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Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power review: Mega battery life for less than $300
Motorola Moto G
What we like
What we don't like
Motorola’s Moto G series for 2020 demonstrates what happens when companies respond to the market. Motorola listened to its customers, took a look at its competition, and decided that battery life and the productivity enhancements enabled by a stylus were needed in its lineup. Thus, we have the Moto G Power and the Moto G Stylus. These are the latest generation of the Moto G and deliver big on core functions at unbeatable prices.
Here is Android Authority‘s Motorola Moto G review.
Motorola Moto G review: Who are these phones for?
The Motorola Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus are more alike than they are different. Put really simply, the Moto G Stylus trades battery capacity for a stylus. There are some minor differences in the software, of course, and with the camera sensors. Nearly everything else about these phones is identical. Both phones retail for under $300, which puts them at the more affordable end of the spectrum where they compete with the Nokia 7.2, Samsung Galaxy A52, and TCL 10L.
Where the Moto G Power prioritizes battery life and should interest those seeking the absolute best battery performance, the Moto G Stylus offers some fun and productive software for those who prefer stylus input over their finger.
Moreover, the phones ship with near-stock Android, making the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus no-brainers for those who dislike heavy-handed UI skins.
What is it like to use the Power and Stylus?
From a hardware perspective, the Moto G series are essentially the same phone. They share dimensions and basic features, such as fingerprint readers, headphone jacks, stereo speakers, and USB-C.
Motorola kept the design straightforward. There is a hint of the old Moto G family DNA in the basic curve of the phone’s corners. It’s a simple shape. While straightforward and simple, Motorola didn’t allow the design to wander into boring. The phones’ faces are plain black, but the Power comes with a patterned black rear panel and the Stylus comes in a slick blue that changes colors as you tilt it. These small design elements are enough to at least keep the devices current, if not on the cutting edge. One bummer: the glossy rear panels are easily besmirched with fingerprints.
The Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus are sizable phones thanks to their large screens. These devices will stretch the comfort of those with smaller hands, though I suspect most people will find they are manageable. For phones with plastic chassis, I was expecting them to be lighter. The Power, with its larger battery, is about 5g heavier than the Stylus and you can tell when you hold it.
Motorola did a fine job in piecing the two phones together. The seams are even, and individual components are expertly fitted together. As has been the case with Motorola phones for years, the Moto G Power and G Stylus’ innards are protected by a nano-coating to prevent splashes from short-circuiting them. They are not waterproof, nor are most phones in this price segment.
The only legit difference in hardware is the stylus tucked into the bottom corner of the Moto G Stylus. It’s easy to remove with your fingernail — perhaps too easy. The stylus’ hook can get snagged on a thread and ejected accidentally if you’re not paying attention. I can’t say I like the stylus itself much, either. It’s short, thin, and simply not that comfortable to hold and use for more than a few seconds. Perhaps you’ll feel differently about it.
In all, the phones are moderately attractive and feature hardware that’s on par with the competition in terms of build and functionality.
How’s the screen?
The identical 6.4-inch LCD panels get the job done. They are nothing super spectacular and yet I doubt anyone will be disappointed.
The Full HD+ resolution is more than adequate for this class of device. Text is sharp on the screen, colors are natural, and luminosity is plentiful. Viewing angles are excellent, with no color shift as the screen is tilted or rotated.
Motorola adopted a punch hole design. The selfie cam is located in the upper left corner, which is where I like it. The result? Very little bezel around the display. There’s a slight chin at the bottom, but otherwise, the side and top bezels are respectably slim.
You can tweak the normal things, such as blue light, vibrance, nighttime mode, and so on.
I don’t think anyone can ask for much more from sub-$300 phones.
The Moto G series is not the fastest set of phones on the wireless block. Year-old Snapdragon 665 processors provide the power, though they are hindered just a bit by 4GB of RAM. I found the phones to be moderately quick when performing everyday tasks. They didn’t bowl me over with speed, but they didn’t come across as sluggish either. I don’t think people shopping in the under $300 segment expect performant gaming machines, but the phones are at the very least up to most activities.
For example, the camera apps functioned well, the menus felt quick and responsive, screen transitions were generally smooth, and the bulk of applications opened in a hurry. The majority of people who buy either the Power or the Stylus should be happy with the speed.
What about battery life?
This is the part where I tell you these phones both deliver kick-ass battery life.
Motorola claims the Power can push through three days of battery life. They ain’t lyin’. I had a hard time running the battery down. The phone has a one-two-three punch: a huge 5,000mAh battery, a standard display, and a conservative processor. Together, this team is able to sip power most of the time, which leads to stellar battery life. I often got the full three days of battery life with screen-on time reaching absurd levels of eight hours or more with regular use. For me, regular use includes plenty of time on Twitter, Instagram, Slack, and Gmail, as well as a healthy amount of time browsing the web and listening to music.
The Moto G Stylus is no slouch, either. Yes, it has a smaller 4,000mAh battery, but it still delivers two full days of battery life. That’s more than even the best flagships on the market right now.
Both the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus pay dividends when it comes to battery life.
The only drawback is charging. Charging speed is limited to just 10W. While that’s not the worst, it’s far from the best. Charging the huge batteries in these phones takes close to two hours.
Bottom line, the Moto G Power and G Stylus will outlive almost every other phone when it comes to battery life. That has to count for something.
Are the cameras any good?
Both Moto Gs have four cameras aboard, but the specs are slightly different. Where the G Power has a 16MP main, 2MP macro, 8MP action, and 16MP selfie camera, the G Stylus has a 48MP main, 2MP macro, 16MP action, and 16MP selfie camera. The main and action cameras of the Stylus each bin down, to 16MP and 4MP, respectively.
The app is the same across the phones and is fairly robust. It’s not quite the stock Android camera, but it is close. It’s dead simple to use. Shooting modes include: portrait, cutout, macro, spot color, night vision, cinemagraph, panorama, and live filter, and video modes include macro, slow motion, time-lapse, and AR stickers. I like that the mode picker is just three things: camera, video, and a tray with everything else. The settings are actually rather extensive and allow for plenty of customization to the app. As always, you can launch the camera app with a quick twist of your wrist (sort of like opening a doorknob.)
In terms of experience, taking photos with either phone is the same. The results, however, are noticeably different.
I was consistently happier with the images from the Moto G Stylus. Its superior camera offers better contrast, more consistent HDR, bold colors, and more natural results. In contrast, photos from the Moto G Power were a bit flat, overexposed, and softer. You can easily spot the differences in the samples below.
The selfie cameras are particularly bad. Neither phone delivered good focus, which more or less ruined the results. You can see in this sample that the Moto G was unable to focus on my face despite the fact that it was in portrait mode.
The macro cameras work, but I still posit that no one actually wants a macro camera.
The macro cameras work, but I still posit that no one actually wants a macro camera. I was able to take close-up shots of several things, and the results are decent. They are a little too contrasty, but the focus is decent.
On the video front, the phones max out at 4K at 30fps, with slow-motion at 120fps at 1080p and 240fps at 720p. As with the main camera, I liked video from the Moto G Stylus more. It simply has a better sensor and delivers better video. It’s the color and contrast that make it more appealing.
In all, the cameras are about what I expected for phones in this price range. That is to say, they are serviceable though not particularly impressive.
If you want to see full-resolution samples, they are available in Google Drive here.
What I like about the Motorola Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus
The stylus software. Pulling out the stylus conjures up a floating menu bar that includes three shortcuts: create a note, take a screenshot, and Google Keep. You can then scribble a note, annotate the screenshot, or write yourself something for Google Keep. I like that you can control the vibrations and notifications of the stylus software and floating menu bar. It’s not the most powerful suite in the world, but it covers the basics and works well.
Standard fingerprint scanners adorn the rear panels, located within the batwing “M” logo. I had no trouble training the readers, which were quick and consistent to unlock the phones. This type of fingerprint reader is becoming scarce. Shame, as it’s still the speediest and most reliable.
Storage. Not only do the phones ship with 128GB of storage, but they also support microSD cards up to 512GB.
Motorola’s software. Motorola’s clean build of Android is a major strength. The Moto G power and G Stylus have some of the best lock screens in the business.
Stereo speakers. What’s not to like about good, loud stereo speakers?
What do I dislike?
Weight. 199g for the Power and 194g for the Stylus. The Power, in particular, is really heavy for a sub-$300 phone made of plastic.
Charging speed. 10W support is just too slow for batteries this large.
Cameras. Motorola has struggled to build great cameras of late. Unfortunately, the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus do little to right the ship.
|Moto G Power||Moto G Stylus|
Moto G Power:6.4-in LCD
2,400 x 1,080 Full HD+
Moto G Stylus:6.4-in LCD
2,400 x 1,080 Full HD+
Moto G Power:Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
Adreno 610 GPU
Moto G Stylus:Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
Adreno 610 GPU
Moto G Power:5,000mAh
10W wired charging
Moto G Stylus:4,000mAh
10W wired charging
Moto G Power:4GB
Moto G Stylus:4GB
Moto G Power:128GB
Moto G Stylus:128GB
Moto G Power:Rear
Main: 16MP, f/.7
Macro: 2MP f/2.2
Action: 8MP f/2.2
Moto G Stylus:Rear
Main: 48MP, f/.7
Macro: 2MP f/2.2
Action: 16MP f/2.2
Moto G Power:155 x 75 x 9.2mm
Moto G Stylus:155 x 75 x 9.2mm
Moto G Power:Polycarbonate chassis
USB-C / USB 2.0
Fingerprint reader (rear)
Moto G Stylus:Polycarbonate chassis
USB-C / USB 2.0
Fingerprint reader (rear)
Moto G Power:Android 10
Moto G Stylus:Android 10
Motorola Moto G review: Should you buy them?
Phones that cost around $300 are a mixed lot. Samsung, Nokia, LG, Honor, Realme, Redmi, and others have respectable offerings in this range. The Samsung Galaxy A52, the Nokia 7.2 and the TCL 10L are probably the closest direct competitors to the new Moto G series.
Speaking personally, I think the Samsung and Nokia phones have a little bit more going for them, particularly when it comes to design. The TCL 10, less so. However, they don’t come close to meeting the Motorola Moto G series in one vital department: battery life. If battery life is your primary concern, you can’t go wrong with either the Moto G Power or the Moto G Stylus. The G Power, in particular, delivers dividends on battery life with three days of uptime. The G Stylus may only reach two days, but that’s still better than many devices in any price range.
Can’t pick between the Power or the Stylus? If you can give up some battery life, I think the Stylus is the better performer. It includes a useful stylus and has the better of the two camera systems hands down. You will pay more for the stylus. The Motorola Moto G Power cost $249 at launch and the Moto G Stylus cost $299. Call them the battery bargain of 2020.
If you have a bit more cash in your budget, there’s the newer Motorola Edge for $699. Yes, it’s double the cost of these Moto G phones, but it’s a winner through and through.
This concludes Android Authority‘s Motorola Moto G review.