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Updated Jul 25, 2022 3:51 PM

Motorola phones dominated the 1990s and 2000s with their innovative designs. But as the innovation of smartphones became more prolific, Motorola slowly disappeared from the public eye. Though it isn’t as popular these days, it still produces fantastic phones that meet the needs of millions worldwide.

Yes, Samsung and Apple (and to a certain extent Google and Huawei) dominate the cell phone industry, but this leads to tunnel vision for consumers. Many seem to think that there are no choices beyond the major brands. While there is no denying that they produce impressive phones, the question is, do you need the high-end specs of their phones? And do you want to spend that much on a piece of technology that will age quickly?

If the answer to these is a resounding, or even a timid, “no,” then Motorola might be the phone for you. The underdogs of the phone industry are not finished yet, and these are some of the best Motorola phones. 

Things to consider before buying a Motorola phone

Processor

Like your brain, the processor controls everything within the phone. The more powerful the processor, the faster thing the phone will function. A quicker processor comes in handy when you are more media and game heavy on your phone. It’s like having an engine in your car; if you plan on using the car for more heavy performance-related activities, then you need a more powerful engine. But if you are just reading your emails or the latest story about how a celebrity went off the rails, then you don’t need a Ferrari; a budget Ford will do just fine.

RAM

RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a short-term memory bank. For example, say you are in an app but have to close it because your brother texted you a funny joke. You don’t need to worry about losing your place in that app. Instead, RAM remembers your place in the app and opens it exactly where you were. 

This short-term memory for bouncing between apps is not the only thing that RAM does, but it is a big part of it. Essentially, the more RAM you have, the more data it can store and the faster your phone will be. Like the processor, if you are only using your phone for casual use like emails and calls, you don’t need to pay for a lot of RAM. But more RAM will be helpful if you like to use lots of apps.

Camera

For some users, the camera is the most important feature of a smartphone. Many people don’t have a camera beyond the one on their phone, so they focus on that. It allows them to capture everything from holidays and special events to their baby’s first steps without spending money on a dedicated camera. 

If you want a good camera, look for a phone with multiple cameras for different angles of view (wide-angle, telephoto, and normal) and a high megapixel count. You may also want to check what types of camera modes a phone has to give you more creative options while taking photos and videos. 

Battery

Over the past few decades, there has been a desire to reduce the size of cell phones to make them smaller and slimmer. The thinner size means that the technology inside the phone has to be more compact to fit inside. Even so, there is less space left for a battery. Also, we use our phones more these days than we did with the early cell phones, which drains battery life. As a result, gone are the days when phones can last more than several weeks, let alone a few days. 

Battery capacity is measured in milliampere/hour (mAh). The higher the number, the more charge the battery can hold. However, the phone’s processor and other software also help to determine how long a battery can last. For example, a good processor can improve battery usage compared to a lower-end processor. That means a 4500mAh battery can, in theory, last longer than a 5000mAh one. 

Storage

Just about everything we do requires a specialized app, with some taking up a lot of space on your phone’s storage. For example, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp use between 200MB and 500MB on my phone. Photos from phones are also getting larger, which requires more space. So if you need lots of apps or take lots of photographs or videos with your phone, you’ll need one with a lot of internal storage. But you won’t need as much if you will solely use your phone for calling, texting, and the odd photo.

Don’t forget that you can always purchase cloud storage. Although this won’t save you space for apps, you can free up room by clearing out photos and, more importantly, videos which take up a lot of data. 

Screen

There are several reasons why a better screen is useful. Firstly, a higher resolution screen will give you better color, making watching movies and playing games better. It will also make your photos more accurate when you view and edit them. Secondly, a better frame rate will mean smoother motions and movements, such as opening and closing apps and playing games, which will help with eye or headache problems. 

These are our picks for the best Motorola phones:

Best overall: Moto G200

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Why it made the cut: It has a powerful processor and is 5G ready. The Moto G200 is a great phone for those that don’t want to break the bank but want some fantastic features.

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 888
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 6.8-inch FHD+
  • Camera: Rear: 108MP main camera, 13MP ultra-wide-angle | Front: 16MP 
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Battery: 5000mAh

Pros

  • Fast processor
  • Long battery life
  • Great camera setup
  • Great screen refresh rate

Cons

  • Large screen isn’t ideal for one handed use

The Moto G200 is one of Motorola’s latest phones. It comes with the powerful and fast Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 888. Combined with the 8GB RAM, this is a lightning-fast phone that handles gaming and movies incredibly well. It also comes with a 5000mAh battery, which lasts up to 36 hours, according to Motorola. The long battery life is partly due to the processor, which handles power usage much more effectively. 

The phone itself does not have the most stunning design. It’s also rather big, and it might not be the most comfortable phone to hold for those with small hands or one-handed use. There’s a nice curve to the back, but overall the design lacks a sense of beauty. 

Unfortunately, the display is LCD, which isn’t as attractive as the OLED many of its competitors use. But the G200 makes up for the lower quality display with a fast refresh rate. The refresh rate is a fantastic 144Hz, which is great for gaming and movies.

The camera setup is decent. There are two cameras at the back and a depth sensor, which, as the name suggests, detects depth and provides better photos as a result. The 108MP main camera and 13MP ultra-wide-angle lens cover a variety of photographic situations. The ultra-wide-angle camera has a 120-degree field of view, perfect for taking group photos or stunning views while on holiday. 

Best camera: Motorola Edge 20 Pro

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Why it made the cut: The Motorola Edge 20 Pro has a three-camera setup that gives you everything you need to take the most amazing photos possible, wherever you are. 

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 870
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Screen: 6.7-inch FHD+
  • Camera: Rear: 108MP main camera, 8MP 5x telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide-angle | Front: 32MP
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Battery: 4500mAh

Pros

  • The three-camera setup is great
  • Plenty of RAM 
  • Large storage capacity
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • No wireless charging

The Motorola Edge 20 Pro is a fantastic phone that comes with 12GB of RAM. Unfortunately, the Snapdragon® 870 processor is a slightly older one that came out in early 2021. That’s not to say it is slow or ineffective, as it will still do a good job, but you aren’t getting the latest tech here. 

The best part of the Motorola Edge 20 Pro is the cameras. It comes with a 108MP main camera, a 5x telephoto camera at 8MP, and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera with a 119-degree field of view. The three-camera setup makes this a highly versatile camera. The main camera also has an aperture of f/1.9, which will work well for low light photography. If you like to take photos indoors, then this is perfect for you. 

It’s also surprising to see a phone manufacturer give more than 128GB of storage capacity on their phones, so it’s a very welcome addition for the Edge 20 Pro to have 256GB. The ample storage is more than enough to support dozens of apps, media, and the endless photos and videos that you take. The battery capacity is also very generous, with 4500mAh of charge available. However, the downside is that it is missing wireless charging despite this being a flagship phone. Missing wireless charging capabilities is not a dealbreaker for many people, but it is useful if you have wireless charging support in your car or on your desk.

Most durable: Motorola Defy

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Why it made the cut: As the name implies, Motorola designed the Defy to defy the norm and survive all but the most severe drops and conditions. Its durability is perfect if you’re clumsy or need a phone to take to extreme locations.

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 662
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Screen: 6.5-inch HD+
  • Camera: Rear: 48MP main camera, 2MP macro camera | Front: 8MP
  • Storage: 64GB (expandable)
  • Battery: 5000mAh

Pros

  • Highly durable and rugged
  • Includes a lanyard attachment
  • Great battery 
  • Textured back for better handling

Cons

  • Only 64GB of storage
  • Not the best camera setup

The Motorola Defy is a beautiful-looking phone. The back of the phone, which has two cameras, a depth sensor, and a flash, has a great feel and look. The back is textured with crisscrossing lines, which makes it easier to hold, even if wet. Motorola truly designed this phone to survive the great outdoors. It’s a phone you can throw at a charging bear as a distraction while you climb up a tree and pick it up to call for a ride home when it leaves. 

It’s drop-proof up to 5.9 feet, waterproof up to 4.9 feet for 35 minutes, dust and sand proof, and can survive temperatures as low as -13ºF to 131ºF. Motorola even tested it to military-grade standards. It’s a great choice if you are likely to drop your phone or like to go into extreme conditions. However, there is no official bear-proof test, so please don’t test that.

Motorola states that the phone can last up to two days on a single charge. While 5000mAh is a lot of battery for a phone, be aware that all aspects of the phone can reduce the battery life. Although, with the ability to withstand extremely cold conditions, the Defy’s battery life in cold weather can, in theory, last longer than a standard phone without this protection. 

The camera itself is simply okay and nothing outstanding. It’s strange to see a macro camera on the phone as it’s a relatively niche photography subject. It would have been far more beneficial to have an ultra-wide-angle lens, given that this phone is meant for outdoor use. Sadly, the phone only has 64GB of internal storage. But you can get more storage by inserting a microSD card that you can buy separately, so it’s not the end of the world if you need the space. 

Best display resolution: Motorola Edge+ (2022)

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Why it made the cut: The phone that Motorola threw everything at which produced an exceptional flagship device and caters to all your wants and needs in a phone. 

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 6.7-inch FHD+
  • Camera: Rear: 50MP main camera, 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera | Front: 60MP
  • Storage: 512GB
  • Battery: 4800mAh

Pros

  • Qualcomm®’s latest and fastest processor
  • Fast refresh rate
  • Large storage capacity
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No optical zoom

The Motorola Edge+ (2022 edition) has Qualcomm®’s latest processor inside it, the Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1. This new processor is 20% faster than the Snapdragon® 888, which came out in 2021, and uses 30% less power. Paired with 8GB of RAM, this fast phone can handle lots of information and activities. So if you play games and watch movies a lot, this is the phone for you as you will not see much lag on it. 

The Edge+ has a 6.7-inch” FHD+ screen with a 144Hz refresh rate. Movement is smooth and clear, perfect for anyone who gets headaches with phone screens. The colors are also beautiful and vivid. Furthermore, the pinhole selfie camera does not take up much room on the display. The battery is also great, with 4800mAh of charge. The Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1 processor also does a great job of reducing battery usage so that you can use your phone for longer when you need it the most. 

The back features a 50MP main camera and a 50MP ultra-wide-angle camera with a field of view of 114 degrees. These camera choices are ideal for those that want to take photos of everything from holidays to street photography. In addition, the fact that this phone comes with 512GB is excellent news. You can take more photos and videos thanks to that abundant storage. And, if you want to, you can download movies and TV shows from the latest streaming service to watch on the vivid screen without running out of room. 

Most people don’t particularly care about the looks of their phones, especially as we tend to put them into protective cases anyway. However, for those who do care, this is not the most stunning phone out there. The arrangement of the cameras combined with the Motorola logo gives very 1990s and 2000s phone vibes. That makes sense, given that Motorola was very popular in those decades but is outdated and does not look great. That being said, if you can overlook this or like the design (as it is subjective), you will most certainly get a great phone.

Best budget: Motorola Moto G30

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Why it made the cut: Phones are expensive; there’s no doubt about it. However, if you don’t need a lot of flashiness and just want a phone for the most basic use, then the Moto G30 is perfect for you. 

Key features:

  • Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 662
  • RAM: 4GB or 6GB
  • Screen: 6.5-inch screen
  • Camera: Rear: 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide-angle, 2MP macro | Front: 13MP
  • Storage: 64GB or 128GB
  • Battery: 5000mAh

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Useful camera variety
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Slow processor

The Motorola Moto G30 is a good phone for those looking for something basic. It’s not outstanding and will not come close to the quality and speeds of Motorola’s flagship range, much less than some of the more premium brands’ phones, but it does a great job at doing the basics at a low cost. 

The phone comes with a generous amount of battery charge at 5000mAh, which on paper can last a day or two. However, the Snapdragon® 662 is not Qualcomm®’s fastest or most powerful processor, so it won’t be able to control battery usage as well. Still, it will last a decent while, as chances are you won’t be using this phone for anything more than the basics. It can easily handle tasks such as phone calls, emails, and maybe some social media. However, if you want to play intensive games or watch movies, we suggest you consider a phone with more power.

The camera is decent and features a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2MP macro. While the former two are helpful for a variety of situations, the macro isn’t as much. Still, it’s not a bad thing to have some options and variety.

Overall, if you are on a tight budget and need a phone for the basics, then the Motorola Moto G30 will be a perfect choice.

FAQs

Q: Which Motorola phone is the newest?

Motorola releases a lot of phones throughout the year, so by the time you read this article, it may have released a few since then. However, remember that the newest release date does not necessarily mean better quality. For example, Motorola might release a budget or mid-range phone later in the year, but it could have lower specs than a phone that came out a year before. In the premium category, the Motorola Edge 30 Pro is Motorola’s latest flagship phone, which it released in February 2022. 

Q: Are Motorola phones durable?

Whether Motorola phones are durable depends on your definition of the word and the particular phone. The best Motorola phones are very well built to withstand minor bumps and scrapes. Unfortunately, phones these days are not like the Nokia 3310, which would survive someone throwing it across a football pitch, so please don’t try that. 

Motorola does have some highly rugged phones, such as the Motorola Defy, which is waterproof, dustproof, sand proof, and drop proof (all up to certain limits). Motorola designed it for use in extreme conditions. However, it is still highly recommended that you protect any phone with a case

Q: Are Motorola phones repairable?

Motorola phones are repairable, within reason. A lot of things can be repaired, but there are several factors that you have to consider. Firstly, if you are no longer under warranty or the issue falls outside the warranty’s scope, a repair may cost you more than simply buying a new one. Secondly, some things, such as water damage, cannot be fixed. It is best to contact Motorola and speak with them about the issue, your warranty, and your options. We also recommend that you use official Motorola repair centers as they will have the correct training, tools, and hardware to repair your photos correctly. It could void any warranty (and possibly insurance) if you go to a non-official repair center.

Q: How do I fix charging issues on my Motorola phone?

The first thing is to check that the charging issue is related to the phone or the charger itself. Try and use a variety of chargers and outlets. You’ll also want to make sure you use at least one official Motorola charger. 

Next, check the output capacity of the charger. It could be a slow charger, meaning it might simply be a case of insufficient power. Finally, check for any damage to the charger, cables, plug socket, and phone connections. It may take a while to charge a phone when it is completely dead.

If everything above is okay, but the phone is still not charging, you might need to do a forced reboot. This will not delete your data but essentially refreshes the phones, sort of like blowing into an N64 cartridge or tapping the games console a few times. Each phone might have a different way to reboot it, so Google to find the process for your particular phone. Usually, you press and hold the volume up and power button together for around 30 seconds. 

Finally, if this does not work, then contact Motorola directly. It may require you to send it off for repairs. 

Final thoughts on the best Motorola phones

We picked the Moto G200 as our best overall because it has an exceptional camera setup, stunning screen, and a powerful processor. It’s also lower cost than the Motorola Edge+ (2022) or the Edge 20 Pro, so you’re getting a flagship phone at a lower cost than Motorola’s other flagship phones. If you have the budget, the Motorola Edge+ (2022) has the American company’s latest hardware and tech, including Qualcomm® Snapdragon® 8 Gen 1.

Methodology: How we picked the best Motorola phones

The editors and writers at Popular Photography have decades of photography experience with a wide variety of products and situations. I am a Google 6 user and have owned various phones from brands such as Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, and OnePlus. 

There are many things to look out for in a cell phone, and not everyone will buy a phone for the same reason. We chose performance (such as the RAM and processor), camera setup, storage, battery charge, and screen size as the most important features because these significantly impact how you use the phone.