Motorola has made a great comeback in recent years to produce some of the best phones on the market. Its strength is its diversity – you can buy a £100 or £800 Moto phone depending on your needs and tastes.
The memories of the classic Motorola RAZR are long gone. Moto, now owned by Lenovo, focuses on a consistent design ethic, close to stock Android and, often, incredible value for money. The Moto G series is a consistently excellent choice for those looking for a genuinely excellent budget phone.
But Moto also makes the more expensive X and Z line to cater to all tastes. The Z line also brings the unique Moto Mod compatibility that allows you to buy and use magnetic accessories with your phone, from zoom lens camera to loudspeaker to projector.
In order starting with budget, the Moto range goes C, E, G, X, Z, with the Motorola One its own thing.
You can still get Moto G5 phones online at good prices, but we’ve not included them here as we recommend investing in the newer generation.
Here are the best Motorola phones you can buy in 2018.
1. Moto G6
The Moto G6 might not be waterproof, but a water repellent coating is better than nothing and the phone looks better than ever.
For the tidy sum of £219, the G6 is a mid-range (almost budget) bargain with a great screen, dual cameras, decent batter life and a fingerprint scanner.
A combination of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage won’t be enough for everyone so just spend an extra £20 for the better Amazon model.
Read our Moto G6 review.
2. Moto Z2 Play
The Moto Z2 Play is a great mid-range smartphone; it features a gorgeous design, premium build and the Moto Mods support provides extended functionality based on what you require from the smartphone, from extra battery power to an improved speaker and even a built-in projector.
Despite the smaller battery, the Snapdragon 626 processor is incredibly efficient and we comfortably lasted a day on a single charge, and when we did run out it was quick to top up thanks to the included fast charging tech. It holds its own against competitors in our benchmark tests, and real world use is decent.
Read our Moto Z2 Play review.
The Moto E5 is one of the best budget phones around. Of course, you can spend a bit more and get something better but if you’re looking for the cheapest phone around that won’t make you want to throw it in the bin after a few days then this is it.
We’re very impressed by the design and build quality along with a number of features including the screen, camera, fingerprint scanner and battery life.
Just bear in mind that you don’t get some of the features available from more expensive alternatives.
Read our Motorola Moto E5 review.
4. Moto G6 Plus
It’s not perfect by any means – we noticed occasional sluggish performance in some apps, while the camera was a touch slow in opening and struggled to deal with shake – but there’s a huge amount here to like.
The design is smart and lightweight; the screen is big and sharp; battery life is solid and fast charging impressive; you get twin camera lenses and a decent portrait mode, along with a bunch of gimmicky camera modes that are less reliable but lots of fun.
All for this £269! It’s a fantastic deal, and a great phone for the money.
Read our Moto G6 Plus review.
5. Moto Z3 Play
The Moto Z3 Play is a great phone if you don’t want the most capable phone in the world but want excellent battery life – and a Mod in the box to make it even better.
It’s annoying that there’s no headphone jack but the display is great for a mid-range phone and the 18:9 display solves the large bezels of the Z2 series.
There are phones that do the same for less, but the versatility of the Z3 Play is really appealing in a sea of identical black slab phones.
Read our Moto Z3 Play review.
6. Moto G6 Play
The Moto G6 Play is a great little surprise of a phone. It holds its own next to the other two G6 phones and has better battery life (and a cooler fingerprint sensor).
The 18:9 display and premium (but plastic) design means it feels just as well-made as phones double the price but doesn’t compromise on performance to do so.
With a headphone jack as a plus, a minus is micro-USB but we’ll forgive that on its strengths and can recommend the G6 Play as one of the best budget phones of 2018.
Read our Moto G6 Play review.
7. Motorola One
On the surface, the Motorola One is a lovely mid-range phone with an attractive price tag and a sleek design that looks a little like an iPhone X.
While there’s nothing overtly wrong with the device, there’s some seriously tough competition including Motorola’s own Moto G6.
Read our Motorola One review.
As a software experience, the Moto Z2 Force is excellent. But the Moto Mod ecosystem means you’re spending a hell of a lot on accessories that are only useful for the lifetime of the device.
It’s also far too expensive, even before mods. Practically every other smartphone manufacturer sells a flagship device for less, and sometimes considerably less.
If money is no object and you love the idea of mods and like the reassurance of an unbreakable screen, the Z2 Force will be the phone for you. For everyone else, there are cheaper high-end phones out there from Samsung, Google and OnePlus with better battery life and better cameras.
Read our Moto Z2 Force review.
You should spend a little more on the E5 Plus if you want the larger screen and bigger battery. It easily the best budget phone when it comes to combining size and stamina.
However, we think the cheaper Moto E5 is a better choice for most people with much of the specs the same and the addition of NFC.
The main thing putting us off here is slightly laggy performance and the G6 Play isn’t far off in price, so jump to this if you can It also has a better front camera, Turbo Charging and more software features.
Read our Motorola Moto E5 Plus review.
10. Moto X4
It’s good to see Motorola back with another Moto X model and the X4 is a pretty good deal for £350.
For starters, it feels and looks like a much more expensive handset. It’s also got waterproofing which not all mid-range phones do. It’s also got dual cameras and the 5.2in screen will make it a good choice for those not wanting a huge display.
It’s just a bit more sluggish compared to some rivals.
Read our Moto X4 review.
11. Moto E5 Play
The Moto E5 Play is the cheapest phone in Motorola’s E5 series of already budget devices, and at just £89 it is phenomenally affordable.
Naturally, there are compromises to be made, and the sluggish processor, low display resolution, and under-performing cameras will disappoint anyone with high expectations – but for a phone under £100 it will run all the basics well enough, in part thanks to the choice of Android Go, the relatively stripped back version of Google’s OS designed for slower devices.
The only real fly in the ointment is the existence of the rest of the E5 line. The regular E5 will give you a metal body, more RAM, better cameras, and a bigger battery and display – all for just £30 more – which makes the E5 Play hard to recommend unless your budget really does max out at £100.
Finally, it’s worth noting that we’ve reviewed the UK version of the E5 Play, which is slightly different to the version launched in the US – that boasts a bigger battery, more RAM, a higher resolution screen, and the full version of Android.
Read our Moto E5 Play review.