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How good is Motorola’s $300 Android phone? I used it for a week to find out

The Moto G Power 5G (2024) lying on a rock outside.
Moto G Power 5G (2024)
MSRP $300.00
“The Moto G Power 5G (2024) has excellent battery life and a fun new design. It's a decent $300 phone, but your money is better spent elsewhere.”
  • New leather back is great
  • Loud, clear speakers
  • Two-day battery life
  • Wireless charging and NFC
  • Low-quality display
  • Terrible haptics
  • Poor gaming performance
  • Very bad cameras
  • Ad-filled software
  • Only one promised update

How good can a $300 smartphone really be? That was the question I had as I took the Moto G Power 5G (2024) out of its box and began to set it up. In a world where many flagship smartphones are selling for $1,000 or more, what can you get for just $300 in 2024?

There’s a lot to like about the Moto G Power 5G. The battery life is great, the new design is a step in the right direction, and Motorola’s done a good job of retaining fan-favorite features while also adding some things I’ve been wanting for years. Simultaneously, there are other aspects of the phone that make me want to rip my hair out.

On paper, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) looks like one of the best $300 smartphones you can buy. However, after living with the phone for a little over a week, it’s apparent that there are better ways to spend your money.

What I like about the Moto G Power

Someone holding the Moto G Power 5G (2024), showing the back of the phone.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

We’ll get to my complaints about the Moto G Power 5G (2024) soon enough, but I first want to address all of the things Motorola got right with this phone.

It starts with the design. Just like its predecessor, the new Moto G Power 5G is made out of plastic. However, it doesn’t feel overly cheap. The plastic frame is nice and sturdy, and all of the buttons have a good click when pressed.

I particularly like the “vegan leather” on the back of the phone. It’s still just plastic with a leather-like design and texture, but I think it feels great. It provides excellent grip, it doesn’t attract fingerprints, and it gives the Moto G Power 5G an overall more unique feel than other phones in this price range. In addition to the Midnight Blue color of my review unit, Motorola also has a Pale Lilac color available.

Battery settings page on the Moto G Power 5G (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The other big win for the Moto G Power 5G (2024) is its battery life. Motorola crammed a 5,000 mAh battery inside the phone, and in my testing, it translates to an easy two days of use per charge. Even with almost three-and-a-half hours of screen time one day — over an hour of which was spent watching YouTube and another 30 minutes playing Marvel Snap — the Moto G Power still had 53% battery left in the tank. Use the phone a bit less, and you should be able to sneak into day three with a little bit of battery still remaining. Battery life has always been a strong suit of the Moto G Power series, and it’s no different this year.

When you do manage to run out of battery, the charging experience has been vastly upgraded compared to previous Moto G models. Instead of the slow 10W charging speeds from older generations, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) now has a maximum wired charging rate of 30W. Furthermore, if you can’t stand wires, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) also supports 15W Qi wireless charging. Those are all great upgrades!

Battery life has always been a strong suit of the Moto G Power series, and it’s no different this year.

And the goodies don’t stop there. If you run out of the 128GB of internal storage, you can just pop in a MicroSD card (up to 1TB) to give yourself more space. You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack (remember those?) and an NFC chip for contactless payments via Google Wallet — something Motorola usually omits from its Moto G smartphones. Add that together with stereo speakers that sound shockingly good, and you end up with a long list of positives for the Moto G Power 5G (2024).

Display, performance, and cameras

Someone holding the Moto G Power 5G (2024) with the display turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Compromises have to come somewhere for a $300 smartphone, so where do they lie within the Moto G Power? In this case, you feel the sting of the $300 price tag with the display, performance, and cameras.

Let’s start with the display. The Moto G Power has a 6.7-inch LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and Full HD+ resolution (specifically, 2400 x 1800 pixels). On paper, those are great numbers. In practice, the Moto G Power’s display is … disappointing. Looking at the phone head-on, the screen is fine. Text is crisp, colors look good, and the 120Hz refresh rate adds a nice smoothness to your scrolling. But that’s where the positives end.

Look at the Moto G Power from even the slightest angle, and the screen looks significantly worse — showcasing harsh brightness and poor colors. The screen is also virtually impossible to see outside in direct sunlight. It’s not a great experience.

Marvel Snap running on the Moto G Power 5G (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Similarly disappointing is the Moto G Power’s performance. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 7020 octa-core chipset paired with 8GB of RAM. For simple tasks, such as scrolling through Threads or watching YouTube videos, the Moto G Power handles things just fine. Ask anything more of it, though, and the phone struggles.

This is most prominently seen when gaming. Marvel Snap, my go-to mobile game, runs poorly on the Moto G Power. Animations are sluggish, scrolling through menus can be a stutter-filled mess, and tapping a menu button is often met with a delay before anything happens. And this is just when trying to play the game at 60 frames per second (fps) with Low graphics; attempting to use Medium or High graphics pushes it to the verge of unplayable. The Moto G Power will accomplish what you ask of it, but it’s never particularly fast at doing so.

A close-up of the Moto G Power 5G (2024) cameras.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Next, we have the cameras. I bet you can probably guess where this is going.

On the back of the Moto G Power 5G (2024), you’ll find two cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera and an 8MP ultrawide camera that also enables a macro shooting mode. On the front is a 16MP selfie camera. I commend Motorola for including a useful secondary camera instead of a standalone macro or depth camera. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to save what’s ultimately a pretty bad overall camera setup.

The main camera is the most usable of the sensors here, but that’s the most positive thing I can say about it. The first photo of my dog (Damon) is one of the better pictures I took, but it’s not a particularly good one. The grass is far too bright and too oversharpened. The details on Damon’s head are soft, there’s no depth to the image, and the whole thing just feels flat. The colors of the Rueben and fries in the second photo are anemic, there are exposure and sharpness issues in the picture of my cat, etc. Every photo you take with the Moto G Power 5G has something wrong with it.

What about the ultrawide camera? It’s quite bad. The 118-degree field of view gives you a wider view of your subject, but there’s nothing redeeming about any other aspect of the images. Ultrawide photos lack any meaningful detail, have zero depth or character, and something as simple as a sidewalk (that’s very close to the camera in the image above) looks like a watercolor-y mess.

Even worse are nighttime photos taken with the 50MP main camera. I don’t think I need to explain why these are so bad. And just for context, the third photo was of a tree in front of me, though you can barely tell.

Did I go into the Moto G Power 5G (2024) expecting a masterful camera? Not at all. But even for a $300 smartphone, this isn’t an enjoyable camera experience. It’ll suffice for some casual photos you want to share on Instagram or X (formerly Twitter), but that’s about the extent to which I’d trust this camera system.

What else should you know about the Moto G Power?

The Moto G Power 5G (2024) laying on a shelf, with its screen turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

We’ve covered a lot of ground at this point in the review, but there are a few other things you should know.

The Moto G Power 5G (2024) ships with Android 14, and like other Motorola phones, the software experience is very similar to that of a Google Pixel phone. From the big Quick Settings toggles to the Google Discover feed and the easy-to-navigate Settings app, this is about as “stock” as Android gets in 2024. It’s clean, simple, and my preferred Android UI.

The Moto app on the Moto G Power 5G (2024).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

All of the Motorola-exclusive features live in the Moto app, and there’s a lot to like here. Chopping the phone to turn on the flashlight or twisting it to open the camera app are gestures that have existed on Motorola phones for years, and they remain some of the best on Android.

Unfortunately, the Moto G Power also has some unsavory software additions. When setting up the phone, Motorola tries to preinstall a load of apps like LinkedIn,, Walmart, Wayfair, Hulu, Netflix, and a collection of random mobile games. You can deselect these easily enough during the setup process, but if you miss this step, you’ll be stuck with a boatload of bloatware on the phone.

The Moto G Power has some unsavory software additions.

And that’s not all. The default Weather app is best described as “atrocious.” It’s riddled with ads and random news articles. It also runs terribly on the Moto G Power — often locking up for multiple seconds when all you’re doing is scrolling.

Similarly, the Moto G Power comes with something called “Glance” installed on the lock screen by default. While setting up the Moto G Power, Glance is described as a “unique lock screen with live information and personalized recommendations for each moment.” In reality, it does nothing but show random articles on your lock screen.

Screenshots of preinstalled apps, the Weather app, and Glance Lock Screen on the Moto G Power 5G (2024).
From left, the Moto G Power’s preinstalled apps, Weather app, and Glance lock screen Digital Trends

You can technically use the Moto G Power and avoid these preinstalled apps, the terrible Weather app, and the Glance lock screen. However, doing so requires a bit of technical literacy. I know my mom or grandma would have no idea how to get rid of these things. Simply put, they’re tacky, add nothing of value, and make the Moto G Power feel cheaper than it already is.

A few final tidbits before we wrap things up:

  • Motorola promises just one major OS update and three years of security patches for the Moto G Power. Once you get an update to Android 15, that’s the last major software upgrade you can expect.
  • The vibration motor is bad. Like, really, really bad. I don’t expect iPhone 15 Pro-level haptics in a $300 Android phone, but they’re almost distractingly terrible on the Moto G Power.
  • The Moto G Power has a “water-repellent design” that protects the phone from “spills, splashes, sweat, or light rain,” but there’s no official IP rating.
  • The fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button is good! It’s fast, accurate, and easy to set up.

Moto G Power 5G (2024) price and availability

Someone holding the Moto G Power 5G (2024) outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Moto G Power 5G (2024) will be available for purchase beginning March 22, but only if you buy it through Cricket. It should arrive at other carriers at a later date, and you can purchase it unlocked beginning March 29.

There’s only one version of the Moto G Power available — including 128GB of storage and 8GB RAM — and it will set you back $300. It comes in two colors: Midnight Blue and Pale Lilac.

Should you buy the new Moto G Power?

The Moto G Power 5G (2024) laying next to the Motorola Edge (2023).
The Moto G Power 5G (2024) and Motorola Edge (2023) Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Let’s return to the question I asked at the top of this review: How good can a $300 smartphone really be? In the case of the Moto G Power 5G (2024), the answer is “Not very.” Although there are things the Moto G Power gets right, it’s held back by the things it gets wrong — which ends up being a pretty lengthy list.

Thankfully, the Moto G Power 5G (2024) isn’t a microcosm of budget smartphones in 2024. If you take a look around you — even at other phones from Motorola itself — you can find much better ways to spend your money.

Consider the Motorola Edge (2023). Released in October 2023 for $600, the Motorola Edge is better than the Moto G Power 5G in virtually every manner. It has a much higher-quality OLED display, a more capable processor, 68W wired charging, great battery life, and a more reliable camera. Today, it is easily available for just $350.

OnePlus 12R in hand with OnePlus 12 in the background.
OnePlus 12R Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

If you can stretch your budget a little further, the OnePlus 12R is one of the most impressive $500 smartphones I’ve ever used. It has a glass and metal design, an unbelievably good display, a flagship processor, 80W charging, tremendous battery life, and a much better 50MP main camera. Hell, even a lesser-known Android phone like the Nuu B30 Pro looks like a better deal compared to the Moto G Power 5G.

Not that long ago, Moto G phones used to represent the best of the best when it came to cheap smartphones. They were shining examples that budget phones really could be good. In 2024, they’ve largely become the opposite: cheap, middling, and forgettable. That’s what the Moto G Power 5G (2024) is, and it’s not a phone you should spend your money on if you don’t have to.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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