Yes, you can go out there and get yourself a phone with a blazing fast processor. Yes, you can get one that costs nearly £1,000 and has a stack of cameras and a whole bucket-full of tricks. But what if you want one that doesn’t cost the Earth and has a really decent battery life?
Step forward, the Moto G8 Power. It’s £219.99 (as I type) from the likes of Carphone Warehouse, Currys and Amazon. You can also get it via Vodafone, with prices starting at £30 a month with just £9 upfront for a 6GB of data.
She’s got a really good screen – 1080 x 2300 pixels at nearly 400 ppi. At this price-bracket that’s solid. Powered by a Qualcomm SDM 665 (the same one we saw on the Realme 5 if memory serves) which, with 8 cores, can run up to 2Ghz. There’s Android 10, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage on-board which you can top up with a microSD.
Things to know
Around back, the camera arrangement isn’t going to challenge those £1,000 high-end smartphones, but you’ll get a very decent image. There’s a main 16 megapixel f/1.7 lens, an 8 megapixel telephoto, 8 megapixel wide-angle and a 2 megapixel macro lens. Those latter 3 cameras are all f/2.2. Up front, and in the display, there’s a 16 megapixel selfie shooter.
It seems no too long ago that in-display cameras were bleeding edge, so to see this on a phone costing around £200 is really good.
There’s also WiFi (albeit 2.4GHz only, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C fast charging (via the 18W charger in the box) and that 5000mAh battery.
OK, so at this price you’ll usually find a few things “dropped” from a smartphone. It’s usually camera, WiFi, NFC, charging socket (going back to a microUSB) or screen. Luckily here the screen hasn’t been discounted – it’s a very decent reproduction and, although the amount of megapixels is less than more expensive phones, the cameras work very well indeed despite the fact that they’re less megapixels than other more expensive smartphones.
I have mentioned that the WiFi isn’t dual-band. No 5G either. Neither of those things are big job-stoppers though and most people are fine with 2.4GHz and 4G. There’s no NFC, which means you’ll not be able to pay for things via the contactless “tappy-tappy” payments on your phone. You’ll have to use your actual bank card instead of Google Pay.
The camera is clever enough to detect what you’re snapping (such as food). It’ll also do auto-smile capture if you want and you can add some helper tools such as a leveller to keep photos … err .. level. It can do “Smart Composition”, location saving, HDR, timed shots, slow-mo video, 4K UHD video and more.
Here’s the actual preview pane with it spotting that I’m snapping some food. The shot is then adjusted so it looks as good as possible.
I took a range of shots with the camera – the first two inside and with low light. They came out very well and were a good match to what I could actually see with the naked eye. This first one, of the biscuits, I was particularly impressed with as there wasn’t much light at all – plus it’s a black background.
Here’s all the lenses in action. First, from the wide-angle lens…
Then the normal lens…
Then onto the telephoto lens. You can zoom in further but it’s a more digital affair.
Then we can get close…
That second shot was taken as the flower was blowing around a lot too. Here’s some more general outdoor shots..
Put simply, at this price, the camera performed excellently. There was a good amount of detail and it picked out darker shots well. It didn’t feel like I was using a smartphone that was just a “battery one tricky pony”. Performance across a wide range of photos was impressive and I really did struggle to find any negative to say about the shots it produced.
Around the phone
The phone is slightly thicker than some of the more slender flagship models, but that is partly because of the case (that you’ll probably want to keep on it) and the battery (which, after all, is the party piece here). Although there’s no curved screen or super-thin style, almost everyone nowadays will be putting their phone in a case anyway and you’ll be the one who won’t be requiring a portable charger all the time.
As you can see, the fingerprint sensor is located centrally on the back and your finger lands very easily into that position without too much thought. It responded well to my finger and seemed to unlock quickly and without any real mistakes.
The volume control and wake key is shown in this shot, which I’ve taken with the case on just to show you how well it fits. Easy to locate these and the wake key is a nicely weighted button which isn’t overly hard to push.
A real, “old fashioned” (joke!) 3.5mm audio port sits at the top along with a secondary microphone for sound cancellation.
The back of the phone is slightly curved at each side, making it easy to hold. The screen lacks HDR but is very bright, clear and crisp. That 2400 x 1080 resolution LCD panel means that everything looks sharp, albeit without the slight colour richness of an AMOLED screen.
The screen is close to the edges and easy to read. Below you can see the in-screen selfie camera..
Here’s another look at the camera arrangement, the Motorola-branded fingerprint sensor and, as you slide over those rounded edges, the volume and wake button – all without the case this time.
On the opposite side of the phone, the SIM pops out…
..to reveal a microSD card slot and SIM tray..
And here’s the bottom of the phone, complete with a bit of pocket-fluff. The bottom external speaker and USB-C charging port is here along with the microphone hole.
The finish is glossy but, on the back, there’s a reflective lined arrangement which I’ve hopefully picked up on this image here..
The battery, in my tests, does indeed last ages. It does depend on your usage though to some degree – a heavy user might see two days but a normal user might see three. The only minor issue is the time it takes to charge – there’s no speedy charging so it’s around 2 hours to get to a full charge from flat. Obviously, if you’re not in a hurry and charging overnight then you’re fine, but if you’ve just nailed that battery and you want a quick boost, that’s not really going to happen.
In the next part we’ll be looking at the software of the Moto G8 Power, the GUI and the user experience. Stay tuned!
Until then, if you want one, head to Carphone Warehouse, Currys, Amazon where you can pick one up for £219.95 or less if you’re lucky. You can also get more info at Motorola.com or get the phone on contract with Vodafone offering a massive 6GB of data for just £30 a month with a £9 upfront charge.