• Excellent battery life

  • Retired Software

  • Solid design

  • Huge ad

  • Below average camera

  • 720p display

  • Missing NFC

The Moto G series has long been great value, adorned recommendation guides for the best budget phones, and offers a reliable experience for those who don't want or need a flagship phone. In recent years, however, competition has intensified. Phones like the iPhone SE, Google Pixel 4a, and others offer flagship-level features for only about $ 100 or more.

For 2021, Motorola has updated the Moto G series, with the main phone, the Moto G Power, getting one impressive price of only $ 200or $ 250 for the top of the line. That's $ 100 less than the Pixel 4a, $ 150 less than the iPhone SE, and significantly undercuts other phones of similar quality.

Is the Moto G Power the way to go for phones under $ 250, or should you keep saving? We put the 2021 Moto G Power to the test to find out.

Design and display

The 2021 Moto G Power looks and feels like a natural evolution of the previous year's model. It has a similar design on the front, with a hole cutout for the front-facing camera on the top left of the phone and a slightly larger, edge-to-edge, 6.6-inch display with a small chin at the bottom. It looks good for a phone under $ 300, especially considering that edge-to-edge displays came at a high premium just a few years ago.

On the back of the phone is the camera module that has been moved to the center in a square camera pile. I don't mind that the module is centered, and although it was placed in the top left, it might look better than more expensive phones, but it still looks good where it is. The back is of course made of plastic. The slimy sheen looks cool, but feels cheaper than it looks – obviously not as top notch as a glass appliance.

On the edges of the phone is a USB-C port at the bottom and luckily a headphone jack at the top. On the right side there is a volume rocker and an on / off switch with an integrated fingerprint sensor. The sensor worked very well in my tests. It was quick and accurate, which is very nice to see. You need to get used to using the power button to get inside your phone if you haven't already. However, this is a minor change.

As already mentioned, the display has a size of 6.6 inches and a resolution of 720p, which is well below that of the 1,080p display of the previous year. You might argue that it's difficult to tell the difference between a 1080p and a 1440p display, but the difference between a 720p and a 1080p display is definitely noticeable, and it's frustrating to see how Motorola resigns. The display does the job, but to a minimum.

I wish Motorola had better water resistance here. The so-called "water-repellent coating" weighs little more than a marketing message, and those who buy a $ 250 phone probably don't want to have to replace it if it accidentally gets wet. This is a feature that all phones should offer.

Technical data and performance

Under the hood, the Moto G Power has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor that is paired with either 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage in the base model or 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for an additional $ 50. In both cases there is also a microSD card slot for expanded storage. Oddly enough, compared to last year's Moto G Power, which came with a Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM, the base model of the phone actually contains lower power-consuming components – although I think that makes sense, given the new lower starting price.

Now the impact is pretty small, and in fact the phone performed pretty much the same on benchmarks (the 720p display probably helps there). The Snapdragon 662 and 665 are based on the same architecture and eventually use the same GPU – the notable shortcomings are some lack of audio components and a lower-priced modem. But it's still a little strange to see Motorola take such a step back. At least you expect the same chipset year after year.

Oddly enough, there are cuts from last year's Moto G Power.

In daily use, the Moto G Power performed decently with a few jumps and jumps every now and then, as you'd expect for $ 200. In general, the device responded quickly and quickly, even with simple mobile games and multitasking. Playing a game like Call of Duty: Mobile worked well, and while games like Asphalt 9 had a drop out frame and stutter, it still worked well enough for most.

Unfortunately, Motorola hasn't added NFC to the Moto G range yet, so you still won't be able to use features like Google Pay. This was a minor complaint a few years ago. This is an important loophole at this point.

Battery life

The Moto G Power comes with a massive 5,000 mAh battery. This is the same as last year, but this is one situation where we don't mind that it isn't an upgrade – and you might get even better battery life thanks to the lower resolution display.

Most modern flagship phones offer much smaller batteries. The iPhone 12 Pro has a 2,815 mAh battery, while the Pixel 4a has a 3,140 mAh battery. And when you consider that these phones are more sophisticated and have higher resolution displays, they last significantly less.

Battery life is one of the main reasons to buy a Moto G Power.

I haven't had too long to test the phone, but based on my initial tests, I'm sure you can use the device for two days and even a third day for lighter users. Really, this phone's battery life is so good and one of the top reasons to buy it.

The Moto G Power supports fast charging of up to 15W, but unfortunately there is no wireless charging here.

Cameras

Like the 2020 Moto G Power, the 2021 model also has a three-lens camera. However, Motorola has swapped the ultrawide camera for a depth sensor, and the result is a less versatile experience.

You get a 48-megapixel main camera with a f / 1.7 aperture, but it has an effective output of 12-megapixels due to the quad-pixel technology used by Motorola (and most other companies). There is also a 2MP macro camera and a 2MP depth camera.

Photos from this phone are pretty boring. The colors are muted and despite the quad-pixel technology, the photos are a bit noisy than I would like. The macro lens is fun to use for five seconds before you leave the gimmick behind and realize that in everyday life you will probably never actually use it. Unfortunately, this is a reality of any cheap macro camera.

All is not bad now. The phone is capable, but not much more. I see – this is a $ 200-250 phone. However, when you have phones like the Pixel 4a with a standout camera for just $ 100 more, it's hard not to complain.

software

One of the best things about Motorola phones is the software experience, and that is true here too. The Moto G Power has a pared-down software experience that should appeal to anyone looking to cut out the fluff. It's almost standard Android, and as such, it's responsive and easy to navigate.

One of the best things about Motorola phones is their software experience.

There are some improvements to the system, however. The Moto G Power runs software called "My UX" by Motorola. These include gestures like the ability to take a screenshot by touching the display with three fingers, silence the phone by picking it up when it rings, or rotating the phone to launch the camera. The Moto app also makes it easy to change wallpapers, the layout of the home screen, and activate Gametime mode, which allows you to optimize the way notifications and power supply work when gaming on the go.

It's all relatively helpful, and it's really nice that Motorola put all of these tweaks and settings in the Moto app instead of breaking into the UI and cluttering everything – something other manufacturers have done.

Price, availability and guarantee

The new Motorola Moto G Power starts at $ 200which is impressively cheap. That gives you the base model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or you can up to $ 250 for 4GB and 64GB – which I would recommend. The base model is available in silver (shown in this review) and the taller model in dark gray.

After a short pre-order period, the phone will be available to purchase direct from the Motorola website, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and other sellers starting January 14th. Motorola’s proliferation is extraordinary.

The device comes with a 12-month standard warranty, which practically only covers manufacturer defects. You should be careful with your device, especially given its water resistance.

Our opinion

The Moto G Power won't break records or blow people away with features. But it offers a solid experience with a huge display and great battery life at a low price. It will find a place on our list of the best cheap phones available today. Sure, if you can afford to pay more you should, but if $ 250 is your budget, this phone is for you.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes, if you can pay more. If you can expand your budget to $ 350, then the Google Pixel 4a The phone is easy to find thanks to the better processor, software updates on day one, and great camera. It isn't the size or battery life of the Moto G Power, but those are simple compromises.

If you can stretch up to $ 400, the iPhone SE is also worth considering, but I know this is a bit tricky when your original budget was $ 250. In Android land, the Pixel 4a is the phone to beat.

Alternatively, if you only buy last year's Moto G Power, there is something to say. It is still available and now reduced to $ 220. As mentioned before, it has practically the same performance as well as a higher resolution screen and amazing battery life. This could be the biggest problem facing the 2021 G Power.

How long it will take?

The Moto G Power doesn't have any real water resistance to lean on, but the plastic body should withstand most drops and stains. With caution, the phone should run a normal two year cycle, although by the end of those two years it will likely slow down seriously.

Is there a better alternative?

Not in this price range. The Moto G Power is far from perfect, but at $ 250, it's about as close as possible.

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