Price (RRP): $499
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 fleet phone.
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)
Who buys a Motorola g8 PLUS?
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 selfie
- 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 paradigms.
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.
6.3”, 2280×1080, 400ppi, 19:9, LTPS IPS, teardrop notch, 82.5% STBR, Panda Glass
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
- Viewing angles are wide
- Ambient display mode – notifications, battery level, time, etc. on the lock screen.
Processor – PASS+
Snapdragon 665 SoC 11nm, 4 x 1.8GHz A53 and 4 x 2GHz A73
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 3.0 technology.
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 increase.
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 settings.
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
- FM radio
- Tuned by Dolby Audio
- Ringer: 85db, music 77dB, voice 74dB (quite loud)
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 analysis.
- Deep Bass: 20-40Hz – none (nor expected)
- Middle Bass: 40-100Hz – building from 50Hz (totally unexpected)
- 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 still strong
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 wireless headsets.
Comms – PASS
- Wi-Fi AC (6), dual-band, 1×1 MIMO, Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot
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 headphones.
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)
- Bands 1/2/3/5/7/8/19/20/26/28/38/40/41
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 the time
- GPS 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, [email protected]
- 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.
- Ultra-wide ‘Action Cam’: 16MP, f/2.2 aperture, 1.0µm pixel size, PDAF, HDR
- Sensor OmniVision OV16885
This is a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera especially for GoPro-style videos – it does not shoot stills. It lets you capture horizontal videos while holding the phone vertically.
This is more a gimmick and produces a very narrow image.
- Depth sensor: 5MP, f/2.2 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size,
- Sensor Samsung S5K5e9
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 textures.
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!
But there 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.