Hands on: Moto G7 Review

The affordable phone of the year may have just landed

First Impressions

The Moto G7 doesn’t rework the wheel. It refines rather than redefines the company’s affordable phone offering, giving buyers on a budget a surprisingly well-balanced phone with no clear hardware or software weakness. Hopefully, it will deliver on its promise when we more thoroughly test it for our full review.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £239
  • 6.2-inch FHD+ screen
  • Snapdragon 632 CPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, microSD
  • 12-megapixel primary w/ 5-megapixel depth camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 9

Is the latest Moto G the budget phone to beat?

The Moto G7 is the latest generation of Motorola’s iconic phone line. It sits below the slightly higher-end Moto G7 Plus and well above the more affordable Moto G7 Power and Moto G7 Play.

Like its predecessors, the G7 aims to offer top-end hardware and software at an aggressively affordable price. Look at its specs and you’ll see that it’s still way short of Galaxy S9 or iPhone XS standard but from what I’ve seen so far, you’ll struggle to do better for your money.

To get an early feel of how the new Moto G7 compares to the outgoing model I spent an hour with the device ahead of its official unveiling in Brazil. We’ll publish a full review once we’ve had enough time to fully test the phone.

Moto G7 release date and price

The G7 will be released alongside the G7 Plus, G7 Power and G7 Play on March 1, and will retail for £239 in the UK and €249 in mainland Europe.

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Moto G7 hands on back handheld

The Moto G7 is the middle child in Motorola’s current affordable phone lineup. In many ways, it’s the best value option for those folk who are after a no-thrills, no-hassle smartphone for basic use.

Most notable about the G7 is that it features design and hardware traditionally only seen on more expensive phones. These include a tweaked mixed metal and Gorilla Glass design that takes its cues from the more expensive iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9, and which houses surprisingly well-balanced hardware.

Highlights include a 6.2-inch Full HD+ screen, dual-sensor rear camera, a solid – albeit not cutting-edge – Snapdragon 632 CPU, and a near-untouched install of Android 9. I’m not going to pretend that any of these features or components are leading-edge, or anywhere near flagship level, but it’s the complete package that tells the story.

Affordable smartphones tend to cut corners. Common areas include too little RAM, a poorly calibrated screen, sub-par camera performance and god-awful skinned that all but butcher Android’s UI to the point it’s unrecognisable.

Moto G phones are a distinguished minority that appear to buck this trend – and this is true of the Moto G7, too. The Moto G7 feels every bit as premium as more expensive phones such as the Asus ZenFone 5, which sports a similar mixed metal and glass design. Having watched a fellow tech journo accidentally drop a sample onto a hardwood floor, I’m confident the G7’s build quality is top-notch, too.

The CPU isn’t cutting-edge, but running a few games on the Moto G7 I didn’t notice any serious issues, even though 4GB of RAM may seem a little stingy by today’s standards. The camera, which combines a 12-megapixel primary sensor with a 5-megapixel depth of field sensor, also worked fine in low light. It was significantly better than many rival phones at this price from the likes of Honor.

I won’t be able to sensibly comment on the Portrait/Bokeh mode until I get to check out shots on the big screen, but images looked reasonably okay on the phone’s display, albeit perhaps a little on the warm side to my eye. My only concern is that the f/2.0 aperture and lack of OIS mean that the camera is unlikely to perform terribly well in low light.

The Moto G’s clean Android install remains a key selling point for the device. Even if some similarly priced phones may have a spec or two that’s better, handsets that compete in the affordable market universally come with horrible skins. Key offenders include Xiaomi and Honor devices, which both use horridly intrusive skins that are chock-full of unwanted bloatware and duplicate apps. Navigating the G7’s app tray I didn’t see a single piece of bloatware, by comparison. As a result, this should make it easier for Motorola to upgrade the Moto G7 to newer versions of Android in future.

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Moto G7 hands on back angled

My only serious concern is that the Moto G7 only has a 3000mAh battery. This is a little on the small side for a phone of this size and means it may struggle to last more than a day’s moderate use on a single charge. However, until I get more time to test the Moto G7 this is just conjecture. The appearance of Turbo Charge tech should also help alleviate the issue, with Motorola quoting eight hours active use from only 15 minutes charge time.

The latest iteration of the Moto G might not seem like a huge upgrade for the series, however the nice range of updates and design tweaks mean it could still keep the impressive run of fantastic G devices going.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are alway sunscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.