Motorola phones, alongside Nokia phones and certain LG phones, are champions of the budget smartphone market. That means if you're looking for a decent handset that won't break the bank, you're in the right place.
But in 2020 with the arrival of the Motorola Edge and higher-performance Motorola Edge Plus, Motorola also now has options for flagship fans. Both combine top specs, sharp displays, and 5G connectivity with flagship polish, and both make this list. It even makes the foldable Motorola Razr, a reboot of the classic flip phone, but it’s so poorly made and expensive that it doesn’t make our top ten list here.
Moto’s other best phones are cheaper - the Moto Z range offers modular accessories, the Moto G line is a case study in excellent value smartphones and the Motorola One series tend to offer good software update regularity and standout camera features.
Edge models aside, these phones aren’t up there with the best phones in the world, but they are certainly some of the better budget and mid-range phones you can find in 2020.
This list is updated regularly, so you can be sure that it’s currently the definitive ranking of the excellent but often confusing world of Motorola smartphones.
The most recent addition was the Moto G9 Plus, which is a super-affordable 5G handset, so read on below to see where it ranks and whether there’s a Moto phone for you.
Best Moto phones 2021 at a glance:
- Motorola Edge Plus
- Motorola Edge
- Motorola One Zoom
- Moto G 5G Plus
- Motorola One Hyper
- Motorola One Action
- Moto G8 Power
- Moto G9 Plus
- Moto G8 Plus
- Motorola One Vision
- Moto G8
Best Moto phones 2020
The Motorola Edge Plus is arguably the most exciting Motorola phone in years, as it’s also the first true flagship from the company in years.
That means it’s up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 Pro, and it certainly has the specs to compete, with a high-end Snapdragon 865 chipset, a massive 12GB of RAM, and a huge 5,000mAh battery.
Its screen is thoroughly impressive too, as it’s a 6.7-inch 1080 x 2340 OLED one with a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support, it’s also a ‘waterfall’ display, which means it’s steeply curved at the sides, giving it a striking appearance.
You also get a quad-lens rear camera, with a 108MP main sensor, an 8MP telephoto one (with 3x optical zoom), a 16MP ultra-wide one, and a depth sensor.
With support for both sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks it can also make the most of the latest mobile technology, so it’s no wonder we’re so fond of it.
Read our in-depth Motorola Edge Plus review
The Motorola Edge is a cheaper, lower-end alternative to the Motorola Edge Plus, but while it’s not quite as good as its sibling, it still has a whole lot going for it.
That includes a big 4,500mAh battery, which in our review we found comfortably lasted a day even with quite heavy use.
It also has a 6.7-inch 1080 x 2340 OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10 support, and ‘waterfall’ curves, leaving the handset with a sleek look and a comfortable feel in the hand.
While you don’t get top-end power here, the Motorola Edge also delivers very decent performance from its upper mid-range Snapdragon 765G chipset and 6GB of RAM – so much so that we found it handled almost all games well.
With a quad-lens camera too (including a 64MP main sensor paired with telephoto, ultra-wide and depth sensors), an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and just an upper mid-range price, the Motorola Edge certainly has an edge over many rivals.
Read our in-depth Motorola Edge review
Lenovo spent 2019 releasing many Motorola One phones, and the highlight of this series is the Motorola One Zoom.
The Motorola One Zoom has a whopping four rear cameras, which is loads for an affordable handset like this. They include a depth sensor, a telephoto lens, and a wide-angle snapper, as well as the main sensor.
Beyond that, there's a decent battery, and a good-looking screen. However, we found there were some sacrifices to be made to keep the price so low, like middling processing power and a design that leaves a little to be desired.
Motorola is a budget and mid-range champion, and this is pure Moto class, with decent specs and a low price.
Read our in-depth Motorola One Zoom review
The Moto G 5G Plus is one of the very cheapest 5G phones you can buy at the time of writing, and that alone would be enough to make it interesting, but Motorola hasn’t stopped there, as the phone also has an assortment of generally decent specs and features.
There’s its big and long-lasting 5,000mAh battery for one, plus solid performance from its Snapdragon 765G chipset and up to 6GB of RAM.
The Moto G 5G Plus also has a sizeable 6.7-inch 1080 x 2520 screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, making it larger and smoother than many phones at this sort of price.
There’s also a quad-lens camera, led by a 48MP snapper, though in our review we judged that these cameras weren’t the best. That, coupled with other irritations such as an iffy fingerprint scanner and a Google Assistant button that’s easy to accidentally press, mean the Moto G 5G Plus doesn’t appear higher in our ranking, but if you want a 5G phone on a budget then it’s still a top choice.
Read our in-depth Moto G 5G Plus review
The Motorola One Hyper adds to the company’s burgeoning smartphone range with an all-screen design and pop up camera. It’s a shame there’s no telephoto camera considering there’s two main rear cameras but the main 64MP sensor makes up for this with amazing detail in shots.
A Snapdragon 675 processor means decent mid-range performance for the price and battery life is solid, if not spectacular.
Unfortunately the notch-less screen struggles when trying to display many games, cropping the action incorrectly in many instances. It means if you are a keen mobile gamer this is one to avoid. For everyone else, it’s yet another solid Motorola phone.
Read the Motorola One Hyper review
The Motorola One Action has lots in common with the other Motorola One phones, like its chipset and screen quality, but it has one novel feature that makes it an interesting prospect for phones buyers.
As well as its main and depth sensing cameras on the back of the device, the Motorola One Action has an 'action cam' which is designed for impressive video recording. You can record in landscape while holding the phone in portrait, and the camera is great at picking up video detail: all in all it's a great device for people who take a lot of videos.
On top of that the handset is actually cheaper than lots of other Motorola ones, so you could do a lot worse if you're looking for a device with an intriguing extra feature.
Read our in-depth review: Motorola One Action
The Moto G8 Power, really, is all about its battery, which at 5,000mAh is enormous, especially for a budget phone. This, in our tests, easily lasted over a day, and could potentially stretch to two days.
But that’s not its only high point. You also get a quad-lens camera, which delivers great, detailed photos in daylight, plus a design that leaves it looking pricier than it is. That’s thanks to things like a metal frame (though the back is plastic), a punch-hole camera, and minimal bezels.
The Moto G8 Power also has a 6.4-inch 1080 x 2300 screen, so it’s fairly large and fairly sharp, and the phone’s Snapdragon 665 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM ensures performance is reasonable.
There are some issues – its 64GB of storage is restrictive, and the fingerprint scanner isn’t the most reliable we’ve come across, but for the money this is a strong pick.
Note: Buyers in the US will instead find the Moto G Power, which is near identical except that it lacks the G8 Power's telephoto lens.
Read our in-depth Moto G8 Power review
If you're looking for a large and bright screen then the Moto G9 Plus is the perfect choice. It's suitably expansive in your hands but still looks good with a similarly well-matched strong battery life.
Backing that up is a decent set of camera options so you can enjoy some decent shots in good lighting and even some not bad low light images too.
As with any budget phone, compromises need to be made and here it's to the detriment of general performance. It's not poor, it's merely average. Where things get a little more disappointing are the extras or lack of them such as no wireless charging, no 5G support, and no waterproofing. That lovely screen makes up for a lot though.
Read our full Moto G9 Plus review.
Considering the price it’s amazing that the G8 Plus fits in small bezels, triple rear cameras, stereo speakers and decent battery life. It looks great too, with an attractively simple version of Android 9 Pie to boot.
The Snapdragon 665 means the phone has decent battery life but we found the performance wasn’t as good as hoped with occasional stuttering. You can forget high-end gaming, too.
Despite this Motorola is promising two years of security updates and a software update to Android 10 making it a good, large-screened Moto option. The triple cameras and great stereo speakers add some excellent upgrades over the G7 range, too.
Read the Moto G8 Plus review
The Moto G8 is the standard model in the G8 range and it’s one of the best, as while it’s basic, it’s also supremely affordable, and offers surprisingly strong performance thanks to its Snapdragon 665 chipset and 4GB of RAM, which leave it capable of comfortably running most apps and other tasks.
The Moto G8 also has decent battery life, with its 4,000mAh battery lasting well over a day in our tests, though for even better life you should consider the Moto G8 Power.
Other highlights of the Moto G8 include its triple-lens camera, its 3.5mm headphone port, and its large 6.4-inch screen. That screen could stand to be sharper and there’s no NFC – meaning no contactless payments, but taken against what this phone costs, those don’t seem like such major issues.
Read our in-depth Moto G8 review