For the past few years, Motorola Moto G phones have been consistently excellent budget devices. In fact, the Moto G7 is our current choice for the best budget phone available today.
Now Motorola-owned Lenovo is back with the first of its G8 range. This is the £ 239 ($ 269 or around $ 306) Motorola Moto G8 Plus, which sits at the top of the affordable G Series range thanks to its more powerful processor and mainstream higher resolution camera. Available in Europe, Australia, Mexico, and Latin America, but is not currently scheduled to be released in the US.
The Moto G8 Plus is another capable cheap smartphone from Motorola and quite frankly it's a pleasure to use. Its battery life is excellent, and the tweaks Motorola has made on Android continue to do a great job, making their devices much more user-friendly without ever feeling as if they are being prevented. The only real compromise you make here is with the camera of the phone and the fact that it launches with Android 9 and not with this year's Android 1
On paper it's hard to get too excited about the features of the Moto G8 Plus, especially since they are so similar to the Moto G7 Plus early this hour A. It received a slight spec boom over its processor (it now has a mid-range Snapdragon 665, not a mid-range Snapdragon 636), and its storage and RAM are unchanged at 64 GB and 4 GB, respectively. inches larger than 6.3 inches than the 6.2 inches on the G7 Plus, but this is still a 1080p small cutout affair. Oh, and no IP certification yet, so it's best to keep it away from water.
Motorola made a more significant change with the phone's battery capacity, which is now a respectable 4000 mAh. It's not as much as the G7 Power's 5000mAh capacity, but it was still more than enough for my needs. Although I would not have the confidence to claim that you will spend a few days battery life on this phone, I will say that I have struggled to drain the phone for the last 50 percent even in my longest days of use.
It's a pity to see that the 27W fast charging that Motorola has included in the Motorola G7 Plus, seems reduced to just 15W here. This means you may have to wait nearly two hours to reach 100 percent, not under-an hour, which is reportedly possible on the G7 Plus (though this may have helped with its smaller battery) . Still get a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is always appreciated.
The camera performance of the Moto G8 Plus is a bit more complicated. Technically, the Moto G8 Plus has an array of three cameras at the back, one more than the dual cameras of the G7 Plus. The resolution of the main camera is increased from 16 to 48 megapixels (although the resolution of the pictures themselves is limited to 12 megapixels), but the secondary camera is still a 5 megapixel depth sensor.
Where it gets a little confused is the third camera. Technically, it's an ultra-wide-angle 16MP camera, but instead of using it to be able to take ultra-wide-angle shots, it's actually designed to let you shoot videos in landscape while holding your phone vertically, similar to the Motorola One Action, which was announced earlier this year.
I am two for this decision. Being able to shoot landscape video without having to reorient my phone is a neat trick. This makes one-handed shooting much easier, and video stabilization of the camera works well. But the videos come out noisy and a little blurry and overall I think I would prefer the wide-angle shot option.
Otherwise, the photos you take from the Moto G8 Plus are relatively average. Overall, I was pleased with their level of detail and was pleased to see that the photos did not look too saturated. However, the limited dynamic range of the camera is a problem. It often forces you to choose between under-exposing your subject or overexposing to the sky. Although the camera seems to include an HDR feature, it doesn't seem to improve the situation by much.
The biggest strength of the Moto G8 Plus is just how usable it is on a daily basis, which has a lot to deal with the little additions Motorola has made to Android 9. They do a really good job of offering small bits of functionality that never they are blocking you. Of course, some of the "Moto Action" gestures on the phone control the edges of tricks, but others, such as being able to perform two "karate buttons" to quickly turn on the phone's flashlight, are great small hours.
Then there are lock screen controls that give you much faster access to notification options without having to fully turn on your phone screen. You can swipe your finger quickly to access notification actions, and I found that the process is much faster than that of typical Android lock notifications.
None of these features will come as a surprise to anyone who has used one of Motorola's recent G-series phones, but they continue to work well on the Moto G8 Plus.
There is one problem with these notification actions, which at times I find really annoying. In theory, the phone display should only illuminate itself when approaching the phone to use it to show you any of your existing notifications. However, sometimes I find that the phone will repeatedly light up when sitting at the desk in front of me, whether I reach for it or try to ignore it. This does not seem to affect the exceptional battery life of the phone, but it has become annoying.
In short, the compromises Motorola has made with the Moto G8 Plus mean that is unlikely to win someone who would otherwise buy a flagship device. Its camera is so good, its features are clearly outlined, and you are giving up other nice features like IP rated waterproofing.
But the Moto G8 Plus is still a very usable device on a daily basis. Its battery life is great, and Motorola's small Android settings really add to the phone's performance. We are still waiting to find out what Motorola has to offer for the non-Plus Moto G8, but for now, it's another great budget option from the brand.
Photo by John Porter / The Verge
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