Motorola Moto G71 review: Does 5G matter more than just mediocrity?
The Moto G series has been undergoing a kind of an identity crisis in recent years. Up until last year’s Moto G60, these phones had an impressive spec sheet but would lose out to an equivalent Redmi Note Pro or Realme Pro device. In 2022, Motorola has spiced up its Moto G lineup and after some interesting shows from the Moto G51 and Moto G31, we get the more expensive Moto G71 as the natural Redmi Note competitor.
For its price of Rs. 18,999, the Moto G71 goes after trendy features of the segment – an AMOLED display, 5G connectivity, large battery, a 50MP main camera, and a new Snapdragon chip. To top it off, it brings back Motorola’s renowned “stock Android” experience. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
With the Redmi Note 11 Pro and Realme 9 Pro around the corner, the Moto G71 seems too conservative, while being a stellar smartphone for its price. Let me explain.
Moto G71 Design
Under Lenovo, Motorola has stuck to safe designs that is borderline boring in most cases. The Moto G71 shares the same dull design as the cheaper Moto G31, until you let it shine under the sun. This too has a polycarbonate body but it emulates glass on the rear, especially with its matte finish and a tasteful colour gradient. The rounded rectangular camera hump gets more detailing while the Moto logo hides the fingerprint scanner cleverly.
After so long, I am happy to report that Motorola fixed the buttons! The G71 has tactile volume, power and Google Assistant buttons that feel built to last. The front is dominated mostly by the display and an unusually fat chin that looks out of place on a 2022 phone. No Gorilla Glass here but Motorola says the display can withstand some abuse. I haven’t seen any scratches so far. There's no screen guard pre-applied and yo don’t get it in the box. That said, you do get a plastic case and the 33W charger.
At 179 grams, the G71 is easier on the hands, especially with the well-thought of aesthetics.
Moto G71 Display
AMOLED is the star feature here and it does not disappoint. This 6.4-inch FHD+ display goes lively with the colours and contrasts, throwing in those “OLED blacks”. Whether you are scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos, it all looks pleasant on this display. That said, there’s no support for HDR and the standard 60Hz refresh rate makes animations and interactions feel jittery. We have seen faster and better OLED displays at this price from Redmi and Realme in the past.
Moto G71 Performance
The Moto G71 is inclined towards being a stable all-rounder phone instead of a high-performance ruthless gaming device. With the Snapdragon 695 at the helm controlled by Motorola’s near-stock Android 11, the Moto G71 performs effortlessly as long as you aren’t stressing it out. That means the phone stays happy if you prefer to use your phone mostly for texting, social media browsing, watching videos, making phone calls, and the likes.
This phone can play games too, with the Snapdragon 695 able to run Call of Duty Mobile decently in High graphics and Max frame rates. That said, the 60Hz refresh rate display spoils the experience with slower response times.
Unlike Xiaomi and Realme, Motorola’s version of Android is free of pre-loaded apps and adware, except for Facebook. This is by far the most polished Android experience you can have at this price. Motorola allows certain customisation with its Styles feature, wherein you can change the font, accent colours and icon shapes. An Android 12 update is promised but we wish it launched with the new OS, especially in early 2022.
Audio output out of the single loudspeaker is good and you can use the Dolby Audio app to play with the equaliser. Connectivity has been strong on the Jio network and I did not witness major call drops, or struggles of latching onto the network, even in my basement parking. Motorola advertises 13 5G bands, which makes this more future proof than its rivals at the moment.
I should note that the haptic feedback system is nice, with well-controlled vibrations throughout the interface. Sadly, it misses out on the compass sensor, which means you cannot see real-time directions on Google Maps. Weird emission, especially for a phone of this price range.
Moto G71 Battery
Motorola rules this segment! Despite having a 5000mAh battery, the Moto G71 with moderate usage stretches up to 1.5 days with ease. Throw in some gaming and it only drops from here. The 33W charger can do a 10-100 percent charging in just under 1.5 hours, which is slow by today’s standards. The top-up to 60 percent is quicker though.
Moto G71 Cameras
Motorola’s standard combo of 50MP main + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP macro returns after previous outings on the G31 and G71. And similar to those phones, the performance is decent but not as great as its rivals. The 50MP main camera does a good enough job with colours, exposures, and contrasts in daylight. It struggles keeping the subject sharp in low light and night conditions though. This camera continues to go for warmer skin tones and over-saturated look in portrait photos, even without the artificial bokeh effect. The Night Vision mode takes longer exposures but it mostly looks like oil painting.
The ultra-wide camera is decent in daylight but suffers from colour profile disparity when compared to the main camera. It is barely usable in night conditions though. The 2MP macro camera is best left untouched – the photos simply lack colours, sharpness and details.
The 16MP front camera takes decent selfies. Photos look attractive but it tends to overexpose faces more often and the sharpness suffers even with the slightest camera shakes.
Motorola tries hard to impress buyers on paper with the Moto G71 but struggles to replicate that in the real world. It has got a few things going for it – the AMOLED display looks nice, the performance is swift, and the battery life is incredible. The downsides, however, are in areas that could hamper the rest of the experience.
The cameras aren’t tuned well and the lack of a high refresh rate display is concerning. The AMOLED display itself isn’t the best you can find in this segment. The design is dull too, despite the fancy gradient, and the overall fit and finish is far behind what you see on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, which is a year old now!
And that’s where the problem lies. The Moto G71 is average in all aspects; it pales out in front of the competition from Redmi and Realme; it does not seem to be on the same level as its rivals from a year ago! Is the appeal of a clean stock Android experience and a long-lasting battery enough for you to oversee the rest of the mediocrity? Motorola needs to up its game with the high-end Moto G models, especially after showing what it can do with Edge series phones.
At this point, we can recommend the Moto G71 only if you care about a clean Android experience, or a future-proof 5G phone, or a phone that prioritises battery life. If you seek more, wait for the Redmi Note 11 Pro to come out, or settle for the ageing Redmi Note 10 Pro.
- Good Display
- Long lasting battery
- Clean Android experience
- Dull design
- Sub-par cameras
- Feels dated
Display6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED
Rear Cameras50MP + 8MP + 2MP