Motorola G14 – cheap and cheerful (smartphone review)

The Motorola G14 offers precisely what you expect from a $229 phone. But this has Motorola build quality, warranty, operating system, and security patch updates, making it stand out from the crowd.

What do you expect from a $229 phone?

Not to be blunt, but not much.

  • It should last a year, have a battery life of a day or more, and make and receive phone calls and SMS.
  • You don’t buy it for games – well, maybe Solitaire.
  • You don’t buy it for a camera – well, maybe the occasional shot.
  • And you don’t buy it with any excitement – it is a tool.

So why does Motorola bother with a G-series at this price? Surely, the entry-level e-series is where this should sit – those sell and forget phones.

In part, it is Motorola’s (and parent Lenovo’s) desire to be number one in all it does. Lenovo achieved that with PCs/laptops/tablets/Chromebooks and Enterprise servers/data centres/clouds.

In part, it is advances in technology that offer more for less. Let’s see how the Motorola G14 performs as a low-cost phone.

Note: This is a mini-review; we don’t expect buyers to worry about detailed specifications. They want to know if it passes the essential tests for a decent low-cost phone.

Australian Review: Motorola G14, 4G, 4/128GB, dual sim, dedicated microSD, Model XT2341-4

WebsiteProduct Page
ColoursSteel Gray and Pale Lilac
FromHarvey Norman, Australia Post, JB HiFi, The Good Guys, Big W, Bing Lee, Amazon and
WarrantyRetail 12-months ACL (24-months from Telco carriers on a plan)
Made inChina
CompanyOwned 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, and 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.
MoreOther CyberShack Motorola news and reviews

First Impression – Pass

It has nice square lines, rounded corners, a 3.5mm 4-pole ear/mic port, dual 50+2MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie.

It has a PMMA acrylic back and a plastic frame, but it looks classier. A clear TPU bumper cover, 10A USB-C charger and cable are inbox.

Screen – Pass

It has a 6.5” 2400 x 1080, 405ppi, 20:9, Panda Glass protected LCD screen (you don’t expect 1080p or Panda Glass at this price).

It nearly reaches 500nits (bright but not direct sunlight readable), there is a bluish cast (Cool White Delta E 5 where <4 is good), and at 99% sRGB is reasonably colour accurate.

There is no PWM (flicker). It has Widevine L1 certification to stream up to 1080p SDR content.

Processor – Passable

It has a UNISOC T616 quad-core 2 x 2.0GHz+ 6 x 1.8 GHz all in one System on a Chip (SoC) – best-described as a three-cylinder, non-turbo engine. It does phone functions admirably with low lag. You can read the speed ratings here. It is not for games.

In our experience, UNISOC processors run hotter, have significant lag under load, weaker Wi-Fi and phone reception signal strength – things acceptable in low-cost phones.

It has 4GB RAM, 128GB UFS 2.2 storage, and a dedicated microSD card slot for up to 1TB.

Comms – Pass

  • Wi-Fi 4 AC – maximum 433Mbps near the router, dropping to 262Mbps at 5 metres.
  • BT 5.0 – SBC and AAC
  • NFC – Yes, but not expected at this price
  • GPS single band – slow and accurate to 10 metres; the phone takes too long to recalculate routes, so do not rely on it for turn-by-turn navigation at speed. You don’t often get NFC at this price.

Phone – for capital city and suburbs only – Passable

As is typical of UNISOC modems, it could only find the nearest tower at up to 500fW. It is for capital city and suburban users with good tower coverage.

Battery – 5000mAh Pass+ 10W charging – Pass

The 5V/2A/10W charger and cable are inbox. Charging time is 2 hours and 21 minutes. We ran the full suite of battery life tests, but the short 11 hours for a video loop and 4 hours 100% load drain means you need to recharge daily. It can charge in about 1.5 hours if you buy a 5V/3A/15W charger.

Sound – Pass

It has a stereo earpiece and a down-firing bottom speaker. It can decode Dolby Atmos content, but it makes no difference to what you hear. The focus is on clear voice, not music. A single microphone at the bottom limits hands-free use.

Android 13 – Pass+

Android 13 makes it easy to switch from your old Android or iPhone using Google Switch. Read Want a new Android phone? Old Android to Android 13 is easy (upgrade guide).

You get an Android 14 upgrade and three years of bi-monthly security updates. Excellent at this price.

Build – Pass+

Size is 161.46 x 73.82 x 7.99mm x 177g. PMMA back is reasonably scratch-resistant, but the painted frame is easy to scratch – use the bumper cover.

A fingerprint reader on the power key (essential for NFC and Google Wallet) and a 2D face unlock work well.

Camera – Pass+

It is a Primary wide 50MP (bins to 12.5MP), f/2.0, .64um bins to 1.28um, 1080p@30fps video with no stabilisation. A 2MP f/2.4, 1.75um Macro is for close-up shots. This is for daylight and office light but also takes reasonable Night Mode shots.

The 8MP f/2.0, 1.12um, 1080p@30fps front-facing camera needs good light lacking dynamic range.

CyberShack’s view – Motorola G14 exceeds my expectations

While most of us won’t buy a $229 phone, it is nice to know that the Motorola g14 offers features and value that I did not expect.

If that is all you have, it performs better than the $179 Motorola e13 4G – low-cost smartphone from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone and the $199 Nokia C12 (no charger inbox).


  • Features: 85 – dual camera, 4/128GB, NFC, 1080p PandaGlass – all that you need
  • Value: 95 – It is the king of the 4G <$300 phone bracket.
  • Performance: 80 – all you can expect from a low-cost phone
  • Ease of Use: 90 – Android 13, decent warranty, OS upgrade and security patch policy
  • Design: 85 – Another glass slab, but it looks more expensive than it is.

Motorola G14 4G








Ease of Use





  • Motorola build, warranty and OS policy
  • Decent 1080p screen
  • Decent camera
  • Dedicated dual sim and microSD slot
  • 3.5mm ear/mic port


  • None really at this price.
  • There is some lag to be expected.
  • Battery life is not as long as expected.