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The $160 Moto G Pure aims to redefine the affordable phone

Motorola's latest budget phone is also its cheapest. It has a 6.5-inch display, dual-rear cameras and runs Android 11.

Moto G Pure
At $160, the Moto G Pure is the lowest-priced Motorola sells.
Patrick Holland/CNET

Motorola continues its steady stream of affordable phones by releasing the Moto G Pure. In 2021, aside from the Motorola Edge announced in August, all of the phones Motorola released in the US cost $500 or less. The new Pure is $160 and has the lowest price of any new Motorola device. And that's before any discounts.

So what's the catch? What does $160 get you in terms of a phone? In the case of the Pure, quite a bit. You get a 6.5-inch display, a battery that Motorola claims will last you two days, a close-to-stock version of Android 11 and IP52 rating for water- and dust-resistance.

The Pure joins an already large Moto G 2021 family. There is a Taco Bell mixing of ingredients with the Moto G family. Motorola is masterful mixing specs and features of one phone with another. Like all other Moto G phones, except the Moto G Stylus 5G, the Pure is a 4G phone only which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

2021 Moto G phones compared

Phone Price Screen Battery Storage and RAM
Moto G Pure $160 6.5-inch 720p 4,000 mAh 32GB, 3GB
Moto G Play $170 6.5-inch 720p 5,000 mAh 32GB, 3GB
Moto G Power $200 6.6-inch 720p 5,000 mAh 32GB, 3GB
Moto G Power $250 6.6-inch 720p 5,000 mAh 64GB, 4GB
Moto G Stylus $300 6.8-inch 1,080p 4,000 mAh 128GB, 4GB
Moto G Stylus 5G $400 6.8-inch 1,080p 5,000 mAh 256GB, 6GB

None of the Pure's features are going to give the Galaxy S21 or the upcoming Pixel 6 a run for their money. And the Pure isn't supposed to. You could buy four and a half Moto G Pure phones for the price of a single iPhone 13.

But to get the Pure to such a low price Motorola made a number of smart compromises and omissions. There is a dual-rear camera which is really a single 13-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode photos. As opposed to using a Snapdragon processor, the Pure has a MediaTek Helio G25 octa-core processor. Instead of a stylish hole-punch cut out for the 5-megapixel selfie camera there's a teardrop-shaped notch. The screen has a 1,600x720-pixel resolution which is 2021 isn't that great.

Moto G Pure

The Moto G Pure spots a textured back and comes only in indigo.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Pure lacks NFC, wireless charging and a high refresh rate display but comes with 32GB of storage, a microSD card slot for expandable storage, 3GB of RAM and a headphone jack.

You can order the Moto G Pure unlocked starting Oct. 14 from Motorola and retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and B&H. A Verizon version will also be available to order the same day. AT&T and T-Mobile will start offering the Pure later this year.

Now playing: Watch this: Moto G Stylus 5G review: A good phone, but Motorola sells...