Did you think you’d had enough of Motorola smartphones? After the Moto One Macro, Motorola is back with another option in the middle segment. The Moto G8 Plus, part of the legendary Moto G line-up that was central to the company’s mid-range strategy, brings several much-needed feature updates as well as a gimmick or two in store. Is that enough to challenge the full range of excellent options for consumers? Well, here is our Moto G8 Plus Review.
Moto G8 Plus Review – Design
- 158.35 x 75.83 x 9.0mm
- Polycarbonate build
- Waterdrop notch
- Headphone jack
The 6.3-inch display is central to the Moto G8 Plus. Equipped with a waterdrop notch, it follows current design trends. The edges on the sides of the screen are reasonable in size and do not detract from the user experience. Even the chin is not particularly large. The large earphone grille at the top makes me worried about water damage, but Motorola claims that the phone has a water-repellent design, so that’ll be fine. The phone has a nano-coating that must be splash-proof, but you must be careful around the pool. IP68 certification, it seems, is still reserved for advanced devices.
The tactile feedback from the side buttons is not quite the best. The volume button and the power button are located on the right side of the phone, and there is an inherent wiggle about them. The buttons have soft feedback that is not very reassuring. The headphone jack is located on top of the phone, while the USB-C port and the speaker grille are placed at the bottom.
I have different opinions about the quality of materials used in the construction of the Moto G8 Plus. On the one hand, the polycarbonate feels strong enough to take a beating. The weight of the phone comes across as reassuring. However, the plastic is a fingerprint magnet and makes the appearance of the phone cheap. The black/purple color scheme of our review unit looks smart, as long as you can keep it free of fingerprints. It just doesn’t feel premium to the hand.
You want to invest in a quality business if you are planning to buy a Moto G8 Plus if only to prevent fingerprints. Motorola placed a fingerprint scanner in the center of the rear panel and has the classic Motorola batwing logo in the center. The scanner was just as fast as everything else on the market, and unlocking the phone is quick and hassle-free. The phone also supports NFC, which is useful if you want to pair headphones and wireless speakers quickly.
Moto G8 Plus Review – Display
- 6.3-inch LTPS IPS LCD
- Full HD+
- 19:9 aspect ratio
- No Gorilla Glass or similar protection
The first thing that strikes you on the display of the Moto G8 Plus is the extreme skew towards blue tones. Color accuracy is far away, and with peak brightness levels of around 450 nits, visibility outside in bright sunlight can be challenging. Switching to the natural color profile compensates to a certain extent for the blue hue. For the rest, this is a strict standard panel. There is also a little color shift when viewed from extreme angles. Black levels are not that deep due to the LCD technology, so if you prefer to view darker content, you might not like it here.
- Headphone jack
- AptX support
Playing audio via the headphone jack of the Moto G8 Plus is not great. I heard a constant hiss in the background, and music lacked dynamics. The overall presentation was utterly devoid of character.
Motorola has a range of Dolby enhancements that you can enable or disable, but the ready-made experience is not that great. I noticed that the Dolby setting made a noticeable difference while watching movies. There was an improvement in clarity and dialogue clarity. With music, the Dolby option seemed to emulate a surround sound effect with a shift to a V-shaped sound signature. Anyway, it was not to my liking, and I noticed that I immediately switched it off.
The speaker’s output is relatively loud and clear. It would be a bit much to expect bass here, but for what it’s worth, it will serve as a tick to listen to YouTube videos or podcasts. Bluetooth audio sounds great because that depends more on the DAC and the amplifier that is built into your headphones. The Bluetooth range was excellent, and I did not notice any dropouts while walking through my apartment while listening to music.
- Android 9 Pie
My favorite aspect of Motorola hardware is the almost-stock build of Android. Unlike the Motorola app, which adds a series of actions and gestures, the phone is free of external additions. The phone comes with Android 9 Pie from the box, and Motorola has promised an update for Android 10 soon. The software stack contains the standard package of Google apps. The Moto app adds useful gestures to take photos quickly (twist your wrist) or to turn the flashlight on (chop with your wrist).
You can enable an attentive display so that the screen stays on as long as you look at it. None of these are particularly new, but that does not affect their usability. I especially like the peak gesture that makes a pseudo-always-on-display function possible. By waving your hand over the phone, your notifications are displayed along with the current time.
Moto G8 Plus Review – Performance
- Snapdragon 665 chipset
- 4 x 2.0GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4 x 1.8GHz Kryo 260 Silver
- Adreno 610
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- MicroSD expansion via hybrid SIM slot
The Moto G8 Plus is powered by a Snapdragon 665 chipset, a minor update to the Snapdragon 660 platform. The chipset architecture is based on the 11nm process compared to the 14nm process of the Snapdragon 660. This should make the chipset slightly more economical. Elsewhere, the GPU also received an upgrade. Interestingly, this is the same chipset that drives the Redmi Note 8 and the Realme 5. Both phones sell at much lower prices.
The stripped-down, clean Android build supports the performance on the Moto G8 Plus. In my time with the phone, I have not noticed any noticeable delay or deal-breaking performance issues. Daily use of apps for streaming music, email, and social media was no challenge for the phone. Incidentally, the 4GB RAM was sufficient. However, if you plan to hold your hardware for a year or more, this can become a multitasking issue.
Competitive devices offer options with up to 8 GB of RAM, and it would have been good for Motorola to create a 6 GB or 8 GB variant on the G8 Plus for performance seekers. I tested popular games such as PUBG on the phone, and the performance was satisfactory. By pushing images to high settings, the hardware is undoubtedly loaded, and you can easily see a drop in the frame rate. The phone also gets warm during prolonged gaming, but never so uncomfortable.
Moto G8 Plus Review – Camera
- 48MP primary camera, f/2.0
- 5MP depth sensor, f/2.2
- 16MP action camera, 117-deg FoV
- 25MP, f/2.0
- 4K at 30fps, Full HD at 120fps
- Action camera Full HD at 120fps
The Moto G8 Plus is equipped with three different camera sensors. Unfortunately, more, in this case, does not necessarily mean better. The image quality is dull. There is an apparent lack of detail, although the phone tries to make up for this by recording a unique action camera setting. In our first test of a close-up object, the phone is not doing so badly. It focused quickly, and there is a fair amount of detail. Highlights, however, are drastically blown out, and the camera alignment – just like the display – tends to highlight blue tones. This makes the image look much more refreshing than it was in my eyes.
The tendency of the camera to blow out highlights is evident in this outdoor shot where the sky was completely overexposed. In the distance, you can hardly see any details. Similarly, dark areas around the foliage do not have much detail. Put, it is not a very good camera, especially when competing against great artists such as the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme XT. The action camera cannot capture still images.
This is a strange omission by Motorola. Video recording looks its best, with detail loss thanks to dense noise suppression algorithms. Moreover, the video camera overexposes the footage considerably. There is no stabilization available, and the videos are often incredibly shaky when shooting by hand. I found that the portrait mode of the Moto G8 Plus failed in its implementation. Subjects had a cutout silhouette with a too aggressive bokeh effect. The fall-off is too sharp to look natural.
The front camera has a 25MP sensor and can use pixel binning to improve the results in low light. Compared to the rear camera, the results here were a bit more natural, and there were quite a few details on photos. If taking selfies is essential to you, the Moto G8 Plus will not disappoint.
- 4,000mAh battery
- 15W fast-charger included
While we start seeing mid-range phones toward 5,000 mAh batteries, the 4,000 mAh cell on the Moto G8 Plus is perfect for everyday use. The phone comes with a 15 W USB-C charger in the box, with which you can finish it fairly quickly. A full charge of empty took only 140 minutes, which corresponds to the loading speeds of the Redmi Note 8. My daily activities include intensive use of Slack, e-mail, and social media applications, as well as streaming a few hours of music.
By the end of the day, the G8 Plus would have dropped to around 20%, which is reasonable. Long-term gaming will, of course, cause a more significant dent in the life of the battery. We have conducted our standard battery tests on the Moto G8 Plus. We managed a little less than 14 hours of continuous playback in our video loop test. In the same way, uninterrupted web browsing will clock up after more than 15 hours.
Moto G8 Plus Review – Conclusion
The Moto G8 Plus is not a bad phone. However, it is surpassed by the massive number of excellent options available to mid-market buyers. Of course, it provides a stock-like Android experience, but this is not a good reason for you to live with a sub-par camera and standard internals. Finally, you throw the inaccurate screen and the swipes forward, and the Moto G8 Plus doesn’t look very good.
The Moto G8 Plus is an interesting option for users looking for an almost stock Android experience with a limited budget. It offers an all-day battery life, an interesting action camera setting and reliable performance for the mid-range.
- Clean Android build
- Good usability
- Sturdy build quality
- Unique action camera
- Fingerprint and smudge magnet
- Sub-par camera quality
- Performance is only passable