Moto g04 4G 2024 – If $179 is all you have, then go for it (smartphone review)

The Moto G04 4G 2024 is a $179 smartphone. As such, we need to examine what you get and what, if anything, is missing from this bargain handset.

Well, it has everything you need and the quality and performance you can expect at this price. It gets a definite buy recommendation because, frankly, you cannot expect or get more.

Purists may say:

  • The Unisoc T606 processor crawls – it does – but it is fit for purpose for typical use.
  • 4GB RAM is too small for Android 14. Well, you can boost this with virtual RAM up to 8GB (using storage as a swap space), and it’s not a bottleneck.
  • A single 16MP camera is inadequate. Well, yes but it is better than social media class and OK in reasonable light levels.
  • Mono sound sucks – well, most smartphone sound sucks, whether it’s mono or stereo. So use earphones for stereo and Dolby Atmos sound.
  • A 720p screen is so yesterday – and it is, but at the price, it is a damned good screen.
  • There are no OS upgrades and only two years (from launch) of quarterly security patches. This is more than you can expect at this price.

My point is that every one of the above comments has been made by professional reviewers who tend to think everything should be compared to an iPhone. CyberShack says it is an excellent $179n phone with no downsides for that price.

Its stablemate, the $229 Moto g24 (review coming), uses a different processor and camera but is essentially the same phone. Should you spend $50 more? Sure, if you have the cash to flash because, at $229, it represents good value.  It is the same repetitive argument – you buy the best phone in your price bracket – it is called bang for buck – and we are focused on that.

New review format

We are experimenting with our review format. Where we used to put all the raw data in tables at the end, we will now break them up and briefly comment on the various parts. Why? Readers who want to know more will paw over the tables. Readers who wish to see if it’s a good phone can just read the comments. Of course, we still have CyberShack’s’ View and rating explanation at the end – do make sure you read that.

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass(able) rating that is not as good as it should be and a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

We are also tightening up on grading. From now on, Pass, for example, means meeting expectations for the price bracket. We consider a Pass mark to be 70+/100 with extra points added for class-leading and excellence.

Australian Review—Motorola G04 4G 2024, 4/64GB, dual SIM, dedicated microSD slot model XT2421-5

Note that there are two models: retail has a dual SIM, dedicated microSD slot, and a one-year warranty. Telco has a single SIM, dedicated microSD slot, and a two-year warranty.

ModelMotorola g04 4G 2024
Model NumberXT2421-5
RAM/Storage Base4/64
   Price base$179
Warranty months12 months retail
24-months Telco carrier
WebsiteProduct Page
FromMotorola Online, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-FI, Bing Lee, Retravision, Australia Post, Big W, Officeworks
Telstra Satin Blue single sim $149 outright
Country of OriginChina
CompanyIt is owned by Lenovo (Est 1984) – a multinational technology company with its primary operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola brand, with grand plans to become a ‘top five’ smartphone maker.
MoreCyberShack Motorola news and reviews
Cybershack smartphone news and reviews
Test date1-7 May 2024
Ambient temp15-18°
ReleaseFeb 2024
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)Please read Don’t buy a grey market smartphone (updated guide)

First Impression – Pass

Motorola makes many phones covering the entire market, from entry-level to flagship flips. Its build quality never varies, and the g04’s build quality is as good as its top-line phones.

I particularly like the way the rear camera hump flows over the matte, fingerprint-resistant PMMA back.

Screen – Pass

It is a fit for purpose720p IPS LCD 20.1:9 screen with a 60 or 90Hz fixed or stepped refresh rate. It does not list screen protection, so you may want to invest in a screen protector.

Two hundred nits brightness cannot defeat direct sunlight, and its off-angle viewing shows colour shifts and loss of definition.

Flat, Curve, 2D, 3DFlat with centre o-hole
Resolution1612 x 720
Screen to Body %84.9%
Colours bits8-bit 16.7m colours
Refresh Hz, adaptive.Auto or select 60 or 90Hz
Response 120HzN/A
Nits typical, testTest 220
Nits max, testPeak brightness not specified (Test 414)
ContrastNot specified (1200:1)
sRGBTest 94.5%
DCI-P3Not tested.
Rec.2020 or otherNo
Delta E (<4 is excellent)N/A but above 4.
SDR UpscaleNo
Blue Light ControlYes
PWM if knownNo
Daylight readableNo
Always on DisplayPeak display option
Edge displayNo
AccessibilityUsual Android features
GamingNot for gaming
Screen protectionUnknown
CommentBlueish cast – best to use Natural setting. Fit for purpose

Processor – Passable

Every UNISOC phone I have tested has similar issues – lag under load. In typical use, it is fit for purpose. The virtual RAM feature adds slower storage RAM and does help a little. But with 64GB (39GB free), you may not want to hive off another 4GB for virtual RAM.

Brand, ModelUNISOC T606
Cores[email protected] + [email protected]
Modem4G Cat 7
AI TOPSEstimate <4
Geekbench 6 Single-core363
Geekbench 6 multi-core1212
LikeUsed in Nokia G11/21/22/
Samsung Galaxy A03
Motorola e13/20/32
MT Helio G88, G85 and G80. Closest SD632 and 662.
GPUARM Mali G57 1-core 650Mhz
GPU Test
Open CL447
Vulcan442 (way too low for games)
Storage, free, type64GB UFS 2.2 (39GB free)
micro-SDUp to 1TB – dedicated slot
CPDT internal seq. Read MBps sustained309
(Jazz maximum 566)
CPDT internal seq. write MBps sustained244
(Jazz maximum 290)
CPDT microSD read, write MBps78/42
CPDT external (mountable?) MBps1TB test unit identified in My Files but not seen in CPDT – not mountable
CommentIt is slow and laggy when under any load, often hanging for a second or more. However, it is the quintessential lowest-cost phone.
Throttle test
Max GIPS133641
Average GIPS131235
Minimum GIPS118138
% ThrottleNil
CPU Temp50
CommentGood thermal management

Comms – Passable

It has Wi-Fi 5 AC, which usually means 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. But no matter how we tried, it only connected to the 2.4GHz band. Its sibling, g24, connects to both. I am sure this is firmware-fixable, but it loses points. That means a maximum of 200Mbps connection speeds instead of 433Mbps, making it feel positively slow in downloading and streaming video.

Wi-Fi Type, modelWi-Fi 5 AC 2.4GHz – will only connect to 2.4Ghz 40MHz bandwidth
Test 2m -dBm, Rx/Tx Mbps-20/180/200
Test 5m-26/200/167
Test 10m-45/155/178
BT Type5
GPS single, dualSingle 6m accuracy
USB typeUSB-C 2.0 480Mbps
ALT DP, DeX, Ready ForNo
Requires fingerprint authorisation and third-party mobile app (Google Pay)
   AccelerometerYes -combo with Gyro is very sensitive
   Ambient lightYes
   Hall sensor
CommentWi-Fi AC speeds are lower than expected—they should have been 433Mbps if it could connect at 5Ghz. Again, this is typical of the UNISOC.

It only connected at 2.4GHz and the speeds are quite variable. see the wide variations in Rx and Tx.

LTE and 5G – Pass

It gains points for dedicated dual SIMM and microSD slots and if it is fit for purpose for all Australian 4G bands (not an international use phone).

The UNISOC modem finds only one tower and connects at excellent signal strength. As it does not find the adjacent four towers, it is suitable for city and suburban use only.

SIMDual sim and dedicated microSD
   ActiveOnly one active at a time
Ring tone single, dualDual
VoLTECarrier dependent
Wi-Fi callingCarrier dependent
4G Bands1/3/5/7/8/28/40/41
CommentAll Australian 4G bands
5G sub-6GhzN/A
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
  DL/UL, ms14.7/7.1/27ms – below average
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pW-78 to -84/4-16pW – good single tower
   Tower 2No
   Tower 3No
   Tower 4No
CommentIt appears typical of the Unisoc modem. This is a city/suburbs phone only if you have good tower coverage.

Battery – Passable

There is nothing wrong with the battery life—it loses points for not being supplied with a charger or cable. The good news is that it only uses 5V/2A/10W, so any older charger and USB-C cable will work. It will recharge from a PC USB port as well—it may take longer. The video loop was over 14 hours, the charge time was around two hours, and you should get two days of physical use between charges.

Charger, type, suppliedNot supplied – 5V/3A/15W capable
Out tests did not see this above 5V/2A/10W.
 PD, QC levelNo PD, but you can use PD chargers.
Qi, wattageN/A
Reverse Qi or cable.N/A
Test (60Hz or adaptive screen)Adaptive
   Charge % 30mins6 hours
   Charge 0-100%2 hours 10 minutes
   Charge Qi, W
Using Belkin Boost Charge 15W fast wireless charge
   Charge 5V, 2AOver 7 hours
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane14 hours 15 minutes
   PC Mark 3 battery15 hours 37 minutes
   GFX Bench Manhattan battery
   GFX Bench T-Rex685.4 minutes (11.42 hours) 1863 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on5 hours 37 minutes
   mA full load1150-1250
   mA Watt idle Screen on300-350
   Estimate loss at max refreshN/A
   Estimate typical useGiven it is a low-powered processor, a typical user should get two days.
CommentReasonable battery life, slowish charge times and no charger.

Sound – Passable

It is a mono speaker focusing on clear voice. It can decode Dolby Atmos and output via Bluetooth to earphones. Hands-free was a little soft, and it had no background noise cancelling.

SpeakersMono earpiece in phone mode and mono bottom speaker in hands-free or music.
Dolby Atmos decodeYes, for 2.0 earphones.
BT CodecsSBC, AAC, free aptX and aptX HD and LDAC 16-bit/44100/48000
MultipointUnknown – likely not
Dolby Atmos (DA)Smart, Music, Film, Game, Podcast, and Custom EQ
MicsSingle bottom mic
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off
   Volume max80
   Media (music)75
   Hands-freeSlightly low volume, no noise-cancelling, so keep it close to your face.
   BT headphonesAverage volume and channel separation

How does it sound? – Pass

As a mono speaker, we don’t usually test the native frequency response, but we did anyway. It has no bass, almost no low-and-mid-mid, decent high-mid and low-mid treble for clear voice and limited high treble.

As long as you use earphones for music, this is fine.

Deep Bass 20-40HzNil
Middle Bass 40-100HzNil
High Bass 100-200HzStarts at 100Hz and slowly builds to 1kHz
Low Mid 200-400HzSlowly building
Mid 400-1000HzSlowly building
High Mid-1-2kHzFlat
Low Treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzFlat
High Treble 6-10kHzDecline to 8kHz to avoid harshness and then climbs to 9kHz.
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzFlat to 14kHz, then off a cliff
Sound Signature typeMid for clear voice. The music quality is poor, with no bass, no treble, and lacking vitality.
   SoundstageMono – none
CommentIt is suitable for voice but not for music.
Similar to the Moto g24

Build – Pass+

It is well-built and should last a few years. We call out the lack of a charger and cable but compensate with a silicon bumper cover.

Size (H X W x D)163.49 x 74.53 x 7.99 mm
Weight grams178.8g
Front glassNot specified
Rear materialPMMA
IP ratingIP52 Water-repellent coating
ColoursConcord black
Satin Blue
Sunrise Orange
Pen, Stylus supportNo
In the box
   USB cableNo
   Bumper coverYes
CommentLoses points due to no included charger

OS – Pass

Previous models at this price used 32-bit Android Go and a limited set of Go apps. This is a full-fat 64-bit Android.

It has no OS upgrade but a reasonable two years of security patches from the launch date. Moto adds some excellent usability features, and its UI is a light touch over Android, so it is easy to use.

AndroidAndroid 14
Security patch date1 March 2024
UIDisplay: Ambient display
Gestures: Fast torch, Three-finger screenshot, Sidebar, Double press power button, Press and hold power button
OS upgrade policyNo
Security patch policyTwo years of security patches, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok
OtherMoto apps – some duplicate Google apps.
CommentThere is a lot of added functionality in MY UX, which leaves the underlying Android alone.
Fingerprint sensor location, typeOn power button – 8/10 test
Face IDYes

Moto g04 4G 2024 rear camera – Passable

A single 16MP sensor with a high crop ratio means that it tries to use electronic image stabilisation to reduce shakes and keep the horizon level. The result is a cropped image that can be smaller than the preview. It has very limited AI post-processing capabilities.

It is acceptable for day and office light. It struggles in low light and video.

Rear PrimaryWide
  MP16MP with 7.4X crop
   SensorHynix HI1634
  FOV° (stated, actual)68.5 (H) x 80.9 (D)
   Zoom4X digital
   Video max1080p@30fps
   Auto-HDRYes, but not really effective
Shooting modes:
Night Vision

Artificial intelligence:
Google Lens™ integration
Other features:
Assistive Grid
   QR code readerYes
   Night modeNot enough AI to do this

Moto g04 4G 2024 front camera – Passable

A 5MP fixed-focus selfie with a relatively tight field of view means it is for single selfies only.

   SensorHynix HI556 or Galaxy Core GC05
  FOV (stated, actual)65.9 (H) x 78 (D)
   FlashScreen fill
   Video max1080p@30fps
    FeaturesShooting modes:
Artificial intelligence:
Face Retouch

Shooting modes:
Other features:
Snap-in Video Recording
CommentReasonable skin tone. Poor low-light images and video.

CyberShack’s view – The Moto g04 4G 2024 is as good as it gets for the price

I said most of what needed to be said in the preamble. If you have $176, then there are no downsides. I can see this being a great kid’s first phone; give it to Granny, or it is excellent for those who can’t afford more.

Rush to Telstra and get the single sim carrier version for $149 outright purchase with a 2-year warranty.


We remind readers that 70 is the new pass mark – you should only be concerned if a review is below that.

RatingsNew for 2024 – 70 is a pass mark
It has basic features commensurate with the price. Loses points due to no charger inbox
It has the bare necessities at a reasonable price.
It is an entry-level value SoC, and you get fit-for-purpose laggy performance. It is not for gamers.
Ease of Use70
My UX adds some value to stock Android. Two years of security patches is all you can expect.
All PMMA plastic is fine – it looks like a more expensive smartphone.
Rating out of 1070
Final commentThis entry-level device replaces the e13, which uses the same SoC, screen, camera and more. It has enough power to be usable, runs 64-bit Android 14 (no OS updates) and has NFC.
1My UX is a light touch over Android. Good security policy
2As low as you can go and still get a decent smartphone
3Reasonable battery life (but no charger)
4An adequate point-and-shoot camera, but the video is for daylight only.
1Mono speaker (all we expect)
2Processor crawls
3No charger inbox
4Capital city/suburbs phone use only
5Dull, inaccurate colour, poor viewing angle display

Motorola Privacy and Terms and Conditions – Pass

We remind you that these are in addition to Google Android policies – read Can you trust Google? Yes, but it depends on your definition. If you are privacy conscious, we advise using Google Apps where possible and avoiding Motorola sign-on and experiences.

You can still use the phone without signing up to Motorola and adjust privacy settings, so we will classify the privacy policy and terms and conditions as benign.

But know that its Privacy Policy (9474 words) and Terms and Conditions (2236 words) allow it to collect every possible piece of information that the phone can provide. Motorola states that it does not sell personal information but does provide it to business partners. It does not state where its cloud data is stored but states that it complies with the laws of the countries it sells in.

Moto g04 4G 2024

$179 retail and $149 for Telco version







Ease of use





  • My UX is a light touch over Android. Good security policy
  • As low as you can go and still get a decent smartphone
  • Reasonable battery life (but no charger)
  • An adequate point-and-shoot camera, but the video is for daylight only.


  • Mono speaker (all we expect)
  • Processor crawls
  • No charger inbox
  • Capital city/suburbs phone use only
  • Dull, inaccurate colour, poor viewing angle display