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Hands on: Moto G8 Power Review

Is the Moto G8 Power a winning combination of strong specifications at a reasonable price?

First Impressions

A promising budget phone, especially for those who require an enduring battery.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £219
  • 155.95 x 75.84 x 9.63mm
  • 197g
  • 6.4-inch Full HD+ display
  • Snapdragon 665 chipset
  • 5000mAh battery
  • Quadruple camera
  • Android 10

Motorola has made a speciality of mid-range smartphones at reasonable prices. We were very impressed with last year’s Moto G7 Power, so can its sequel live up to expectations?

The Motorola G8 Power is a mid-range smartphone that’s priced at £219. Each member of the G series typically comes with a key selling point (with the Plus being the premium edition, for instance), and in this case Power refers to the extraordinary battery that this device packs: 5000mAh. If you’re looking for longevity on a budget, then this will be one of the first phones to consider.

It will go on sale from February 20, available at Carphone Warehouse, John Lewis, Argos and Amazon.

Moto G8 Power – Design

The design of the Moto G8 Power is aimed to imitate flagship smartphones, with fairly slim bezels making an 88% screen-to-body ratio, and the introduction of a cut-out selfie camera in a nod to the design of the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Turning the device around, the rear panel has a ribbed effect – the eye is drawn to the imposing quadruple camera set-up and the M-branded rear fingerprint scanner. It’s available in two colours: bright Capri Blue or understated Smoke Black.

Turning to more practical concerns, the Moto G8 Power has a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, and has a certified water resistance rating of IP52. It shares the first three of these features with its predecessor, the Moto G7 Power, but the latter is a welcome addition (even though not particularly strong) compared to the non-specific “splash-resistant” tag given to its forerunner.

Moto G8 Power – Camera

At face value, the camera system seems to have received a huge upgrade in comparison to the sole 12-megapixel sensor of the G7 Power. It’s the single biggest area of improvement over its predecessor as we run our eyes down the specs sheet, and here is the full set-up detailed from top to bottom:

  • 8-megapixel ultrawide lens with 118-degree field of view
  • 16-megapixel main camera with f/1.7 aperture
  • 2-megapixel macro sensor with f/2.2 aperture
  • 8-megapixel telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom

Moto G8 Power camera

It’s far too early for us to give a definitive judgment on the camera system; that will only come courtesy of our full review, coming soon. But in the brief time we had with the device, the main camera seemed to perform fairly well, with decent levels of detail and fairly muted colours.

The ultrawide lens has a field of view approximately matching that of the human eye, and fortunately I couldn’t detect obvious distortion at first glance; a relief, since that can often be a problem with such lenses. However, I felt a little disappointed with the first results I snapped with the telephoto lens, as the images seem to lack clarity and sharpness.

Moto G8 Power – Battery life

The headline spec of this handset is undoubtedly the battery, which blows away even top-of-the-line smartphones. You could pay £1000 or more for a handset and still not match this specification: the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a 4300mAh battery capacity, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has 3969mAh, but the modest Moto G8 Power packs 5000mAh. That exactly matches the previous entry in the series, but this time round the battery is supposed to last even longer (“more than two days on a single charge”) thanks to software tweaks and a more efficient processor.

Though we had no time to test out the startling battery claims, we were bowled over by its predecessor, so if the Moto G8 Power manages to match or exceed that performance, it will undoubtedly be an excellent choice for intensive users who prioritise battery life.

Moto G8 Power – Performance

The Snapdragon 665 processor may be an upgrade from last time around, but it’s still firmly in the mid range. 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is par for the course at this price, but fortunately the storage is augmented by a handy micro SD card slot. Don’t expect the very best performance – if you spend your time editing photos or running demanding games you might want to look elsewhere – but we’d expect a level of performance good enough to deal with most people’s standard daily tasks.

Moto G8 Power: Apps drawer

Another encouraging feature of the device is its stripped-down approach to software. It comes pre-installed with little other than the Google Suite of apps and the brand’s own Moto Gestures for quirky shortcuts (a karate chop to activate a torch, a twist of the wrist to summon the camera, and a three-finger swipe for a screenshot). When competitors are loaded with useless bloatware that bogs down the device, this is a refreshingly simple approach.

Moto G8 Power – Screen

The 6.4-inch screen is the largest ever featured on a Moto G series device, and it’s got a Full HD + resolution. There are slim bezels around the edge of the screen, and a small cut-out camera in the top corner; this was fairly unobtrusive most of the time, but when tilting the phone horizontally, a black bar appeared across the side of the screen housing the camera, so viewing content is a little more limited than you’d expect at first. Overall, though, the screen seemed sharp and bright.

There are dual speakers on either side, intended for a more immersive audio experience (we didn’t get the chance to test this comprehensively, but audio notifications certainly came through loud and clear).

Moto G8 Power – Early Verdict

We haven’t had enough time with the phone to provide you with definitive buying advice, but it certainly looks promising from our initial impressions. The behemoth of a battery will almost certainly be a strong recommending factor, and the screen also looks pleasant too, while the processor should be capable enough of handling typical day-to-day activities without a problem. The camera demands more cautious attention, as I wasn’t completely sold on what I saw at first – but the fact there are more cameras to play around with compared to its predecessor is an encouraging sign. It looks like a capable device, but before you make the decision to buy it’s worth waiting for our upcoming full review with our final verdict.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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