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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.

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Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Expertise Apple, iPhone, iOS, Android, Samsung, Sony, Google, Motorola, interviews, coffee equipment, cats Credentials
  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
2 min read
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

PhonePriceScreenBatteryStorage and RAM
Moto G Pure $1606.5-inch 720p4,000 mAh32GB, 3GB
Moto G Play $1706.5-inch 720p5,000 mAh32GB, 3GB
Moto G Power $2006.6-inch 720p5,000 mAh32GB, 3GB
Moto G Power $2506.6-inch 720p5,000 mAh64GB, 4GB
Moto G Stylus $3006.8-inch 1,080p4,000 mAh128GB, 4GB
Moto G Stylus 5G $4006.8-inch 1,080p5,000 mAh256GB, 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.

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Watch this: Moto G Stylus 5G review: A good phone, but Motorola sells better ones