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Motorola Moto G200 review: A whole lot of power for just £400

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
400
inc. VAT

The Moto G200 is a very tempting proposition for the price, but it has its drawbacks

Pros 
A top-tier processor
Faster – and cheaper – than rivals
Great battery life
Clean Android installation
Cons 
Plastic build
No headphone jack or expandable storage
Lack of OIS can lead to camera blur
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Apple iPhones and yearly FIFA games have the right idea: stick a sequential number at the end of the title and nobody gets confused. Motorola, on the other hand, is a bit all over the place with its Moto G handsets. The brand-new Moto G200 joins the Moto G10, Moto G30, Moto G31, Moto G50, Moto G60s and Moto G100 – how confusing.
 
Broadly, the bigger the number, the better and pricier the phone, right? Well, for some reason the G200 starts life with a lower RRP than the G100 it replaces. Confusing, isn’t it?

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Motorola Moto G200 review: What you need to know

The Moto G200 is the Moto G100’s successor, which was a phone that didn’t offer the value for money that we’ve come to expect from the “G” family. It also wasn’t as good as its rivals in the mid-range price bracket, such as the Galaxy A52 5G, Pixel 4a 5G and iPhone SE.

 

The Moto G200 certainly comes out swinging on that front. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus – a top-end chipset that’s only just been superseded for 2022 by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. This is a chip that’s still lightning fast today, and actually an advanced version of the one Samsung puts in its high-priced foldable phones, so it’s definitely not to be sneezed at.
 
Backing that up is a solid 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, though there’s no microSD slot to expand that further. It’s a 5G compatible handset, too, with a triple-camera array on the back, consisting of a main 108MP lens, an 8MP wide snapper and a 2MP sensor for depth.

Motorola Moto G200 review: Price and competition

All of this comes at a very reasonable £400 and, on paper at least, you’re not going to get anything quite that powerful for this kind of money brand new. Indeed, Samsung’s new and (maybe) better-late-than-never Galaxy S21 FE optimistically offers the non-Plus version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 for £299 more.

Elsewhere, the OnePlus Nord 2 shares the same £399 cost, as does the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the somewhat long-in-the-tooth Apple iPhone SE — though the rumour is that it will be replaced with a new model for 2022 in a matter of months.
 
Offering more bang for your buck than any of these rivals is our current mid-range favourite, the Xiaomi Poco F3 (£340), but is it worth paying that bit more for Motorola’s latest instead? 

Motorola Moto G200 review: Design

Let’s get this out of the way from the get go: the Moto G200 is not a handset for small-handed folk. Not only is the screen a massive 6.8in from corner to corner, but it’s also pretty heavy, tipping the scales at 202g.

 
Whether that’s appealing or awful is a subjective judgement, as is the overall design of the handset, which doesn’t deviate much from the overall smartphone fashions. Although the bezels are somewhat thicker than some – especially around the chin area – the front-facing selfie camera is a hole-punch number, neatly placed slightly adrift at the centre of the top of the screen.
 
Flip it over, and you’re presented with three equally sized camera lenses in a vertical traffic-light formation, sitting inside a slightly raised housing, which protrudes like a ramp from the plastic shell. I can’t say I’m crazy about the look, but I guess it’s no worse than the camera hump adopted by the likes of Apple and Samsung in recent years.  
A circular Motorola logo is in the middle, and the company’s name is spelled out at the bottom of the handset to really hammer home the branding. 
 
All in all, it looks premium enough, though you can certainly feel the difference between the smooth plastic in use here and the glass offered by more expensive flagships. Personally, I like the feel of it, but it’s one obvious area where costs have been kept down.
 
Unfortunately, while Motorola often adds consumer-friendly additional options, here it’s considerably worse than usual, with no 3.5mm headphone jack and no expandable storage, though it does support dual SIMs, at least.  
It’s worth noting too that there’s no wireless charging, the design is only “water repellent” (with no official IP rating) and the fingerprint reader is attached to the power button, rather than under the screen. 
 
While I prefer the reliability of physical fingerprint readers to under-screen ones, this list of concessions is in general a touch disappointing. Still, if high-end flagships can get away with no headphone jack and expandable storage (neither the iPhone 13 nor the Samsung Galaxy S21 have them) then it would be unfair to mark down Motorola simply for following the market leaders’ example. 

Motorola Moto G200 review: Display

If you were looking for areas where Motorola may have cut corners to keep the price as low as possible, then the screen is usually the first place to look. A large 6.8in number, the Moto G200’s screen uses an IPS panel, rather than the more fashionable and pricer OLED, and it’s “only” Full HD with a resolution of 2,460 x 1,080, giving you around 395 pixels per inch.

 
It does, however, support a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, which means that it offers super smooth interactions and up to 144fps gameplay (though, in practice, most Android games are still locked at 60fps anyway). 
 
But how does it actually perform? Pretty darned well, as it turns out. According to our colorimeter, the panel covers 89.8% of the sRGB gamut with a volume of 90.3% and an average Delta E (colour variance) score of 2.49. That’s the best we’ve seen from Motorola in quite some time.
 
The contrast of 1,794:1 is also impressive, and while a peak luminance of 461cd/m² isn’t the brightest, it’s more than good enough for all but the sunniest of summer days. 
 
Some will definitely prefer to buy a phone with an OLED panel, but if you’re happy with IPS – and if you don’t know the difference, you probably will be – then this is more than good enough to justify the price.   

Motorola Moto G200 review: Performance and battery life

As mentioned before, the Moto G200 packs enviable internals for the price. Powering things is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus processor, which is an enhanced version of the 888 that powers Samsung’s super pricey foldables and the rest of the S21 family in the US, so getting that for (just) under £400 is pretty impressive.

 
As you’d expect, navigation and launching apps feels fluid and snappy in day-to-day use, aided by the incredibly clean bloat-free installation of Android, packed only with Google’s core apps and little else.
 
This zippiness is promptly confirmed by the benchmarks. In Geekbench 5, it bettered every single rival handset we put it against on multicore performance, both cheaper and more expensive handsets alike.

 
However, while that makes comparisons with the £699 Samsung Galaxy S21 FE fairly straightforward, it’s a tougher call against the iPhone SE (also £399) and Xiaomi Poco F3 (£340), both of which it only narrowly beats. Perhaps the graphical benchmarks can clear up that confusion a bit:

 
The yellowy-orange bar is the one we care about here, and while the Moto G200 performs very well, it’s actually markedly weaker than the iPhone SE, OnePlus Nord 2 and Xiaomi Poco F3 – the latter two have 90Hz and 120Hz screens.
 
Don’t get me wrong: this is enough to handle anything that the Google Play Store can throw at it, but objectively, if gaming is your priority, then it may be better to give the OnePlus Nord 2 or Poco F3 a look.
 
In terms of battery life, the Moto G200’s 5,000mAh cell is an absolute champion, lasting 21hrs 6mins in our standard looped video test.

 
Unfortunately for Motorola, other Android handsets have also been making strides in that area, and it’s actually a little behind the Poco F3 and a lot behind the OnePlus Nord 2. Still, at least the iPhone SE is but a dot in the rear-view mirror.

Motorola Moto G200 review: Camera

On paper, the Motorola Moto G200 is a downgrade from the G100, in that it reduces the four rear lenses to three. In practice, it’s largely the same, as all it loses is a fairly pointless ToF sensor.

 
The triple array now comprises a main 108MP camera with a f/1.9 aperture, a wide 8MP f/2.2 lens and a 2MP f/2.4 sensor for depth. I’d certainly prefer an optical zoom in the mix, but there we are.
 
The 108MP main lens pares down shots to 12MP by default via pixel binning, and you can get excellent results in both well-lit and low-light conditions. Here’s my usual shot of the nearby church, which appears to be having some work done.

And here’s a tight crop of that compared to a shot taken on the same day with the Xiaomi Poco F3.

As you can see, there’s really not much in it. The Moto is sharper, but at the expense of some accuracy when it comes to colour capture – so call it a draw.
 
Impressively, the Moto clings on in low light. Here’s a shot of my garden at sunset as the light begins to recede.

That’s pretty good for a £400 phone; there’s plenty of detail in the plants even as you zoom in to the image.

There’s a “but” here: there’s no optical image stabilisation, which means that these photos are the result of a steady hand. And the pile of images I couldn’t use because of blur suggests you may not always be able to count on results as good as this. 
 
That said, the Moto G200 isn’t alone in this – indeed, I originally shot some garden snaps with the Poco F3 for comparison which are far too blurry to use – but it’s certainly something to bear in mind. In short: good results are possible, but by no means guaranteed.
 
The front-facing selfie camera is a 16MP number with a f/2.2 aperture, and the results are perfectly adequate, with those creepy beautification settings turned off by default and far less aggressive than some when enabled. Well done, Motorola.
 
The Moto G200 is capable of capturing 1080p or 4K footage at 1080p. Results were pretty good: largely judder-free, and able to cope with sudden changes in lighting without freaking out. It’s odd that both 4K and 1080p are capped to 30fps when the chipset is capable of dealing with higher frames, but there we are.

Motorola Moto G200 review: Verdict

There are a few niggles you can object to about the Motorola Moto G200. The absence of optical image stablisation, a headphone jack and expandable storage are all sorely felt, and the chunky plastic build won’t be for everyone, either.

 
But I’m struggling to think of a phone that offers this kind of value. £400 for a phone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Plus is phenomenal, and that’s before we get onto the solid screen and brilliant battery life. The camera, too, is capable of great results even with the aforementioned lack of OIS.   
 
If you want to save a few quid, then the Poco F3 remains a great choice. But for now, this is the best £400 phone out there – and likely will remain so until Apple (eventually) unveils the next iPhone SE.

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