The Motorola Moto G Power represents premium battery life in Motorola’s lineup of phones, so if you buy one, you know it’s going to deliver in that respect.
But it’s also a budget phone, and if you get one premium feature on a budget phone, you know you’re going to be making some sacrifices in other specs – and that’s definitely true of the latest Moto G Power 5G, a good phone that comes with some notable downsides.
But the device can still be a good value for the right person – take a look at our Moto G Power 5G 2023 review to see if that someone is you.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 review: Build quality
The new Moto G Power 5G looks and feels a lot like last year’s version – we’re still looking at a 6.5-inch device with a plastic frame and protective glass over the display on the front, although it isn’t as high-end as the Corning Gorilla Glass, you’ll find on premium devices. At 185 g and 8.5 mm thick, it’s got a more petite, lighter build than the 2022 model without sacrificing battery capacity, which is great.
Around the phone’s edges, you’ll find a combined SIM and MicroSD slot and the power and volume buttons; on the bottom is a USB-C charging port and, yes, a headphone jack! The power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.
The Moto G Power is still one of the few wired headphone holdouts, which we imagine could sway some buying decisions, even in the face of some of its drawbacks.
There’s no IP rating for the Moto G Power 5G 2023, so it won’t be the most durable of phones. Not too surprising for a budget phone, but it’s good to keep in mind that this phone and water definitely won’t mix well.
The Moto G Power 5G 2023 only comes in two colors – bright white and mineral black.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Display
Compared to the old version, the most significant upgrade to the Moto G Power 5G is the display. The Moto G Power 5G 2023 has a 1080p HD IPS LCD instead of 2022’s 720p IPS LCD, with a 120Hz refresh rate instead of 2022’s 90Hz refresh rate.
That makes the Moto G series much more competitive when compared to other budget phones of a similar price, and while the display doesn’t stand out by any means, its shortcomings are at least not glaring. Although not getting a premium phone means giving up certain features, the display quality on the phone is good enough that it never becomes a distraction while gaming or watching videos.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Battery Life
Lots to talk about with the Moto G Power 5G 2023, but ultimately, if you’re going to buy it, it will be primarily because of battery life. The 5,000 mAh battery is massive and is about what we see on premium phones. But, without the premium performance and high-end display, 5,000 mAh gets you a lot farther – we constantly found ourselves having 80-90% battery left through midday and 60-70% at bedtime, easily getting us through two days of use. If you watch lots of videos or play many mobile games, we wouldn’t always expect two-day battery life, but one full day should always be a lock.
It’s more battery life than most people will regularly need, but it’s nice to have a phone that can last multiple days just in case you end up traveling for a while and forget your charger or have occasion to use the phone more heavily than usual.
You’ll still have to manage battery life well, though – the Moto G Power 5G 2023 only works with up to 15W charging and doesn’t have wireless charging, so once it’s out of juice, it’ll take a while to get a full charge from a wired connection.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Performance
With a Dimensity 930 chipset, the Moto G Power 5G 2023 has a faster processor than its predecessor, but it’s still a weak point for the device. Even when paired with 6 GB of RAM instead of 4 GB of RAM, the processor struggles with basic tasks.
We’d never expect buttery smooth performance from budget phones, but still, it was surprising to see hitches and lag when using simple apps like Gmail. There’s a noticeable slowdown even in low-lift word games like Word Blitz, so if you’re accustomed to playing more graphics-intensive mobile games, you’d be better off looking into other options. Unfortunately, these caveats do not render the upgrade to a 120Hz refresh rate on the display unnecessary.
If you just need a phone that can handle a little Netflix well enough while you stay in bed for another couple of hours, the Moto G Power 5G 2023 is up to the task. The stereo speakers are a bright spot, complemented by Dolby Atmos audio. Even if the display quality doesn’t wow, we found it good enough combined with better-than-expected sound.
As the name implies, the Moto G Power 5G does feature 5G connectivity thanks to the Dimensity 930 chipset. We’ve got dual-band a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi onboard, so nothing, especially fast in that department.
One glaring omission is NFC (Near Field Communication), which prevents you from using the phone for mobile payments through apps like Google Pay, which is quickly becoming ubiquitous on Android devices. It’s a convenience many folks are coming around to, and it’s one of those tiny things we imagine will be a dealbreaker for many.
The fingerprint reader built into the power button is OK, but we prefer the on-screen readers on other devices. We didn’t find the reader to work consistently, and we often needed to try several times or enough times to where it would lock, and we’d need to enter the PIN to unlock the phone.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Cameras
The camera array on the Moto G Power 5G 2023 is nearly the same as its predecessor – three cameras featuring a 50 MP f/1.8 wide-angle, a 2 MP f/2.4 depth sensor, and a 2 MP f/2.4 macro.
On the front, the selfie camera is a 16 MP f/2.4 wide-angle camera, a step up to the 8 MP camera from the previous year’s model. The Moto G Power 5G 2023 camera array also features Quad Pixel technology that helps to improve low-light shots and sharpen details.
We found the cameras to be OK for the price. Despite the Quad Pixel boost, the sensors aren’t quite robust enough to make good low-light shots possible, and even in daylight, you’ll lose a lot of detail in wide-angle shots.
For close-ups, we didn’t find the macro camera to be up to the task, with many subjects still remaining out of focus – We prefer the shots we took with the main 50 MP wide-angle camera across the board. The selfie camera fares a little better on the whole, but nothing especially noteworthy.
We still think the cameras are good enough for the price, but we wish to have gotten a little more out of the macro lens as a pure point-and-shoot. The cameras are good enough in well-lit environments for close-up or mid-range shots, but the lack of optical zoom makes image quality on landscape or panoramic photos really rough.
There’s a pro mode to adjust settings, which can help you get the most out of the cameras, but if you’re invested enough to fiddle with settings, you’re probably looking into higher-end hardware than what the Moto G Power 5G 2023 has.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Software
The Moto G Power 5G 2023 comes with the Android 13 operating system installed. Motorola has its own suite of Moto features on top of that, many of which are security ones, including a secure folder, PIN pad scramble (nice to have if you’re worried about someone looking over your shoulder to watch you enter your PIN), network protection (warnings about unsecured Wi-Fi networks) and a privacy dashboard that lets you see and manage app permissions.
This is in addition to a suite of personalization options – all good, but Motorola does like to surface the Moto options as little icons on the screen that can sometimes get in the way. At this point, we’ve learned from the old chat bubbles of Facebook Messenger that on-screen floating icons aren’t the way to go! Usually, stock Android, or as close as we can get to it, is preferred.
The Moto G Power 5G 2023 comes with aggressive notifications and pre-installed app folders full of recommended apps to download, so they basically feel like ads. Although it’s better than all the said apps being pre-installed on the device and taking up storage space, it’s still not the most pleasant experience when setting up the phone. But, it probably also helps keep the phone’s price down, so make of that what you will.
Longtime Moto users will also recognize gesture controls like twist to open the camera app and three fingertips to take a screenshot. They’re still pretty handy but probably won’t affect your buying decision.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Sustainability
The Moto G Power 5G 2023 isn’t leading the way when it comes to sustainability, and there is no word on the extent to which Motorola uses recycled materials. With just one Android upgrade, three years of security patches, and processor performance that seems outdated, it’s not a phone destined to last a long time.
But, if nothing else, Motorola has gotten on board with using more sustainable materials in its packaging. Almost no plastic was in the packaging or inside the box – there was mostly paper to be found, including the screen covering. It’s nice to see that this has quickly become an industry norm, even for budget phones.
Moto G Power 5G 2023 Review: Pricing
You can snag the Moto G Power 5G 2023 in mineral black or bright white directly from Motorola for $300, and you can reduce the cost by trading in your old handset. That gets you 256 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM, and at least at launch, it appears this is the only configuration available for the unlocked model.
Should you buy the Moto G Power 5G 2023?
Motorola doesn’t have a bad device here, but the Moto G Power 5G 2023 is lacking in many ways, and it’s not hard to find $300 smartphones in 2023 with similar or better specs. Even with the improved processor and more RAM over last year’s model, the choppy performance is noticeable, and you can do better with an Android phone running on one of Qualcomm’s mid-range chipsets.
The lack of NFC is a real bummer and will be a dealbreaker for many. And, with just mineral black and bright white, we’re a little disappointed by the lack of color options, even if it’s not surprising at this price range.
There’s still a lot to like about the phone. The stereo speakers benefit from Dolby Atmos sound, and the move to a 1080p HD display is welcome, even if the limited power from the chipset squanders the 120Hz refresh rate.
And, if you’re dedicated to the wired headphone jack, the Moto G Power 5G 2023 is one of the few devices out there still made for you. Motorola would have been better off leaning into the phone’s strengths – for example, we would’ve been happier with quick charging features.
But the main reason to be sold on the Motorola Moto G Power 5G is its battery life. Even with the 1080p display and the improved processor demanding more battery power, you’ll still get well over a day out of the device, even with a good amount of video watching and gaming thrown in.
If your top priorities are battery life and headphone jack, this is probably the best option for the price – there might not be that many of you left, but for those nodding their heads right now, Motorola still has your back with the Moto G Power 5G.