Motorola launched the Moto G8 Power Lite, its latest budget Android smartphone, a month ago in India. It competes directly with popular offerings such as Realme's Narzo 10A (Review) and the Redmi 8 (Review). The highlight features of the new G8 Power Lite include a big battery and display, and the uncluttered Android experience that we've come to expect from Moto devices.
Priced at Rs. 8,999 in India, let's see if the Moto G8 Power Lite has enough performance and features to make it worth recommending.
The large size of the Moto G8 Power Lite is immediately apparent, as soon as you take it out of the box. It's quite chunky, with a thickness of 9.2mm, and also a bit heavy at nearly 200g. The entire body is built from plastic, but thanks to the matte finish, it looks good and doesn't attract fingerprints too easily. Also, the side frame and back are all one piece, so there are no unsightly edges or bumps. The unit i'm using is the Royal Blue colour, which I think looks nice, and there's also an Artic Blue shade with a similar gradient finish.
In a world of disappearing headphone jacks, it's nice to see that the Moto G8 Power Lite still has one. There's a Micro-USB port at the bottom, and the power as well as volume buttons are on the right. The tray on the left can carry two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card. The speaker has been moved to the back of the phone, with a cutout towards the bottom left corner. We also have three cameras and the fingerprint sensor embedded in the Motorola logo on the upper rear. Overall, the Moto G8 Power Lite has a clean and simple design, which I like.
Motorola claims that the Moto G8 Power Lite has a water-repellent coating, which lets it survive light splashes of water and even exposure to light rain. I put this to the test, and the phone seemed fine after a few attempts, so that's good to know.
The display is a big 6.5-inch IPS TFT LCD panel with an HD+ resolution of 720x1600 pixels. The corners of the display are prominently rounded and the bezels are quite thick. Typically, I wouldn't be too happy with this, but given the phone's price, I'll let it slide. This low resolution is not ideal for such a large panel, due to which text and icons don't look very sharp. I found the brightness of the display to be on the lower side too, and I typically had to keep it set to the 70-80 percent level even indoors. Content is visible under bright light, but the reflective glass and smudges can make this phone tricky to use.
The fingerprint sensor works well and is quick to unlock the phone when needed. However, there's no option to unlock it with your face.
I've been using the Moto G8 Power Lite for the better part of the week, and general performance has been decent. The phone is still on Android 9 Pie, but Motorola says an Android 10 update will be coming in the near future. The clean layout of stock Android is always refreshing to use, but it can feel a little too barebones at times if you're used to Samsung's One UI, OnePlus's OxygenOS, or any other custom skin. Only Google's suite of apps is preinstalled, and there isn't much else. Motorola includes its trademark gestures, which you can control through the Settings app. You can double-twist the phone to open the camera, app or shake it twice to turn on the flashlight.
The Moto G8 Power Lite uses the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC and is available in only one configuration, which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It's not the most powerful processor, but at this price it will do. Looking at benchmarks, the Helio P35 seems to perform slightly better than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439, as seen in the Redmi 8, but is still weaker than the more recent Helio G70 processor in the Realme C3 and Narzo 10A. However, I didn't notice much of a negative impact with day-to-day usage.
Most social apps and simple games run fine. Titles like Sky Force Reloaded look good and run well, but if you're going to be playing more taxing games such as PUBG Mobile, then it's not the best experience. The single speaker gets loud, and there's even software enhancement to boost the volume. However, clarity is not great and distortion is audible at higher volume levels, whether it was playing a game or listening to music.
I was surprised to see Google's Widevine L1 certification on the Moto G8 Power Lite. This ensures that streaming apps can play video at the phone's native resolution.
Motorola has ensured good battery life by fitting the Moto G8 Power Lite with a 5,000mAh battery. In our HD video loop test, it ran for a little more than 15 hours at a stretch, which is good. You get a 10W “rapid charger” in the box, but it doesn't charge such a large battery quickly enough in my opinion. It only managed to charge it up to 43 percent after an hour, and took well over two hours to get to 100 percent.
Like most recent phones in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment, the Moto G8 Power Lite features three rear cameras. These include a primary 16-megapixel sensor with PDAF, a 2-megapixel depth camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. There's an 8-megapixel selfie camera in the notch of the display. Just like the main interface, the camera app is also pretty lean, without much frills.
You get the basic shooting modes, an optional beauty filter, and a shortcut for Google Lens, but that's about it. One thing I noticed is that the viewfinder doesn't always give you the correct representation of the final output, as saved photos often look better. Also, it takes a couple of seconds to process and save portrait shots before the app lets you take another.
The first thing you'll want to do is make sure the HDR option is set to Auto, as it's off by default. During the day, the Moto G8 Power Lite managed some well-exposed shots. Colours and details were good for a phone at this price. Close-up shots also turned out to be more than satisfactory, with good colours, detail, and nice natural depth. However, the camera is simply unable to keep up in low light. Indoor shots were good enough, provided there was good lighting, but shooting anything outdoors under fading light resulted in very poor quality.
Edge detection for objects in portrait mode is fairly accurate, and photos looked good. The macro camera has limited use cases, that too provided there's good light around. Selfies taken under good light looked alright, but the beauty mode messed up skin textures pretty badly, so it's best to disable this. In low light, selfies looked quite grainy, with poor details.
The Moto G8 Power Lite can record video at up to 1080p, which is fine. However, there's no stabilisation, and image quality overall is just about average, even when there's good light around. Dynamic range is weak too, and highlights are often overexposed. Footage recorded in low light looks dark and grainy, and is not very usable.
Priced at Rs. 8,999, the Moto G8 Power Lite offers good amounts of RAM and storage, which not many others do. I really like the simple design, large display, good battery life and no-nonsense take on Android, even though it's still an older version. The main camera is functional if you give it good light, but otherwise, the cameras are not great. The processor also feels a little too weak for gaming or doing anything intensive.
While this phone is a decent option at its price, I can't help but feel that the Realme Narzo 10A (Review) simply offers much more value. It costs Rs. 1,000 more for the same amounts of RAM and storage as the Moto G8 Power Lite, but you get much better performance, a similar sized battery, a more feature-rich camera app, and Android 10 out of the box.
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