For years, Motorola’s G-series handsets topped our list of the best affordable phones, but its 2021 lineup fell short of expectations while competing models from Samsung and TCL caught up. The first entry in the company’s 2022 lineup, the Moto G Power sets Motorola back on track. The fast and affordable Moto G Power easily lasts for two days between charges and sports a display with a 90Hz refresh rate starting at $199.99. That said, if you can stretch your budget a bit more, the $279.99 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is a more future-proof alternative that offers 5G connectivity and will get more software updates.
A High Refresh Rate and Low Resolution
The Moto G Power is a handful at 6.6 by 3.0 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and 7.2 ounces. It distributes its weight well across its plastic chassis, however. Additionally, the phone’s textured matte black back feels good in the hand, helps with grip, and doesn’t show off fingerprints or scratches.
A flat, 6.5-inch LCD offers the same 1,600-by-720 resolution (269ppi) as the 2021 Moto G Power, albeit with a faster 90Hz refresh rate. A small cutout for the 8MP selfie camera sits near the top of the display, in the centre.
720p resolution is the biggest letdown here. Although the screen displays accurate colours, you can notice some pixelation when you look closely. And while viewing angles are good, we wish the panel was a little brighter because it’s hard to see in direct sunlight.
A headphone jack sits on the top edge of the phone, while the bottom edge houses a USB-C charging port and speaker. A combo SIM and microSD slot is the only port on the left, while a volume rocker and textured power button are on the right. The buttons are easy to identify by touch, but you might have trouble reaching them if you have small hands.
On the back of the G Power, a thin module for the camera sensors sits in the upper left corner. And while the power button on last year’s G Power doubled as a fingerprint sensor, that has been moved to the back of the phone here; it works quickly and accurately and doesn’t require as precise of touch as in-display or side-mounted sensors.
The phone’s durability is on par with other similarly priced models. Its plastic back and chassis are likely to handle a drop without much damage, but we can’t say the same for its strengthened glass panel. An IP52 rating means it should handle rain, splashes, and sweat without a problem, but likely won’t survive a drop in the pool or sink.
Competitive Battery Life, Middling Speakers
The Moto G Power has a 5,000mAh battery that Motorola claims will last three days between charges. Unless you’re a very conservative user, we think you’re more likely to get about two days, but that’s nothing to sneeze at.
In our battery rundown test, which streams HD video over Wi-Fi at full brightness, the G Power lasted for 16 hours and 7 minutes before shutting down. That’s just over three hours longer than the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. Unfortunately, recharging is a slow affair at 10W; the Galaxy A32 5G supports 18W charging by comparison. And as with most phones in this price range, the Moto G Power doesn’t support wireless charging.
The phone has a peak volume of 88dB and is easy to hear in a crowded room. Our test calls sounded clear and noise cancellation worked well. Speaker quality, on the other hand, is disappointing. The phone’s single, bottom-firing speaker maxes out at a respectable 92dB, but you should steer clear of high volumes. The soundstage is boxy and unbalanced, and we noticed some distortion at volumes beyond 70dB. It’s fine for quick calls or scrolling through TikTok, but it’s not enjoyable for long Netflix binges.
For better audio, turn to the G Power’s Bluetooth 5.0 support or the aforementioned headphone jack.
Motorola offers two versions of the G Power: one that’s optimized for AT&T’s network and an unlocked model that works on all the major US and Canadian carriers. Neither version offers 5G connectivity, but we’ve yet to test a US phone at this price that does. If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G has excellent sub-6GHz 5G connectivity.
We tested the phone on T-Mobile’s network in Chicago and recorded admirable results. On average, we hit speeds of 68.2Mbps and 41.6Mbps for download and uploads respectively.
Dual-band Wi-Fi is onboard as well, but the phone lacks NFC capabilities.
A Better Budget Shooter
The primary sensor on the Moto G Power’s rear camera module comes in at 50MP and has an f/1.8 aperture. Quad-binning is on by default; the camera produces crisp, 12.5MP shots with a 1.3μm pixel pitch. The camera module also houses the same 2MP macro and depth lenses with f/2.4 aperture as last year’s model.
The 50MP primary lens works well in good light. Test photos look crisp, with solid colour accuracy and natural depth of field. When viewed at full size, however, we noticed some minor noise at the edges.
Low-light photos are on par with those from other phones in this price range. Many of our test shots lack depth and show muted colours. We noticed inconsistent blurring in the foreground, some edge noise, and lens flare in most of our test shots. Motorola’s Night Vision mode improves their overall vibrancy and reduces the noise levels, but the photos still lack a natural depth of field.
Unsurprisingly, the 2MP macro lens is a letdown. Test photos looked flat and we noticed significant fringing around the edges of objects. With a good light source and a steady hand, you might see better results.
The front-facing 8MP sensor performs well in good light. Our test selfies show natural depth and crisp foreground details. Colour tones appear slightly warm, however, and some fine details are lost. It also struggled in low light, with lots of noise and soft details.
The G Power’s Portrait mode works decently. The depth sensor on the rear helps create natural-looking bokeh, but we still see object mapping problems around hats and ears.
It’s difficult to find budget-friendly phones with excellent cameras. The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G fares better in low light compared with the Moto G Power, but it still won’t impress smartphone shutterbugs. If you enjoy mobile photography, your best bet is to save up for the $449 Google Pixel 5a With 5G.
Enough Power for Most
The Moto G Power ships with a MediaTek Helio G37 chipset and 4GB of RAM. The base model comes with 64GB of storage, but there’s also a 128GB variant available for an extra $50. Both support up to 512GB of external storage via the microSD card slot.
The G Power boots up quickly and we didn’t encounter any lag when swiping between screens or opening apps. The 90Hz refresh rate is a useful addition as well; we didn’t notice any slowdowns when scrolling through Instagram and Twitter feeds.
While the G Power is great for basic tasks, it’s not a gaming phone. Playing Genshin Impact was a frustrating experience punctuated by lag and unexpected shutdowns. The less resource-intensive Alto’s Odyssey performed much better, though we still noticed a few skipped frames.
On Geekbench 5, a test that measures raw processing power, the G Power earned scores of 181 single-core (SC) and 975 multi-core (MC). Oddly, that’s a far cry from the scores of last year’s model (313 SC and 1,435 MC), while the Galaxy A32 5G scored even better (571 SC and 1678 MC). That said, benchmarks aren’t indicative of everyday performance, and the Helio G35’s architecture lacks the performance cores common on Qualcomm chips, so it’s not an exact comparison. In our experience, the G Power performed slightly better than its predecessor and about the same as the Galaxy A32 5G for real-life tasks.
Android 12 Is the End of the Road
While Samsung has extended its OS upgrade period to three years on nearly all of its affordable phones, Motorola has yet to follow suit. Instead, you get one OS upgrade with the Moto G Power, along with two years of security updates.
That wouldn’t be too disappointing if the Moto G Power shipped with Android 12 and all of its exciting new features, but it doesn’t. Instead, you get Android 11 with an upgrade to Android 12 at some point in the future.
Although the G Power ships with otherwise stock Android, Motorola adds its My UX to the mix. Motorola’s lightweight My UX simply brings a few useful new features and allows you to customize your phone’s Quick Settings and home screen. Moto Gestures, the marquee feature of My UX, allows you to quickly access common features with different movements of the phone. For example, you can make a chopping motion with your wrist to quickly turn on the flashlight, or flip the phone over to enable do not disturb mode.
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2021, November 17|
|Status||Coming soon. Exp. release 2022, January|
|BODY||Dimensions||167.2 x 76.5 x 9.4 mm (6.58 x 3.01 x 0.37 in)|
|Weight||203 g (7.16 oz)|
|Build||Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame|
|DISPLAY||Type||IPS LCD, 90Hz|
|Size||6.5 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~79.7% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~270 ppi density)|
|Chipset||MediaTek Helio G37|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSDXC (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Triple||50 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 0.65µm, PDAF
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
|Features||LED flash, HDR|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||8 MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|USB||USB Type-C 2.0|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable|
|Price||About 180 EUR|
source – gsmarena