Cheaper than most with a battery that just keeps going, the Moto G9 Power mostly succeeds
- Astonishing battery life
- Great price
- Solid performance
- Low-resolution 720p screen
- Bulky design
- Video focus issues
Motorola’s ceaseless smartphone release schedule continues at pace. Undeterred by the pandemic, Motorola’s factories are still churning out as many smartphones as the firm can muster and the third (and supposedly final) phone in the Moto G9 family arrived before 2020 finally came to a close.
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The Moto G9 Power, however, at least offers something a bit different and the clue is in the name. The Moto G9 Power has the biggest battery of any Motorola phone to date, promising up to 60 hours of use on a single charge. If it’s as long-lasting as Motorola claims, we might have another contender for the best smartphone battery life crown on our hands.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: What you need to know
Before we dive headfirst into the positives and negatives, it’s worth doing a quick rundown of what to expect if you do decide to pick one up. The standout feature is, clearly, the Motorola Moto G9 Power’s enormous 6,000mAh battery but there are other reasons to buy one as well.
Such benefits include a large 6.8in display, as well as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and a generous 128GB of internal storage, which can be expanded via microSD. You’ll also find a 64MP main camera on the rear of the phone, complemented by secondary macro and depth-sensing lenses.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Price and competition
The good news continues when it comes to the price. Coming in at £179, the Moto G9 Power is available now and costs a good chunk less than the majority of smartphones currently floating around the market.
Where does it stand within the Moto G9 range? The Moto G9 Power finds itself in the middle of the three G9 handsets, between the top-end Moto G9 Plus (£200) and Moto G9 Play (£160). It’s also worth mentioning that the Moto G9 Power costs £40 less at launch than its predecessor, the Moto G8 Power, did.
As for competitors beyond Motorola, the Moto G9 Power butts heads with our current budget favourite, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, as well as the Realme 6 and its 90Hz screen. Samsung’s Galaxy M31 is another big rival and currently has the best battery life we’ve ever tested, although it costs a bit more at £245.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Design and key features
You probably know what I mean when I say that the G9 Power looks distinctly Moto-like in its appearance. It’s made of plastic, which helps bring the cost down, and it comes in the usual array of eye-catching colours – in this case, “Electric Violet” and “Metallic Sage”.
Thanks to the chunky battery, the Moto G9 Power isn’t exactly lightweight. It tips the scales at a hefty 221g and with its massive 6.8in “Max Vision” 720p IPS screen, it isn’t particularly pocketable, either.
Still, I’m a big fan of the wavy effects that adorn the Moto G9 Power’s rear panel, which remind me of the ridges of a fingerprint. The square camera housing, similar in appearance to Arnie’s quad-barrelled rocket launcher in Commando, is a nice touch too. It’s roughly half the size of the iPhone 12 Pro’s and, to my eyes, looks much neater.
On that note, eating its way into the top-left corner of the phone’s display is a small pinhole notch, which houses the single 16MP selfie camera. A dedicated Google Assistant button sits on the phone’s left edge with a large volume rocker and textured power button making an appearance on the opposite side.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Display
The Moto G9 Power’s screen stretches out across a distance of 6.8in, which is almost the same size as the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The resolution is lower – 720p compared to 1440p – with only a standard refresh rate of 60Hz but you can’t expect a phone that costs significantly less to have it all.
You might want to reconsider your expectations on the colour accuracy front too. The Moto G9 Power’s screen isn’t abysmal but, with weak sRGB colour gamut coverage of 83.5% and a total volume of 88.9% in the “Natural” display setting, it hardly pushes the boat out in this department.
The good news is the Moto G9 Power’s display is bright enough to use outdoors on sunny days, with a measured peak luminance of 510cd/m² with the phone’s auto-brightness setting engaged. The contrast ratio of 1,927:1 is also rather good for the price.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Performance and battery life
With all that out of the way, it’s time to take a peek inside. The Moto G9 Play is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor, which is clocked at 2GHz and paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which can be expanded up to 512GB via microSD.
This is the same chipset used by the slightly cheaper Moto G9 Play, which we reviewed in September 2020 and there are no surprises when it comes to final benchmarking figures. My conclusions are the same too: performance is rather good for the price but don’t expect it to blow your mind.
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In the Geekbench 5 single and multi-core CPU tests, the Moto G9 Power gains a small lead on its predecessor, the Moto G8 Power and outperforms the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 in multi-core processing, as well as the more expensive Galaxy M31. It isn’t quite as good as the Realme 6 in these tests, but the differences between the two won’t really be noticeable for the vast majority of Android users.
Gaming performance paints a similar picture, with marginal gains on the Moto G8 Power, as well as the Galaxy M31. It isn’t a gaming juggernaut by any means but in GFXBench GL’s onscreen Manhattan 3 test it achieved a 34fps average, which proves it should be able to cope with most Google Play store games without much fuss.
Where you should set high expectations, however, is the Moto G9 Power’s stamina. Fitted with a gigantic 6,000mAh battery, the biggest in a Moto yet, the G9 Power is quoted as being able to last up to 60 hours on a single charge.
As for my own testing, the Moto G9 Power lasted an astonishing 26hrs 51mins on a single charge while playing a looped video with data connections switched off and the screen set to our standard 170cd/m² brightness level. At the time of writing this review, only two phones have ever lasted longer in this test: the now discontinued Lenovo P2 and the pricier Galaxy M31, which was the first phone to break the 30-hour mark.
To put that in perspective, the Moto G9 Power lasted four and a half hours longer than the Moto G8 Power under the same conditions and I didn’t have any issues in squeezing out more than two days of use while testing. When I took the phone out and about to do my usual array of camera tests, the battery level indicator fell a mere 4%.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Cameras
And those cameras are pretty good. The Moto G9 Power has a triple-camera array on the back: a 64MP f/1.8 primary snapper that captures 16MP “pixel binned” images by default; a 2MP macro camera; and a depth sensor camera. The latter serves as a tool for more effective blurred background portraits and nothing more.
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The secondary macro camera is slightly more useful. With it, you’re able to capture objects up to a minimum distance of 2.5cm and, while you might not use it very often, the pictures do look quite impressive, as you can see in the image of the coin below. For the best results, though, I recommend using a tripod or a gimbal, since even the slightest of hand movements this close up results in a blurry picture.
As for the main camera, Motorola says its light-gathering abilities are now four times better than its predecessor. I no longer have a Moto G8 Power to directly test this claim but the sensor is a larger 1/1.97in compared with 1/2.8in and it translates into remarkably good performance. On a sunny winter afternoon in London, I was able to capture detail-rich images of local skyscrapers as well as boats whizzing down the Thames with a pleasingly neutral colour palette and well-judged exposures.
Low-light photography isn’t nearly as impressive. Visual noise is noticeable throughout and the camera often struggled to focus on whatever I was pointing at, but the G9 Power’s nighttime pictures aren’t the worst I’ve seen.
The only major irritation is that the camera software often struggles to keep pace. Sometimes there’s a noticeable shutter delay, for instance, and the viewfinder lags behind a fraction of a second when panning in low-light environments, which isn’t ideal.
Wrapping things up, the Moto G9 Power can record 1080p video at 60fps but doesn’t support optical stabilisation in any of the shooting modes. Nor is video capture particularly impressive. Although the footage is packed with intricate details, it suffers terribly from focus hunting – so much so, in fact, that a lot of my test footage was rendered unusable as a result.
Motorola Moto G9 Power review: Verdict
That’s a shame because the Moto G9 Power hits the nail squarely on the head in other areas. It’s well-priced, has solid performance and a battery that just won’t quit. There are just a few things that hold it back from greatness.
If you’re willing to compromise on video capture and display quality, though, you’ll likely find a competent and reliable budget smartphone in the Moto G9 Power. With one of the longest-lasting batteries we’ve ever tested, the Moto G9 Power is well worth the price of admission – just don’t expect it to necessarily impress elsewhere.
|Motorola Moto G9 Power specifications
|Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 (4x2GHz, 4×1.8GHz)
|1,640 x 720
|Screen refresh rate
|64MP (f/1.8), 2MP (f/2.4) macro, 2MP (f/2.4) depth
|Dust and water resistance
|3.5mm headphone jack
|USB connection type
|Memory card slot (supplied)
|Yes (shared with microSD)
|172 x 77 x 9.7mm