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Moto G Power 5G (2024) Review: A $300 Motorola Gem With Enhanced Upgrades – CNET

10

I’m standing in line at Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco with my Moto G Power 5G (2024). I’ve been reviewing Motorola phones since 2016, but I’m about to do something I’ve never done before with any previous Moto G model: Buy a coffee with Google Pay. I hold the phone over the register terminal, and my cappuccino is paid for almost instantly.

Motorola isn’t reinventing the wheel; Google Pay has been widely available on most Android phones for years. But features like NFC and wireless charging are still uncommon on affordable phones and, in the case of the $300 Moto G Power 5G, they elevate the overall experience. After six days, I’m surprised by how much “phone” I get for the price. 

moto-g-power-5g-7868.jpg

7.5

Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2024)

Like

  • NFC/Google Pay
  • Good battery life
  • Wireless charging
  • Moto shortcuts

Don’t like

  • Short software support timeline
  • Screen is too dim in sunlight
  • Lacks IP rating for dust and water resistance

Read more: Best phone under $300 for 2024

Motorola has always been masterful at making smart compromises in order to hit an affordable price for its Moto G series. And this Taco Bell-like approach, shuffling features and components to create a phone with as much value as possible, is on full display with the Moto G Power.

For each new benefit you get with the 2024 Moto G Power, there’s usually a drawback. For example, Motorola adds NFC and wireless charging, but limits the built-in storage to 128GB. The screen is taller, but the phone weighs more than the 2023 version. There’s a new ultrawide camera that doubles as a macro lens, but that replaces the dedicated macro and depth cameras from last year’s model. The Moto G Power supports 30W fast charging and has expandable storage and a headphone jack, although it lacks an official IP rating for dust and water resistance. And perhaps most importantly, it only gets one year of software updates and three years of security updates.

It’s this last bit that’s the most telling. Clearly Motorola doesn’t expect you to have the Moto G Power for more than a few years. And given the price, I get it. But even with that significant caveat, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) is one of the better phone values available today for under $300, especially if you’re able to snag it on sale.

Plush vegan leather FTW

Moto G Power 5G phone

The “vegan” leather on the back looks posh and feels nice to the touch.

James Martin/CNET

The Moto G Power doesn’t look like a $300 phone. It’s solid and lacks the hollow, plasticky feel that plagued budget phones from a few years ago.

Like last year’s Motorola Razr (2023), the back is covered in “vegan” leather. When I was at dinner with a table of iPhone-wielding friends, everyone complimented the faux leather back. Some even thought it was a case.

The phone comes in either Midnight Blue or, like the review unit I’ve been using, Pale Lilac. This lilac color looks nearly white under certain lighting, but at other times it has a pleasing calamine lotion pink hue. The back picks up pet hair easily, which I found all the more noticeable on the lilac version.

The phone’s 6.7-inch display has a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, which makes games and animations look smooth. The screen is lovely when using the phone indoors, providing colors that are nice and punchy. I mostly left the display set to auto, which changes the refresh rate according to what’s on the screen. But in direct sunlight, this display is too dim. I got frustrated trying to take a photo at sunset because I couldn’t see the framing.

The Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2024) at a Square terminal

NFC for Google Pay makes the Moto G Power feel less like a budget phone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

For years, Motorola offered NFC on the international version of some Moto G phones but saved the feature for more expensive budget phones in the US. I am so happy to have it on a $300 phone. It makes such a big difference making the phone feel more complete.

The phone is packed with old-school Android phone extras like an FM radio and a side fingerprint reader, which I absolutely enjoyed using.

The Moto G Power runs on Android 14 and has a slew of nifty Motorola customizations for how apps look. There are also Moto Gestures for shortcuts such as toggling the flashlight by making a karate chop motion with the phone. Double-twisting my wrist while holding the Moto G Power to open the camera is still my favorite way to take a picture on any phone. I’ll leave it to your imagination on how silly this must look to strangers.

Motorola says that the phone will get an update to Android 15 and three years of security updates. It’s too bad there isn’t even just one more major Android update beyond that, but I’m assuming that the short timeline commitment is part of what keeps the Moto G Power’s cost down. 

Patrick’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad drop

Moto G Power 5G phone

Here is the aftermath.

James Martin/CNET

It turns out that phone reviewers are just like you. On my fourth day with the phone, I fumbled getting it out of my pocket only to witness the Moto G Power smack the sidewalk like The Rock’s hand across Cody Rhodes’s face during WWE’s WrestleMania kickoff. The screen cracked, but the phone worked fine. To quote a Motorola PR rep when I told her, “It happens.”

This feels like the perfect time to mention that Motorola sells Moto Care for accidental damage, which costs $70 for two years of accidental damage protection. There’s also a $30 deductible for repairs (broken screen or other physical damage), and you have 30 days from your Moto G Power purchase or activation to add on Moto Care. But hopefully you never have to use it.

Less is more with cameras

Moto G Power 5G phone

The Moto G Power’s camera bump.

James Martin/CNET

Motorola took a less-is-more approach to the Moto G Power’s cameras, which I think works well. There’s a wide and ultrawide lens on the back, compared to the trio of rear cameras on the 2023 model, which included a depth sensor for Portrait mode.

The main camera has a 50-megapixel sensor and optical image stabilization (OIS) which allows for longer shutter speeds when taking photos in mixed and low-light situations. A longer shutter speed allows more light to hit the sensor, which typically results in a better image.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Notice the detail and texture that the Moto G Power is able to capture.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In general, photos from the main camera look good in bright light and also in medium and mixed lighting, like indoor environments. But that’s about the best this phone can do, and it’s about what I expect for $300.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Phones, even expensive ones, struggle trying to get a good shot of my cat, Maisie. I’m impressed with the HDR on the Moto G Power.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Look at the image below taken in San Francisco’s Mission district on a bright sunny day. It’s the ideal situation for any phone camera, but the photo suffers from oversharpening. Notice the splotches in the blue sky, and how crunchy the leaves on the trees look.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

This is a good photo from the Moto G Power, but not a great photo. Notice the image noise blotches in the sky and how details are over-sharpened in the trees.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Here’s an image of my pal Mikaela taken in the dimly lit interior of Trader Vic’s with bright light pouring in from a window behind me. It looks like the phone is softening her skin (which may be the result of noise reduction). As a consequence, the details around her eyebrows and hair are soft, almost blurry.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

This was taken with the main camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Moto G Power has a night mode called Night Vision. In dimly lit places, Night Vision works well. Check out the two photos below of a door wreath. The first one was taken with the default photo mode and the second with Night Vision. Not only is the second photo brighter, but it captures more detail and texture in the wreath and ornaments.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

This was taken with the default photo mode.

Patrick Holland/CNET

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Enlarge Image

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Here’s another photo of the same wreath taken with Night Vision.

Patrick Holland/CNET

But it’s nothing compared to the night mode you’d get on a high-end phone like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is four times the price. Take a look at the photos below.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

A marina scene captured with the Moto G Power’s Night Vision.

Patrick Holland/CNET

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Enlarge Image

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

Here’s a photo of the same scene taken with night mode on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Patrick Holland]\CNET

The ultrawide lens is new to the Moto G Power and doubles as a macro lens, so you can get close to your subject and still have it be in focus. This camera has an 8-megapixel sensor, and I am genuinely impressed with some of the photos it was able to take. Below is an ultrawide photo I took of a wood carving outside of Trader Vic’s. I couldn’t see the photo while I was taking it because the screen looked too dim under the harsh sunlight. But I was pleasantly surprised by the result I got, especially in this backlit scene.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2024)

Here’s a solid HDR shot from the Moto G Power’s new ultrawide camera.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Here’s a macro photo of a maple pecan donut taken with the ultrawide camera. The chopped pecans are in focus, but in general I’m not a fan of how flat images look out of the Moto G Power.

a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

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a photo from the Motorola Moto G Power (2024)

The ultrawide camera doubles as a macro lens.

Patrick Holland]\CNET

On the whole, this dual-camera setup works great for a $300 phone, and it’s all most people need to take photos for Instagram. I should warn you that when it comes to video, the highest resolution you can record is 1080p. Don’t expect 4K on this phone. And that’s a shame, because even if you only have the Moto G Power for a year or two, you’ll probably keep your photos and videos for much longer. A higher resolution will likely look better when you view videos years from now.

Check out even more photo samples from the Moto G Power below.

I Tested the Moto G Power 5G’s Cameras at Trader Vic’s in Oakland

See all photos

Performance and battery

Moto G Power 5G phone

Motorola lets you customize the way apps look on the home screen.

James Martin/CNET

During the six days I tested the phone, I only charged it twice. Motorola claims the phone offers two-day battery life, and it largely lives up to that promise. Even when I pushed the phone hard by taking photos, recording videos and playing video games, the Moto G Power would last a day and a half on a single charge. But it lasted for two days of normal phone use, ending the second day at 17%.

In CNET’s streaming test, which involves streaming a video over Wi-Fi for three hours and checking the battery percentage at every hour, the Moto G Power performed just OK. Despite “power” being in its name, this isn’t the longest-lasting phone we’ve tested, likely because it runs on a less-power efficient chip.

Here’s how the Moto G Power stacked up to others in the streaming video battery test. Keep in mind that last year’s Moto G Stylus has a lower resolution and refresh rate display than the Moto G Power and ROG Phone 8 Pro.

Streaming video battery test results

Phone Display resolution, refresh rate After 1 hour After 2 hours After 3 hours
Moto G Power 5G (2024) 1,080p, 120Hz 90% 79% 70%
Moto G Stylus (2023) 720p, 90Hz 93% 84% 75%
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro 1,080p, 165Hz 94% 84% 75%

The Moto G Power can charge fast, too. The 5,000-mAh battery, which supports 30W fast wired charging, went from empty to 55% in 30 minutes. (I should note that the wall plug isn’t included in the box.) It also supports 15W wireless charging, which is rare for a phone at this price.
In fact the very first time I went to charge it, I couldn’t find a wall plug, so I just put it on a wireless charging pad. I am a big fan of this addition.

The phone’s MediaTek Dimensity 7020 processor, along with its 8GB of RAM, made the Moto G Power capable of handling everything I threw at it. This isn’t the fastest phone, but it’s speedy enough for everyday tasks like messaging, Zoom video calls, scrolling social media or just watching movies.

If you want more RAM, Motorola has a nifty feature called RAM Boost, which lets you use some of your storage memory for RAM for up to 16GB total. This came in hand for gaming, but I can see this being helpful for multitasking, too.

Competition and final thoughts

Moto G Power 5G phone

Google Maps running on the Moto G Power.

James Martin/CNET

For years, Motorola ruled the affordable phone scene in the US. But recently OnePlus, Samsung and Google have given Motorola more competition with their own aggressively-priced phones.

For example, CNET’s top $300 phone pick in 2023 was the OnePlus Nord N30. While an updated version has not been released in 2024, I think this Moto G Power is better in every way, except for the OnePlus’ 50W wired charging. In CNET colleague Mike Sorrentino’s OnePlus Nord N30 review, he found that the main 108-megapixel camera still suffers from many of the same camera processing calamities as other budget phones.

Google’s Pixel 6A is currently $349 but it occasionally goes on sale for $300. If you prioritize photography over anything else, it might be worth paying the extra $49, since the Pixel 6A uses Google’s excellent computational photo algorithms for superb snaps. Otherwise, I think the Moto G Power is better overall in nearly every way: It has a larger screen, a bigger battery, support for wireless charging and faster wired charging and it’s two years newer. The Pixel 6A is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, meaning it can survive being submerged under water.

At the end of the day, even with increased competition, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) is a great $300 phone. It represents one of the best phone values at any price that you can buy today.

Moto G Power 5G Looks Good in Vegan ‘Leather’ and Lilac

See all photos

How we test phones

Every phone tested by CNET’s reviews team was actually used in the real world. We test a phone’s features, play games and take photos. We examine the display to see if it’s bright, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and build to see how it is to hold and whether it has an IP-rating for water-resistance. We push the processor’s performance to the extremes, using standardized benchmark tools like GeekBench and 3DMark as well as our own anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution videos and playing graphically intense games at high refresh rates.

All the cameras are tested in a variety of conditions, from bright sunlight to dark indoor scenes. We try out special features like night mode and portrait mode and compare our findings against similarly priced competing phones. We also check out the battery life by using the phone daily as well as running a series of battery drain tests.

We take into account additional features, like support for 5G; satellite connectivity; fingerprint and face sensors; stylus support; fast charging speeds; and foldable displays, among others that can be useful. And we balance all this against the price to give you the verdict on whether that phone, whatever price it is, actually represents good value. Though these tests may not always be reflected in CNET’s initial review, we conduct follow-up and long-term testing in most circumstances.

Motorola Moto G Power 5G (2024) specs vs. Nothing Phone 2A, OnePlus Nord N30 5G, Google Pixel 6A

Moto G Power 5G (2024) Nothing Phone 2A OnePlus Nord N30 5G Google Pixel 6A
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate 6.7-inch LCD; 2,400 x 1,080 pixels; 60-120Hz refresh rate 6.7-inch AMOLED; 2,412 x 1,084 pixels; 30-120Hz adaptive refresh rate 6.72-inch LCD; 2400 x 1080 pixels; 120Hz refresh rate 6.1-inch OLED; 2400 x 1080 pixels; 60Hz
Pixel density 391 ppi 394 ppi 391 ppi 429 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.6 x 3 x 0.3 in. 6.37 x 3 x 0.34 in. 6.51 x 2.99 x 0.32 in. 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.35 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 167.2 x 76.4 x 8.5 mm 161.74 x 76.32 x 8.55 mm 165.5 x 76 x 8.3 mm 152.2 x 7.18 x 8.9 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 201 g (7.09 oz.) 190 g (6.7 oz.) 195 g (6.97 oz) 178 g (6.3 oz.)
Mobile software Android 14 Android 14 Android 13 Android 12
Camera 50-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultrawide) 50-megapixel (wide), 50-megapixel (ultrawide) 108-megapixel (main), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth) 12.2-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 32-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 1,080p 4K 1,080p 4K
Processor Mediatek Dimensity 7020 MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 Google Tensor
RAM + storage 8GB + 128GB 8GB RAM + 128GB, 12GB RAM + 256GB 8GB + 128GB 6GB RAM + 128GB
Expandable storage Up to 1TB No Up to 512GB No
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,410 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Side Under display Side Under display
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB C
Headphone jack Yes No Yes None
Special features 30W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, Dolby Atmos, NFC (Google Pay), water repellent, gesture controls, Moto Secure, RAM Boost, Moto Gestures 45W wired charging, Rear lights, NFC (Google Pay), Wi-Fi 6, IP54 rating, RAM Booster 50W SuperVooc fast charging, 108-megapixel main camera, game mode, dual stereo speakers 5G-enabled, 18W fast charging, WiFi 6E, security updates for 5 years, Android OS updates for 3 years, dual SIM, IP67 water resistance
US price starts at $300 (128GB) $349 (128GB) $300 (128GB) $349 (128GB)
UK price starts at Converts to £234 (128GB) £319 (128GB) Converts to £238 (128GB) £349 (128GB)
Australia price starts at Converts to AU$453 (128GB) AU$529 (128GB) Converts to AU$443 (128GB) Converts to AU$527 (128GB)

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