Motorola Moto G lineup used to be one of the best-selling devices in the segment until it faced competition from the Chinese smartphone makers. After several years of underwhelming G series in India, Motorola shifted to the Moto One lineup. However, the Moto G8 Plus marked the re-entry of Moto G series in the lower mid-range segment.
The company also introduced the Moto G8 Power, but it didn’t make its way to India. But a more trimmed down version, the Moto G8 Power Lite is here and is gunning for the dominant Chinese smartphones’ market share in the budget segment. And, after our ten days of quarantine usage in India, we can safely say that the competition is getting real folks! Read ahead to find out why the Moto G8 Power Lite is what it is claimed to be in the name itself.
Moto G8 Power Lite key specifications
|Display||6.5-inch (1600 x 720 Pixels) HD+ LCD
20:9 aspect ratio, 269 PPI
|SoC||MediaTek Helio P35|
|Storage||64GB, expandable up to 256B with microSD|
|Cameras||Rear: 16MP (f/2.0) primary
2MP (f/2.4) macro
2MP (f/2.4) depth
Front: 8MP (f/2.0)
|OS||Android 9 Pie|
Hardware and Design
The Moto G8 Power Lite takes its design cues from 2019’s Moto G8 Plus. The unit we’ve got is the Royal Blue color, which looks pretty good. It fades from a darker to a lighter shade of metallic blue as you go downward. The phone does feel cheap in hand, after all, it’s plastic. However, it is sturdy and weighs 200 grams. The heft was good enough to allow one-handed usage. It isn’t a fingerprint magnet but attracts smudges. There is no waterproof rating, but Motorola insists that the design is “water-repellent.” So you are okay with spills and splashes, just don’t take it to the swimming pool with you.
The cameras are located at the top left of the device. While the primary 16MP primary camera, 2MP depth, and the LED flash are housed in a vertical module, the macro sensor sits above the two sensors in a module of its own. And then, there’s the Motorola logo, which is not there for the sake of it. In a typical Motorola fashion, the logo is functional and doubles as a fingerprint sensor. It is quick to set up, even with the bundled phone case attached on the phone. As we roll downward, we reach the single speaker that is fitted in the bottom left corner of the device.
As you move towards the right edge, you’ll find the power button and volume rockers. The power button sits where the thumb would rest comfortably, meaning that you don’t have to look for it. It is there when you need it. However, the feel is a bit shallow for my taste. I prefer clicky buttons, and this is not one of them. Moving to the left edge, you’ll find the SIM tray that has room for two SIMs and a microSD card. On the top edge, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack while the micro-USB charging port is sensibly placed on the bottom. Yes, it’s 2020, and we are still getting a micro-USB port instead of a Type-C one.
Coming to the front, the Moto G8 Power Lite features a 6.5-inch (1600 x 720 Pixels) HD+ LCD display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and 269 PPI. Oh, and there’s a notification light adjacent to the earpiece, which isn’t the best one out there. The call quality wasn’t very good. Further, it sports a teardrop notch that houses the 8MP selfie camera. Notably, there isn’t a protective layer of Gorilla Glass, but the phone is priced at Rs 8,999 / $150, we don’t expect anything more than the tempered glass.
The display is easily visible under bright sunlight. However, more brightness wouldn’t hurt here, Motorola! It gets low enough in the dark so that it doesn’t strain the eyes at night. The colors generally look the way you’d expect from a budget device. They are balanced, and the display is good overall. You get what you pay for. I had no problem with media consumption either. However, PUBG Mobile didn’t run in HD.
I was underwhelmed when I first read that a phone launched in May 2020 runs Android 9 Pie. Android 11 is just around the corner, and the Moto G8 Power Lite still comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. I can’t stress enough how frustrating it is. The whole user experience falls behind because of the old OS. Yes, it is a budget device, but that’s no excuse for selling it with a two-year-old OS. It is borderline unacceptable. Motorola says the phone will be updated to Android 10, but it hasn’t said anything on when will the update roll out.
Anyways, once I got past it and accepted the fact that now I have to deal with the classic three-button navigation system again, I got used to the overall UI. After all, it’s Motorola. It is close to stock Android, which is something you may like or may not, but I appreciate my phone not coming pre-loaded with a ton of bloatware out of the box. However, Facebook was part of the pre-loaded apps, which was easy to uninstall.
Then comes Moto Action gestures. They are intuitive as they’ve always been. It launches the camera with a twist of your wrist, while chopping down twice turns on the flashlight. Notably, features like swiping diagonally downwards from the middle of the display and peak display gesture – my favorite – that enables a pseudo-always-on-display function are missing—weird omission.
The Moto G8 Power Lite sports a triple rear camera setup, which may sound impressive, but in real life, it is not so versatile. There is a 16MP primary lens, combined with a 2MP macro sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. There is no telephoto camera or an ultra-wide-angle lens, but then, you can’t expect these at this price point. Nonetheless, it is good enough for a budget device. It comes equipped with an 8MP selfie module, and the phone can capture video at 1080p resolution at 30fps, take HDR shots, and can digitally zoom up to 4x.
The camera software is straightforward and easy to use with four main modes of shooting on present above the capture button: standard, portrait, macro, and panorama. Further, there’s the HDR toggle, beauty mode toggle, flash, and Settings at the top of your screen.
For a budget device, the primary sensor is pretty good. It isn’t stunning, but it isn’t bad either. The 16MP sensor captures good images in broad daylight. It misses out on details at times, and the dynamic range isn’t great either. But again, the word I’ll use here is “usable.” The HDR does help at times in boosting the saturation where required. Moreover, it captures color-accurate, close to real-life images, and doesn’t overprocess things.
Like you can see in the above image, it had rained, and I clicked on the sun to capture the cloudy sky, which it did. However, the dynamic range was terrible, the image was noisy, and it had poor shadows. But in other scenarios, the images were at least fairly clear.
As for low light images, they were better than my expectations. The camera did a decent job of minimizing noise and capturing details without compromising the images.
As for the macro camera, it is designed for shooting extreme close-ups, and the 2MP lens serves its purpose. It could’ve been better, though, as it was rare for me to click a good image. Also, in low-light conditions, it automatically triggered the flash on even when it was turned off.
The depth camera on the other hand seems to be tuned well enough to capture bokeh-licious shots.
The selfies captured on this device look good in broad daylight. However, in low-light conditions, there is a purplish tint to the images. The software-optimized portrait shots aren’t great, as you can see from the picture above, my hair was blurred as well. Overall, the set of cameras are good enough for a budget device. But nothing is outstanding or noteworthy about the camera hardware that could set the Moto G8 Power Lite apart from the competition.
Performance and Battery
This is the section where I’ll explain the title of this review “It’s in the name.” The Moto G8 Power Lite is powered by the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC. It is a downgrade from Moto G8 Power’s Snapdragon 665 chipset. What it means in real-life usage is that multitasking and scrolling through apps can be a little jittery at times. Now, most of the time, you won’t feel it, but out of nowhere while using the phone in daily life, you’ll notice some stutters here and there. However, it doesn’t freeze. Those small stutters aren’t a deal-breaker and don’t make your usage an absolute nightmare, something we’ve noticed on phones powered by the MediaTek Helio A22 chip. Motorola has named the device aptly. It is light on power, hence, “Power Lite.”
If you are a mobile gamer, I suggest you spend a little more for a better gaming experience. Playing PUBG wasn’t something I’d recommend on this device. The game was running in low graphics, and I still noticed frame drops.
However, when it comes to battery life, the Moto G8 Power Lite dominates the competition. It easily lasted one and a half days on heavy usage. It included watching Prime videos, YouTube, 30-minute gaming sessions thrice a day, and clicking a few photos now and then. The battery dropped to 94% from 100% after one hour of video streaming. My 30-minute gaming sessions consumed 6% battery too.
Further, in my daily usage, it lasted two whole days. For reference, my daily usage includes reading emails, browsing, checking Twitter, Instagram, and at times Facebook for pokes received (yes, it’s 2020, and my friends still poke me on Facebook).
But it charges through a micro-USB port, and there is no fast charging. It takes more than 150 minutes to go from zero to full, which I’m personally not used to in a world of fast charging. However, overall, the Moto G8 Power Lite is a champ when it comes to battery life.
If your budget is strictly INR 8,999 / USD 150 and you can’t spend a penny above it, the Moto G8 Power Lite is certainly a device to consider. It will meet your expectations for the price. The battery life is solid, the screen is good, it has usable cameras, it comes with no bloatware, unlike its close competitors, and the UI is straightforward. If you are planning to consume media and use your daily driver to browse and check social media, this is the device to go for. However, if you are planning to get a device for long gaming sessions, the Moto G8 Power Lite is not the right device for you.
|Solid battery life||Low on power|
|Decent set of cameras||Micro-USB|
|Good build||Runs dated software|