Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire
Huge battery capacity
Great sound quality
Heavy and bulky
Camera app is slow
The Moto G Power is a little on the heavy side, but solid performance, outstanding battery life, and a great price tag make for a winning formula all the same.
We purchased the Moto G Po so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Moto G Power is a budget smartphone that brings decent performance, a huge battery, and a lightweight price tag to the table. This phone is heavier and bulkier than a lot of the more expensive alternatives, but the raw numbers suggest it might just be a winner. With a 6.4-inch IPS display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, and a massive 5,000 mAh battery, all with a pretty attractive price tag, the Moto G Power certainly offers an interesting value proposition.
Especially interested in the much-touted three-day battery, I swapped out my daily driver phone with a Moto G Power for about a week. Over that time, I tested everything from performance and call quality to battery life, camera quality, and general usability. Does this phone really have the power you need? It just might.
Motorola had to compromise in some areas to deliver a phone with this kind of performance and battery life, but aesthetics wasn’t one of those areas. The phone looks great, with a standard glass sandwich design that feels smooth and premium in the hand. The body is fairly compact for a phone with a 6.4-inch screen, thanks to fairly thin bezels and a hole-punch camera, but it’s also pretty heavy. You don’t get a battery this big and a super light phone, it just doesn’t work that way.
The front of the phone features the aforementioned large screen, with a hole-punch camera, surrounded by thin bezels on the side and top and a slightly thicker bezel on the bottom. Around the back, a 16MP main camera is joined by a vertically-oriented array of flash, wide-angle sensor, and depth sensor. Near the bottom of that array, in the middle of the back, you’ll find a small thumbprint sensor that sports the Motorola logo.
Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire
The right side of the phone features the volume and power buttons, while the SIM tray is found on the left. Along the bottom edge, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, and four holes that act as a speaker grill.
The Moto G Power is available in multiple colors on Best Buy, but most retailers have smoke black which isn’t actually uniformly black. While the edges and back of this glass sandwich are indeed black, the back has a subtle design of ridged lines etched beneath the glass that looks really nice from the right angles.
The Moto G Power features a 6.4-inch IPS display with a 2300x1080 resolution and a hole-punch camera. Instead of a thick bezel or an ugly teardrop like a lot of budget phones offer these days, you actually get comparatively thin bezels and a tiny hole punch for the camera like you’d expect out of a much more expensive device.
The 6.4-inch IPS display looks great under most conditions, and it’s bright enough that I was even able to use it outside in full sunlight without any real difficulty. Colors look great, and while the contrast isn’t up to snuff with some more expensive OLED devices I’ve used, it’s really good for a phone in this price range.
The performance of the main rear camera is okay for a phone in this price range, turning in decent results if the lighting is great and both you and your subject remain absolutely still.
The Moto G Power features a Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM, and has 64GB of internal storage. The processor is new this year, and we’ve seen it in a lot of mid-range phones. To get a good baseline idea of how this new chip performs in the Moto G Power, I ran a series of benchmarks.
The first benchmark I ran was Work 2.0 from PCMark. This is a productivity benchmark that tests how well a phone does at regular daily tasks like word processing, web browsing, and image editing.
The Moto G Power scored a respectable 6,882 in the Work 2.0 benchmark. That’s significantly higher than other budget phones I benchmarked at the same time and even a bit higher than the similarly-equipped Moto G Stylus. Aside from the basic benchmark, it scored 7,019 in web browsing, 7,200 in writing, and 10,840 in photo editing.
Overall, the Moto G Power performed flawlessly. The great Work 2.0 benchmark numbers suggested that I wouldn’t have any issues, and I didn’t. Menus and screens load and switch smoothly, apps launch quickly, and I was able to run multiple apps, open over a dozen webpages at once, stream video, and everything else I tried without a hitch.
In addition to the productivity benchmark, I also ran a few gaming benchmarks from GFXBench. I started with Car Chase 2.0, a benchmark that simulates a fast-paced 3D game with advanced shaders and lighting effects. The Moto G Power scored a dismal 6.6fps in that benchmark, indicating that this phone isn’t really meant for playing cutting edge games. My Pixel 3, a two-year-old Google flagship phone, manages 23fps in that benchmark, for a point of comparison.
After Car Chase, I ran the T-Rex benchmark. This is another 3D benchmark that’s designed for less powerful hardware, and the Moto G Power did much better. It managed a respectable 33fps in that benchmark, which is a level of performance that would actually be playable in a real game.
For some real-world testing, I downloaded Asphalt 9 and ran through a couple races. This 3D racing game is optimized pretty well for middle and low-end hardware, and it ran seamlessly on the Moto G Power without any slowdown or dropped frames to speak of.
With that positive experience, I downloaded the open-world adventure game Genshin Impact. This game doesn’t even run on a lot of lower-end hardware, but it ran really well on the Moto G Power. The painterly world of Teyvat looks great on the 6.4-inch FHD display, and I was able to seek out and grab some meteorites in the Unreconciled Stars event without issue.
The Moto G Power is compatible with a variety of LTE bands depending on the version you choose and your carrier, and it’s also equipped with dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0. There’s no NFC or any other fancy features though, just Wi-Fi, LTE cellular, and Bluetooth.
To test Wi-Fi connectivity, I used a Gigabyte Mediacom connection measured at just shy of 1Gbps at the router at the time of testing, and paired with an Eero mesh Wi-Fi system. At the time of testing, for a point of comparison, my Pixel 3 registered a top download speed of 320Mbps.
Measured in close proximity to my router, the Moto G Power registered a top download speed of 288Mbps. That’s faster than any of the other budget phones that I tested at the same time, and not that much slower than my Pixel.
For the next test, I moved about 30 feet away from the router and beacons. At that distance, the Moto G Power dropped to 157Mbps. I then moved about 50 feet from the router, and the speed dropped to 121Mbps. Finally, I checked the connection speed about 100 feet from any router or beacon, down in my garage, and the download speed dropped precipitously to 29Mbps. That’s quite a drop-off, but still plenty fast enough to stream high definition video.
For cellular connectivity, I paired the Moto G Power with a Google Fi SIM connected to T-Mobile towers. The results were quite impressive. In the same location where my Pixel 3 registered speeds of 15Mbps down and 2Mbps up, the Moto G Power managed a massive 27.2Mbps down and 2Mbps up.
Everywhere I took the Moto G Power, it consistently offered great data and voice connectivity. Aside from the battery life and general high level of performance for a budget phone, great cellular connectivity is one of the best features of this phone.
Is this really a $250 phone? That was my first thought when I fired up the YouTube Music app, tapped play on “A New Wave” by Sleater-Kinney, and set the phone down on my desk. Tucker and Brownstein’s vocals came through loud and clear, without a hint of distortion, and likewise with their dueling guitars. The highs are definitely more apparent than the lows, but the Moto G Power’s speakers sound better than a lot of smart speakers I’ve used. Getting that level of quality out of a budget smartphone is almost unreal.
The highs are definitely more apparent than the lows, but the Moto G Power’s speakers sound better than a lot of smart speakers I’ve used.
The Moto G Power is a budget phone with a budget price, so something clearly had to give. This is it. Where the slightly more expensive Moto G Stylus features a 48MP main sensor on the back, the Moto G Power’s main sensor is just 16MP. It also features a wide-angle camera with a depth sensor and a second 16MP camera on the front for selfies and videoconferencing. For video, the camera is capable of recording in 4K.
The performance of the main rear camera is okay for a phone in this price range, turning in decent results if the lighting is great and both you and your subject remain absolutely still. Details are sharp, and colors look good. Color contrast, on the other hand, isn’t as good, with similar nearby hues failing to really stand out. Less than perfect conditions result in a loss of detail and blurry shots, while less than ideal light tends to introduce unacceptable levels of noise.
The front camera works well enough, but it also turns in substandard results in anything less than perfect lighting. Color definition, blown-out light, and uneven shadows abound if the lighting isn’t right, while both selfies and videoconferencing work pretty well if you have good lighting.
This is the main attraction of the Moto G Power: a 5,000 mAh battery and so-called three-day battery life. Long story short, Motorola isn’t playing fast and loose with the facts there. I was actually able to get 3+ days of use out of this phone with my regular level of phone calls, texting, web browsing, and app usage. Your mileage will vary depending on things like screen brightness and whether or not you feel the need to binge the entirety of “Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix with the cellular radio and Bluetooth on, but the fact is that the Moto G Power is packing one big battery.
In addition to just using the phone like I normally would, I also charged it up to full, set the brightness all the way up, connected to Wi-Fi, and let it sit and stream YouTube videos nonstop until battery death. It clocked an impressive 17 hours of playtime before it finally ran out of power.
The only issues here in terms of power is that the phone takes longer to charge than I’d like, and it doesn’t support wireless charging. The latter can be explained away as a cost-saving measure, just like the omission of NFC and other advanced features, but the slow charging is a bit of a pain point. While it does come with a 10-watt charger, charging it to full from nearly dead takes about two hours.
I was actually able to get 3+ days of use out of this phone with my regular level of phone calls, texting, web browsing, and app usage.
The Moto G Power ships with Android 10, and it runs pretty well. It isn’t exactly stock, but Motorola doesn’t do a whole lot of changing things just for the sake of changing them. For the most part, it works just like I remember stock Android 10 running on my Pixel before I upgraded to Android 11.
Motorola does include some nice extras, like Moto Actions which allows you to perform a number of common functions, like opening the camera and turning on the flashlight, with specific movements of the phone. For example, a double chopping motion will turn the flashlight on.
Moto Actions also let you activate or deactivate a handful of extra swipe controls. For example, you can activate swipe to shrink or an option that allows you to snap a screenshot at any time by touching the screen with three fingers. If you aren’t a fan of Motorola Actions, you can just turn them off.
Some of the other features include Moto Gametime, Peek Display, and Attentive Display. Gametime gives you easy access to useful tools and settings whenever you’re playing a game, Peek Display allows you to interact with notifications when the screen is still off, and attentive display keeps the display active as long as you’re looking at it.
With an unlocked MSRP of $250 and a significantly lower street price if you buy a carrier-locked version, the Moto G Power represents a tremendous value. You can find cheaper phones, but you won’t find a cheaper one that comes close to this feature set. You can also find phones that include the handful of features that the Moto G Power omits, but you won’t find one at this price point. If you don’t mind the extra heft caused by the massive battery, and you can live without features like NFC and wireless charging, the Moto G Power represents a fantastic deal even at full list price.
With similar specifications and profiles, the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus will naturally draw comparisons. The biggest differences here are the inclusion of a built-in stylus with the Moto G Stylus, a battery that’s 1,000 mAh bigger in the Moto G Power, and a $50 price differential. The Moto G Stylus has an MSRP of $300 compared to the $250 price point of the Moto G Power.
With nearly identical hardware, the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus benchmark similarly, and they also perform similarly under real-world conditions. The main difference is that the batter in the Moto G Power lasts longer. In my own testing, the Moto G Power also showed faster download speeds over LTE when measured at the same time in the same location.
If having a built-in stylus is a must-have feature for you, then the Moto G Stylus is a great option. It performs just as well as the Moto G Power, the 4,000 mAh battery lasts plenty long. It also has a better main rear camera. If you don’t really care about a stylus though, you’re better off saving the $50 and buying a Moto G Power.
One of the best phones at this price.
The Moto G Power looks great, provides fantastic battery life, and has a great price. It’s fast and responsive, the cameras are decent if not really anything to write home about, and the Dolby speakers are fantastic for a budget phone. The bottom line is that this is one of the best phones I’ve used at this price point, and it’s worth picking up if you’re working on a budget and don’t need things like NFC and wireless charging.
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