Moto G8 Power Lite Review
Motorola comes out with a new model that sounds like it’s a torch. It isn’t, but given the sheer number of generational phones Motorola puts out, we understand the naming convention getting a little lost.
What a stupid name. Is this the power light version, meaning it has less power than the normal one???? No, they mean the has a bigger battery but is light on specs. Moto, you may want to make your names a little more clear but in fairness, they are hardly alone in the android world of giving names that were selected by throwing random words into a hat and pulling 5 out. Once in my hands I realise that just how much more vast this is than the old original Moto G, which I always liked at the time for not being massive but sales seem to indicate that the public wants big phones only.
Into the box and it looks nice, you get a charger, cable, and a gel case. That’s about standard but I’d be changing that case, to be honest rather than give you a case I’d like phone makers to make the phone itself out of a plastic so that it didn’t need a case, but whatever. Opening the SIM tray, I’m both annoyed and pleased. You see I have a ton of SIM tray tool things, but it doesn’t work on the G8PL. You have to use the included extra-long sim tray tool, which you can bet you’ll lose eventually and that could then be a problem. However, the reason seems to be that the tray is super long, having 2 SIM slots AND a micro SD card slot. Yep, 2 sims and storage, not one of the annoying 2 SIM or 1 SIM plus SD card. I’m very pleased to see this because as one who does travel and spends a lot of time away, when you may want to stick a local SIM in is exactly the time you may want to pile on lots of music and tv shows to the phone too. Nice to see this.
It’s pretty standard, the normal google stuff then it wants to have you let Motorola access to your details so they can do the same stuff that google does pretty much. It seems all phone makers do this so its normal but no, I’ll stick to just Google having all my contacts so that I’m not tied to the maker, which is why they want you to use theirs but I’ve never met any maker that does things better than google. I do notice that no 5Ghz Wi-Fi, that is a shame, not a big deal but a shame. I also notice that telling it to use Dark theme, did almost nothing, which is down to it still being on Android 9, even if the security is nearly up to date, being from Feb 2020. Mind you it does have a rear fingerprint sensor which I very much prefer, on screen ones suck, quite frankly. It’s in a nice position and sits just where my finger wants to sit when I pick it up.
The device is nice. The screen is nice, at 6.5-inch, LCD 720 x 1600 so not the highest res but on a phone its more than sufficient. It has a teardrop front camera which I think is the least objectionable way to ruin a screen as its mostly not noticed in use. The CPU is a Mediatek P35, which is rather nice to see, to break up the Qualcomm monopoly but the P35 is a little aged given it was announced in January 2018, that is over 2 years ago. Geekbench 4 gives out a single-core score of 915 and multicore of 3939. Geekbench 5 gives us scores of 174 and 891. So, yeah, a beast of a powerhouse it’s not but in actual use it feels fine. 4GB of RAM is nice, pretty good for a budget phone. Nice seems to be a word cropping up over and again, it is a nice device. It’s nice in the hand, the plastic back, everything, is all, just, nice. Not amazing anywhere but then it’s not priced to be amazing.
Sound-wise the speaker on the back, can get a reasonable volume but the quality, well it’s a little meh for music, so please don’t use it for that. For watching some YouTube videos, its rather decent. The volume is impressive given it’s on the back and vocals are nicely delivered, no distortion. The headphone out, which I am always super pleased to see, it’s okay. For a device priced at £150 it would be unreasonable for me to pick up what earphones happen to be sitting on my desk. The set closest is a pair of AWW Canary’s. For those who don’t know what they are they are an IEM with an Isobaric dual dynamic woofer, 4 Balanced Armatures for mids and highs then dual electrostatic drivers for the far high end. Yeah so they have 8 drivers in each ear and even maxing the G8’s volume dial doesn’t make them go loud. Nor does it make them sound anything like they can be driven properly. However, they retail at SG$3000 or just under £1700, which is over 11 times the phones price.
Nice, it’s a decent res and colours are pretty realistic, as it’s an LCD its not surprising but you do then not have active display, which I rather miss. Okay, it claims it does but really what it means is you can have the screen light up for a notification, not the same as an OLED always on screen. Hmm the white balance does seem a touch over blown, whites a bit too white, notably on skin tones. Like someone has turned the brightness up too high, you do get a white colour balance control and brightness control. It is, nice. Nothing amazing, nothing really what I’d say bad either, it’s a reasonably decent screen at a reasonably decent price.
As I touched on earlier, the thing has 1 speaker, on the back but does have a headphone socket. Neither suck terribly but neither will set your heart on fire either. Argh I so want to have stronger feelings about the phone, but I can’t seem to muster any. No love, no hate (these days I cannot hate phone that has a headphone out abord as it’s so massively useful.) I just cannot seem to use it and feel anything more than, it’s quite nice. That said, you at least have the option to listen to headphones with this and that sets it above a vast number of supposedly more premium devices which lack this (for me) crucial feature. It would be nice if its quality was better, but its squarely in the same camp as the screen, fine but nothing particularly exciting. Oh, and it would be nice if it could spit out substantially more volume, not all headphones are super sensitive or easy to drive.
This is the Power, so that means it got a bigger battery. Yeah, it’s bigger than the normal G8 which has a 4000mha battery, this Power Lite has a whopping……… 5000mha. While that is nice and well above most phones it’s not exactly massively greater than the normal one. I have an Oukitel k10000 Pro here (with a 10000mha battery) and that thing feels like it lasts forever in comparison to normal phones. This, it’s better than my normal phone for sure but with a normal usage, it’s not enough to make it 2 full days for me. Also, no Qi charging so no easy slow top ups at my desk. Oh, and one thing to note…… I do not know why but it has a micro USB charging socket. Well that means no super-fast charging. Frankly, I’m not sure this is worth the trade off, swapping USB-C like the G8 and G8 Power have I just find myself repeatedly asking, why Motorola, why would you do this??? The only reason I can think of is China. You see Lenovo own Motorola and in China they still massively use micro USB over USB-C (I speak from personal experience) so I would guess that the cheap G8 is the one they plan to push in China. The bigger battery is nice but that it’s a slow charge and no Qi despite a plastic back means that it just isn’t doing it for me. Its bigger but not bigger enough to compensate for the other two being absent.
I am very pleasantly surprised. There is almost stock android on the G8PL, thank god as it means you a get a rather smooth interface out of the box. Gone are the days of Moto piling on tons of crap (actually Moto was one of the first to stop “customising” things to the point you couldn’t use the phone.) It feels instantly usable coming from daily Pixel’s and while I’m sad to see Android 9 still on here, I know exactly where everything is and how to set it up. It’s a nicely intuitive (for the most part) that means you can come to this from any other near stock experience and get to using it without trying to figure how the F you send a text message. You are of course also free to change your launcher and customise thing if you like, it’s not ultra-locked-down like a Huawei is so you can make the phone suit you, your needs and how you like it to be.
It like many modern phones feels the need to have 3 on the back. A 16, 2 and another 2-megapixel sensor on the back and the pic quality is fine. I’m no photo taking expert so my way is to take a dozen and at least one should be decent. The camera while not bad, is a little slow to store the thing meaning you can’t do my favoured, snapping 10 shots right one after the other with a huge amount of speed. Not bad exactly but nothing amazing either, it’s just fine. The selfie cam is an 8mp, it too is fine. Video, the p35 shows its age I think in that it’ll only do 1080p at 30 fps. It’s likely all you’ll ever need but the other G8 varieties can do better.
Charger and cable with the gel type case. All you need really.
The phone is, fine. Decent price, decent screen, decent RAM, decent speaker volume. There is nothing about the G8 Power Lite that stands out. It’s not that it bad, it just doesn’t really excel or stand out anywhere except for having 2 sim slots and micro SD card on it. Where it should be shining bright is that battery, it’s a “Power” after all. Sadly, while the battery is easily better than most phones it’s not such an improvement that you need this phone over any rival. My aging Oukitel k10000 pro, now that has many issues but its battery is so much bigger than everything else that if you are one of those crazy Ingress players then the k10000 is enough that you don’t need a battery pack. The G8PL while bigger than most isn’t going to blow your mind at the difference. I want to say nice things about the G8PL, but it doesn’t excel anywhere.
The isn’t really anything bad. I mean there isn’t an abundance of love I have pouring out for it but aside from still using micro USB, there wasn’t anything that leapt out as truly bad. The worst thing though is probably that CPU vs the price. The CPU is just old. I mean it’s two years old and was only mid-range when it launched and that means when compared to up to date CPUs it just can’t keep up. The price isn’t sufficiently low enough to justify the performance drop over the other G8 versions.
Well, it’s got reasonable RAM, pretty good screen, most things most people would want but…… yeah. That CPU, I’m sorry Motorola, by all means use a MediaTek but try one less than two years old please. Honestly, even with the bigger battery, the battery isn’t so big to make me willing to put up with so-so performance. It’s just not got any aspect compelling enough to overcome the issues it has.
Shocker, but I don’t really like the G8PL. the power is only a bit more than other phones, nothing exceptional. 5000mha is among the best but it’s not enough to be a deciding factor like it was on the Oukitel K10000 pro, which had a battery that made you accept giving up other things for. This, is better but only mildly better than other new phones. Performance though is the problem. It’s not terrible but frankly, the buyers in this price range, should have bought a phone with this CPU 2 years ago and be just about to retire it. Right now the phone is usable, although it randomly judders, but where will it be in two years? That will make it a then four year old chip.
Maybe, you only use your phone to take pics and read things on the screen. If you are a super CPU light user then it won’t matter to you and the larger battery will be enough to keep that screen on all day. It will last a long time, longer than most phones with some ease but for me, the CPU and random stutter had me putting the phone down so often the battery life was lasting nearly three days. I just stopped picking it up, I had to remind myself to use it.
So, should you or would I buy one? I wouldn’t. Even sticking to the same brand, the extra $40 that the G8 Power is over this I’d pay it. The CPU in that is a Snapdragon 665 which is a midrange chip and year younger. It’ll squarely spank this