Moto G7, G7 Power, and G7 Play hands-on


Motorola’s 2019 Moto G series has officially been announced and competition in this mid-range market has only ramped up since the 2018 G line. The Moto G7 Play, G7 Power, and G7 sell for $199, $249, and $299, respectively, offering reliable mid-range devices that have matured with updated designs, bigger batteries, dual-cameras, and more.

The G7 Plus, packing the highest-spec’d camera of the four newly-announced phones, won’t be sold in the U.S. but consumers will still have plenty of variety even without it.

Design


Notches and teardrops adorn 19:9 displays

The latest G series takes Moto’s signature, rounded look and spruces things up with some modern design elements. These 19:9 displays feature rounder corners and the ever-popular notch cutout. While the G7 Power and G7 Play sport the more prevalent U-shaped notches, Moto’s opted for a teardrop shaped notch on the G7 – one of the first things you’ll notice that separates the G7 from the other two. They don't look terribly different from previous years, which we rather like for Moto's unique look, but they do look more modern.



Flipping them around, you’ll find plastic on the Power and Play while the regular G7 is constructed of Gorilla Glass all the way around. This comes in either Ceramic Black or a more ceramic-looking Clear White, which easily sets itself apart from the two lower-end G devices with its refined look. The G7 Power still has a nice, shiny, fingerprint-prone back with a shimmery Marine Blue color, though, making it look more like the regular G7 than the G7 Play does with its black or blue, textured-plastic back.

Power and Finesse (and Play)


Similar internals with a few key tweaks

On the inside, we’re looking at Snapdragon 632’s across the board but RAM comes in either 2, 3, or 4 GB’s for the Play, Power, and regular G7, respectively. Thankfully, the Power and Play don’t dip below 32 GB’s for storage while the regular comes with 64 gigs. Of course, all of which are expandable via MicroSD card up to an additional 512 GB’s.

Although the regular G7 has more memory and storage, the G7 Power sets itself apart with a massive 5,000 mAh battery compared to the 3,000 mAh juice packs found in its siblings. Still, the G7 Power and regular G7 both leverage Motorola’s TurboPower technology to charge at 15 watts, which the company says can get these handsets nine hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging. The G7 Play lacks such turbo-charged capabilities but is rated for 40 hours of use. Multi-day battery life is something we quite like to see in lower-end phones especially since the low-power internals can support it. We’re also very pleased to find USB-C charging across all three of these Motos.


The G7s will ship with Android 9 Pie and Motorola’s minimalist take on Android which features two main additions – Moto Display and Moto Actions. These are still useful, complimentary bits of software that make accessing info from the lockscreen easier, or activate functions, like turning on the flashlight or opening the camera with a flick of the wrist, but nothing new has been added here.

Cameras that push the megapixels

High res zoom and Hyperlapse are new on the G7

As expected, you’ll find the highest-end camera specs in the G7, with its dual 12 MP camera setup, but the Power and Play have high megapixel sensors of their own, albeit single shooters, at 12 and 13 MP’s, respectively. All three have 8 MP front facers, and all three have features to take portrait shots with bokeh application, black and white, spot-color photos, and GIF-like creations with select areas of movement called Cinemagraphs.



Exclusive to the regular G7 are two new features: high res zoom, and a feature called Hyperlapse video. The former uses multiple frame captures to increase zoom quality while the latter records time lapse video with increased stabilization to encourage walking while recording. The regular G7 can also record up to 4K in 30 frames-per-second, whereas the Play and Power top out at 1080p, 30 fps.

Verizon, T-Mobile, Cricket, Google Fi, and more


Unlocked and carrier versions of these latest G series devices will all release in Spring. So, finding models compatible with U.S carriers won’t be hard. Unlocked versions will be available at Best Buy, Amazon.com, B&H Photo, and Walmart while the G7 will also release with Google Fi. Carrier versions of the G7 Power will release on Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile (formerly MetroPCS), Cricket Wireless, Consumer Cellular, and more. Lastly the G7 Play will be sold with Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.

Expectations


In the world of the proliferating $1000 smartphones, it’s always a nice to be reminded that great experiences can still be had at reasonable prices. The G series has always executed well, setting itself apart with unique looks and reliable performance, so we’re optimistic that these incremental upgrades will help the G series hold its own in this jam-packed price range.

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7 Comments

4. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

636 and 3000maH? FLOP

5. tonyv13

Posts: 113; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

Redmi note 7 has better specs and cheaper even when imported.

6. haydenb

Posts: 130; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

only a 720p display on a 6" screen. Should have made it a 1080p screen and coupled with the huge battery the Power would be a pretty decent mid range device

7. brasstax

Posts: 541; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Once synonymous with VFM the Moto G series is now a joke compared to offerings from Xiaomi, Honor, Oppo, ASUS and Vivo.

8. ijuanp03

Posts: 575; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

I trust Motorola than any other Android OEM out there. My Moto X4 got the Android Pie last year while other phones are still stock with Oreo. Also, I can use GCam port with no issues as it is a Snapdragon SOC and API 2 enabled. Sorry, no bloated Chinese OEMs for me.

10. yalokiy

Posts: 961; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Don't compare X with G series. Some of G series only now begin to receive the oreo update.

9. frustyak

Posts: 248; Member since: Mar 08, 2010

I thought last year they didn't release the G6 Plus in the US because Moto didn't want it going up against the X4, which was similarly spec'd. But the X4 is a year older now and long in the tooth. Why isn't the G7 Plus coming to the US?

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