Moto G8 (2020) review: Win some, lose some

Keeping with the times

Motorola G8
  • Motorola G8
  • Motorola G8
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Larger screen
  • Clean software

Cons

  • Mediocre camera
  • Plain looks

Bottom Line

Motorola’s latest keeps things humble.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 329.00 (AUD)

Should You Buy The Moto G8?

There’s plenty to like about the Moto G8. As compared to some of the other budget-friendly Android smartphones out there, Motorola’s latest keeps things humble. Acting like they’re offering a flagship for a fraction of the price has never been their game.

They’re not trying to pretend the new Moto G8 is the next iPhone. It isn’t. Instead, it’s an alternative to last year’s Moto G8 Plus.

In our review of that device, we said that “The Moto G8 Plus is decent in all the ways that modern Motorola phones are but doesn’t really move the needle towards a place where they can readily compete with the increased competition in this particular price-segment. It's a step up from what came before it but a small one at that.” 

Our conclusions about the standard Moto G8 aren’t all that different. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, The Moto G8 is currently priced at AU$329.

Motorola Moto G8 (2020) full review

Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera

This next part is gonna come across as a little meaner than intended. 

The Moto G8 is a larger, less interesting take on the formula found in the Moto G8 Plus. It’s got one less camera lens on the back but many of the same specs. The two devices share a Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of on-board storage and a 4000mAh battery. The sub-$400 asking price, you also get a 6.4-inch HD+ display, IPX2 water resistance and fingerprint sensor biometrics.

Credit: Moto G8

To handle and hold, the Moto G8 doesn’t feel premium but it doesn’t feel cheap either. Like the G8 Plus, Motorola has carved out a compelling niche for themselves here. Whether or not that’s enough is going to be a matter of personal opinion but, credit where it’s due, the G8 feels more than nice enough for a $329 handset. 

As for the camera, what you’re getting here is a definite downgrade from what the Moto G8 Plus. That device featured a 48-megapixel primary "quad-pixel" lens, a 16-megapixel "action" lens and a 5-megapixel depth sensor plus a 25-megapixel selfie camera. 

In contrast, the G8 comes equipped with a 16-megapixel main sensor, an 8-megapixel wide angle sensor and a 2-megapixel macro lens plus an 8-megapixel selfie camera. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday

On paper and in practice, this differential in hardware leaves the G8’s camera feeling a little outgunned. Where the camera on the Moto G8 Plus was often a pleasant surprise, the standard G8 delivered the kind of smartphone photography I’ve grown to expect from the sub-$400 market. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday

You can do worse but you can also do a lot better. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday
Credit: Fergus Halliday

Honestly, after a few weeks of messing with it, I’d much sooner recommend the G8 Plus. While the difference in price isn’t too great, the difference in photo quality was. 

Performance - Specs, Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life

Specs

  • Processor:  Snapdragon 665

  • Operating System:  Android 9.1

  • RAM: 4GB 

  • Storage: 64GB

  • MicroSD slot: Yes

  • Headphone Jack: Yes 

  • Fingerprint sensor: Yes

  • SIM: Dual

  • Battery: 4000mAh

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth 

  • Rear Camera: 16-megapixel + 8-megapixel (wide angle) + 2-megapixel (macro lens)

  • Front-Facing Camera: 8-megapixel selfie camera

  • Dimensions: 161.3 x 75.8 x 9 mm

  • Weight:  188.3g

Software 

Credit: Moto G8

In terms of software, the G8 Plus is equipped with Motorola’s usual Android skin. This isn’t as close to stock android as something from Nokia or Google themselves but it’s a little more streamlined than something you’d get from Samsung or Oppo. 

Motorola veers towards a lighter touch here - which works well for them. Most of the time, the G8 defaults to Google apps and services and there really are no preloaded apps aside from the usual Motorola gestures, which can always be disabled if they’re not your thing.

Benchmarks

  • PCMark (Work 2.0): 6915

  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme (OpenGL): 1089

  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme (Vulkan): 1038

  • GeekBench (Single-Core): 298

  • GeekBench (Multi-Core): 1357

  • GeekBench (Compute): 365

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, our experiences with the Motorola Moto G8 weren’t that different to the kind of mileage I got from the Moto G8 Plus. Since they both pack the same specs when it comes to processor and battery, that’s not a huge surprise. 

Fortunately, that meant I could comfortably go two-days of regular usage on a single charge. The Moto G8 Plus isn’t going to hit the heights of something like the Galaxy Note 10 for power users but it is going to last a decently long time.

Run down with streaming video over Youtube, it took just 10 hours and 24 minutes for the phone to run down from 100% to zero. 

Wireless charging remains out of reach for mid-tier shoppers here but the Moto G8 Plus does support fast 15W wired charging via USB Type-C.

The Bottom Line

Like I said before, the Moto G8 isn’t trying to be the next iPhone or even the iPhone SE. It’s trying to be a cheaper G8 Plus - and, if money is the only metric you care about, it satisfies that requirement nicely. However, if you can spend a little more, the difference when it comes to camera optics makes the G8 Plus a much better option.

Like that device, the Moto G8 is a phone that satisfies many of the essentials but lacks when it comes to thrills. 

Credit: Moto G8

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