After Motorola announced a refresh of its whole Moto G family a couple of weeks ago, it sent me the whole set to review. When I reviewed the Moto G Stylus, I was a bit disappointed to find that the top-end Moto G no longer set the bar for budget smartphones. Now, it's time to check out the Moto G Power.
Like the name suggests, this one is all about battery life. As I noted in my review of the Moto G Stylus, the lineup is no longer about trying to provide the most value at a certain price point. Now, it's about solving a specific pain point. It's an entirely different strategy, but the pain point being solved here is battery life in a $199 device.
The last one from the series that I reviewed was the Moto G7 Power, which was actually the first one. That started the trend of having the 5,000mAh battery, and frankly, the device hasn't changed that much, still packing an HD screen, 32GB of storage, and 3GB RAM, although the price point did come down by $50.
|Display||6.6 inches, 1600x720, 267ppi, 20:9|
|Camera||48MP f/1.7 + 2MP macro + 2MP depth, Front - 8MP f/2.0|
|Video capture||Main sensor: 1080p - 60fps
Macro: 720p - 30fps
Front: 1080p - 30fps
|Storage||32GB, expandable by up to 512GB|
USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm audio
It's worth noting that there's also a model with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage for $249.
The Moto G Power is made out of plastic, as is the entire family. There's no surprise there, since it's been ages since any Moto G was made out of anything else. This one has a matte back, which I personally think feels nice. It's not one of those glossy plastic designs that feels like a cheap version of glass. This feels premium.
The color of this unit is Polar Silver, and if you're already imagining the matte plastic back, then you can imagine the silver color. It's actually a pretty nice look, and I feel like the lower you get down the Moto G ladder, the more thought the team put into the design. Honestly, the Moto G Play is the best-looking one, but more on that in next week's review.
Right in the middle is the square camera with rounded corners. A rectangle with rounded corners for a camera is something that we've seen from virtually every smartphone vendor, and it was a trend that was started by Apple. Also, I'm curious about Motorola's decision to put it in the middle instead of in the corner. In fact, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how these designs go.
Motorola announced four phones two weeks ago. Both the Moto G Stylus and Motorola One 5G Ace have the square camera in the corner, while the Moto G Power and Moto G Play have it in the middle. The Moto G Play and Motorola One 5G Ace have the fingerprint sensor on the back, while the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power put it on the side in the power button.
On the bottom of the device, you'll find a USB Type-C port for charging and the speaker grille.
And then on top, there's a 3.5mm audio jack, another inconsistency in design, as the Moto G Stylus and Motorola One 5G Ace have it on the bottom, while the Moto G Play uses this same style. Personally, I think that the 3.5mm audio jack should be on the same side as the charging port, but we can also just celebrate that it has a headphone jack at all.
Ultimately, the Moto G Power feels like a pretty stylish $199 phone. I wish Motorola was a little more consistent across its lineup, of course, but I appreciate the Polar Silver color, the centered camera, and the headphone jack.
The Moto G Power includes a 6.6-inch Max Vision display with a 1600x720 resolution, giving it a 267ppi pixel density. I'm a bit disappointed to see an HD display like it had when I reviewed the Moto G7 Play back in 2019, but also, it's worth noting that last year's Moto G Power had a Full HD display.
The display also doesn't get particularly bright in direct sunlight. But here's the deal with brightness and high resolution: both of those things use up battery life. This display has less than 1.2 million pixels on it, and if it was FHD, it would have twice as many pixels to light up. It would be nice if it was a bit brighter though.
The thing about 720p is that it's noticeable. It's definitely not at that point where your eyes won't see the difference, because they can. You can definitely see some pixellation in this screen, although that's presumably why you're here; there are always sacrifices to get the best battery life, and that's what this phone is for.
The Moto G Power has a hole-punch cut-out for the front-facing camera, something that you'll see across the lineup. It's nice to see the lack of bezels and notches come to lower price points.
The Moto G Power has the same 48MP f/1.7 main sensor that you'll find on the Moto G Stylus and the Motorola One 5G Ace. For this one, there's no ultra-wide sensor, but Motorola does fill in the bare minimum to call this a triple-lens camera. It's got a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor, both of which really only serve the purpose of allowing the OEM to say that there are more camera lenses than the ones that you'll actually use.
As far as new camera features go, there are a couple of good ones. Motorola did boast that it has a night mode in the camera, and you'll see plenty of samples of that below. Another one is spot color video. Spot color is a camera feature that lets you pick one color from the shot, making the rest monochrome. It's rarely practical, but it is fun to use. That's one thing I appreciate about Motorola phones. A lot of the features are just fun.
The tricky thing is that there's no in-between on night mode. For example, on LG phones, you can actually set the brightness of the photo. On others, like a Pixel or an iPhone, it knows the best amount of time to leave the shutter open to take the photo. If you look at a lot of the nighttime shots, some look better with night mode on, and some look better with it off.
Performance and battery life
Motorola used a Snapdragon 662 in the Moto G Power, and I believe it's the first time that the company has used a different processor for all three Moto G tiers, as the Moto G Stylus has a Snapdragon 678. The CPU in this chipset has four 2GHz Kryo 260 Gold cores and four 1.8GHz Kryo 260 Silver cores, and it has an Adreno 610 GPU.
Unsurprisingly, the performance can be sluggish at times, combining the mid-range chipset with just 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. Like I said earlier, there is a 4GB RAM variant, but this phone starts to feel a bit pricey at $249, given the HD display and mediocre camera.
But like I said, that HD display pairs nicely with the 5,000mAh battery. Motorola promises three days of battery life here, and it more or less delivers. It makes sacrifices to get there, but if you don't want to have to worry about bringing a charger with you, this is the phone to get.
The device supports 15W charging, as Motorola phones have for a while now, but the company now ships a 10W charger in the box. This is a cost-cutting measure, but Motorola pointed out to me that once battery life gets to be so good, fast charging isn't so essential, simply because you don't need to charge as much.
For benchmarks, I used Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, and GFXBench. First up is Geekbench 5, which tests the CPU.
Interestingly, the Moto G Stylus got a much higher score here at 539 for single-core and 1,588 for multi-core. Next up is AnTuTu, which tests everything.
For this test, the Stylus got 208,991, so there's a big difference. Finally, GFXBench tests the GPU.
One other thing that I want to note is that this device ships with Android 10. Motorola only really ever offers one feature update to its Moto G series, and that means that it's probably only ever going to get Android 11. Considering that Android 11 has been out for a while now, that's not a great move, and shouldn't count as a feature update.
If you're looking for a phone that costs $199 and gets great battery life, you've come to the right place. Otherwise, I'd say look elsewhere. Like I said before, the Moto G series really isn't about providing more value than the next guy that's selling a phone at the same price anymore. It's about specific pain points, and if the pain point that the device solves isn't yours, Motorola probably has another one to fill that gap.
Indeed, the company has taken its success with the Moto G in the mid-range and expanded it into this convoluted mess of niche devices. As Steve Jobs would have asked, which one do I tell my friends to buy?
But back to if this is for you, it's a nice little phone, and it's nice for under $200. The display, while just 720p, is pretty, and it doesn't have big bezels or a notch, a rarity in a $199 phone. It's also got a decent 48MP camera with quad pixel technology.
If you want to check it out, you can find it on Amazon here.