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Motorola Moto G42 review: Troubled times for Motorola?

Motorola Moto G42 is another Motorola phone in the sub-Rs category. 15,000 pieces tick all the boxes. Should you buy it?

Motorola and Realme have been bombarding the smartphone space lately with affordable and enticing options. While Xiaomi and Samsung resorted to selling one phone in this segment for almost a whole year, Motorola is trying to get sales figures by releasing a new Moto G model every few months. The Moto G42 we’re discussing here is kind of a replacement for the Moto G52 — the phone we loved just three months ago. With the price of the G52 on the high side, the Moto G42 is Motorola’s answer to offering a phone at a lower price point.

And that’s sad. The Moto G42 feels like a phone designed in haste without inspiring any imagination or thought. At a price of Rs. 13,999, the Moto G42 takes on the Redmi Note 11, Realme 9i, and Realme Narzo 50 — barely able to match them on paper and in the real world? This is a completely different story. Read on to find out.

Motorola Moto G42 design



When you charge a low price, design and style are compromised. The Moto G42, just like all of its competitors from Redmi and Realme, looks lackluster. Motorola chose to paint its phones in dull colors as well, which lowered their appeal. The company prides itself on having a hump for the “new” camera but as far as I see it, this is just the same boring thing we’ve seen in the past. The one-piece plastic build feels good and the buttons are tactile. Having an IP52 certification means that this phone can withstand accidental sweat and splashes. Hence the dull design but decent build with weather protection – that’s what the budget segment needs.

Motorola Moto G42 screen



Motorola’s obsession with going all-out AMOLED screens is evident in the G42. You get a 6.4-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with a 60Hz refresh rate. AMOLED means the screen looks good with vivid colors and actual blacks. It gets pretty decently bright in the sun and the viewing angles are good. It’s not quite as vibrant and smooth as the 90Hz AMOLED panel on the Redmi Note 11 but the overall viewing experience is good. Motorola’s stock Android experience looks vibrant with its vivid colors on this screen. Note that the fingerprint sensor is located on the power button, which is fast enough.

Motorola Moto G42 performance



The Moto G42 is one of those Snapdragon 680 phones that emphasizes power efficiency over performance. The Snapdragon 680 isn’t a fast chip and all phones using it are sluggish and struggle to manage even the lightest of loads – something I’ve noticed this year. Thus, the Moto G42 has the same problem. Performance is sluggish at best, apps take a sweet time to open, and system animations all appear jittery. For a brand new phone, this is very frustrating and I wonder what happens in a year with the Android 13 update. Even the “lightweight” Android interface seems a bit too much for this chip.

Since we’re on the subject, the MyUX interface is currently the cleanest and best Android 12 experience on a budget smartphone. The Pixel-like interface looks attractive, has great animations, and is devoid of system ads, unlike MIUI and Realme UI. There is bloatware pre-installed out of the box that can be deleted (Josh’s apps, Facebook, Dailyhunt) but overall the experience is pleasant. Customization fans will also love the minor system tweaks you can apply to make your Moto G42 your own.



Following up on the good stuff is the dual speaker setup, which gets loud and produces audio output of good quality. There is also a 3.5mm jack if you are still using a wired headset. Call quality is good and thanks to carrier aggregation, I’ve never had data connection issues. And for those concerned, the Moto G42 gets a magnetometer for Google Maps’ compass functionality.

Motorola Moto G42 cameras

Motorola’s high-end phones didn’t wow us with their photo and video processing, and it gets worse with the cheaper Moto G models. The Moto G42 gets the same 50MP + 8MP + 2MP macro camera setup that we’ve seen in every other Moto G model launched this year. Cutting straight to the point, the camera’s performance is decent as long as there’s daylight. Pictures still appear to have been over-processed, overexposed textures, as well as faded colors.

Check out some sample photos

The ultra camera turns out worse with lower levels of detail and the macro camera is completely rubbish. The same can be said for the front camera, which struggles with limited dynamic range and bloated exposures. At night, all of these cameras are barely serviceable. The videography is also below par.

Motorola Moto G42 battery



An area where all Motorola phones excel. With its 5,000mAh battery and underpowered Snapdragon 680 chipset, the Moto G42 lasts more than 1.5 days with moderate use case scenarios. In my experience, this beats the Redmi Note 11. You only get a 20W charger in the box that takes over 2 hours to fully recharge the battery from dead.

Rule

If you have less than Rs. 15,000 to spend on a phone right now, the Moto G42 is a good option to consider. Battery life on the Moto G42 is great, as is the display quality as well as the overall Android experience. Even the IP52 water-resistant body is a big plus if you’re really careless with your phone. For someone looking for a no-frills phone, the Moto G42 is a great deal. But this isn’t the best value you can get from a phone at this price.

Our all-time favorite, the Redmi Note 11, remains a better bet, considering its 90Hz OLED display, faster 33W charging, and slightly better camera performance — all starting at Rs. 12,999. The Realme Narzo 50 is a better deal for the same price, considering you get a smoother 120Hz LCD screen, a faster Helio G96 chip, a 5,000mAh battery, and a 33W wired charger. Even Motorola’s own Moto G52 is priced at Rs. 14,999 is a better option with the same specs but a bigger and better 90Hz pOLED display.

Thus, the Moto G42 is not an easy recommendation, unless you are restricted by a price tag of Rs. 13,999 and don’t seek anything but a Motorola device.


product name

Motorola Moto G42

Positives

  • good offer
  • Great battery life
  • Clean Android experience

Negatives

  • Slow performance
  • Boring design