(Pocket-lint) - Motorola has long ruled when it comes to affordable phones. But it doesn't half release a lot of them. Take the G8 as a prime example: this excellent series has a number of main handsets - the G8, G8 Power, G8 Plus - but these handsets each arrived at different times in the launch cycle. Plus there's even more - the G8 Play and G8 Power Lite - which we're excluding here, as they're marginalised devices.
That might cause a bit of a headache when you're looking at a sea of G8 and trying to work out what's different between each phone, which is best suited to you, and which to buy. Here's a breakdown between the big four, having added the new-to-the-series G8 Pro.
Moto G8 vs G8 Power vs G8 Plus vs Pro: Design
- G8 (G Fast): 161.3 x 75.8 x 9mm
- Power: 156 x 75.8 x 9.6mm
- Plus: 158.4 x 75.8 x 9.1mm
- Pro (G Stylus): 158.6 x 75.8 x 9.2mm
- G8 & Plus: 188g (6.6oz)
- Power: 197g (6.95oz)
- Pro: 192g
- All: Rear-positioned fingerprint scanner
- All: 3.5mm headphone jack
- Pro only: Integrated stylus
First thing's first: price order. The G8 (which is called the G Fast in the USA, but which we'll refer to as the G8 in this article) is the most affordable of the lot. The G8 Power is the next step up, as you're paying more for the bigger battery (along with some other features). The G8 Plus is the current priciest of the three, because the G8 Pro doesn't yet have a price tag (we're expecting it to be the priciest).
In terms of size, you'd think the Plus is the biggest model - but that's not the case any more, given its age (it launched in 2019, the other three arrived in 2020). Between all handsets there are only a few millimetres here and there, really, so you'd struggle to identify a huge difference between them. The Power is the thickest, though, as the battery capacity is the largest of the trio.
It's largely like-for-like in terms of features otherwise. All handsets have a headphones jack, all offer a rear-positioned fingerprint scanner - no under-screen action to be found anywhere here. Different models come in different colours, and have different camera arrangements, but there's little preference in the way either looks.
The G8 Pro - known as the G Stylus in the USA (just to make things extra extra confusing, and which we'll refer to as the G8 Pro in this article) - comes with an integrated stylus, so you can scrawl notes and activate actions.
Moto G Fast vs G8 Power vs G8 Plus vs G Stylus: Screen
- G8: 6.4-inch, 720 x 1560 resolution, IPS LCD
- Power & Pro: 6.4-inch, 1080 x 2300 resolution, IPS LCD
- Plus: 6.3-inch, 1080 x 2280 resolution, IPS LCD
- G8, Power & Pro: punch-hole / Plus: dewdrop notch
As all handsets are very similar sizes, all have similar screen sizes too. The Plus, almost ironically, has the smallest screen of the three - although line the lot up side-by-side and you'd struggle to notice.
The difference is in resolution: the G8, as the cheapest model, has the fewest pixels by quite a margin. The Power/Pro and the Plus have equivalent resolutions: i.e. the additional diagonal portion of the Power/Pro models means they have slightly more pixels on display.
When it comes to the notch - that's the black-out part where the selfie camera lives - the G8, Power and Pro opt for a punch-hole, while the Plus, being a little older, features a dewdrop notch. Of the lot, we actually prefer the Plus' implementation, but it's all a case of preference.
Moto G8 vs G8 Power vs G8 Plus: Spec
- All: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, 4GB RAM
- Battery capacity:
- G8, Plus & Pro: 4,000mAh
- Power: 5,000mAh
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi
- G8 & Power: 802.11 b/g/n
- Plus & Pro: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Whether you choose to pay the least or a little more, there's zero difference in the core processor specification between these four G series handsets. Even the RAM amount is the same. As such, expect identical performance when it comes to running apps and games. All are fairly capable here.
The bigger point of difference is in battery capacity. The G8, Plus and Pro have a considerable cell powering things, but the Power has a massive 25 per cent boost over those - giving it genuine two-day life per charge.
Charging is handled quickest by the Plus, Power and Pro, with 15W charging apiece. The G8 maxes out at 10W, so is a little slower to recharge. None offer wireless charging - this is the affordable end of the market, after all.
One point well worth making is the Wi-Fi speed of these handsets. Downloads on the G8 and Power are rather slow, whereas the Plus and Pro offer faster protocols. That makes a big difference if you're downloading hundreds of Megabytes for games, apps and work-related projects. If you're just emailing and such like, there's nothing much in it though. All four are 4G/LTE for mobile connectivity, none offer 5G.
Moto G8 vs G8 Power vs G8 Plus vs Pro: Cameras
- G8: Triple rear:
- Main: 16MP, f/1.7 / Wide: 8MP, f/2.2 / Macro: 2MP, f/2.2
- Power: Quad rear:
- Main: 16MP, f/1.7 / 2x zoom: 8MP, f/2.2 / Wide: 8MP, f/2.2 / Macro: 2MP, f/2.2
- Plus: Triple rear:
- Main: 48MP, f/1.7 / Wide/Action Cam: 16MP, f/2.2 / Depth: 5MP, f/2.2
- Pro: Triple rear:
- Main: 48MP, f/1.7 / Wide/Action Cam: 16MP, f/2.2 / Macro: 2MP, f/2.2
- Selfie: G8: 8MP / Power & Pro: 16MP / Plus: 25MP
The cameras arrangement is the main reason you'll pay more to buy the Plus over the other handsets. It features a 48-megapixel main sensor - the same as in the Pro - which uses Quad Pixel technology to oversample and produce 12MP output at the best quality of all. The 16MP sensor on the G8 and Power is passable though.
The Plus and Pro also have the most capable wide-angle camera of the lot, in terms of operability. The lower-resolution ones on the G8 and Power just lack sharpness in all conditions and processing that doesn't help it. Again, the Plus and Pro win out if you're looking for the overall best camera performer.
However, the Plus doesn't have the most lenses. A sign, if ever there was one, that most doesn't always equal better. The Power squeezes four cameras onto its rear, but the addition of a Macro (which the Pro also takes into its spec) is largely pointless, but its 2x zoom (which the Pro lacks, oddly) is definitely handy - and the reason the Power edges beyond the standard G8 in the cameras department.
In short: the cheaper handset, the G8, has the weakest camera performance; the middle-price handset, the Power, has the same camera performance but with a useful 2x zoom addition; the higher-price handsets, the Plus and Pro, have the best camera performance of the lot - but the absence of an optical zoom in either, especially the Pro, is perplexing.
Moto G Fast vs G8 Power vs G8 Plus vs G Stylus: Conclusion
So there you have it: if price is your all then the G8 makes a compelling outright purchase. However, if you want more battery life, more diverse cameras, and more screen resolution, the Power is unrivalled.
The Plus, meanwhile, offers a better main cameras experience (ignoring its lack of optical zoom) - and that's the only reason to buy this one beyond the others.
The G8 Pro, with its stylus integration, seems almost like a replacement for the Plus to us. It's not, officially speaking, but perhaps the Plus line won't continue in the future. Whether a stylus is really that useful for your phone needs is up for question.
Of the four, on balance of price and features, we think the Power is the current unbeatable Motorola phone.
This article was originally published 28 April 2020 and has been updated to incorporate name changes and the introduction of the G8 Pro / G Stylus