Hands on: Moto G31 review

Compact phone with day-long battery

What is a hands on review?
Moto G31
(Image: © Future / Jitendra Soni)

Early Verdict

The Moto G31 is the company's attempt at bringing AMOLED display to affordable devices. And while the phone does check quite a few boxes, it does miss on a few key parameters making it lag behind the competition

Pros

  • +

    Compact

  • +

    Display

  • +

    Battery backup

Cons

  • -

    Slow charging

  • -

    60Hz refresh rate

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Two-minute review

The Lenovo-backed smartphone maker Motorola has been ticking a lot of boxes correctly of late. Not only the company has been focusing on offering consumers a variety of choices but it has somehow managed to price them accurately as well.

Right from mid-range devices to affordable premium phones, Moto phones are making their presence felt. 

In a market full of smartphones with heavily customised Android skins, Moto phones with light skin and minimal bloatware are a breath of fresh air. 

The latest addition to the list - Moto G31 tries to offer AMOLED panel and long battery life in a compact design and a price that doesn't burn a hole in the pocket. The phone aims to take on the Redmi Notes, the Realme Narzos and does decently well in doing so. 

In no way this phone can be called a perfect mid-range smartphone, however, with its limitations - the phone performs decently well. If you're looking for a powerhouse that can help you play graphic-intensive games, high-refresh-rate is your primary focus then this phone is not for you. However, if you're looking for a trustworthy device for content consumption, isn't too heavy, has 4G connectivity, an easy to use interface then the Moto G31 is the device to go for.

Moto G31 Price in India and availability

The Moto G31 has been launched in India just as we are winding up for the year and preparing for new launches in 2022. The phone has been launched in a couple of memory and storage variants -including 4GB+64GB and 6GB +128GB.  These variants are priced at Rs. 12,999 and Rs. 14,999 respectively.

The phone is available in a couple of colour variants - Baby Blue and Meteorite Grey. The phone will be available to purchase starting December 6 via Flipkart.

Check out the Moto G31 on Flipkart

<a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=92X363&xcust=hawk-custom-tracking&xs=1&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flipkart.com%2Fmotorola-g31-coming-soon-75g89-store%3Focmpid%3DBrandAd_Motorola_Motog31_GoogleSearch_India_Flipkart-ProdSpec-prase-CPC-Teaser-ETA-D25M11%3Fforce_app%3D1%26gclid%3DCj0KCQiA7oyNBhDiARIsADtGRZahi9z5xO7Ov64johzOUM5JCrSXmjjyr4F0OyqphHEt1h-_MqzDOu8aAvTxEALw_wcB&sref" data-link-merchant="SkimLinks - flipkart.com"" target="_blank">Check out the Moto G31 on Flipkart

4+64 GB: Rs. 12,999 | 6+128 GB: Rs.14,999

Starts retailing December 6 onwards

Design 

Moto G31

(Image credit: Future / Jitendra Soni)

The Moto G31 might not have a striking or unique design in the market, but, this 8.45mm thick phone with curved edges is a delight to hold. It has a curved back that sits perfectly in your palm, providing a firm grip. 

Not only does Motorola seem to have found its mojo back with the affordably priced smartphones, it has settled down on one design language that can be called unique. This is the reason now most Moto phones can be easily identified from a lot of lookalikes crowding the market.

The device's rear panel has eccentric lines that not only help offer extra grip but also look visually appealing when it reflects light. That said, the rear panel feels downright plastic and lacks the premium feel of a glass panel. It does help keep the phone’s weight in check, but finicky users may prefer looks to weight! 

There is a vertically aligned triple rear camera setup in a dual-toned camera island and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is housed underneath the bat-wings logo.

The power button sits on the right frame of the phone alongside the volume rocker and a dedicated Google Assistant button that is found on almost all Moto phones. On the left, you just have a hybrid sim tray that can house two nano sims or one sim and a micro-SD card.

Since it's a mid-range phone, the device does have noticeable bezels around the display while the chin is slightly more prominent. The Moto G31 has a front-facing selfie camera housed under a hole-punch cut-out with a USB Type-C charging port and a speaker located at the bottom.

Display 

Moto G31

(Image credit: Future / Jitendra Soni)

The 6.4-inch AMOLED panel boasting FHD+ resolution is the highlight of the Moto G31. It is interesting to note that Moto has decided to add an AMOLED panel on this phone which makes it a worthy contender on the best devices under Rs. 15,000 list.

While we have a few devices with an AMOLED panel around Rs. 15,000, at Rs. 12,999 for the base variant, the Moto G31 could just prove to be drool-worthy for people who love punchy colours and deep blacks.

While colours are vibrant and sharpness is aplenty, it could’ve been slightly brighter as sunlight legibility wasn't the best. 

Moreover, for a phone priced at Rs. 16,000, a display of 90hz refresh is a must and the Moto G31 misses on that primarily because the chipset supports a maximum of 60Hz. Looking at the competition, Moto should feel this to be a missed opportunity. 

Performance and Battery 

Since we got our hands on the phone a couple of days back, we will reserve our call on performance for a while. However, it is interesting to note that this phone comes with a MediaTek Helio G85 SoC compared to its predecessor that had a Snapdragon chipset.

Our final verdict on the performance should arrive in a few days time, but the fact is that we did attempt playing a few games on the device. The performance was quite smooth though there was an occasional stutter or two that one relates with most of the mid-range devices. More so while scrolling through the content on a website or through the app drawer.

We noticed that the device did get slightly warm in the underbelly while playing games though it must be said that only extensive use would tell us if this was just a blip or is part of its performance.

In terms of battery, the Moto G31 has a 5,000 mAh battery pack which has lasted us over a day easily. My usage included a bit of browsing, a couple of Zoom and Google Meet video calls and an odd game here and there. Moto bundles a 20W fast charger with the phone and to tank up the entire battery, it may take some time. Unfortunately, this is one feature where the competition might have an upper hand.

Camera 

Moto G31

(Image credit: Future / Jitendra Soni)

The Moto G31 has a triple-camera module with the primary sensor being a 50MP snapper coupled with an 8MP ultra-wide-angle shooter which also works as a depth sensor and a 2MP sensor for macro photography. Though on paper you’d find that Moto has slightly downgraded the camera sensors when compared to the predecessor, however, we are still evaluating the camera performance and will be in a better position to tell you more in some time.

The camera app though has a plethora of options available like dual capture, night vision, portrait, live filter, cinemagraph, cutout, pro, panorama, and spotlight. There is even slow-motion and time-lapse mode for videos.

Early verdict 

The Moto G31 seems to be a capable device and apt for people not looking to jump on to the 5G bandwagon, given that 5G services are still some way off. What they get here is a feature right smartphone with a lovely display, big battery and a compact form factor. The near-stock Android version that Motorola comes with has minimal bloatware, thus helping in offering honest performance from a budget device.

That said, it has its share of limitations like the 60Hz refresh rate which for a few could be a downside while the rest might consider it a reason why the phone offers slightly longer battery life.

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Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.  

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.