Smart features make this affordable phone a contender

June 14, 2024
3 mins read


Motorola G34 5G: Affordable Big Bang

PAT PILCHER plays with the new Motorola G34 smartphone and finds that there’s plenty to recommend it for the affordable price.


Motorola has made some great phones and was also one of the first phone makers to enter the Android fray. Now they’re back with the super affordable G34 5G. It doesn’t cost a bomb, it looks the part and seems to pack all the right bells and whistles. But is it any good? Ever curious to find out (for your edification, of course!), I went hands-on.

From a design perspective, Motorola has done one thing that I’d personally like to see other phone makers emulate. They’ve crafted the G34’s chassis with a matte finish, making it less of a fingerprint magnet.

Its front consists of (as would be expected of a slab smartphone design) a 6.5-inch display. Its bottom has a USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is a pleasant surprise. There’s a microSD card/SIM tray and the volume control on one side. While it isn’t a revolutionary design, it is a tried and tested formula that works. The G34’s chassis is crafted out of plastic which, given its $319 sticker price, isn’t a huge surprise. Overall, its design is super attractive, eye-catching and, most importantly, likely to survive an involuntary drop test with no breakages.

The G34 comes with a 6.5-inch LCD 720p display. Being LCD means that brightness and colours are a bit flat, but what do you expect at this price point? That said, you get a 120Hz refresh rate, which is also variable and great news for battery life. With most other similarly priced phones topping out with 90Hz displays, adding 120Hz – which makes for smooth scrolling – is a pleasant surprise. It also comes with another oldie but goodie in the form of a 3.5mm headphone jack, and even though Bluetooth ear gear has improved hugely, the best way to get decent audio out of a phone is still with a pair of decent wired cans.

The other nice feature is the rear shooter, which uses a 50MP sensor along with a 2MP Macro secondary shooter. Under normal lighting conditions, I could get solid and vivid images with the main camera. That said, the 2MP macro wasn’t much use.

While there are plenty of shooting modes and an intuitive camera app, the G34 struggled with portrait shots. While the backgrounds were blurred, the transition between background and foreground was abrupt. Sometimes, the boundary between the blurred background and fine objects (such as hair) looked rough. I suspect this comes down to the camera software and lack of image processing power on offer from the Snapdragon 695 powering the show. Likewise, low-light shots lacked detail, but this was improved substantially when I switched to Night Mode, which cut out a decent amount of pixel noise and tidied things up. On the video front, the G34 offers up 1080p at 30fps. It also comes with integrated video stabilisation, which at this price point is yet another pleasant surprise that helped hugely with action shots.

Under the hood, the G34 has 4GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 695 5G chipset. While I did notice the odd lag, it mostly ran smoothly, but killing off unused or background apps also helped a lot.

The G34 bats well above its budget weight in the storage stakes. You get a decent 128GB by default, and you can also handily turn an additional 4GB of that into available RAM to double the amount of available memory. The Micro SD card slot is equally handy, allowing you to upgrade storage to 1TB. Again, considering this is a $319 smartphone, the storage is extremely generous.

The other good news is that the G34 comes with Android 14 and no bloatware; most of the available apps are stock Google. Sadly, Motorola only offers one guaranteed OS upgrade, but security upgrades will continue until 2027.

When fully charged, the 5,000mAh battery managed to last a full day and then some, but alas, the G34’s support for fast charging didn’t really hold up. Using the bundled charger, I found it slow to fully charge, which won’t be an issue if you usually charge overnight.

While its display isn’t up to flagship specs and it does chug if you multitask too heavily, you’ll still find plenty to like with the G34 5G. It offers a surprising amount of bang for anyone on a limited budget. It’s a good-looking device with a 120Hz screen that’s perfect for binge scrolling, and its generous 50MP rear camera is capable for casual use, too. Add to that a generous dollop of storage and its pocket-pleasing $319 sticker price, and the Moto G34 5G wins where it counts.



Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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