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Hard to beat for the price


It’s been a long time since I’ve used a Motorola phone, so when Motorola sent over the new Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 I was eager to check it out. The mid-range phones with affordable pricing aren’t usually the types of phones I tend to go for. I prefer the powerhouses with best-in-class cameras and top-notch specs. Basically the flagship phones. Unfortunately, those also come with a much higher price.

So it’s nice to see that for $399, Motorola can put together a smartphone that quite honestly, performs very well. That might not be something you expect to read about a phone that costs a mere $399. Let me tell you though, powerful, fun phones don’t have to cost an arm and a leg anymore. In fact, a fun phone that comes with tons of excellent features is more readily available at lower prices these days than you might think. Motorola didn’t exactly spearhead this movement, but it’s certainly contributing in a big way.

Enter the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. A smartphone that puts the fun back into phones for a price that you won’t feel guilty about paying. But how does the Moto G Stylus 5G this year stack up compared to other devices in the same price range? Is it worth your $399? Let’s dive into this review and find out.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Hardware & Design

Motorola has been around for decades building phones. Longer than some of today’s most popular brands. So you can bet it knows a thing or two about designing a good-looking phone, not to mention building one that feels like a quality product. The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is exactly those things. A stylish phone that feels very well-built. My last experience with a Moto G was several years ago. It wasn’t my phone either, rather, it was the phone I bought for my parents when they were ready for upgrades.

My mom’s second Android phone, and my dad’s first smartphone. While the phone was affordable and offered plenty of features, the one thing that sticks in my mind about it was how many issues both my parents had with it. It just wasn’t a very good phone. The fingerprint sensors were finicky and didn’t work nearly half the time, and there were numerous other problems that they were always calling me about in hopes I could fix the issue. The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is so far removed from that experience that it’s almost like it doesn’t come from the same brand.

When I first picked up the Moto G Stylus 5G, it felt like I was holding something more premium than what the price tag is demanding for this device. The frame is a fingerprint magnet, but it looks nice. And the vegan leather back feels so good to the touch. Plus it actually looks really good. Now it’s not real leather so unfortunately it won’t develop that nice patina that happens as natural leather gets older and more worn. That’s ok though. Because the back of this phone still looks great. I ended up with the Caramel Latte color but the Scarlet Wave also looks very nice.

The one thing I don’t love about the design is the camera bump. It’s not super tall, but the narrowness of it means the phone doesn’t lay completely flat face up. So if I tap the display to wake it up and see notifications or the time, it rocks a little. And that will never not annoy me. It’s a preference thing. Aside from that, Motorola gave this phone a pretty solid design. It’s got an upgraded stylus for one.

But also a 3.5mm audio jack for wired headphones, which is a rare sight these days. It also has a USB-C port on the bottom, speakers on the bottom (the phone also has dual stereo speakers), buttons on the side, and a mic on top.

The buttons for power and volume also feel solid and they’re easy to press without being too easy if that makes sense. Overall, the hardware is good and the design is even better. It’s a phone that doesn’t look cheap, even though the price would have believe it is.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Display

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These days you’re almost bound to get a suitable display on any phone that costs around $400 or more. That’s not to say there aren’t some stinkers out there in this price range. However, I was surprised at how good the display looks here. Not to mention the upgrades Motorola gave it to make the phone better than last year’s. For starters, this is a 6.7-inch 1080p display compared to the previous model’s 6.6-inch. It’s big and bright and lends itself well to any entertainment you want out of it.

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It also comes with a 120Hz refresh rate which is excellent for anything. If you’re scrolling around menus or browsing the web or using apps, everything is nice and fluid. And of course, the main reason I like it is because the 120Hz means good things for gaming. Not all games will support 120 frames per second. But plenty of them do and you’ll be glad you have that support here. It’s just wild to see in a phone that costs $399 when some phones that cost several hundred more don’t go above 60Hz or 90Hz.

In terms of brightness, the display could be a bit better. It’s not bad but I did notice that it had a little more of an issue with glare out in the bright sunlight than devices like the Pixel 8 or ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition. Now that might not be a problem for you if you aren’t using your phone out in the Summer sun a whole bunch. But if you’re an outdoorsy person you will notice. Luckily, you can still see the display pretty well and I imagine when it gets even brighter in a month or two during the day, it’ll still do just fine.

When it comes to colors, there’s absolutely no complaints from me. The colors pop off the display and they’re nice and vibrant with some saturation. If you don’t like this there is an option in the display settings menu to change it so the colors look more natural. I feel like this takes away from how good the display looks when it’s bright outside though. And you definitely want your colors to be a little more saturated for games.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Performance

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Ok so the phone looks good, it’s built well, and it has a decent display, but how does it perform? Honestly, pretty good. I never really noticed any hitching or jitters when using the device. it also felt perfectly fine when playing games like Genshin Impact or Wuthering Waves (another anime-style action RPG with high-fidelity graphics and fast gameplay).

I was surprised at how good games felt here given the phone is running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 Mobile Platform. It’s not exactly a flagship CPU. But it’s certainly no slouch either. And the upgrade from 6GB of RAM to 8GB doesn’t hurt. I do think it is worth considering though that for $499, the OnePlus 12R offers better gaming performance thanks to the use of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 inside it, while also having more RAM. So if gaming is one of the main things you’ll be doing on your phone, you’ll want to weigh if it’s worth paying $100 more for something like that.

As I said though, gaming felt good here. By no means was it industry-leading. But I think there’s a real incentive to save that $100 and go for something like this phone instead when games didn’t feel sluggish. That being said, I didn’t try every game I usually play. But if I can run around in Genshin Impact for over an hour with the graphics settings maxed, and not have any noticeable issues, there’s probably not much you’d have problems playing. In short, the performance is pretty decent, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the benchmarks.

The Benchmarks

Like we’ve been doing in all our phone reviews for the past few months, we ran a series of benchmark tests on the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024. This includes 3D Mark, Geekbench 6, our own test we created called the CapCut test, and a series of thermal tests.

The results for some were less impressive than others. So on paper, it doesn’t look as good as using the phone actually feels. Let’s start with the CapCut test. For this, we take a 60-second video and upload it to CapCut. We then export it at 1080p at 30 frames per second and see how long it takes to export. The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 did fine here, though it was noticeably slower than the more high-end devices. In the end, though, it was able to export the video in 23.79 seconds. Which is fine.

The 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress test was a different story. With a best loop score of 611 and a lowest loop score of 604, it doesn’t look great. The silver lining is that it had a stability of 98.8% which is pretty good. As for Geekbench 6, we ran both the CPU and GPU tests. The CPU test resulted in a single-core score of 935 and a multi-core score of 2746. While the GPU test ended up with a GPU OpenCL score of 1341. Nothing to write home about but not terrible considering the price and the chipset. And again, real-world usage still delivered decent performance anyway.

The Thermals

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You might not think about the thermals of your phone but it is a pretty important factor. When using things like video recording or watching long pieces of video content at high brightness, the phone can warm up quite a bit. This is especially true when playing more demanding games. I’m happy to say that the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 did pretty well here. And it should, considering the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 isn’t a powerhouse CPU and GPU combo so it’s not exactly pumping out immense heat.

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For the thermals tests, we do a few different things. We play Genshin Impact for around an hour or so with the display at max brightness and the graphics settings maxed out. We also run the phone through the 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme Stress test and measure the thermal temperature directly after the test is over. Lastly, we set up a video recording on the phone with video at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, and then check the temperature after it records for 5 minutes, and again at 10 minutes.

For the Genshin test, the phone reached 108.6 degrees Fahrenheit which is around what I was expecting. The phone didn’t feel that warm though so this was a good sign. For the 3D Mark test, it got to 99.1 degrees, and the camera test ended up at 100.4 and 102.7. So all-in-all, the thermals are good. You won’t have to worry about the phone heating up and being uncomfortable to hold.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Battery Life & Charging

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I’ve been spoiled on battery life for the past few years because I’m used to using ASUS’ ROG Phones which have massive batteries and come with 65W chargers. So the batteries last a really long time and they charge up quickly. The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 comes with a pretty decent-sized battery at 5000mAh, and it does appear to last a fairly long time. I typically unplug my phone around 7AM or 8AM in the morning. It then stays unplugged till about 11PM or 12AM when I go to bed.

This is how I used the Moto G Stylus 5G in my time with it and battery life was decent but not great. After about 4 hours and 25 minutes, I was typically just under 50%. I would end the day with about 40% battery life from about 6 hours of screen-on time. It’s not the best. However, it was more than suitable for my usual daily needs. Where it gets a little concerning is with the charging speeds. Motorola packages this phone with a 30W TurboCharger. Turbo is in the name. Yet it felt anything but turbo in my opinion.

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It took just over an hour and a half to charge up this device using the charger that came in the box. There are certainly slower-charging phones. But one hour and thirty minutes felt slow. Motorola says you can get a day’s worth of power in just 30 minutes. And I found that to be pretty accurate. The battery would charge to around 50% in that time. But it would slow way down after that. Taking exceedingly long to reach 100% from a little over halfway.

Benchmarks

Just like with the regular benchmarks, we run a set of tests for the battery life and charging. We did this for the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 using the same methods we do for every other phone. For the battery life rundown, we charge the phone to 100% overnight. Then we play the same 24-hour YouTube video and let it run til the battery reaches 1% so we can see how long it lasts. For this test, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 lasted for 19 hours, 29 minutes, and 53 seconds.

For the charging test, we simply plug it back in and see how long it takes to reach 100%. As I said earlier, it took a while for this phone. Taking a total of 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 17 seconds to charge completely. Not great. But in the grand scheme of things, it will depend on how you use the device. In my opinion, though, you’ll want the device to charge faster. So this is something to consider if you use your phone heavily throughout the day.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Software

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The software experience can be just as important as any other factor on a phone. And I think this is where Motorola is really shining. At least with this device. There were a lot of nifty little touches that made the user experience a joy and although some might call this bloatware, I found Motorola’s little additives to be fun and useful.

Now you’re not getting stock Android 14 here, but that’s honestly fine. Because it’s “mostly” stock Android 14 with a few UI tweaks. What I think users are really going to like is all the little customization options. For instance, you can personalize things like the font, custom colors, the layout and more. These are all things that you can do with a third-party launcher app. But Motorola baked it right into the phone. You can also enhance the experience with more advanced gestures.

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One that I particularly liked using was flipping the phone to put it into Do Not Disturb mode. Normally with DND, you have to toggle it on and off. But with this gesture, you simply flip the phone and it enables DND right away. You still get alarms and such, but phone calls, messages, and any other notifications are all blocked. The magic is that you only have to flip the phone back over. Then DND turns back off. You don’t have to press a single button for the whole thing. Aside from enabling this gesture of course.

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There’s also a really cool game bar you can enable for while you’re in games. It’s not as advanced as what ASUS has. Then again this isn’t a gaming phone. What Motorola does give you though are some nifty tools. Like a go live button, a screenshot option, and more all from a collapsible game bar panel. Then of course there’s Moto Notes and everything you can do with the stylus. I didn’t use this much for notes. I did use it for marking up pictures of strategy game boards though. This came in handy when I needed to confer with a teammate about what our plan should be.

Overall, the software experience is great on this device and it was one of my favorite things about it.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 Review: Camera

Now we come to the final part of our review – the camera. For a lot of people, the camera is going to be the most-used function. The best camera is the one you have on you, and these days, that’s probably your smartphone. So if you like taking pictures, you want your phone’s camera to be good.

Motorola packs in a 50MP main camera sensor on the back with a 13MP ultrawide lens with macro functions and more. Then there’s a front camera for selfies that’s been upgraded from last year’s offering. The camera experience was pretty good and I’d say most photos came out looking nice. I wouldn’t put it on par with the likes of the Pixel 8 or Samsung’s Galaxy S flagships. However, for $399, you’re getting a pretty decent setup.

In a lot of the images I took, there was a high amount of detail and decent color. Some photos though did appear oversaturated. This was minimal though so I think overall, the color you get from the photos on this phone is nothing to worry about. I also noticed that the phone could be a little heavy-handed with the HDR in some shots. I feel like if the lighting is poor or the area is dimly lit, then the camera tries to compensate for this, and in some instances it overcorrects.

The good thing is you can tune things a bit with the camera settings to find a good balance. I don’t think it will end up making a massive difference but it should be enough to improve the images a bit. What I do love is that there are loads of camera features. Slow Motion, Portrait, Pro mode, Spot Color, and even Time Lapse.

There’s a lot for users to play around with. It might feel daunting at first, but trust me you get used to it quickly the more photos you take. The takeaway here should be that you’re getting a pretty decent camera for the price.

Should you buy the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024?

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There are an awful lot of options for affordable smartphones out there. But I think Motorola has done a really good job here at separating itself apart from the competition in most cases. For $399 the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 is a very good setup. That being said, there are other really good options that are close to its price point. The Pixel 8a is $499. The OnePlus 12R is $499, and both of these are excellent. If you’re ok with spending $399, then you might be ok with spending $499.

If that’s the case, then the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 could be a hard sell. However, the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 has a lot going for it, and I think this review shows that. It’s fun to use, has some great features, and it looks really good. Those are all great reasons to buy this phone. It also comes universally unlocked so it should work on essentially any carrier in the US.

While it has a few faults I’d like to see improved, I think overall it’s a solid choice in the $399 price range.

You should buy the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 if:

  • You want a good phone that won’t cost a lot of money
  • Style is important to you
  • You want a big phone with a decent display

You shouldn’t buy the Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 if:

  • You’re ok with spending $100 more on a phone
  • You want faster charging and better battery life
  • You want a better camera



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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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