(Pocket-lint) - Moto G is Motorola's best-selling family of devices. Launched back in 2014 to appeal to a younger user with tighter budgets, the G family has moved from budget darling to surprisingly powerful in recent iterations.
When the Moto G7 Power launched in 2019, it had one target in its sights: battery life. For the simple reason that's one of the biggest complaints of smartphone users - and this phone's 5,000mAh battery looks to solve that.
As we said upon release: Motorola hits it out of the park with the Power - something it's continued to do with its follow-up, the G8 Power - resulting in a phone that's outstanding in its endurance. It's seriously good value for money too.
A design on the hefty side
- Dimensions: 159 x 76 x 9.3mm
- Finishes: Black, blue or violet
- No water protection
- Weight: 193g
Stuffing a big battery in a phone leads to one thing: increased weight. That's one of the first things you'll notice about the Moto G7 Power - it's a pretty hefty and substantial device, more so than most flagship phones.
Fortunately, Motorola has done much to mitigate the size with nicely curved edges - so it's not too unwieldy in the hand. Obviously, this isn't just chunk for the sake of chunk - when you're cutting through a whole weekend and you're still on your first charge, you'll be understanding of that size for the sake of battery.
The design doesn't deviate too much from previous Moto G outings, coming here in black, blue or a violet gradient colour. For the black phone it's a glossy finish and no sooner have you lifted it out of the box as it will covered in fingerprints. But there is a clear case in the box which does a great job of protecting the phone and making it super grippy, although it does make the phone even fatter.
Compared to the regular Moto G7 and the G7 Plus, we have to say that the G7 Power doesn't look quite as premium, but it's a healthy step better looking than the Moto G7 Play (its cheaper sibling). The newer G8 Power looks much the same, but more refined, in part because the 'motorola' logo plastered on the front has been removed.
The Power's design is a little conservative and compared to some of the fancy finishes now available it's hardly exciting - but retailers are always telling us that people buy "safe" colours, so perhaps that's by intention.
We also like the position of the speaker. It uses the ear speaker as the loudspeaker, so if you're playing games this fires sound towards you and you're a lot less likely to block it with a hand when you're holding the phone.
A notched display
- 6.2-inch LCD display with notch
- 1520 x 720 pixels (271ppi)
One of the key elements of the design is the notch at the top of the display. On the G7 Power you have a wider notch than the G7 and the G7 Plus - both of which carry a dewdrop-style notch that looks a little more contemporary. If you don't like that then the G8 Power goes all-out and instead opts for a punch-hole to keep things even neater.
The G7Power's notch sits atop a 6.2-inch display with an HD+ resolution (1520 x 720 pixels). That's not hugely detailed and it's on the edge of acceptable resolution at this size - and sometimes it's not quite as sharp as you might like - but there's all the colour, vibrancy and potential brightness to counter direct sunlight that you'll need. If you demand more resolution then, well, buy the newer version - the G8 Power ups the resolution, presumably in response to criticism of this very model on review.
However, as we say about so many Moto phones, there are a couple of downsides. Firstly, the auto-brightness is a little lacklustre, often dimming too aggressively. Secondly, you'll find that when apps fill in the black spaces to the sides of the notch that it's not a really deep black - it still glows - because it's an LCD display and those black areas are still emitting some light, unlike a glorious OLED alternative.
Hardware & performance
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage + microSD
- No NFC
When it comes to the hardware, the Moto G7 Power sits on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 platform - the same core hardware as the Moto G7 and the G7 Play - along with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage, with microSD support up to 512GB. This is a mid-range eight-core hardware from its 2019 release year.
It's still pretty powerful, though, and we've found it perfectly capable at running demanding apps, like PUBG Mobile, although this drops down to the lowest graphics settings. That means things don't look quite so glorious, but we've still managed to take home plenty of chicken dinners, so it doesn't mean you can't compete.
Daily tasks and switching around apps is plenty fast too. It's a slightly slower experience than the best phones out there, but for a fraction of the price that really doesn't matter. We have found that sometimes things can get a little slow when there's a lot of data activity going on - downloading and installing updates for example - but we also found a bigger issue with data latency or handover, sometimes losing a connection when moving from Wi-Fi to 4G, for example.
This manifests itself when leaving home Wi-Fi for example. All phones hang on to the Wi-Fi and then there's a slight pause before you're back on 4G, but in the case of the Moto, we've been left with nothing for several minutes on occasions. This isn't a huge problem - we've not found ourselves unable to get a connection - or had any problems with connectivity when on either Wi-Fi or 4G, but it's something you might notice in use.
The rear fingerprint scanner is fast to unlock, there's a 3.5mm headphone socket for those not yet ready to move over to Bluetooth headphones, although there is no NFC (near-field communication) so you'll be denied contactless payments.
The holy grail of battery life
- 5,000mAh battery capacity
- Turbo Charge fast-charge
- USB-C connection
Of course the big story here is the battery. At 5,000mAh it has a massive capacity, especially compared to the 3,000mAh across the rest of the G7 series - something that's since been upped in more recent G series releases, because of how well it served its purpose here.
The G7 Power comes with a 15W TurboPower charger in the box, while there's a USB-C connection on the base - so when it does come to recharging, it doesn't take long.
That battery will also last you through 24 hours with ease; even during long days, with plenty of hotspot use and a couple of hours of gaming, we're still finishing the day with 50 per cent charge. Lighten up the use a bit and you're looking at a phone that doesn't need charging every day.
This is where the Moto G Power makes its case: it will outlast pretty much every flagship phone on the market and that means you're really getting something for your money that others don't offer. We'd even go as far as saying that for the sheer convenience of that battery - the assurance that you can head out the door and not have to worry about charging when you're out - that other performance sacrifices are worth accepting.
- Android 10 operating system
- Moto app addition
Motorola has been giving its users a pretty clean software experience since the launch of the Moto G family. It launched running on Google's Android 9 Pie - and from April 2020 that's upgradable to Android 10 with some additional features.
You're blissfully spared pre-installed apps, which is a welcome relief, so there's nothing to uninstall or hide to get you started - and that gives this phone a major advantage over some of the affordable rivals, like the Xiaomi Redmi S2.
There are Moto Actions included - a range of gestures to automate some actions as well as some display tweaks you can make - which is a worthwhile addition.
What we like about the Moto G experience is the purist of Android. It looks and feels very much like the Google Pixel; it's fast and fluid and it's a welcome relief to not be fighting the software to get it to do basic things - which is the problem with some competitors' skins.
- 12MP rear camera (1.25µm pixels), f/2.0 aperture
- 8MP front camera (1.12µm), f/2.2 aperture
There's no dual camera on the Moto G7 Power - that's saved for the Moto G7 and G7 Plus - so instead you get a single 12-megapixel rear camera, powered by a custom Moto camera app. Want more? Look to the G8 series, as the G8 Power offers a 2x zoom, a wide-angle, and a macro in addition to its main.
The camera performance from the G7 Power is pretty average - this isn't going to muscle-in on the likes of the Pixel 3 XL or Huawei Mate 20 Pro to compete for the top spot - but it's not entirely bad either.
In good daylight conditions it's a perfectly reasonable camera, both front and back. You get plenty of detail and vibrancy; although there's no AI mode (artificial intelligence) to boost your pictures like some competitors - although if you're using Google Photos it will boost some photos for you if needed. There is HDR (high dynamic range), but it's not quite as adept as some - and in some cases it's difficult to see if it's doing anything at all.
Google Lens is integrated, meaning you can point and identify objects or quickly extract information that the camera can see. You'll also get Active Photos if you want this feature, which gives you a short video capture with your photo, so there's movement included. Video capture also runs up to 4K at 30fps.
There is also a portrait mode, using face detection to identify what should be in focus and what shouldn't. It works reasonably well, blurring the background using software, although there can be some confusion where it goes overboard - in which case it's better to use the manual mode and dial down the effect a bit so it's not so obvious. Portrait mode the front camera also offers a skin smoothing beauty mode, if you want it.
But in low-light conditions the weaknesses come crashing through: longer exposure leads to blur, high ISO sensitivities lead to image noise and this is where the Moto G7 Power is really marked out from the best cameras out there. Does that matter? At this price, probably not - because this phone camera is as good as many flagships from a couple of years ago. Just don't expect too much when the light dips.
The Moto G7 Power has a lot of strings to its bow. It sits at the affordable end of the Android spectrum, providing unbeatable battery life at a great price point. There's a big display, expandable storage, bloat-free software, and enough power to attack most things - even if you need to let the settings slide.
On the downside there's a slightly weak camera in low-light conditions, a display that's also on the weak side with over-active auto-brightness adjustment, and the design is rather chunky. The question is whether you are happy with such compromises - we think it's all fair cop. It's only bettered by the G8 Plus, so if you can find this older model for less cash then it's a long-lasting bargain.
This article was originally published on 07 February 2019 and has been updated to reflect additional market context
The Honor Play offers flagship-level hardware (from 2018) and a more capable display than the Moto. However, it won't match the battery life and its software is a lot more fiddly.
Moto G8 Power
Looking for even more? The newer Power model has more resolution, more screen size, and the same massive battery. A no-brainer to buy - although the G7 Power is cheaper (as it was at launch).
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