to lag with some choppiness, even when scrolling.

Where it doesn’t lag is in the battery department. The Moto G34 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery that can easily last over a day with minimum to moderate usage. Keep the display in 60Hz mode, and you can extend the battery further. I consistently managed to get over a day’s usage with around 6-7 hours of screen time. My day usually included about 30 mins of gaming, watching a couple of YouTube videos, using the camera for photos, messaging, calling, and other regular tasks. The phone supports 18W charging speeds, and with the included charger, it took about 40 mins to charge from 0 to 50 percent and 2 hours to hit 100 percent. Now, that’s pretty slow compared to today’s standards.

Moto G34 Review: Cameras

Affordable smartphones also have decent cameras these days, and that’s the case with the Moto G34 5G, or so I thought. The phone comes with a 50-megapixel primary rear camera and a 2-megapixel macro sensor. On the front, there’s a 16-megapixel sensor for selfies and video calls.Moto g34 5g review cameras moto-g34-review-cameras

The camera app is easy to use and has all the camera modes laid out right in front. The main Photo mode has 1x and a Macro mode. You get 8x digital zoom in the Photo mode and can choose between three different aspect ratios. Motorola has also included various filters that you can try right in the Photo mode. There’s also a video mode, Slow Motion, Portrait, and a Pro mode. Meanwhile, Night Vision, Dual Capture, Timelapse, and Panorama are hidden away in More.

Now, let’s talk about the image quality from the main 50-megapixel rear camera. In daylight, the photos taken with the main camera are, at best, decent. While you get details, the colours are saturated, and the HDR is not very good. Image quality was clearly not a priority for Motorola, and I don’t blame them. The phone costs around Rs. 10,000, and this is what you can expect. The Macro camera is mostly a bust and I was never able to get any good close-up photos with the camera. And as the sun goes down, so does the image quality. Even with Night Vision mode, the pictures weren’t sharp and had plenty of noise. If you’re in a completely lit street, then maybe the camera can get some details with the Night Vision mode.

Top to bottom: Main camera, Macro, Night Vision, and Lowlight

 

However, you can get some good photos if you try out the Pro mode, but an average consumer isn’t going to spend time trying to get a good shot. Straight out of the pocket, the main camera will only give you good results when used in daylight. The selfie camera is also okay at best. You can play around with features such as Dual capture, which takes photos and videos using both front and rear cameras.

Coming to video performance from the main rear camera, you get 1080p video capture at 30fps, and there is some noise and artefacts even in daylight. There is stabilisation, but it’s only electronic. The video quality also falls apart at night. The Moto G34 5G also lets you shoot videos using the Macro camera, and to my surprise, it managed to take better close-up videos than photos.

Moto G34 Review: Verdict

The Moto G34 5G will be competing with similarly priced phones from Xiaomi, Realme, and Poco. However, not a lot of phones in the price segment offer 5G connectivity, 120Hz refresh rate, and a Vegan leather finish on the rear panel.

If you’re looking to buy an affordable 5G smartphone and don’t really care about camera performance, then the Moto G34 5G is an excellent choice. You also get a good display, dual speakers, pretty good battery life, and you can play games such as BGMI in low settings. However, if you need a good camera setup, then you’re going to have to spend some more money.

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