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With the Redmi Note, Xiaomi had cracked the formula for unprecedented success in the affordable sub- ₹15,000 smartphone space. For years, the Redmi Note of any given year has remained unbeaten. For years, rivals such as Realme, Oppo, Samsung and Motorola have tried coming up with all kinds of offerings and yet, they all fell short somewhere. This year though, Motorola has finally beaten Xiaomi at its own game with the Moto G52 – an affordable 4G-only phone that has got our attention.
Starting at Rs. 14,499, the Moto G52 isn’t beating the Redmi Note 11 4G at the price game. But for that extra few Rupees, this phone has a lot to offer and we think spending a bit more on it can actually pay dividends on the long run. On paper, the features and specs are largely similar to the Xiaomi device, except for the software and some crucial bits.
Is it worth buying though? Let us find out.
It has been years since Motorola has done an exciting design on an affordable smartphone. Sadly that remains unchanged with the Moto G52. It looks handsome and understated but next to the phones from Realme and Oppo this year, the Moto G52 is not going to pull your eyeballs. The basic design layout is similar to the one from the Moto G71 – simple camera hump, mild colour gradient, and plain lines all along. This is a plastic unibody construction but the build quality is now class-leading. It feels strong and sturdy, all while keeping the weight under check.
The striking aspect, however, is the bezels or rather the lack of it. Motorola has trimmed the bottom bezel enough to match the top bezel, and the side bezels are even slimmer. The result is this phone looking unarguably the most modern one in this price range.
The reason why the bezels are slim is due to the pOLED panel in use. pOLED allows far more versatility in packing the internal components in comparison to the regular AMOLED displays. Moreover, this is a great looking display for this price range.
The colours looks punchy and the contrasts are equally good. Sunlight legibility under the noon sun is good as well. The 90Hz refresh rate is another relief, making those animations and transitions on Motorola’s beautiful MyUX Android experience.
4G-only smartphones in the sub- 20,000 space have barely any chips to choose in 2022. The Moto G52, just like the Redmi Note 11, uses the same Snapdragon 680 chip paired with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB uMCP storage. The Snapdragon 680 has proven itself to be power efficient but it is not an eager performer by any means. In fact, try some casual games and the Snapdragon 680 phones start to struggle after a while.
That remains the case with the Moto G52 as well. Throw in games such as Shadow Fight 4, Pokemon Go, and Subway Surfer, and the Moto G52 shows signs of struggle almost from the get go. When you are not gaming, the Snapdragon 680 is capable enough to host all sorts of generic smartphone stuff with ease. Be it fooling around with memes on Instagram, or dealing with emails, the Moto G52 is at home, keeping everything flowing. Paired with the “near-stock” Android experience of the MyUX 3.0 interface, the phone keeps everything fluid; not fast though. There’s a wee-bit pause before apps load up but for a phone at this price, this is common.
The Android experience itself is easily the best in this class. Motorola’s version of Android 12 looks the most mature, with a Pixel-like design. The interface is free of ads and bloatware, except for the Facebook app and Motorola’s push notifications app. Compared to MIUI 13 and Samsung’s One UI 4.1, this offers a simpler and cleaner interface to live with. Plus, there are minor tasteful customization options to make your homescreen look like your own. I loved the new notifications shade design as well as the new theming engine.
Complimenting this lovely Android experience is the pair of stereo speakers. They go loud and clear, and have a decent punch in terms of audio quality. Hence, if you love watching YouTube videos or stuff from OTT platforms, you will like hearing them out on these speakers. There’s even a 3.5mm headphone jack to plug in your headphones.
Being a 4G-only phone, you will be restricted to the current-gen network technology even if 5G rolls out later this year. Given that 4G will be around for decades despite 5G’s arrival, the phone will continue to stay relevant. The good news is that despite this being a budget Motorola phone, there’s now support for dual-band Wi-Fi connections and a compass sensor – you can see directions more easily on Maps now).
Another area where the Moto G52 left us happy! With its usual 50MP + 8MP + 2MP setup, it seemed like a carryover from the older Moto phones from 2021. Motorola has tuned it at least the two of them nicely though. Hence, in day or night, the 50MP main camera impresses with bright and lively photos, keeps noise at bay and details manageable. Even the ultra-wide camera does good enough colours but it struggles with its details. The 2MP macro camera is good for nothing, especially for a photographer. The Night Vision mode is excellent here but it takes a while to capture the multiple exposures.
You can check out some of the camera samples here.
The front cameras also seem to be improved but the colour processing leaves room for improvement. It tends to amp up the contrast and saturation but if you fiddle around the settings you can get some good selfies.
The Moto G52 takes the cake here as well. With its 5000mAh battery and a well optimized chipset as well as OS, the Moto G52 can easily an entire day with 35-40 percent battery left, which is enough to make it to the end of the next day as well. A 33W charger comes packed in the box, and that takes over an hour from under 10 percent.
It is a no-brainer that after years and years of disappointing products, Motorola has a winner with the Moto G52. Compared to the Redmi Note 11, which is the most popular one in the market, the Moto G52 ends up with a sweet display, a more stylish and superior build quality, overall better rear cameras, and a superb battery life. The Android experience on the G52 is also second to none at this price range.
However, compared to something like a Micromax In Note 2, the G52 looks sad or dull, feels inferior to hold, and may not have the more desirable glass build.
But then again, the choices in this segment are limited and based on all that’s available, the Moto G52 ends up being our top recommendation for a phone starting under Rs. 15,000. Note that the base 4GB/64GB variant will be inadequate and you should get the 6GB/128GB variant for a comfortable storage experience.
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