Motorola Moto G7 Plus review: The most luxurious budget smartphone is back

Not content with the success of its three Moto G6 phones in 2018, Motorola has this year decided to unleash four low-priced G7 handsets. The new Moto G7 range attempts to cover the full breadth of the budget market, from the £149 Moto G7 Play right up to the luxurious £269 Moto G7 Plus that I’m reviewing here. Also up for grabs are the standard Moto G7 , launched at £239 along with a new addition to the range in the form of the Moto G7 Power (£179), which has a beastly 5,000mAh battery. All of them run on ‘stock’ Android 9 Pie.

The G7 Plus is the most expensive of the lot, of course, and veers dangerously close in price to a mid-tier smartphone. But do its extra features justify a higher price over the regular Moto G7? And is it really that much better than last year’s Moto G6 Plus?

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As you would expect, Motorola’s premium budget offering has the most impressive specifications out of the new Moto G7 lineup and on paper it’s much improved over last year’s Moto G6 Plus. Besides a larger 6.2in display than the G6 Plus’ 5.9in effort, the resolution has taken a minor boost. What’s more, there’s a brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 to replace the 630 found in the Moto G6 Plus – the regular Moto G7 and Moto G7 Power have a Snapdragon 632. But the differences don’t end there, because the Moto G7 Plus can shoot 4K footage with OIS (optical image stabilisation). It’s a feature that the Moto G6 Plus lacked and an amazing inclusion for such a relatively cheap phone. The rear camera specs have changed too, as the Moto G7 Plus boasts a dual 16MP (f/1.7) and 5MP (f/2.2) setup, besting the 12MP and 5MP snappers on the outgoing model.

The Moto G7 Plus comes with 4GB RAM and starts with 64GB storage, which can be expanded via Micro SD up to 512GB. All told, it’s a scarily formidable budget smartphone and a notable improvement on the G6 Plus. Yet I don’t find it as impressive as I did the G6 Plus last year, primarily because in 2019 the competition is so much fiercer. Motorola Moto G7 Plus review: Price and competition

Motorola has kept the Moto G7 Plus fixed at £269 ; the same as the launch price of the G6 Plus. That’s particularly good news as it decided to mark the standard Moto G7 up to £239 from the Moto G6’s £220. So while the Moto G7 isn’t as much of a bargain as the Moto G6, the Moto G7 Plus is just as good value for money as its precursor, if not better.

The best deal to be had in Motorola’s G7 Range, however, is on the £179 Moto G7 Power , which costs £60 less than the regular Moto G7 despite running on the same Snapdragon 632 chip and possessing a near history-making battery life which puts most flagship smartphones to shame. Last year we rated the Moto G6 Plus as the greatest phone you could buy under £300. Shop around now, though, and you’ll find there are some serious contenders that could steal the Moto G7 Plus’ crown. Take the HTC U12 Life , which not only shares its £269 price tag with the Moto G7 Plus but also its Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor. The two phones put out near identical performance scores too, though the U12 Life has the better battery life. Clearly, other manufacturers are out to knock Motorola off the top spot. Much more dangerous to the Moto G7 Plus, however, is the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 . Since launch, it has dropped in price to just £300 , so if you’re willing to stretch a mere £30 beyond the Moto G7 Plus you could get a staggering increase in performance and battery life. The Pocophone F1 lacks OIS when shooting in 4K, mind you, so the Moto G7 Plus still holds some advantage. Motorola Moto G7 Plus review: Design

There’s little separating the design of the Moto G7 Plus and Moto G7 aside from colour schemes. Holding the navy Moto G7 Plus next to the black Moto G7, it’s tough to tell the difference. Besides the colour, the dual LED flash on the Moto G7 Plus is the only giveaway. A fair amount has changed with this phone since last year’s Moto G6 Plus, though. The first thing most people notice is that unsightly pimple-esque notch, which sacrifices elegance for a larger screen-to-bezel ratio. Indeed, the forehead and chin bezels have been reduced considerably, while the fingerprint reader has been relocated from below the screen to below the camera bump on the rear of the phone. I preferred last year’s design, frankly, but can’t deny that the Moto G7 Plus still looks incredible for its price, and I am especially fond of the red colour scheme. Other changes are more subtle. The Moto G7 Plus is fractionally smaller, for example, measuring 157 x 75.3 x 8.3mm yet weighing 9g more than the Moto G6 Plus at 176g. It’s still made with the same aluminium frame encased on both sides by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, though, so it’s equally slick and shiny. There’s no waterproof rating on the Moto G7 Plus, unfortunately; Motorola says it’s “splash resistant”, but I don’t know how far they’re stretching that definition and I’m not going to find out by running the phone under a tap. Another small change is to the camera bump on the rear. The protruding camera on the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus featured some nice metallic detailing. On this year’s models, there’s no detailing, only a smooth glass finish. Apart from the fingerprint reader, the button layout is unchanged, with the power and volume controls on the right edge of the phone. Up top, you have the dual SIM slot and 3.5mm audio jack, and at the bottom are the speaker grilles and USB-C charging port. The Moto G7 Plus comes boxed with a USB-C to USB-C cable. Motorola Moto G7 Plus review: Display

One more design change, which I mentioned earlier, is the size and resolution of the display. The 6.2in, 19:9 screen on the Moto G7 Plus is 0.3in larger than the 5.9in, 18:9 panel on the Moto G6 Plus, and there’s been a slight resolution bump up to 1,080 x 2,270 – it’s still just FHD, though. That said, Motorola has also updated the panel technology from IPS to LTPS; a newer form of LCD technology which is supposed to increase pixel density and reduce power consumption. Provided you can get over the drop notch, it is a nice screen. In our display tests, it produced 90.8% of the sRGB colour gamut (about standard for a phone of this price) and has a solid maximum brightness of 386.6cd/m2. That’s still below par compared to the luminous 481cd/m2 of the standard Moto G7, which technically makes the older phone the superior phone for outdoor use, as it will suffer from less sun glare. On the flipside, the Moto G7 Plus has a significantly higher contrast ratio of 1,425:1, which lends greater vibrancy to images.

A Delta E average of 3.27 reflects the occasional colour inaccuracies; blues, purples and greens in particular are all oversaturated and look a little less natural. Out of the three display modes on the Moto G7 Plus, the Boosted setting is best because it is the most balanced and colour accurate. Motorola Moto G7 Plus review: Performance and battery life

With the added expense and a more advanced chip, you’d expect the Moto G7 Plus to have the edge over the Moto G7 in terms of performance, but this doesn’t turn out to be the case. Perhaps this is to be expected. The octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 inside the Moto G7 Plus has the same 1.8GHz clock speed as the Snapdragon in the Moto G7, and both run on 4GB RAM.

Either way, the Moto G7 Plus barely outdid the Moto G7 in our benchmarks, achieving a multi-core CPU speed of 4,869 in the Geekbench 4 test whereas the Moto G7 reached 4,779 – a negligible difference. As shown in the chart above the Moto G7 Power wasn’t even that far behind, yet it’s a full £90 less than the Moto G7 Plus. If you want more bang for your buck then the Moto G7 Plus is clearly the wrong choice. Instead, you might opt for Xiaomi’s Pocophone F1, which has a super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and reached a multi-core CPU speed of 8,427. The Pocophone F1 is £300, and I think that’s not much of a price jump up from the Moto G7 Plus for such a significant performance boost. Onto gaming, and the story is much the same; the Moto G7 Plus has near-identical gaming performance to the Moto G7 and G7 Power. In the GFXBench […]


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