Motorola Moto G8 Plus review: good is no longer enough

The Motorola Moto G series has been popular for years because of its competitive price and attractive price-quality ratio. With the Moto G8 Plus, the manufacturer hopes for a new success. In this Motorola Moto G8 Plus review we find out whether the smartphone is a buying tip.

Motorola Moto G8 Plus

MSRP € 269,-

Colors red and blue

OS Android 9.0

Screen 6.3" LCD (2280 x 1080)

Processor 2GHz octa-core (Snapdragon 665)

RAM 4GB

Storage 64GB (expandable)

Battery 4,000mAh

Camera 48, 16 and 5 megapixels (rear), 25 megapixels (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

Format 15.8 x 7.5 x 0.9 cm

Weight 188 grams

Other Headphone port

Website www.motorola.com/nl 7 Score 70

  • Pros
  • Good battery life
  • Smooth, complete hardware
  • Android without fuss
  • Negatives
  • Slower charger
  • Old software and poor update policy
  • No OLED screen
  • Wide angle camera can't take pictures

The Moto G8 Plus is the rapid successor to the Moto G7 Plus. After nine months, Motorola apparently thought it was time for a new model, with a lower suggested retail price (269 euros) than its predecessor (299 euros). Last year we gave the Moto G7 Plus four stars out of five. Can the eighth model match or even surpass that score? After two weeks of testing, you can read my experiences in this review.

Design

If you put the Moto G8 Plus next to last year's G7 Plus, you will see similarities and differences. The front is very similar, with a screen that has a notch at the top for the selfie camera and a larger bezel at the bottom. The back is different. Where the Moto G7 Plus uses a round camera module, the camera lenses on its successor are placed vertically in the top left corner. The camera module protrudes somewhat, so that the smartphone is not completely flat on the table. There is still a fingerprint scanner in the Motorola logo. It is accurate and fast.

The smartphones are almost the same size, but the Moto G8 Plus is heavier due to its larger battery. At 188 grams, the weight is still average and fine. The Motorola Moto G8 Plus is available in two colors; blue and red. I tested the latter version and am very pleased with the color.

Motorola puts a simple plastic cover in the box and that is not an unnecessary luxury. The back of the Moto G8 Plus is sensitive to fingerprints and scratches relatively quickly. It's nice that the smartphone is splash-proof, which means that it won't break immediately if your glass of water falls over.

Screen: good but no OLED

As the nearly identical dimensions suggest, the Moto G8 Plus' screen is practically the same size as its predecessor. With its 6.3-inch size (vs. 6.2-inch), the smartphone is easy to hold with one hand, but it can be difficult to use the screen with one hand. The larger size does mean that you can type more comfortably with two hands. Your movies, games and other media will also come into their own.

The screen quality is fine. The full HD resolution delivers sharp images, the LCD display delivers beautiful colors and the maximum brightness is high enough to read the screen on a sunny day. That's not to say there isn't room for improvement. In this price range, for example, there are smartphones with an OLED screen for sale, which offers a better image than an LCD display. We would therefore like to see such an OLED display in the Moto G9 series.

Complete hardware

Under the hood of the Moto G8 Plus lurks a Qualcomm Snapdragon 655 processor. This chip is logically slightly more powerful than the processor in the Moto G7 Plus, although you do not notice this much in practice. All popular apps run without problems and heavy games still have some hiccups. Considering the price, that's not a disaster.

The RAM measures 4GB, which is average and large enough to easily switch between recently used apps and games. On the internal storage memory of 64GB – also average in this price segment – ​​you can store enough media. It is nice that you can increase the memory with a micro SD card.

As you would expect from this type of smartphone, the Motorola Moto G8 Plus has an NFC chip. So you can pay contactless with the device in the supermarket. In addition, the Moto G8 Plus takes two SIM cards (dual SIM).

Battery life and charging

The battery of the Moto G7 Plus is not large with 3000 mAh and I noticed that at the time: at the end of the day I had to charge the smartphone, sometimes even earlier. Not good, and that is why it is nice that Motorola has placed a considerably larger battery in the Moto G8 Plus. Thanks to the capacity of 4000 mAh, the device can easily last a long day. I expect that most users can squeeze one and a half to two days out of the battery. Nice, but for unclear reasons, the manufacturer supplies a slower TurboPower charger than with the Moto G7 Plus. It charges with 27W, the Moto G8 Plus with 15W. It therefore takes longer to charge the battery. After half an hour, the battery has climbed from 0 to 37 percent. That's a little below average, although it hasn't bothered me. Because of the good battery life, I charge the smartphone in the evening before going to bed and then I am not in a hurry.

Wireless charging is not possible; a logical cutback on this type of smartphone.

Cameras

On the back of the Moto G8 Plus is a triple camera. You most often take photos and videos with the 48 megapixel main camera, which shoots in 12 megapixel as standard because pictures in this resolution are sharp enough and take up less storage space. A so-called quad-bayer technique should improve the photo quality, especially in the dark. That's right, although I still don't think the quality is great. For social media, the photos and videos are usually fine. If you look more critically – and on a big screen – at the images, the colors are sometimes not realistic and a gray sky can look too white. The biggest problem is that the camera regularly struggles with movement, so that photos are blurry.

The second camera on the smartphone is a wide-angle lens that is rotated a quarter turn. That sounds crazy, but makes sense. With this camera you capture a wider image than with the normal camera and the rotation allows you to make horizontal videos while holding the Moto G8 Plus vertically. Other phones make a vertical movie in such a situation, which is not useful if you view the images on your computer or television. Motorola solves a known problem with this camera setup and that is commendable. Unfortunately, the execution could have been better. For reasons that are unclear, the camera cannot shoot photos – something that is technically possible. A pity, because I - like many others - like to take wide-angle photos of, for example, buildings and landscapes. Hopefully Motorola will release another software update that will add photo support. Incidentally, the video quality of the wide-angle lens is average and comparable to the Motorola One Action, which has the same camera.

A depth sensor (5 megapixels) and laser autofocus help the Moto G8 Plus when shooting photos with a sharp foreground and blurred background. These portrait photos usually come out well, although the results are of course less good than those of much more expensive smartphones such as the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Software

The Motorola Moto G8 Plus ran at its release in October on Android 9.0 (Pie) and not on Android 10, which was already available for two months. Sorry, but we'll get to that in a moment. It is nice that Motorola uses a barely modified Android version and only supplies a few apps. So you use the Android software almost as Google intended it. Fortunately, Motorola's few adjustments really add something. For example, you can activate the flashlight by shaking the smartphone twice and start the camera by turning the device twice. These functions have been in Motorola devices for years and have now more than proven themselves.

Motorola Moto G8 Plus updates

Motorola's update policy is unfortunately not that good and vague. You notice this, for example, in the fact that the Moto G8 Plus is still (February 2019) not updated to Android 10. We know that a Moto G device gets at least one version update, but in this case that would mean that the smartphone from Android 9 to 10, while version 10 was long out when the Moto G8 Plus was presented. But whether this means that the phone will also get Android 11, the manufacturer does not want to say.

It is also unclear how often and for how long the Moto G8 Plus will receive security updates. Google releases such an update every month, but Motorola usually only rolls out an update to Moto G phones once every three months. That's a shame because you're unnecessarily vulnerable to security vulnerabilities.

Conclusion: Buy Motorola Moto G8 Plus?

The Motorola Moto G8 Plus is a great smartphone that does nothing wrong, but also does not excel in any area. With an eye on the user experience and competitive price, you can't go wrong with it and that's good to know. Still, the Moto G8 Plus doesn't seem like the best choice in its price segment. Chinese competitors like Xiaomi and Realme sell smartphones with better value for money and the Samsung Galaxy A50 is also a formidable competitor.

However, the Moto G8 Plus also encounters competition from its own house. Think of the Moto One Vision and Moto One Action, but especially the new Moto G8 Power. It is tens of euros cheaper, has practically the same hardware, supplemented with a faster charger and an extra camera. The biggest plus is the significantly larger battery, which means that the smartphone lasts a day longer on a battery charge. The Motorola Moto G8 Plus is therefore an excellent buy, but not our recommendation.

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