Motorola Moto G42 Review: Desperate times for Motorola?

    The Motorola Moto G42 is yet another Motorola phone in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment that check marks all boxes. Should you buy it?
    By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 13:38 IST
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 starts at a price of Rs. 13,999, relies on the Snapdragon 680 chip. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 starts at a price of Rs. 13,999, relies on the Snapdragon 680 chip. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Motorola and Realme have been bombarding the smartphone space lately with affordable and tempting options. While Xiaomi and Samsung have resorted to selling one phone in that segment for almost a whole year, Motorola is trying to grab sales figures by launching a new Moto G model every few months. The Moto G42, which we are discussing here, is kind of replacing the Moto G52 – a phone that we loved just three months ago. With the G52 going pricey, the Moto G42 is Motorola's answer to offer a phone at a low price.

    And that is sad. The Moto G42 feels like a hastily designed phone without inspiring any imagination or thought. At a price of Rs. 13,999, the Moto G42 takes on the Redmi Note 11, the Realme 9i, and Realme Narzo 50 – it is barely able to match them on paper and in the real world? That is a different story altogether. Read on to find out.

    Motorola Moto G42 Design

    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    When you are charging a low price, design and style gets compromised. The Moto G42, just like all of its rivals from Redmi and Realme, looks dull. Motorola chooses to paint its phones in the dullest colours as well, further dropping the appeal. The company boasts of a “new” camera hump but from where I see it, this is just the same boring thing we have seen in the past. The plastic unibody construction feels fine and the buttons are tactile. The presence of IP52 certification means this phone can survive sweat and accidental splashes. Hence, dull design but decent build with weather protection – this is what the budget segment needs.

    Motorola Moto G42 Display

    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Motorola's obsession to go all AMOLED is evident on the G42. You get a nice 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 60Hz. AMOLED means the display looks good with bright colours and actual blacks. It goes decently bright too under the sun and viewing angles are fine. It is not quite as vibrant and smooth as the 90Hz AMOLED panel on the Redmi Note 11 but the overall viewing experience is good. Motorola's stock Android experience looks lively with its bright colours on this display. Note that the fingerprint sensor sits on the power button, which is fast enough.

    Motorola Moto G42 Performance

    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The Moto G42 is another one of those Snapdragon 680 phones that emphasizes power efficiency over performance. The Snapdragon 680 isn't a fast chip and all the phones using it are lazy and struggle to manage the lightest of loads – something I have observed this year. Hence, the Moto G42 suffers from the same issue. The performance is lethargic at best, with apps taking their own sweet time to open, and system animations appearing all jittery. For a brand-new phone, this is just disappointing and I wonder what happens in a year with the Android 13 update. Even the “lightweight” stock Android interface seems to be too much for this chip.

    Since we are on the topic, the MyUX interface is currently the cleanest and well optimised Android 12 experiences I have had on a budget smartphone. The Pixel-like interface looks cute, has slick animations, and is devoid of system ads, unlike MIUI and Realme UI. There is bloatware pre-installed out of the box but they can be deleted (Josh, Facebook and Dailyhunt apps) but the overall experience is pleasant. Customisation lovers will also like the minor system tweaks you can apply to make your Moto G42 your own.

    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Carrying on with the good things is the dual speaker setup, which sounds loud and produces a decent quality audio output. There's even a 3.5mm jack, if you still use a wired headphone. Call quality is good and thanks to carrier aggregation, I did not face issues with data connectivity. And for those concerned, the Moto G42 gets the magnetometer for the compass functions in Google Maps.

    Motorola Moto G42 Cameras

    Motorola's high-end phones haven't impressed us with their image and video processing, and it only gets worse with the cheaper Moto G models. The Moto G42 gets the same 50MP main + 8MP ultrawide + 2MP macro camera setup we have seen on every other Moto G model launched this year. Cutting straight to the point, the camera performance is decent as long as there's daylight. Photos still appear over-processed with blown out exposures and textures, as well as washed out colours.

    Check out some of the photo samples

    The ultrawide camera appears worse with lower detail levels and the macro camera is outright garbage. The same can be said for the front camera, which struggles with limited dynamic range and blown-out exposures. At night, all these cameras are barely serviceable. Video shooting is sub-par too.

    Motorola Moto G42 Battery

    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Motorola Moto G42
    Motorola Moto G42 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    An area where all Motorola phones excel. The Moto G42 with its 5000mAh battery and a weak Snapdragon 680 chip manages to last over 1.5 days with moderate use case scenarios. In my experience, this outdoes the Redmi Note 11. You only get a 20W charger in the box that takes over 2 hours to fully recharge the battery from dead.

    Verdict

    If you have less than Rs. 15,000 to spend on a phone right now, the Moto G42 is a good option to consider. Battery life on the Moto G42 is great, and so is the display quality as well as the overall Android experience. Even the IP52 certified water-resistant body is a big plus if you are very careless with your phone. For someone seeking a no-frills phone, the Moto G42 is a nice deal. But this is not the best value you can obtain from a phone of this price.

    Our all-time favourite, the Redmi Note 11, is still a better bet, considering its faster 90Hz OLED display, a faster 33W charging, and slightly better camera performance – all that starting at Rs. 12,999. The Realme Narzo 50 is an even better deal for the same price, considering you get a smoother 120Hz LCD display, a faster Helio G96 chip, a 5000mAh battery, and a 33W wired charger. Even Motorola's own Moto G52 at Rs. 14,999 is a better option with the same specs but a bigger and better 90Hz pOLED display.

    The Moto G42, then, is not an easy recommendation, unless you are restricted to that price of Rs. 13,999 and seek nothing other than a Motorola device.

    Rating
    3 out of 5
    Price
    INR 13,999/-
    Product Name
    Motorola Moto G42
    Brand Name
    Motorola
    Pros
    • Good display
    • Great battery life
    • Clean Android experience
    Cons
    • Sluggish performance
    • Dull design
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED 60Hz
    • Chipset
      Snapdragon 680
    • OS
      Android 12
    • Battery
      5000mAh, 20W charging
    • Rear cameras
      50MP + 8MP + 2MP

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    First Published Date: 06 Jul, 12:01 IST
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