Each year Moto launches an affordable new G-series mid-range phone and each year it receives rave reviews from critics and consumers alike. Last year’s Moto G6 was no exception, and this year’s Moto G7 is poised to carry the torch. But what’s even more interesting is that starting with the G4, Moto broadened the G-series into a range of handsets with slightly different specs, including detuned Play and enhanced Plus versions.
For 2019, Moto is adding a fourth model, the G7 Power. It slots above the G7 Play and below the G7 and G7 Plus, and puts an emphasis on battery life, with a massive 5000mAh cell. So, beyond that, what do you gain and lose? Does the G7 Power hit the sweet spot in the lineup? Is it worth buying over the standard, but pricier and fancier G7? Read my review to find out.
Hardware and design
The G7 Power is a big phone — roughly the same size and weight as the current crop of large flagships from Apple, Samsung, and Google. At 9.3mm (0.37in) thick, it’s a little chunkier than most devices in this category, but you’d be hard pressed to notice because the curved edges make it feel good in hand. Design-wise, it’s a variation on the classic G-series lines instead of the modern Moto X4-like vibe of the G7 and G7 Plus. What my review unit lacks in sophistication, though, it handily makes up with a striking Marine Blue color.
Despite looking like a glass and aluminum sandwich, the G7 Power is primarily made of plastic, including the frame and faux-glass back. In front, Gorilla Glass 3 covers a 6.2-inch display that’s notched to host the earpiece and the 8MP selfie camera. While the bezels are reasonably small, there’s a significant Motorola-branded chin below the screen. The rear is home to Moto’s signature circular camera pod with a single 12MP shooter and LED flash, plus a trick fingerprint sensor that doubles as Moto’s “M” logo.
Continuing the tour, there’s a headphone jack and secondary mic on top, a USB Type-C port and primary mic at the bottom, a nano-SIM/microSD tray on the left side, plus a volume rocker and (pleasantly textured) power/lock button on the right. Finally, the G7 Power benefits from a special water-repellent nanocoating, for extra peace of mind.
The G7 Power features a 6.2-inch HD+ IPS display (1570 x 720 pixels, 279ppi) with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a notch. It looks fine overall, with decent contrast, pleasant colors, and good black levels. At the same time, viewing angles are somewhat limited, and the low resolution is definitely noticeable, especially when reading small text. Basically, it feels like Moto deliberately reduced costs by downgrading the screen to 720p, and that’s a bummer. Still, it gets the job done, and will serve most people well.
Mid-range handsets have really benefited from all the camera tech trickling down from flagships in the last couple years, to the point where even $200 devices take nice enough pictures in most situations. But the gap is widening again this year, with high-end phones showing great improvements in areas like low-light photography. So while the G7 Power probably matches the imaging performance of some two-year-old flagships, it also exhibits similar limitations.
Moto rightfully saved money by putting a single 12MP f/2.0 shooter in the back. There’s no fancy OIS here, but the sensor features 1.25-micron pixels and phase-detection autofocus. And it’s able to capture video at 4k / 30fps (and 1080p / 30 fps stabilized!) with stereo audio, which is pretty impressive at this price point. The selfie camera clocks in at 8MP and packs an f/2.2 lens, 1.12-micron pixels, and 1080p / 30fps video recording.
The resulting photos are quite detailed, with decent colors and exposure. Obviously, the G7 Power stumbles a little in terms of dynamic range and low-light performance, and that’s to be expected, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with Google Photos. Shooting modes include portrait (driven by face recognition instead of depth sensing), spot color (fun!), group selfie, manual, cinemagraph, and panorama. Video capture is surprisingly competent, and the camera even supports slow motion and time-lapse.
Reception and sound quality
Like most unlocked Moto handsets sold in the US, the G7 Power supports legacy CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint’s, which is nice. I tested it on Verizon and AT&T’s LTE networks in San Francisco and Portland without hiccups. The earpiece doubles as a mono speaker and sounds adequately loud and clear for both calls and media playback. Audio quality over headphones is excellent, surpassing devices costing significantly more, and the phone is loud enough to drive finicky studio headphones without drama.