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Is Motorola really the king of budget mobile phones?

We look at the tech brand's most popular smartphones to see whether they're the best budget models on the market

If you’re on the hunt for a good-value smartphone, Motorola might spring to mind. But with newcomers entering the market, there’s more competition than ever when it comes to value. We’ve put some of Moto’s biggest launches under the spotlight to see how it fares. 

Lenovo-owned Motorola offers a range of smartphones underneath its ‘Moto’ umbrella. It’s best known for its cheap handsets, namely the Moto G smartphones. 

Nine out of the 11 Motorola smartphones we’ve tested cost less than £200, but we’ve now put one of its more expensive models to the test: the Motorola One Vision, which costs £270.

With competition hotting up, we take a closer look at some of Motorola’s most popular models to see if they have what it takes to stand out from the crowd. 

Want to cut straight to the cream of the cheap smartphone crop? Read our guide on the best cheap mobile phones.

Motorola’s most popular mobile phones put to the test

We’ve looked at a few key Motorola smartphones to see how well they compare with other affordable models on the market.

Motorola One Vision (£270)

Part of the Motorola One range of smartphones, the One Vision is one of the more highly-specced models on offer. Unlike its cheaper phones, Motorola makes a move towards a full bezel-less screen with this one. The display sports a ‘hole punch’, seen on phones like the Honor View20, to mean the camera minimally interrupt its 6.3-inch Full HD+ screen.

Quite unusually, the display also touts ‘CinemaVision’, which aims to provide a high-quality film-watching and gaming experience by making the display narrower and taller than typical screens (21:9 aspect ratio instead of the typical 16:9 seen on most smartphones). Elsewhere, it’s the first smartphone to run on Samsung’s new Exynos 9609 processor and has an impressive 4GB of Ram, considering its price. 

In the camera department, it’s got a standard setup on the front and rear of the phone: a 48Mp rear lens that produces 12Mp photos and a 25Mp front lens that delivers 6Mp photos. For £270, it has a few talking points. To find out whether it has enough to compete with top-tier smartphones, read our full review of the Motorola One Vision

Or why not consider the Honor 10 (£279)

It may not have the same legacy of producing cheap smartphones, but Honor is well established for its mid-range models. Now heavily discounted from its original price of £400, the Honor 10 is a similar price to the One Vision but has very different strengths. 

It has a smaller 5.84-inch display but an arguably more powerful processor, housing the Kirin 970 processor found in premium smartphones like the Huawei P20 Pro. Where this phone really competes is with its camera. It has a dual AI rear lens (24Mp + 16Mp) that outdoes the One Vision’s single rear lens, as well as a 24Mp front camera.

The rear camera also has a slightly wider f/1.8 aperture than the Motorola’s competing model, which in theory should improve the sharpness of the depth of field in its images. How did it measure up in our tests? Read our review of the Honor 10 to see if it wins in this battle.  

Motorola Moto G7 Power (£179)

When it first launched in March 2019, the Moto G7 power turned heads with its attention-grabbing specs and a very competitive price.

It’s only right to start with its massive 5,000mAh battery, which is one of the largest smartphone batteries we’ve seen to date, even blowing the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G’s 4,500mAh out of the water, and for a sixth of the price.

The phone’s display is 6.2 inches with HD+ resolution (720×1,570 pixels), but true to its cheaper price it doesn’t benefit from the same full display as the Motorola One Vision. It does only have small bezels, though. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor, has 4GB of Ram and 64GB of storage, all of which are good for its price. All that said, its battery still remains the star of the show.

Find out how well it performed when put under pressure in our tests – read our Motorola Moto G7 power review.

Or take a look at the Realme 3 Pro (£178)

Previously an Oppo sub-brand, Realme created quite a buzz with the launch of its first smartphone in the UK, touting specs that you’d typically find on a mid-range or even premium device. Just about cheaper than the Moto G7 power, newbie brand Realme’s 3 Pro puts up a good fight in this head-to-head.

The Realme 3 Pro has a larger and higher-resolution display, weighing in at 6.3 inches with Full HD+ resolution (2,340×1,080 pixels), but it was no match for the Moto G7 Power in the battery battle, housing a noticeably smaller 4,045mAh power pack.

These two phones are tied for Ram and storage, but if you want a more advanced processor, Realme takes the crown with its Snapdragon 710 AIE processor. Doe these minor upgrades make this the better smartphone? Our review of the Realme 3 Pro reveals all. 

Motorola Moto G6 Play (£100)

The G6 Play is part of Motorola’s 2018 roster that first hit the shelves for £170. The Moto G6 Play was launched alongside the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus and each of the smartphones have their own strengths.

It has sizeable bezels that wrap around its 5.7-inch HD display, which is slightly smaller than the 5.9-inch screen on the Moto G6 Plus. But its battery is the best of the trio, packing a huge 4,000mAh.

Unlike its two range rivals, the Moto G6 Play only has one 13Mp rear facing lens and an 8Mp front camera. Is it the best of the Moto G6 bunch or just a good bargain? We have a full review of the Moto G6 play to give you an answer.

Why not look at the Huawei Y6 (2018)?

Huawei is most well-known for its large-and-in-charge premium smartphones that tiptoe around the £1,000 price point. Most people would have forgotten, but Huawei also has a budget ‘Y’ range of smartphones that are far more affordable than the likes of the Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei Y6 (2018) has the same 5.7-inch HD display and 13Mp rear camera lens as the Moto G6 Play, although its front camera doesn’t quite compare on paper (5Mp). It falls short on the battery front, offering only a 3,000mAh battery, although it’s the same size as the battery found in the Moto G6.

A large battery isn’t everything. We’ve tested smartphones that were overloaded with mAh but still didn’t deliver. Could the Huawei Y6 (2018) be an unsuspecting winner? We put it through our rigorous lab tests to give you an answer.

Are Motorola phones any good?

It’s no question that Motorola has a good range of affordable phones to offer, but our testing shows that the performance of its phones can also range significantly depending on the model in question. Many of us choose a smartphone range and stick with it for each upgrade, but the upgraded version of a smartphone isn’t always better once you dust off all the shiny new features.

If you’ve got your heart set on a new Motorola smartphone, it’s still important to make sure that your chosen model is up to par. We’ve tested nearly 50 cheap smartphones so you can compare which phone has more than just a good price to offer. Read our mobile phone reviews to find your perfect phone.

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