The Motorola g8 Power Lite is part of the enormously popular g8 series that are ultra-safe buys for business fleet and people that remember the iconic Razr flip phone of old. We have already reviewed the g8 (here $329, 4.6/5 rating) and g8 PLUS (here $399 and 5/5) so this is a quick review of $249 g8 Power Lite. Don’t worry, we still put it through the full suite of tests and rate it accordingly.
The g8 Power Lite, however, is very different to its siblings. So much so that it raises the industry-wide issue of #metoo series naming when there are different engines, RAM/storage, cameras and batteries. It is not a case of good, better, best, but what is missing from the g8 or g8 PLUS to bring it in at this price.
Gone (in comparison to the g8) is
The Qualcomm SD665 replaced with a MediaTek Helio P35
It has a 5000mAh battery, but a 5V/2A micro-USB charger takes quite a while to fill it
The rear tri-camera loses wide-angle lens. It is 16MP PDAF+2MP Depth+2MP Macro
It has Android 9 instead of 10
Do these basic differences justify the $80 price hike to the g8? Read on to find out.
Elevator pitch: Up to 3 full days on a single charge with a massive 5000 mAh battery.
Warranty: 12-months ACL
Country of manufacture: China
Lenovo (Est 1984) is a multinational technology company with its main operational headquarters in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina. It is the world’s largest PC maker. It purchased Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Most of Lenovo’s smartphone business is now under the Motorola Brand.
Warning about grey market and parallel importers
We have named and shamed the major grey market and parallel importers here. Do not buy as you will not get Motorola warranty; Australian over the air OS and firmware updates; and you cannot make a 000 call without a sim. In fact, as these generally do not support LTE Band 28 used by Telstra and Optus, so all you will get is 3G. Specifically, do not buy if it has any other number than -4 at the end or if it is called Blackjack.
It’s a glass slab, centre tear-drop camera screen, familiar Motorola Bat Wing logo in the rear fingerprint sensor (right where it should be) and a 3.5mm combo audio jack (buds supplied). The only downside is the micro-USB connector that loses points on two counts. First, the 5000mAh battery takes a long time to charge and second – micro-USB is so yesterday even on a lower-cost phone.
The UI is pure Android 9 (Motorola has announced Android 10 update is coming) with a few Motorola apps thrown in.
It is quite bright at 478nits (max), 1500:1 contrast, and colour temperature adjustment from warm to cold. It has a glossy finish reducing daylight readability a little. The g8 and g8 Plus have 500+ nits.
Processor: MediaTek Helio P35 – PASS
The Helio P35 12nm, 4×2.3Ghz+4×1.8Ghz, is roughly equivalent to the Qualcomm SD615, so it is a good step down from the G8/PLUS and their SD665. You will find it in LG K51/61, OPPO A5/A7/A8/A11/A31, vivo Y3/Y17/Y30 – in fact over 50 sub-$299 phones. It is a lower power device. It has 4GB LPDDR3 and 64GB (42GB free) eMMC storage and a shared micro-SD/SIM 2 slot for up to 256GB. Geekbench 5 single/multi-core is 171/904. It would not run the Geekbench compute test – typical of MediaTek processors.
CPU Throttle test – EXCEED
It started with 102,039 GIPS. Averaged 97,753 (91%) and its lowest was 88,773GIPS. It shows good thermal management.
Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz only – -41dBm (strong) and 65Mbps (good)
BT 4.2 SBC codec
GPS: A-GPS single band – a little slow for turn-by-turn navigation
FM Radio (required earbuds as an antenna)
Micro-USB 2.0 480Mbps
6-axis accelerometer, Gyroscope, ambient light
You can’t expect Wi-Fi AC dual-band and NFC at this price.
LTE – good reception – EXCEED
Dual SIM – SIM 2 or micro-SD
Single ringtone for both SIMS (only one active at a time)
VoLTE. Does not appear to have Voice over Wi-Fi.
Signal strength: -79dBm and found next nearest tower at -85 (good)
Discharge: 200mA so should last for 25 days idle, screen off (35 day claim)
Battery charge 5V/2A – over three hours (note that you should not use a higher rated charger)
Battery Charge 5V/.9A – over seven hours
Motorola claims three days between charges. That would require aggressive battery management, but you could expect at least two days.
Audio – PASSable
Maximum volume 75dB (average)
3.5mm combo jack
Earpiece (only for phone) and single bottom mic
Handsfree is not very loud, but phone audio quality is fine
Single rear-ported speaker with no fidelity
BT 4.2 SBC codec provides clear sound to our reference Sony WH-1000xM3 headphones
If you use cabled buds or BT then audio quality if fine.
Android 9 – PASS but when Android 10 comes – EXCEED
Android to be upgraded
Motorola uses pure Android and adds Moto functions
The full suite of Google Apps
Build – PASS++
Glass front (no protection specified, plastic frame and back
164.94×75.76×9.2 mm x 200g
Water repellent (not rated)
Rear fingerprint button (reliable and fast) and 2D facial recognition (60% reliable over ten tests)
Camera – social media class – PASS+
The camera app is Google basic meaning not a lot to play with.
16 MP (f/2.0, 1.0um, 68.6° FOV) PDAF, 1080p@30fps
2 MP (f/2.4, 1.75um) depth
2 MP (f/2.4, 1.75um) macro
Single LED flash
HDR, Face Beauty, Dual camera bokeh, Timer, Panorama
Good colour and detailNot bad for digital zoomOffice Light – details good but colours a little offMacro – detail is good but colours are a little offNot for low light!
We were more than satisfied that it is capable of producing good results in office and daylight but limited in low light. It has a means a fairly narrow FOV – no wide-angle or ultra-wide angle lens.
8 MP (f/2.0, 1.12um, 66.4° FOV) 1080p@30fps
HDR, Face beauty, Timer, Bokeh
It produces reasonable selfies, but its narrow FOV means it is not for groups.
In the beginning, I asked if the $80 upgrade to the g8 was warranted? The answer is no. Yes, the g8 is better, but in everyday use, you won’t miss its better processor, camera and USB-C. But here is the conundrum. The g8 PLUS is $399, and at $150 more it is vastly better with the Qualcomm SD665, Wi-Fi AC, BT 5.0, fast charge, Dolby stereo sound, vastly better camera and USB-C. It scored 5/5 in our tests. So if all you have is $249 it gets the tick. It lost points for the slower charge time and lack of USB-C.
Competition (prices are from JB and may include carrier-locked devices)