The Moto G Power has a tricky act to follow. Its predecessor, the G7 Power, was a bargain hunter’s dream phone that delivered the best battery life of any mobile device and cost only $249. That’s a package that should get everyone’s attention, so it’s no wonder the Moto G7 Power was a mainstay on our list of the best cheap phones. For this year’s model, Motorola has not changed the two most important features. This is our Moto G Power Review.
The Moto G Power (also known as G8 Power) still has the 5,000 mAh battery that helped the previous version of this phone to survive the competition. And you can get the G Power for the same price of $249 as before.
Moto G Power Review: Design
You won’t confuse Moto G Power with a flagship, especially when you answer the phone. It’s not that Motorola’s phone looks terrible – it’s just that the G Power uses a plastic chassis, and there’s not much you can do to disguise that. Motorola has given this phone a shiny finish on the back, which adds a little extra shine to its appearance. If you don’t like the trend towards large, blocky camera arrays, you’ll admire how the Moto G Power handles its triple camera setup.
They descend vertically on the left side of the phone, with the chief gunner alone. The ultra-wide-angle and macro lenses are located in a separate hump, along with the phone’s flash. This leaves space in the middle of the phone for an easy to find the fingerprint sensor. As for the front-facing camera, Motorola has placed it in a punch-hole recess in the top left corner of the phone’s 6.4-inch display. This has allowed Motorola to reduce the edges of the Moto G Power, although they have not entirely disappeared, especially at the bottom of the screen.
The 5,000 mAh battery that serves as the Moto G Power also makes this a sturdy phone. The Moto G Power measures 6.3 x 3 x 0.38-inches, making it more significant than the 6 x 2.8 x 0.3-inches Google Pixel 3a, especially when it comes to thickness. At 7-ounces, the Moto G Power is also relatively heavy and weighs both the Pixel 3a (5.2 ounces) and the Nokia 7.2 (6.35 ounces).
You get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Moto G Power, an increasingly rare but still welcome appearance. Motorola says the phone is “water-repellent,” but there is no IP rating. I think that light mist and the strange sprinkler probably don’t pose a threat, but don’t drop this phone in the pool.
Moto G Power Review: Display
If there’s one area where the Moto G Power comes across as a budget phone, it’s the phone’s display. Motorola uses an LCD screen, which is what you would expect in a phone under 300 euros. The 6.4-inch screen has Full HD+ resolution, which is also quite standard on such a phone.
My problem with the Moto G Power screen is that the colors on the phone’s display don’t look vivid. If you look at the No Time to Die trailer on the Moto G Power, the scenes look mainly shaded even when brightly lit. A close-up on Daniel Craig’s face looked particularly dark on the Moto G Power screen when it looked better lit up than other phones I’ve been using lately. Some older clips of Conan O’Brien’s show also looked a bit blown out on the Moto G Power screen.
Our laboratory tests supported my practical experiences. The phone shows only 97% of the sRGB color spectrum in the default setting (which, ironically, is the saturated model). That corresponds to 153% for the Nokia 7.2, which also has an LCD screen. In any case, the colors of the Moto G Power are entirely accurate, considering the Delta-E rating of 0.33. (The closer the number is to zero, the better.) That’s about what the Moto G7 Power (0.35) was able to deliver last year.
Although the colors on the Moto G7 Power screen didn’t impress me, the brightness of the screen was more than satisfactory. We measured the brightness at 500 nits for the Moto G Power, just before the average for smartphones and much brighter than the 401-nit peak of the Pixel 3a. When I used the Moto G Power outdoors, I never had to start the screen up to the maximum brightness to see the screen.
Moto G Power Review: Software
Motorola takes a light hand with the Android skin he puts on his phones, and fortunately, that continues with the Moto G Power. You’ll find Android 10 on this phone with minimal tweaks, except for a prominently displayed Moto-app that offers tips and tricks on how to use your new phone. If you haven’t used a Motorola phone before, these tips include your introduction to Moto Actions, which are useful shortcuts for getting the most out of Moto G Power.
For example, by quickly twisting your wrist twice, you can start the camera app, which can be a real time saver compared to unlocking your phone and starting the camera with a tap. Two chopping movements holding the Moto G Power turn on the phone’s flash, which I also find useful. I’m less charmed by Motorola’s three-fingered touch to take a screenshot.
Although the Moto G Power’s fingerprint sensor is easy to find on the back of the phone, I found it less responsive than I usually prefer. Usually, it took at least two and sometimes three presses on my registered fingerprints for the Moto G Power’s sensor to recognize that it was me who tried to unlock the phone.
Hardware and Performance
You don’t buy a phone like the Moto G Power that expects a workhorse, but the Snapdragon 665 system-on-chip that powers the phone should be more than enough to perform typical tasks. Motorola also includes 4GB of memory to help the phone keep things spicy, although there’s only 64GB of storage. If you need, even more, turn to a micro-USB card.
On Geekbench 5, which measures overall performance, the Moto G Power achieved a multi-core score of 1,387. That’s better than the result of 1,336 on the Pixel 3a and its Snapdragon 670 processor, but not as good as the result of 1,498 on the Snapdragon 660, which drives the Nokia 7.2. Both phones surpassed Moto G Power when it came time to test graphics using 3DMark’s Sling Shot OpenGL test. The Moto G Power scored an average of 1,734, well behind the respective 2,054 and 2,543 results of the Nokia 7.2 and Pixel 3a.
That said, I’ve had no problems using Moto G Power to switch between apps, surf the web, and do other basic tasks you would expect from a smartphone. Even the demanding PUBG Mobile shooter played well with the Moto G Power, despite a few turbulent moments here and there. You’ll find better performing phones than the Moto G Power, but you’ll have to pay for the gain in performance.
Moto G Power Review: Camera
The Moto G8 Power is in many ways better than its predecessor, but perhaps most striking is the upgrade from a single rear camera to a trio that dramatically expands the phone’s photographic capabilities. The 16MP primary shooter feels like its predecessor, taking good shots in daylight, with sharp detail both near and far in the same shot – even more so than the equivalent camera on the Motorola Edge Plus or iPhone 11 Pro Max, based on side-by-side comparisons of photos taken in the same location.
In the same equation, however, the G8 Power’s camera lacks color contrast, lumping together objects with similar shades – for example, turning large groups of sunlit leaves into an even tone of yellow-green, rather than reproducing more nuanced shades that reflect different light levels, as seen in similar images on the Edge Plus or iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The other two cameras give the G8 Power a range that exceeds the part of the budget competition, at least in terms of utility. The 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera is what we appreciate here – especially in our newly discovered environment, where the ability to zoom out in tight spaces has been advantageous. We would have liked to have had a telephoto lens to zoom in, but the impressive sharpness of the primary shooter (at least in daylight) made it possible to zoom in digitally, if not remarkable.
The third rear lens is a 2MP f/2.2 macro camera, which is designed to take pictures from only a few centimeters away. You’ll probably use this to take detailed shots of flora and fauna – perhaps flowers and pets – and it performs well for this, producing sharper up-close photos than, let’s say the Motorola Edge Plus. It’s worth pointing out that the macro lens also makes video recordings, although we haven’t spent much time with it.
The forward-facing 16MP camera works adequately, although it struggles a little with shadows, merging colors and losing sharpness in areas that are not directly lit.
Moto G Power Review: Battery Life
Although it is no longer the only feature that distinguishes G Series Power phones from other budget phones, the G8 Power’s 5,000 mAh battery is still impressive. The phone will last more than a day, if not two, also thanks to less beautiful features: other phones that contain just as large a battery – including flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus (4,500mAh) – drain their batteries faster due to displays with a higher resolution and a faster refresh rate.
However, the G8 Power does suffer from Motorola’s wider weakness, namely a lower maximum charging speed than other Android phones. It took us two hours to fully charge it from 10% with the 10W charger in the box, and although we would expect it to take longer to charge than a phone with a smaller battery, it’s still a long charging time. And no, the phone cannot be charged wirelessly.
Price and Availability
The Moto G Power costs $249, which is the same price as the Moto G7 Power that debuted last year. It’s good to see that Motorola keeps the line on its budget phones, and not just because flagship devices are getting more expensive these days. With budgets getting tighter and tighter, being able to grab a reliable phone for less than $250 will appeal to many price-conscious shoppers.
Keep in mind that, yes, the Moto G8 Power and Moto G Power are identical phones – in the US, it’s just called the latter. You know, to avoid confusion.
The G8 Power is priced at $249 / £220 / AU$329, which makes it a bit cheaper than its sibling, the Moto G Stylus of $299 (about £230, AU$440). It is unclear how that price will relate to the Moto G8, so we will have to wait for the official word before we can establish a pecking order in terms of costs and features.
Moto G Power Review: Conclusion
Just by retaining the long-lasting battery of the older Moto G7 Power, the Moto G Power (G8 Power) was already in the conversation for a must-have device for budget-conscious shoppers. But this phone isn’t just counting on its long life to win you over. It also performs excellently to meet the needs of the average smartphone user, and the cameras – though not the best you’ll find on a budget device – produced some pretty eye-catching photos in our tests for the Moto G Power review.
If you especially value mobile photography, consider other low-cost options, whether it’s the Pixel 3a or the Pixel 4a that is rumored to be rolled out by Google this spring. The iPhone SE 2020 is another reliable option, with a more premium glass and metal design, better cameras, and a much faster A13 Bionic chip. But you’ll have to pay at least $150 more for those mid-range phones than you would for the Moto G Power. Overall, the Moto G Power is the best cheap phone under $300.
The Moto G Power lasts even longer than its record-breaking predecessor and costs the same. This is the budget phone you can buy if you want great battery life.
- The best battery life we’ve tested
- Low price tag
- Decent performance and photos for the price
- Works on all networks
- The screen isn’t very colorful
- No optical zoom