The Motorola g8 PLUS is here – you will probably see two or three other g8 variations – STANDARD, PLAY and POWER soon.
What do you get in a Motorola g8 PLUS? A big 6.3-inch screen,
48MP tri-camera, 4000mAh battery with fast charge and more of the features you
expect from a more expensive phone like stereo speakers, Dolby sound and a
Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC.
Motorola is changing under Lenovo’s stewardship. The
Motorola g8 PLUS (and the whole g8-series) is a definite attempt to polish and build
on its reliable, staid reputation as a phone sold at Officeworks and as an excellent
Then you have the new and edgier Motorola One series (that sits below the g8-series) and the e-series below that. Lots of choice from $199 and backed by Motorola’s excellent service and reputation.
GadgetGuy is partial to the Motorola Brand, and we enjoy our annual chats with local boss Danny Adamopoulos – although a lot of the juicy stuff like parallel/grey market imports and real sales figures are off-the-record!
Motorola g8 PLUS Model XT-20019-1 Dual Sim (Hybrid)
The g-series is the mid-range smartphone of choice in the
US – let’s call it the daily drive. It appeals to Joe and Jane Average that
want a good, serviceable smartphone. It is the Toyota Camry of the smartphone
world, not the base model but the one with the value pack accessories!
6.3-inch FHD+ IPS, 19:9, screen
Qualcomm SD 655, 4/64/microSD to 512GB
48 + 16 + 5MP + Laser autofocus rear camera and 25MP
3.5mm jack, Stereo speakers, Dolby Audio
Wi-Fi AC, BT 5.0 aptX, GPS/e-Compass and NFC
4000mAh battery and 18W Turbo fast charge
Note: we are trying to reduce the length review to help our
50% plus readers that access the site via mobile. We still do the extensive
tests but cut verbiage by using FAIL, PASS or EXCEED against our major
First impressions – EXCEED
Is this a Motorola? It is not boring black, but Cosmic Blue.
A 48MP camera in a g-series? OK, we have made the point that this builds on the
g-series reputation for solid performance and reliability, but this is a big jump
over the g7-series and makes a nice statement.
Out of the box, it is a tad too cool at over 7000K, but you
can adjust that to about 6500K and its almost spot on.
Panda glass protection is alkali-aluminosilicate toughened/tempered sheet glass – an alternative to Corning Gorilla Glass – and joins other new brands like Dinorex, Concore (more like a glass overlay), Dragontrail (Asahi Japan), Xensation (used by Huawei) and more that are emerging under the Made In China 2025 mandate to reduce China’s reliance on western technology.
Unlike Gorilla Glass that has different harnesses and scratch
resistance levels from 3, 3+, 5, and 6 – we don’t have any comparisons.
400 nits (peak), 0.1nits black, 1600:1 contrast
100% sRGB, 72% AdobeRGB, 85% DCI-P3 Delta E 4.7
(accurate web and printer colours)
Brightness sufficient for outdoor use
angles are wide
display mode – notifications, battery level, time, etc. on the lock screen.
It is a mid-range SoC with 3rd generation AI including
2D face unlock and triple-camera support. It incorporates an X12 LTE modem
(600/150Mbps), Wi-Fi AC Wave 2 1×1 MIMO, BT 5.0/aptX and supports Quick Charge
Our tests reveal the Motorola 8 PLUS is almost Qualcomm reference
design (good), and it performs as well as any other phone using this SoC, e.g.
Realme 5, OPPO A5/A9
Throttling – PASS+
It performs very well, starting at 130,491GIPS and averages
86% or 118,784 over 15 minutes at 100% load. There is no appreciable heat external
RAM/Storage – PASS
4GB LPDDR4X – while other devices around this price may have
6 to 8GB it offers a smooth, lag-free experience.
64GB eMMC (44GB free) of storage with a hybrid (shared slot
with Sim 2) to 512GB complete this.
Gaming – PASSable
PUBG MOBILE runs at decent frame rates with low graphics
Battery – EXCEED – excellent life
4000mAh with USB-C 5V/3A, 9V/2A and 12V/1.25A (18W)
Motorola calls it an 18W Turbo Charge but its also Qualcomm
3.0 charger compatible.
Video loop 1080p at 50% brightness and aeroplane
mode – 14 hours
Charge: O-36% in 30 minutes, 70% 1 hour and 100%
in under two hours.
Full 100% load – five hours
Typical use – two days
Sound – EXCEED
3.5mm combo jack
Earpiece and down-firing bottom speaker
Dual ANC mic
Tuned by Dolby Audio
Ringer: 85db, music 77dB, voice 74dB (quite
For once the earpiece and bottom-firing speaker produce similar
volume and frequency response so that you can have an enjoyable music experience
– the white line is the earpiece, and the gold is the bottom-firing speaker.
The sound signature – warm and sweet – is one of the best I have heard and deserves
Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – none (nor expected)
Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – building from 50Hz
High Bass: 100 to 200Hz – flat (and very unusual
for a smartphone)
Low-mids 200-400Hz – flat
Mid: 400-1000Hz – flat
High-mid: 1-2kHz – flat
Low-treble: 2-4kHz – flat
Treble:4-6kHz – flat
High Treble: 6-10kHz – flat (with a dip at 10kHz
to reduce harshness)
Dog whistle: 10-20kHz – a decline from 16kHz but
Dolby Audio app has pre-set for Smart Audio, Music and Movie
and you can change frequency response to boost treble, mid, bass or flat. This
effect works when playing audio through the speakers as well as wired and even
Comms – PASS
Wi-Fi AC (6), dual-band, 1×1 MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct
Wi-Fi was -28dBm (433Mbps) at two meters from a NETGEAR AX12
router. This is the maximum that a 1×1 MIMO antenna can achieve.
BT 5.0 with aptX
This provides excellent volume to BT connected speakers and
LTE – EXCEED with very good reception strength
LTE reception was -89 (very good in a poor reception area),
but more importantly, it found the next three towers at -91, 105 and -109 – this
reflects perfect antenna design and should be good in rural areas.
Dual sim (hybrid with micro-SD)
Build – PASS with solid, quality build
158.35 x 75.83 x 9.09mm x 188g. OK, it has a polycarbonate
body and the Cosmic Blue colour trim looks nice – purplish highlight depending
on how you hold this phone against the light. Use the bundled silicone case. It
is water repellent – a.k.a. rain splashes
Other – PASS – what you expect
Rear fingerprint sensor – works very well 99% of
and e-Compass – fine for turn-by-turn navigation
Nothing of consequence for a $499 phone
Android – PASS and its pure Android
Pure Android 9 with some Motorola apps
Motorola’s apps are limited to gestures including a twist to
start the camera, two chops to turn on the flashlight, flip for DND, and a
slightly different navigation bar
Camera – EXCEED+
Primary camera: 48-megapixel (Pixel bin to 12MP),
f/1.79 aperture, .8um pixel (bins to 1.6µm), 68.4° FOV, EIS, 8x digital zoom, 4K@30fps
LED flash, PDAF (phase detection autofocus),
Laser autofocus, Digital zoom (up to 8x), Burst shot, Auto HDR, Timer, High res
zoom, Night vision, Shot optimization, Live filter, Portrait Lighting, Smart
composition, Auto smile capture, Cinemagraph, Portrait mode, Cut-out, Panorama,
Manual mode, RAW photo output, Active photos, Spot colour, Best shot, Slow
motion video, Time-lapse video, Hyper-lapse video, Electronic video
stabilization, YouTube Live, Google Lens™ integration
There are two brands of 48MP sensors – Sony and Samsung GM1 – and there is not much between them. This uses Samsung and has PDAF, RAW/JPEG, and many smartphones use it including Motorola One Vision, Samsung A90, OPPO F11 Pro and about 70 others.
What you need to know is that it produces a 12MP image by
binning (AI selects the best pixels from a bracket of shots) and its almost
impossible to take a bad photo.
Perfect bokeh and still leaves some detail in the background.
The sensor does an excellent job detecting edges and blurring backgrounds. The
blur effect can be adjusted before and after you take a shot. You can add lighting
effects as well.
Laser Focus sensor
This is excellent and fast – you can’t miss a shot. A nice
addition to a mass-market device.
Selfie camera: 25MP (Pixel bin to 6.2MP), .9um
pixels (bins to 1.8um), 68.5° FOV, Contrast AF,
Sensor Samsung S5K2x5sp
It is a reasonably narrow FOV so its for one person only.
The 25MP camera bins to take almost foolproof selfies – Good
colours and details. You can enable Face Beauty mode, which smoothened skin
4K at 30fps but EIS is only at 1080p 30fps
Great detail, vivid colours, and very good sharpness (I liek some detail in bokeh)
Night Vision on the Moto G8 Plus makes a noticeable
difference. Colours are punchier and bright areas were metered better.
GadgetGuy’s take – Motorola g8 PLUS – everything and more you can expect from a $499 phone
Moto got the mojo back. Like the Toyota Camry, it gets the basics right and then some. Importantly
it is not going to die one-day out of warranty!
is massive competition from flashy Chinese made handsets – realme, vivo, OPPO,
Nokia and more.
Its strengths are fully-featured, pure Android experience, outstanding
stereo speakers, solid battery life, a crisp display, and above-average camera.
Compared to Moto One Vision – this has a better display, and better camera due
to the post-processing strength of the Qualcomm S665 SoC.