I switched to a £89 Android phone and it’s way better than you might think

Cheap Android smartphones aren’t anything new. Over the years I’ve tested a swathe of budget blowers with varying levels of success. Some have been downright dire whilst others have just about passed but without flying colours. So when Motorola asked if I wanted to try its new low-cost call maker I wasn’t expecting anything to shout about – but it has genuinely surprised me.

The new Moto G04 will set you back just £89 – that’s seven times less than a Pixel 8 and over 10 times cheaper than Samsung’s premium Galaxy S24 Ultra. With such a bargain price tag my expectations were very low but the minute I pulled it out of the box all of that changed.

Firstly, the G04 looks really, really good. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it feels as premium in the hand as some much more expensive mid-range devices I’ve reviewed. Its matt finish (which is available in colours such as green and blue) is really stylish and there are even flashes of glossy metal around the camera to help make things feel a little more expensive.

The camera blends neatly into the case and the G04 has a really nice weight – it’s a million miles away from some of the nasty plastic-packed budget phones I’ve seen in the past.

It also features a big 6.5-inch display, huge 5,000mAh battery, water-repellent casing and a fast fingerprint scanner on the side which unlocks the screen in a flash.

Unlike some of its more expensive rivals, you can even boost the storage to 1TB with a microSD card, plug in your wired cans via the 3.5mm headphone port and it ships with Android 14 pre-loaded. It’s hard not to be impressed by what Motorola has achieved but before you start thinking the G04 is better than flagships from the likes of Apple and Samsung it’s worth noting that there are some big compromises.

Hit the power button and you’ll ignite that large 90Hz LCD display which, on first impressions, looks decent enough. However, colours don’t exactly pop from this panel with photos and Netflix box sets looking a little dull and muted. Yes, the fast refresh rate – which even beats the iPhone 15’s 60Hz speed – is impressive on such a cheap device but there’s just something quite bland about the G04’s screen.

Then there’s the overall speed as the UNISOC T606 processor isn’t exactly a beast when it comes to performance. Send a few emails or surf the web and you won’t notice any glaring issues but start asking more of the G04 and things do start to stutter.

Try and quickly flip between apps or load up a memory-hungry game and you’ll face lots of lag. For some, this won’t be an issue but those who need plenty of grunt I’d recommend looking at something more expensive.

Then there’s the single camera which snaps reasonable shots (see images below) but struggles in tricky situations and doesn’t include options such as wide-angle, zoom or shooting 4K video. It also has a terrible habit of oversharpening everything in a bid to hide its flaws.

It also has no access to 5G data speeds (4G only), the Dolby Atmos-powered speaker is terrible and you can’t refill the battery wirelessly.

So, the G04 isn’t perfect but it’s way, way better than I ever imagined a device this cheap could be.

No, it can’t match the might of a £1,000 smartphone and it’s not suited to those wanting to push their devices to the limit.

But if you don’t need oodles of power, are looking for a second device or something to buy your kids as their first phone the G04 is pretty tough to beat.

£89 is ludicrously cheap and this device offers everything you’d expect in a modern-day smartphone.

Would we ditch our Galaxy S24 for it? Definitely not. Would we recommend it if your budget is tight or you just need a very basic phone that does the job? 100 percent yes!

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