Motorola has been a paragon of top-notch budget smartphones in recent years, and it continues to crank them out at record pace. Despite the slight image shift following the launch of the high-priced Motorola Razr and upcoming Moto Edge, Motorola is still all about affordability, and few phones embody that better than the new Moto G8 Power Lite.
The G8 Power Lite is actually the fourth phone from the affordable Moto G8 family to arrive in our laps, and it’s also the cheapest. At £150, this latest addition to the ever-expanding Moto lineup is well within the reach of most wallets. Does cheap equal poor quality? Not in this case, but you could get something even better for a similar price.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: What you need to know
As you may have guessed, the Moto G8 Power Lite is a stripped-down version of the Moto G8 Power, a phone that currently ranks among our favourite budget handsets. Where the Moto G8, Moto G8 Power and Moto G8 Plus all pack more premium features, including Snapdragon chipsets, the Moto G8 Power Lite has to make do with a comparatively weaker Mediatek processor.
It’s also got a lower-resolution display than the Moto G8 Power and Moto G8 Plus, runs Android 9 rather than 10, and its triple camera setup isn’t quite as fancy as any of its siblings. That said, it’s still rather well-specced for the price, with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a stupendous 5,000mAh battery.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Price and competition
With a launch price of £150, the Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite is about as affordable as it gets. You can buy one from either Amazon or Lenovo. Lenovo is also offering the phone plus a two-year damage protection warranty for just £182.
The most obvious rival is the Moto G8 Power Lite’s budget sibling, the Motorola Moto G8. At £180 from Amazon, it’s only £30 more than the Moto G8 Power Lite, and you get quite a lot for your money. It has a smaller display and a shorter-lived 4,000mAh battery, but it’s powered by a more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset. It can also record video at 4K resolution.
But can anything compare to the ludicrously well-priced Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T? It costs just £179 from Amazon, packs the same Snapdragon 665 chipset found in the Moto G8, has a 6.3in Full HD screen and a 48MP camera. Its combination of price, features and performance simply can’t be beaten.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Design
For such a cheap handset, the Moto G8 Power Lite looks snazzier than you might expect. Its 6.5in display, pleasingly rounded edges and slimline bezels (for a budget phone, that is) are immediately striking. A teardrop notch which houses the selfie camera punctuates the otherwise smooth lines.
The Power Lite’s plastic chassis is finished in Royal Blue, which fades from a darker to a lighter shade of metallic blue as you cast your eyes downward. The plastic chassis does feel cheap in the hand, though it is sturdy – at 200g, the phone is reasonably hefty. It also picks up greasy fingerprints a little too easily. Luckily, they can be wiped away without any trouble.
The circular Motorola logo is located in the upper centre at the back and doubles as a fingerprint reader. This is quick to set up initially, even when the bundled phone case is attached, but I found that it’s quite finicky when it comes to finger placement. To the left of the fingerprint sensor are the phone’s three main cameras, arranged in a column with the largest module set apart from the two smaller sensors and LED flash.
On the top edge, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, with the phone’s dual-SIM tray situated on the left edge and the volume rocker and power button on the right. The micro-USB charging port is sensibly placed on the bottom, and the single speaker has been fitted in the bottom left corner at the back. Sadly, there’s no official waterproof rating, though Motorola insists that its design is “water-repellent” for spills and splashes.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Display
The Moto G8 Power Lite’s 6.5in IPS screen has a resolution of 1,600 x 720, a pixel density of 269 pixels per inch and a 20:9 aspect ratio. There isn’t a protective layer of Gorilla Glass found on pricier smartphones – it’s just plain old tempered glass.
If you can get past the front camera’s notch, the display is pretty enough, but it could do with being brighter. With a maximum luminance of 426cd/m², the Moto G8 Power Lite is around 100nits dimmer than the standard Moto G8 Power. That won’t be a problem during normal daily use but in the direct glare of the sun it’s noticeable.
As for colour, the G8 Power Lite’s display covers 81.9% of the sRGB colour spectrum, with a gamut volume of 92.3%. It’s not markedly worse than any other Moto G8 smartphone, but it isn’t fantastic either; some colours aren’t as vibrant as they ought to look, and certain hues – greens and yellows, blues and purples – are undersaturated. Images on the screen do have a good amount of pop thanks to the display’s reasonably high 1,409:1 contrast ratio, but it’s worth noting that the standard Moto G8 is far sharper at 1,606:1.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Performance and battery life
The Moto G8 is also a better all-around performer, not that this comes as any surprise since it’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665. The Moto G8 Power Lite, meanwhile, is saddled with a Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 chipset that delivered middling results in our performance tests.
The phone feels fast enough when jumping from app to app, and its version of Android 9 is clean and easy to use; there’s no unwanted clutter here, unlike on Xiaomi’s phones, which are chock full of its own applications. However, its Geekbench multi-core score of 3,931 reveals that it’s notably slower than both the Moto G8 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T.
The same applies to its gaming abilities. In our GFXBench Manhattan 3 test, the Moto G8 Power Lite managed an average on-screen frame rate of 16fps, dropping to 10fps for the offscreen segment. The Moto G8 and Note 8T both cranked out an average of 19fps for the offscreen element, and the Moto G8, in particular, excelled in the on-screen part of the test with an average of 34fps. Remember that the Redmi Note 8T has a much higher resolution display, which accounts for its comparatively weaker performance.
The Moto G8 Power Lite does at least pull ahead of the competition when it comes to battery life. Its 5,000mAh battery lasted for 20hrs 6mins on a single charge in our standardised video playback battery test. That’s only 2hrs 20mins shy of the Motorola Moto G8 Power’s result which, for a £150 phone with a 6.5in display, is very impressive, and pretty much guarantees all-day and all-night use. The standard Moto G8 is still a strong contender in this department, having held out for over 18hrs, but Xiaomi’s budget champ lasted for just 14hrs 53mins. Of course, that higher resolution display is partly to blame yet again.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Camera
Without context, the Moto G8 Power Lite’s camera setup sounds remarkable for a smartphone that costs just £150. Its triple rear camera is made up of a 16MP (f/2.0) module, a 2MP (f/2.4) macro camera and a 2MP (f/2.4) depth unit. Its selfie snapper uses an 8MP (f/2.0) module and the phone can capture video at 1080p resolution at 30fps, take HDR shots and can digitally zoom up to 4x.
The Moto G8’s camera software is straightforward and easy to use. There are four main modes of shooting: standard, bokeh, macro and panorama. Besides that, you’ve also got a beautifying slider – presumably for blurring out undesired details on selfies – and the HDR toggle.
I settled on the default ‘HDR Auto’ setting for my camera tests. Since the Expert Reviews team isn’t in the office at the moment, we can’t do our usual array of camera testing, so I had to make do with simply taking pictures in the local area. Even on a gloomy day, and from some distance, you can still make out the finer architectural details of Willesden Green Tube station. The phone’s HDR image processing also did a good job at boosting the saturation of the flora in the local park and church yard, although some of the colours did look a bit over-processed for my liking.
Low-light shooting is surprisingly good too, as evidenced by this still life shot below. It appears much brighter than it did in reality, and the camera has done an excellent job of teasing textures out from the shadows without adding too much visual noise.
The macro camera is a lot of fun to play around with. It’s capable of capturing intricate details on the smallest objects – such as tiny blossoming flowers or the 5p coin seen below – from just 2.5cm away. The standard Moto G8 can get ever so slightly closer, with a macro distance of 2cm.
For a budget handset, the G8 Power Lite is a great choice when it comes to photography, but you could do even better. The regular Moto G8’s main 16MP camera is supported by an 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro modules and can capture video up to 4K resolution at 30fps. If you’re into your photography, spending the additional £30 might be worth it.
Then again, neither of the Moto’s cameras hold a candle to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T’s sumptuous quadruple camera, which includes a massive 48MP camera unit. As far as camera specs go, nothing comes remotely close at this price.
Motorola Moto G8 Power Lite review: Verdict
As the most affordable member of the G8 family, the Moto G8 Power Lite might look like the obvious choice for buyers on a budget. It only costs £150, has a nice 6.5in display, a solid camera setup and a giant battery that’ll last you all day long and then some.
However, simply being cheaper than its siblings doesn’t mean it’s better value. The G8 Power Lite’s low-cost Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 chipset really lets it down. Motorola’s naming choice is spot on, as it’s certainly light on power.
At £180, the standard Moto G8 gives you a superior camera setup, better multitasking and gaming performance and a brighter, higher contrast display. Despite all that, it doesn’t take a significant hit when it comes to battery life, either.
But nothing else can compete against the affordable might of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T at the moment. It’s an absurdly well-specced budget phone with a display and camera setup that makes even mid-range smartphones seem underwhelming; does this mean the Moto G8 Power Lite’s budget appeal has ultimately worn off?
Well, if your spending limit is £150 and not a penny more, then the Moto G8 Power Lite is as good as it gets. But if you can spare an extra £30, you can get your hands on the best budget phone we’ve ever tested.
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