Moto G Power review: The battery actually lasted me four days without a charge

The Moto G Power ($250 at B&H Photo-Video) is one of the newest members of the Motorola G budget phone family. It follows in the same steps as last year’s Moto G7 Power with both a wallet-friendly price and a gigantic battery. At its core, the $250 Moto G Power is similar to the more expensive Moto G Stylus ($300 at Best Buy). (It’s sold as the Moto G8 Power in the UK for £220. It’s not available in Australia.) Both come at a time when sheltering-in-place means many of us depend on our phones to stay connected with friends, family or work. At the same time, millions of people are in financial distress and can’t afford a new phone or to replace a broken one, especially when new phones can cost upwards of a thousand dollars.

Like

  • Long battery life so far
  • Headphone jack
  • Low Price
  • Macro camera is so much fun

Don’t Like

  • Video recording is rough
  • Photos suffer from noise

And that’s where Motorola stands out from the growing crowd of budget phones by offering both an affordable price and premium features. That’s not to say that the Moto G Power isn’t without compromises. It doesn’t have an IP rating for dust and water resistance and it lacks wireless charging and NFC. But Motorola sensibly traded away such features to keep the price low.

Apple followed a similar formula with its new iPhone SE, announced Wednesday, which omits features found in its higher-end phones such as the iPhone 11 ($699 at Apple) and 11 Pro in order to hit a $399 price. That’s affordable for an iPhone, but it’s still $149 more than the Moto G Power.

And that brings me to timing. Unless you need a new phone just this second, I’d wait a week or two to buy one. The new iPhone SE goes on presale Friday. There are a handful of new Samsung Galaxy budget phones on the way and there are rumors of a follow-up to last year’s Google Pixel 3A ($400 at Walmart)

But if you’re on a budget and looking for a phone with an absolutely mind-blowing battery life, the Moto G Power deserves your consideration. Its 5,000-mAh battery is the same size as the one in the $800 LG V60 and the $1,400 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. To use a different metric: You could buy five Moto G Power phones for the price of a single Galaxy S20 Ultra and use the money left over to take a loved one out to dinner.

Moto G Power vs. Moto G Stylus: Key differences

  • Moto G Power costs $250; the Moto G Stylus costs $300.
  • Moto G Stylus has a 4,000-mAh battery; the Moto G Power has a 5,000-mAh battery.
  • Moto G Power has 64GB of storage; the Moto G Stylus has 128GB of storage.
  • Aside from the macro camera, the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus have different rear cameras.
  • Moto G Stylus has a built-in stylus.
  • Moto G Power comes in Smoke Black; the Moto G Stylus in Mystic Indigo.

Moto G Power has a hole-punch display

The Moto G Power has a 6.4-inch full HD display with a hole-punch that houses the selfie camera. The aesthetic is nice and gives the phone a premium look. It’s reminiscent of Samsung Galaxy phones and their hole-punch display.

It has a USB-C port for charging and a fantastic headphone jack. On the back is a fingerprint reader that doubles as the Motorola logo. It lacks wireless charging and doesn’t have an IP rating for dust or water resistance. It does have a “splash-proof” coating, however, that withstood being in standing puddles of water for several minutes when I was filming footage for a comparison video. But don’t take that as an endorsement to submerge the phone.

The Moto G Power comes with 64GB of storage and supports expandable storage up to 512GB. The phone comes in Smoke Black, which looks fine, though the finish collects more fingerprints than an investigator on CSI. But none of that matters if you’re planning on putting it in a case.

The screen is surrounded by thick bezels that are actually thinner than those on the iPhone 11. The forehead and chin are a bit chunky but at least Motorola got rid of the name on the bottom of the phone, which we saw on last year’s Moto G7.

Moto G Power performance and battery

The Moto G Power has a Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM and runs Android 10 with a number of mostly helpful touches from Motorola. In our performance tests, it fared better than last year’s Moto G7, but still fell behind last year’s Google Pixel 3A and Samsung Galaxy A50 ($228 at Amazon).

Geekbench v.4.0 single-core

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 multicore

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

In everyday use, I had no problem surfing the web or watching YouTube videos. I played PUBG with graphics set to “smooth” and the frame rate at medium and I had no problems. But when I played Alto’s Odyssey, sometimes animations stuttered.

I’m still running battery tests on the Moto G Power, which takes a while. Motorola promised that the phone would last up to three days of regular use on a single charge. During my time with the phone it lasted easily four days between charges. I should point out that last year’s Moto G7 Power, which also had a 5,000-mAh battery, lasted longer in our battery test than every other phone we reviewed in 2019.

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I’ll update this piece with final results and ratings when we finish running our video tests for battery life.

Moto G Power’s triple rear cameras

On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie camera which takes decent photos and video. It’s the same one found on the Moto G Stylus. The dynamic range isn’t the greatest, and the colors in video aren’t as accurate as they could be.

selfie-moto-g-power

A selfie photo taken with the Moto G Power.


Patrick Holland/CNET

And then there are the rear cameras, which… can we acknowledge how cool it is to see a $250 phone with three rear cameras?! The Moto G Power has a 16-megapixel main wide-angle camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera and a macro camera all of which can be used for photos and videos.

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The $250 Moto G power has a triple-rear camera


Patrick Holland/CNET

In good light, photos are decent, but pictures taken indoors or in low light are soft and noisy. The HDR mode works well to help the Moto G Power’s main camera punch above its weight and actually yielded a few decent snaps.

tree-and-fence-moto-g-power

A shot from my backyard with HDR turned on.


Patrick Holland/CNET

tullip-moto-g-power

There are a few of these flowers along the side of my house. The Moto G Power’s HDR captured the lush color of the scene.


Patrick Holland/CNET

Videos from the phone suffer from a limited dynamic range and have the contrast cranked up too high.

The macro camera, which allows you to take ridiculously close-up photos and videos, is one of my favorite features on the phone. I’m astonished at the macro photos the Moto G Power was able to get.

macro-tullip

Here is the same flower as above taken with the macro camera.


Patrick Holland/CNET

But I want to manage your expectations: The camera system on the Moto G Power is fine for the price. But you can get the Google Pixel 3A, normally $399 for $300 right now. That’s just $50 more than the Moto G Power. The Power’s a better all-around phone, but if you’re into taking photos on your phone, the Pixel 3A deserves your consideration. 

Motorola Moto G Power specs compared to Moto G Stylus, Moto G7 Power, Moto G7

Motorola Moto G Power Motorola Moto G Stylus Motorola Moto G7 Power Motorola Moto G7
Display size, resolution 6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels 6.4-inch LCD; 2,300×1,080 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 1,520×720 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 2,270×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 399ppi 399ppi 271ppi 403ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.29×2.98×0.38 in 6.24×2.98×0.36 in 6.28×2.99×0.37 in 6.18×2.96×0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 159.85×75.8×9.63 mm 158.55×75.8×9.2 mm 159.43x76x9.3 mm 157×75.3×8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.01 oz; 199 g 6.77 oz; 192 g 6.98 oz.; 198 g 6.07 oz.; 172 g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 9.0 Android 9.0
Camera 16-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle 48-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle 12-megapixel 12-megapixel, 5-megapixel
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 1,080p 4K
Processor Snapdragon 665 Snapdragon 665 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
Storage 64GB 128GB 32GB 64GB
RAM 4GB 4GB 3GB 4GB
Expandable storage Up to 512GB Up to 512GB Up to 512GB Up to 512GB
Battery 5,000 mAh 4,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 3,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back Back Back Back
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special features Stylus, Action Cam Water repellent with P2i nano-coating; TurboPower charging Water repellent with P2i nano-coating; TurboPower charging
Price off-contract (USD) $250 $300 $249 $299

First published on April 16.