There are a lot of affordable smartphones on the market so it is often difficult to discern the small differences between them all.  The Moto g04 sits comfortably in the entry-level smartphone range but its price is belied by its performance for me – but not for me.

There is a smartphone for everyone based on what you use it for with not everyone needing a high-powered ultra-premium smartphone to get done what they need done.  Unfortunately for this review, I do but that doesn’t stop me recommending this phone for a large segment of the market.

The Moto g04 is underpowered for me but I use my phone extensively for work with Wi-Fi hotspot on and being used nearly all the time, with half the time running Android Auto navigation and media playback alongside Whatsapp messaging and Chrome browser all at once in my everyday job.  It stuttered, slowed, stopped and was altogether unusable under this load – and that was with Moto’s Extended RAM feature enabled.

The Moto g04 was unable to handle that – in fact it failed miserably – and it surprised me and here’s why:

I first used the g04 over the weekend at and around home and found that although it was slower than my Pixel 8, it was still perfectly usable for doom-scrolling through Reddit or Instagram, or watching the NBA on the NBA app or Kayo.  I could easily stream music to my Bluetooth headphones while at the gym without noticing any issues. 

In other words, for a vast majority of folks who don’t require any amount of memory-intensive multi-tasking it works just fine.  If you need to multitask multiple apps at once then this phone is not for you but there are truly not all that many users who need this.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest let’s get into my thoughts on various portions of the Moto g04 experience, a $179 experience.


The review g04 I received was the Sunrise Orange colour but if bold is not your thing it is also available in Satin Blue and Concord Black.  I quite like the bold Sunrise Orange colour – it’s different and I’m here for it.

Motorola also includes a clear case in the box which is something EVERY manufacturer should do – for the sake of a couple of cents per phone it surely isn’t a huge issue.  OPPO has stopped doing that for many of their phones and I’m not a fan (far from it).

On the other hand Motorola has NOT included a USB cable in the box.  They are the first in Australia to do that – as far as I am aware.  I don’t mean that there isn’t a charger – but there isn’t one of those either – but there is NO USB-C cable.  

A bulk of the people buying this are people like my parents who do not have a large number of these lying around and somehow those they have are all tattered and broken.  A cable is essential IMO.  Most of the time when you have charging issues with a phone a manufacturer will recommend you charge it only using the cable they provided – same for Android Auto issues. Anyone else see a problem with this?

**Note** The moto g04 will come with a charger and cable when purchased on a pre-paid plan at Telstra (date TBC).  You also get a 24 months warranty if purchased through Telstra.

I sincerely hope this is not a trend that other manufacturers will follow but in my opinion it is inexcusable – it’s their version of shrinkflation.  Motorola, just make the phone $180 instead of $179 and give us a cable!

Rant over. Back to the phone itself.

The volume buttons and the power button all sit on the right hand side of the phone with the power button doubling as a fingerprint sensor.  This is a cheaper option than an under-display sensor but I still find them easy to use and accurate.  In fact I find it gives you more options on how to unlock your phone – using an index finger on the under-display sensor is difficult but you can use whatever finger you want on the side so that when you pick the phone up it unlocks as you do so.

The rear of the phone houses the camera island (single camera – the second “camera” hole is the flash) which I love the way it blends into the surrounding rear.  It is all one piece, seamless flowing across the back of the device.  I’m a fan.  

For those who just love to plug in a headphone, the moto g04 still comes with a headphone jack. There’s an FM Tuner in the phone which works well, especially in a stadium on game day, which you will need to plug in headphones to use – though there’s none included in the box.  I did have to hunt high and low to find some myself so this may be an issue for many.

The FM radio app works well and you can even record the song/media you are2 playing through the app.  Not sure where this sits with copyright law etc but 1984 mixtape anyone?


Inside the Moto g04 is what you would expect from an entry-level smartphone.  It houses a 720p LCD 90Hz display of 6.56-inches, just 4GB of RAM which can be extended to 8GB using Extended RAM (but wasn’t functional enough for my multi-tasking still), and just 64GB of onboard memory.  

The display is not the brightest I have ever used but when using inside it works fine and the colours are vibrant enough for those buying in the entry-level market.

To say the specs are entry level is entirely accurate, especially when you consider it is powered by a 12nm Unisoc T606 – a long long way from a decent Snapdragon or MediaTek chipset. We used to avoid smartphones powered by MediaTek because at the time they were not very good. Now MediaTek are decent most of the time there is a new player in the entry level, low powered processor — Unisoc. I’m not sure what is to blame for the lack of power in this phone but if it’s Unisoc, I don’t care how cheap it is, it’s a bad decision to include it.

The 5,000mAh battery offers all-day battery life, quite easily when using it as a doom-scrolling, Internet surfing, emailing and messaging device.  It is charged by a relatively slow 15W wired charger – which, as I mentioned above, is not included in the box.


If you were expecting decent camera hardware you’d be very disappointed with this phone but at $179 a single 16MP f/2.2 camera is all you get.  This is incredibly disappointing on paper but when you consider many entry level smartphones have a dual camera setup with the second camera being a 2MP or similar bokeh or B+W camera only – so useless for all intents and purposes.

The solitary 16MP camera still gets decent images.  IF you are shopping in the entry-level segment of the smartphone market for a high end photographic device you need your head read.  The camera is still capable of images that will help you capture your experiences in some detail but it will certainly not blow you away. 

Images are decent and for $179 you should not expect much more than this. For many users, especially thos epurchasing this phone the photos are good enough. Night imaging is barely acceptable with a very slow exposure time and lack of detail but as you can see above they are still okay.

Software and warranty

I am and have been for a long time, a massive fan of the Motorola software experience.  There was a time that I considered it the best smartphone software experience available – now it is difficult to go past Google for that but Motorola still do a good job with their Android skin.

The Motorola Android skin is incredibly minimal with just a few very useful tweaks and features.  Most of them were present on the g04 – and a Motorola was my daily driver smartphone until only very recently – making the experience decent.  Their minimal skin allows for underpowered devices to still give decent experiences.  

One thing that I couldn’t get my head around, I use Wi-Fi hotspot to transfer x-ray images I take to the head office to be reported by the radiologist and then in the car, without hotspot turning off normally, I connect to my car’s Android Auto wirelessly.  

The moto g04 was unable to do that, requiring the hotspot to be turned off to use the Wi-Fi connection required for wireless Android Auto.  This meant I had to revert to using old school wired Android Auto because the hotspot needs to be on to refresh my patient list at all times.  Not sure what Motorola has done here but the Pixel 8 can do this but the g04 cannot.

Even using a wired connection the phone was too slow to perform the heavy multitasking I ask of my smartphones, making it unusable during the day for me.

The moto g04 includes a 12 month warranty which is strange in and of itself but remember that Australians are protected by Australian Consumer Law which as far as we can tell will warrant a phone for as long as you would expect.  In the past we have seen this come out at 24 months. 

Motorola aren’t the only smartphone manufacturer to state a 12-month only warranty with Apple one of those that also do so.  Apple also state that they comply with the ACL as well (which contradicts their 12-month warranty statement but I assume they don’t want people to know that?). 


My thoughts are that this phone is cheap and if Motorola wants people to put their trust in this phone then Motorola should as well by offering a 2-year warranty. Afterall, if a person insists on Motorola following the ACL, it is a 2-year warranty.  It’s difficult to trust a phone that the manufacturer themselves don’t seem to trust.

Final thoughts

The Moto g04 is a phone that is difficult to recommend to most people. If you do a very minimal amount of things on or with your phone then it is just fine. By that I mean, someone’s non-tech savvy grandparent only. It is slow to open apps, including the camera (sorry to the driver behind me today while I waited for the camera to open to take the grafiti image while stopped at a corner) but once open it works just okay.

I seem to have used the word okay a lot in this review. It is just okay and that’s about it. If you do not do any multitasking and just want a phone for basic photography and basic surfing — Facebook, Instagram etc — then maybe this phone could be for you.

Priced at a very competitive $179 you should not expect much from this phone — and you won’t get much. A phone to do the basics and that’s it. You do not even get a USB cable in the box. I would recommend this phone for someone like my Mother-in-law who uses her phone rarely and does the most very basic of things on it.

The moto g04 is available from today for $179 in Concord Black, Satin Blue and Sunrise Orange from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Big W, The Good Guys, Bing Lee, Australia Post, Retravision, and Amazon, Mobileciti and – though check the retailers for colour availability. 

It will be available now from Telstra for just $149 in Satin Blue. Note that the Telstra version arrives with a 24 month warranty and charger and USB-C cable in the box.