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Moto G8 Plus Review: Decent Smartphone With Versatile Camera Features
There was a time when the Moto G series smartphones had quite a reputation in the sub-15K market. Well, times have changed and the competition in the budget is fiercer than ever. As an answer to the dominant Chinese brands in the segment, Motorola has launched some good smartphones lately. The latest offering in its portfolio is the Moto G8 Plus which was introduced for Rs. 13,999.
- Action Camera
- Stock Android
- Good Display
- Decent Battery
- No Wide Angle Camera
- Average Performance
The Moto G8 Plus comes with all the rings and bells of a decent budget smartphone and also borrows the Action Camera from the Moto One Action which was launched earlier this year. What's better is the use of a Snapdragon processor instead of an Exynos chipset. Despite the changes, the Moto G8 Plus sticks to the classic Motorola feel blended with stock Android experience. But is it worth shelling out your money? Or the market has better options to offer? Let's find out.
Design: Classic Feel With Modern Touch
The Moto G8 Plus sure has the classic Motorola build sans the glass body seen on a few Moto devices launched lately. The new smartphone has a gradient plastic body with a curved rear, a handy grip, and a sturdy G series design. The rear also has a vertically aligned triple camera setup with the Action Camera getting the top billing. For some reason, there's uneven spacing among the camera sensor which looks odd if you give it a close look. The camera setup is accompanied by a fingerprint sensor with the Motorola logo.
The right side has volume rockers and power key with tactile feedback. The SIM tray is on the left, while the Type-C charging port, speakers, and the primary microphone are at the bottom. The smartphone lacks a dedicated SIM card slot which is a setback. You can either use two SIM cards or one SIM and one microSD card.
If you still prefer wired headphones, there's a 3.5mm audio jack that sits right beside the secondary mic on top of the phone. Also, the rear panel is a smudge magnet and I found myself cleaning the device too often. The company bundles a silicon case with the phone but that might hide the attractive color scheme of the rear panel.
Overall, the phone feels good to hold and using it with one hand shouldn't be a problem. However, I feel the notch that holds the front camera could have been less intrusive. The design and color look really good but the device lacks a premium feel due to the use of slightly cheap materials.
Display: Decent Panel For Its Price
The Moto G8 Plus sports a 6.3-inch IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 409ppi. The color reproduction is good but you can feel the cooler tones in the colors. I wouldn't call it the best display in the segment but it still does the job fairly well.
The colors look decent and the viewing experience won't be disappointing on video streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The Moto G8 Plus misses out on the Widewine L1 support which would have made HD streaming possible, but that's forgivable at this price point. I streamed a few videos and my experience was average if not great. Moreover, the sunlight legibility of the display is sub-par and you'll have a tough time using it in direct sunlight.
Software: Stock Android Keeps It Smooth
The Moto G8 Plus runs on stock Android 9 and that's the best part about this device. You don't need to worry about redundant apps or bloatware, because there isn't any. Besides, the stock version is the first in line to receive software upgrades. Though the software is dated, the company has promised the Android 10 update soon.
The UI brings a launcher reminiscent of the Pixel phones. You also get features such as Digital Wellbeing, Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, and gesture-based navigations. As for the security, the phone uses biometric authentication methods like Face Unlock, Pattern/Pin lock, and fingerprint scanner.
Overall, the user experience on the Moto G8 Plus is decent, you will easily be able to navigate through the apps and multitasking also works like a charm. We hope the company rolls out the Android 10 update soon and make the experience better.
Camera: Action Camera Steals The Limelight
The Moto G8 Plus flaunts a triple camera setup comprising 48MP + 16MP + 5MP sensors. The camera app offers several modes and filters. I noticed that the camera does a good job of taking detailed shots in favorable lighting conditions, but not during the dark. The macro shots are also good and the colors appear true-to-eyes.
The primary camera can shoot videos in 4K at 30fps and Full HD at 120fps. The selfie camera can only record at 1080p. Also, you can use the wide-angle mode only during the Action camera mode at 1080p, which is another letdown. The portrait mode also needs toning down as it shows an aggressive bokeh effect and pictures do not appear natural.
However, the 16MP wide-angle Action Cam is something that sets the device apart from other phones in the segment. It lets you capture videos in the panorama mode while holding the device vertically. It's a very thoughtful feature, which came in handy for me in a lot of instances.
For example, the feature can be used if you want to record for a longer duration as holding the phone vertically offers more stability and doesn't fatigue your arm quickly. The company pulled this off by altering the orientation of the lenses. I was able to shoot videos with ease and thanks to the ultra-wide lens you don't lose anything on the scene you're trying to capture. I believe this feature will attract content creators.
Speaking of the front 25MP camera, it uses the pixel-binning technology to offer detailed pictures in low-light. I found the selfies to be more detailed and natural-looking compared to the ones taken from the rear camera. If you are fond of taking selfies, the Moto G8 Plus is a good alternative.
Audio And Battery: Shines In Both Departments
The company has included a host of Dolby features for the Moto G8 Plus. The Dolby Audio-powered dual-firing speakers on the device are really impressive. The speakers offered a good stereo effect and thanks to the Dolby setting, you can adjust mids, vocals, and bass of the output. The Dolby effect works for both wired and wireless headsets.
The Moto G8 Plus is juiced by a 4,000 mAh battery with support for 15W Turbo charging. You can also charge the device using any charger with Quick Charge 3.0 support. Charging the device from zero to 100 took a little over two hours which is similar to other phones in the segment.
My daily usage involved social media apps, email, mild gaming, and heavily streaming music. The device still managed to secure around 20-25 percent of the battery by the end of the day, which is impressive. If you tend to game a lot, then the phone might need refueling before you call it a day. In the battery loop test, the device ran around 13 hours and 40 minutes which is quite impressive.
Performance: Lags Behind Competition
The Moto G8 Plus is powered by the Snapdragon 665 processor coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. The same processor is used by the Realme 5 and the Redmi Note 8 but come at a much lower price.
Speaking of the performance, the Moto G8 Plus managed to handle all the day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat. Multitasking worked well and we hardly noticed a lag, all thanks to the clean Android build. There were some hiccups at times, but nothing major to write it off completely.
Although the 4GB RAM seems efficient enough to handle all the tasks, in the long run, you might feel the need for extra RAM as multitasking wouldn't be as smooth as it is now. Many smartphones in the segment are offering 8GB RAM, and it would've been great if the company added extra RAM on the device.
I fired up some graphics-hungry games on the phone and instantly noticed a drop in performance. Playing games like PUBG on the highest graphics settings surely puts a dent on the hardware. I also felt that the device got a bit toasty while gaming, but nothing uncomfortably so. The benchmark results were decent if not great. In the AnTuTu benchmark, the device scored 169,470 which is less than what we got on the Redmi Note 8 Pro. However, the device scored well on the 3DMark benchmark with 1,260 points. Overall, the Moto G8 Plus falls a tad short on performance when compared to its contemporaries.
Verdict: Not The Best Out There
The Moto G8 Plus is by no means a bad product. It is priced very well and comes with a unique feature like the Action camera alongside the pure Android experience. However, there a few things that hold back the camera from being at par with the competition. Also, the performance does fall short when compared to its rivals.
At a similar price point, you can opt for the Redmi Note 8 Pro which comes with a better processor, higher camera specifications, and better RAM configuration. Besides, the Realme XT is another great option. It offers brilliant camera performance, a much better display, and has a better chipset. However, you'll have to shell out around Rs. 2,000 more.
The Moto G8 Plus is a decent device but it is outclassed by a few good options available in the segment. The stock Android experience just isn't enough to save the day as the internals and other features aren't at par with the competition. Sadly, it would be hard to recommend this device over the likes of Xiaomi and Realme smartphones.