Moto G7 Power review: Save £20 on the SIM-free handset

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Motorola is really pushing the limits of the expression that you can’t have too much of a good thing. This year, we’re being treated to no fewer than four Moto G7 devices, and all of them arrived at the same time leading to a frantic few days here at Expert Reviews.

It turns out I drew the long straw. The Moto G7 Power may not be the most expensive, but it offers by far the best value, providing cuts in just the right places to comfortably become our new budget champion.

Moto G7 Power review: What you need to know

The Motorola Moto G range has been the byword for “quality on the cheap” since the original Moto G wowed us all the way back in 2013. Okay, the Moto G5 was a rare blip, but being the best around for five years out of six isn’t a bad track record, considering how cut-throat the smartphone world is.

This year, Motorola has treated us to four different flavours of Moto G7. The three cheapest models – the Moto G7, G7 Power and G7 Play – all contain the same 14nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 processor, with other changes along the way. The G7 Play contains half the RAM of the other two, for example, while the vanilla G7 is the only one to benefit from a depth-sensing second lens on the back.

The G7 Power, meanwhile, gets the Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage and its trump card: a 5,000mAh battery. To put that in context, the iPhone Xs has a 2,658mAh battery, and few phones go beyond 3,500mAh. This is a handset that’s built to last, more so than all the other Moto G7 handsets that have 3,000mAh cells (G7 and G7 Play) or a 3,500mAh one (G7 Plus).

Moto G7 Power review: Price and competition

The Moto G7 Power comes in at £179. That means its main competition is the 2019 Huawei P Smart, which costs £195. That was a great performer, but let down by its camera performance.

It’s a similar story for the £200 Honor 10 Lite and the Nokia 5.1. The latter can be had for £130 now, but given I wrote “the Moto G6 exists” in the cons section, you can probably rule it out in a G7 review.

Compared with its Moto siblings, the G7 Power is £60 cheaper than the £239 Moto G7. Meanwhile, the Moto G7 Play costs £149 and the G7 Plus is £269.

Moto G7 Power vs Moto G7: What’s the difference?

That last paragraph is important because your first instinct might be to pay £60 extra for the Moto G7. As you’ll read further down, my suggestion is you save your money but just so you’re completely informed, here are the main differences:

  • The Moto G7 Power misses out on the water-repellent coating of the G7
  • The Moto G7 Power has a polycarbonate back, while the G7 has a Gorilla Glass 3 rear
  • The Moto G7 Power is 21 grams heavier (193g vs 172g)
  • The Moto G7 Power has a single camera on the back, while the G7 adds a depth-sensing camera
  • The Moto G7 Power can only shoot 1080p video, while the G7 can shoot 4K
  • The Moto G7 Power has a 66% bigger battery (5,000mAh vs 3,000mAh)
  • The Moto G7 Power has a lower resolution screen (720p, 279ppi vs 1080p, 405ppi)

For me, only the last two of these matter, and it works out as a draw. Saving £60 with the Moto G7 Power seems like a no brainer assuming everything else is in order.

Moto G7 Power review: Design

The Moto G7 Power looks virtually identical to the G7, so much so that on a couple of occasions we’ve picked up the wrong model by mistake.

To be clear, that’s no bad thing. The whole Moto G7 range does more than a passing impression of handsets that cost twice the price or more, and the G7 Power is no exception. It’s a large 6.2in device with a 19:9 aspect ratio, a small chin at the bottom and a notch at the top. Despite this design faux pas, it hasn’t followed the annoying design trend of ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack – it’s still there, ready to accept your trusty old earbuds.

Flip it over and the first hint that you’re not dealing with a flagship device appears. Rapping your knuckles on the back will reveal that this isn’t a glass back, but a polycarbonate one. It looks fine, if a little bit of a magnet for fingerprints, and it does feel a touch slippy in the hand, so you’ll probably want to get a case, or use the bundled clear plastic one that comes in the box. A fingerprint reader emblazoned with the Motorola logo sits just below the large, distinctive circular camera setup near the top.

In Europe, the Moto G7 Power comes with 64GB internal storage which may be plenty for your needs if you’re a light use but, if not, there’s also a microSD slot which supports cards of up to 512GB in size. Good job, Moto.

Moto G7 Power review: Screen

A resolution of 720 x 1,570 spread over a 6.2in screen may sound unimpressive but the Moto G7 Power’s display is actually not a bad performer at all. The colours are bright and punchy and things look exceedingly crisp despite the drop below Full HD.

To be clear, this is a good screen considering the price. It isn’t up there with the latest and greatest AMOLED devices at the top of the market but then it costs less than a quarter the price, so I think we can cut it a bit of slack here.

Because it’s IPS technology, contrast isn’t perfect, coming in at a decent but uninspiring 914:1. It reaches a peak brightness of 506.9cd/m2 and covers 90% of the sRGB colour gamut in the most accurate Boosted mode.

There are better screens in the price bracket – particularly those found on Honor and Huawei handsets – but it’s not too far off the pace and is actually slightly better than the Moto G7, which only reached 481cd/m2 brightness and a contrast ratio of 823:1.

Moto G7 Power review: Performance

Assuming you can live with 720p, that’s the first hurdle comfortably cleared, then. So how does it perform? Well as I said earlier, the Moto G7 Power has identical innards to the Moto G7: the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor, the same 4GB RAM and the same 64GB of internal storage. That means our benchmark tests should be easy enough to predict, and so it proved:

There’s barely a cigarette paper between each member of the Moto G7 family on performance, which is a little embarrassing for the better-specified Moto G7 Plus. What’s interesting is how it compares with similarly-priced rivals: the Nokia 5.1 is left in the dust, while both Kirin 710-powered devices have quite a clear advantage.

But that advantage is seemingly wiped out when it comes to 3D performance:

That’s actually a trick of the graph, though. The number to pay attention to here is the orange bar labelled “offscreen”, because that’s where the playing field is levelled with an equal resolution. In other words, the Moto G7 Power and G7 Play seem to be matching the Kirin-powered devices, but that’s only because both devices pack 720p screens and thus have fewer pixels to push.

So would you notice this drop in speed in the real world? Probably not, no – especially if you’re a gamer and enjoy the speed boost from the lower-resolution screen. In day-to-day use, the G7 Power felt snappy enough and it should be fine for the majority of users’ needs.

And, while that may be a touch disappointing for a device that proudly displays the word “power” on the box, that actually applies to its mammoth 5,000mAh battery. And here, the Moto G7 Power does not disappoint:

In our standard battery test, where a low-resolution video is played at 170cd/m2 brightness in airplane mode, the Moto G7 Power lasted an incredible 26hrs 22mins. We’ve only seen one phone beat that: the Lenovo P2, which managed 28 hours and 50 minutes with far weaker performance.

To be fair, as you can see from the chart, none of the Moto G7 phones is poor in the battery department but if you want the longest stamina, it’s pretty clear where you need to put your money.

Moto G7 Power review: Camera

So finally, we come to the camera. And this is a key point of difference between the Moto G7 and G7 Power. While the G7 Power has a single 12-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the G7 has a brighter f/1.8 aperture and a second five-megapixel depth-sensor for arty shots with blurred backgrounds.

In theory, that gives the Moto G7 two clear advantages. In practice, the pictures are barely distinguishable – and certainly not £60 worth of difference. Moto G6 owners will be unsurprised to learn that both snappers are very, very good for the price. In other words, the Moto G7 has the best phone camera under £300, and the G7 Power isn’t far behind for £60 less.

The narrower aperture doesn’t make a great deal of difference, either. In our low-light test shot, there’s very little in it, as these zoomed images show.  

The one area where the Moto G7 does have a clear advantage is video. While the Moto G7 Power is limited to 1080p footage at 30fps, the Moto G7 can capture 4K video with the same 30fps speed. This is puzzling: there’s no technical reason why this should be the case as they both have the same processor. I can only assume that Motorola wanted to hold back a premium feature to justify the price hike, but if 4K footage is important to you, then the Moto G7 has the edge. That said, if 4K footage is important to you, then frankly you should probably save another £261 for the OnePlus 6T: it’s not something you should scrimp on.

The front-facing camera is an 8-megapixel, f/2.2 affair and does a good enough job. It has a fake bokeh effect you can enable if you like, but this tends to blur hair into oblivion. And, as ever, the beauty settings turned all the way up should come with a health warning.

Moto G7 Power review: Verdict

So this is awkward, then. We’re used to the main Moto G being the budget champion but here it’s been completely upstaged by its £60 cheaper sibling. The Moto G7 Power may have a lower resolution screen, a (slightly) weaker camera setup and video recording limited to 1080p but the 66% bigger battery is certainly hard to argue with.

In short, all this for £179 is a complete steal. The Moto G7 is dead, long live the Moto G7 Power.

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