In recent years, Motorola Moto G-series phones have always been good budget devices. In fact, the Moto G7 is our current pick for the best budget phone available today.
Now Motorola-owned Lenovo is back for the first time in its G8 ranges. This is the £ 239 (€ 269 or about $ 306) Motorola Moto G8 Plus, which sits at the top end of the G-series's affordable lineup thanks to its stronger processor and higher resolution core camera. It will be available in Europe, Australia, Mexico, and Latin America, but is not set to release in the US yet.
The Moto G8 Plus is another capable cheap smartphone from Motorola, and it is honestly enjoyable to use. Its battery life is great, and the tweaks Motorola has made to Android continue to do a good job of making its devices more user-friendly without feeling like they're getting in the way. The only real compromise you make here is with the phone camera and the fact that it launches on Android 9 instead of this year's Android 10, but I think these are acceptable trade-offs at this price.
On paper, it's hard to get overly excited about specs of the Moto G8 Plus , especially since they were similar to the Moto G7 Plus from earlier this year. It received a small bump in terms of its processor (it now has a Snapdragon 665 midrange instead of a Snapdragon midrange 636), and its storage and RAM are unchanged at 64GB and 4GB, respectively biting. Its LCD screen is a fraction of an inch larger at 6.3 inches than the G7 Plus's 6.2 inches, but it's still 1080p with a small teardrop notch up top. Oh, and there's still no IP certification, so it's best to keep it out of the water.
Motorola has made a more significant change with the phone's battery capacity, which is now a respectable 4,000mAh. That's not as much as the G7 Power's 5,000 capacity, but it's more than enough for my needs. While I do not have the confidence to claim that you can get many days of battery life out of this phone, I will say that I have struggled to remove the phone for the past 50 percent even during my longest use days.
It's embarrassing to see that the 27W fast charging that goes with Motorola's Motorola G7 Plus seems to be reduced to Only 15W here. This means that you will probably have to wait close to two hours to reach 100 percent than the sub-one time reported possible on the G7 Plus (though it is likely helped by its smaller battery). You still get a 3.5mm headphone jack, though, which is always appreciated.
Moto G8 Plus camera performance is a bit more complicated. The Moto G8 Plus technically has a triple-camera array behind it, another than the dual camera on the G7 Plus. The resolution of the primary camera is folded from 16 to 48 megapixels (although the resolution of the photos themselves is confined to 12 megapixels), but the second camera is still a 5-megapixel deep sensor.
Where it gets pretty messy is with a third camera. It's technically an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera, but instead of using it to let you take ultra-wide angle photos, it's actually designed to let you film videos on the scene while holding keep your phone upright, as in The Motorola One Action announced earlier this year.
I have two thoughts about this decision. The ability to film a video on the scene without having to reorient my phone is a neat trick. It makes filming easy with one hand, and stabilizes the camera video. But the videos come out looking hilarious and a bit blurry, and I generally prefer the option of taking wide angles.
Otherwise, the photos that came out of the Moto G8 Plus are pretty average. I usually enjoy their level of detail, and it's nice to see that the pictures don't come out looking full. However, limited dynamic camera coverage is a problem. Often this will force you to choose between not addressing your topic or skydiving. Despite the camera being included with an HDR feature, it didn't seem to improve the situation by many.
The biggest strength of the Moto G8 Plus is how useful it is on a daily basis, much to do with the small additions Motorola made to Android 9. It does a great job. offering small pieces of functionality that don't get in the way. Sure, some of the phone's "Moto Action" gestures control gimmicks, but others, like having two "karate chop motions" to quickly turn on the phone's flashlight, are good little ones. Followers.
Then there are lock screen controls that give you faster access to your notification options when it is not necessary to turn the screen of your phone completely. You can quickly drag your finger to access notification actions, and I've found the process to be faster to access than standard Android lock notification actions.
None of these features come as a surprise to anyone who has used one of the Motorola G-series phones recently, but they continue to work well with the Moto G8 Plus.
There is a glitch in these notification actions that are sometimes found really annoying. In theory, the phone display should only illuminate itself when you approach the phone to use it, to show you any of your existing notifications. However, I occasionally find the phone to illuminate when it is sitting on the desk in front of me, no matter what I reach or try to ignore it. It doesn't seem to have any effect on the extraordinary life of the phone's battery, but it does get annoying.
Simply put, a compromise was made by Motorola using the Moto G8 Plus which means it's unlikely to win whoever buys a device on the flagship. Its camera really is, the proposals are uniquely middling, and you give up other great features like IP-rated water resistance.
But the Moto G8 Plus is still a useful device on a daily basis. Its battery life is amazing, and Motorola's small tweaks to Android really add to the phone's efficiency. We're still waiting to find out what Motorola has in store for the non-Plus Moto G8, but for now it's another great budget option from the brand.
Photography by Jon Porter / The Verge
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. It does not influence editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy .