5G is the next big thing in cellular connectivity, and it’s not only expensive flagships that support the new standard. The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G and Motorola One 5G are both, as their names suggest, compatible with 5G networks out of the box, and while they may boast a handful of premium features, neither comes at a premium price. They’re both affordable Android smartphones that combine 5G connectivity with attractive displays, sleek designs, great battery life, and solid performance.
Each smartphone is considerably better than its price would suggest, but which one is better overall? We answer this question by comparing the two Androids over several rounds, looking at their displays, designs, performance, batteries, cameras, software, and prices. This should help you decide which budget 5G Android device to buy.
The Galaxy A71 5G is almost as beautiful as more expensive Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy S20 and Note 20. It features a generously large edge-to-edge display with a hole-punch selfie at the top-center, with the very thin bezels around the display making the screen look very tidy. By contrast, the Motorola One 5G isn’t quite as sleek and sophisticated, since while it also offers an edge-to-edge display, its bezels are noticeably thicker (particularly at the top and bottom), something which makes it look a little cheap and underwhelming.
On the other hand, the actual screens of both devices are evenly matched. The Galaxy A71 5G packs a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080, while the Motorola One 5G houses a 6.7-inch LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, with a resolution of 2520 x 1080 pixels. The One, therefore, manages a few more pixels per inch, although its use of an LCD screen means that it doesn’t quite provide the same vibrant colors and deep blacks of the A71, which uses an AMOLED panel.
The Motorola One 5G supports a 90Hz refresh rate, while the A71 only goes as high as 60Hz. This results in smoother motion for the One, which handles video more seamlessly than its Samsung rival.
One area where both phones let themselves down is durability. Neither comes with an official IP rating, so neither Motorola nor Samsung can offer any guarantee that they’ll survive exposure to dust or immersion in shallow water. Still, they both make use of plastic casing on their rears and sides, which potentially means you won’t get any cracking after falls, like you do with glass (which admittedly looks better).
This round is close, but with a more attractive design, the Galaxy A71 5G narrowly wins it.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Performance, battery life, and charging
The Motorola One 5G and the Samsung Galaxy A71 5G both keep the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G under their hoods. This isn’t the latest Qualcomm processor, but it’s capable enough to juggle the majority of tasks you’ll likely throw at it, even if it won’t be quite as speedy as a Snapdragon 865. In the case of the A71, the 765 is helped by the 6GB of RAM that comes as standard, while Samsung’s phone also comes in an 8GB version. As for the One, it comes with 4GB of RAM, and doesn’t offer any version with more. This is quite disappointing, since even though 4GB is enough to handle most apps and games available right now, it’s not likely to be particularly future-proof.
The Motorola One 5G has the edge in terms of battery life, however. Its battery has a capacity of 5,000mAh, while the A71 5G falls just short at 4,500mAh. Both sizes are large compared to some phones, but the One’s extra 500mAh means that it can push towards nearly two days without a recharge, while the A71 needs help a little earlier. Both phones support fast charging, and while the A71 supports it at 25W (rather than 15W), this doesn’t make a massive difference.
This round has to be a tie: the Galaxy A71 5G may be a faster machine, but the Motorola One 5G has a longer-lasting battery.
The Motorola One 5G and Samsung Galaxy A71 5G both come with four rear camera lenses: a main wide lens, an ultrawide, a macro lens, and a depth sensor. The A71’s main lens provides 64 megapixels, while the One’s provides 48. The One also falls down with an 8MP ultrawide lens (compared to a 12MP one), and a 2MP depth sensor (compared to 5MP sensor on Samsung’s phone).
Better specs don’t necessarily equal better photos, but it does seem that the A71 5G has a slight advantage in terms of taking vibrant, colorful photos under normal daylight. We found in our review that the Motorola One also struggles with ultrawide photos, all too often producing washed-out photos that lack clarity. This isn’t something which can be said for the A71, even though the One’s macro lens (for close-ups) is actually much more usable.
The Motorola One may hold its own as a camera phone, but it won’t win any prizes for its video-capturing ability. The best it can do is 1080p at 30 frames per second, while the A71 manages 1080p at 240 fps, as well as 4K video at 30 fps. This is a pretty big difference, and may be significant for people who like shooting HD video on their phones.
Given this difference, and given that the A71 5G’s wide and ultrawide lenses are a bit better than the One’s, this round is a narrow win for Samsung’s phone.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Software and updates
The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G and Motorola One 5G both run on Android 11, although the One uses Android 11 itself while the A71 uses One UI 3. The latter is Samsung’s own Android 11 skin, which allows for more customization than other Android-based operating systems. It’s also very simple and intuitive to use, offering a range of useful gestures and features, as well as an attractive layout and design.
While the Motorola One 5G operates on stock Android 11, it still manages to introduce a few extra features that prove helpful. Of particular note are Motorola’s famous gestures, which let you do things such as turn the phone’s flashlight on by making a chopping motion. The phone’s side-mounted fingerprint sensor also works as a useful shortcut button, making using the phone very painless.
Unfortunately, the Motorola One 5G slips up with updates, with the update to Android 11 being the first and final one you’ll receive. You’re on your own after that, and while Samsung doesn’t have the best reputation for speedy updates, it wins this round simply because you’ll be supported for longer with the A71 5G.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Unsurprisingly, both the Motorola One 5G and Samsung Galaxy A71 5G support 5G, with the A71 5G supporting both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. The One 5G also supports both bands, yet while it works with Verizon’s sub-6GHz and mmWave frequencies, it will work only with the slower sub-6GHz range on AT&T. (These are the only two networks with which the Motorola One 5G will be usable.)
There’s not much else to mention other than 5G compatibility. Both phones are essentially budget versions of more premium models, although maybe the 90Hz refresh rate scores the Motorola One 5G an extra point. Likewise, its support for a range of novel and intuitive gestures — such as the ability to open the camera app by double-twisting the phone — is also another plus point.
This round is definitely a tie. Both smartphones support 5G, and that’s about it, notwithstanding a few minor touches.
Price and availability
The Motorola One 5G officially retails for $445 and is available from AT&T and Verizon only. However, it has recently been reduced to $300 on Motorola’s website, so catch it at a discount while you still can.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G starts at $600 and is available from Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as most major online retailers.
Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G is our winner here. Despite being $150 (or $300) more expensive, it is superior to the Motorola One 5G in several important areas. It looks more aesthetically pleasing, has slightly better performance, better wide and ultrawide cameras, and will be supported with updates for longer. To be fair, the One 5G does provide greater battery life, as well as a fractionally sharper and smoother display. However, because the A71 beats it in more areas, we have to give a slim victory to Samsung’s device.
On the other hand, if price is a priority for you, the Motorola One 5G may be the superior option. It’s a very good phone at its price level, and won’t disappoint the vast majority of users.