Moto has been the unsung champion of the midrange for years now, thanks mostly to the Moto G line of devices. Starting with the Moto G5 launched at MWC in 2017, Moto upped the bar for the affordable smartphone, bringing a decent camera to affordable market segment for the first time. This year the Moto G7 family has continued that tradition and aimed to up the ante.
We’ve had the Moto G7 Plus for a few weeks now and it proudly continues the tradition of the Moto G line with more than a little polish. The G7 Plus is the top speced model in the 2019 Moto G line up and honestly, it’s a solid phone at an affordable price.
Coming in at $499 AUD, the Moto G7 Plus puts a stake in the ground and asks any phone costing more to justify the expense.
The Moto G7 Plus is a mid-range device but as the quality of mid-range improves there’s really nothing compromised, at least for the typical user. The G7 Plus is powered by the Snapdragon 636 SOC paired with 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, it’s fantastic to have moved the midrange off 2GB and 16GB respectively.
The 6.2-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD tear drop notch display is bright, clear and crisp, the only comment I would make is I still intensely dislike notches of all varieties, and that not being AMOLED, it can be a little bright in complete darkness. We are looking forward to when AMOLED panels make their way into the midrange if that ever happens, but this panel is no slouch for everyday use.
Camera wise Moto has included a rear 16MP f/1.7 lens with a 5MP depth sensor supported by a two-tone LED flash, around the front is a 12MP sensor. Both cameras are adequate, but we’ll discuss the cameras in more depth later on.
Rounding out the hardware the G7 Pro has everything you can ask for including a rear fingerprint sensor, NFC for Google Pay, 3000mAh battery with USB C charging that lasts longer than you’d expect, stereo speaks and all of the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS you could want.
Check out the full specs below.
|Key Specifications:||Moto G7 plus|
|Release date||February 2019|
|Resolution||1,920 x 1,080|
|Core config||8 x 1.8 GHz|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 512GB|
|Android OS||Android 9.0|
|Vendor skin||Moto Stock|
|Dimensions||157 x 75.3 x 8.3 mm|
The Moto G7 Plus simply isn’t lacking anything, there’s nothing missing and no compromise that feels like it’s gone too far. Mid-range components are very solid in 2019 and while the price of some features like AMOLED displays, multiple cameras and computational AI chips may keep those features out of the mid-range today that doesn’t actually result in a device that feels like a compromise to use.
WHAT’S IT GOOD AT?
The Moto G7 Plus is a solid all-around performer, the fingerprint sensor is instant, apps load quickly and its 3000 mAh battery can get you from dawn to dusk with enough in the tank to relax through the evening. If all of that sounds like table stakes, I’d agree, but remember Moto have packed all of that into a device that costs less than a quarter of the price of some mobile devices: you can buy three or four of these for the price of one of the top tier devices, and that’s actually insane, INSANE.
With Moto’s light touch approach to Android, it’s got a stock plus smooth feel when dashing about the UI. Where Moto has adjusted the Android I would say it’s for the better and there’s more than a few Moto features I’d like in stock Android.
With the April security patch arriving on the device during my review, it’s basically what I would consider current from a security perspective. Lenovo has committed to bringing Android Q (or 10 as I suspect it may become known) to the Moto G7 plus and a minimum of 2 years of security updates. An OS update and 2 years of security in a $499 device, that’s a reasonable deal.
I spent a long time deciding if the camera in the Moto G7 Plus was “good”. Did I get good photos from it? Yes. Was it 100% reliable? Sort of. Was it instant to load? No. Was I frustrated using it? No.
As with many parts of this review, my answer about the camera is reflected against its price. For a $499 AUD phone the camera in this thing is excellent, compared to a Huawei P30 Pro or a Pixel, sure, but it’s just not competing in the same arena.
What does that mean? If your someone who NEEDS a phone that will launch in a fraction of a second, take photos in complete darkness and demands the ability to zoom in on a fly atop the Opera House whilst standing on the North Shore then you’re going to be stuck in the $1500 and above (well above) price range.
If however, you’re someone who wants a camera to take everyday photos, and grab those family shots wherever you are, then the Moto G7 Plus is very much in contention.
Loading times, Moto is well known for its “corkscrew gesture” to launch the camera, essentially twist your hand like you’re opening a bottle or turning a screwdriver and the camera will load. I found that this gesture slows down the process, especially as it has to be well out of your pocket to initiate. Once I enabled double press on the power button to launch the camera (a simple toggle in settings) the camera load speed improved and I rarely had a problem with “waiting for the camera”.
The camera will load in around a second and then be ready for action. A steady well-framed shot is going to be 99% reliable, you take it you’ve got it. The rapid shot mode is also consistent, but if you’re trying to widely whip the phone around and capture quick images it’s not going to keep up, it normally needs a second to refocus if you’re whipping it around.
As for night shots, the G7 Plus just isn’t a ‘night camera’ in the 2019 sense. It will capture night shots, but they are going to be a little grainy, bright spots are going to stand out and it’s likely not going to be crystal clear, again $499 AUD.
WHAT’S IT LESS GOOD AT?
Honestly, I’ve got nothing to really ping the Moto G7 Plus on. If you’re buying a phone as a specific “gaming” phone and you’re going to want to push your device to the edge of Android’s gaming abilities, then you’re going to be relegated to the top of the line devices, but for a ‘normal’ I can’t see what the G7 Plus can’t do.
A $499 device with USB C, NFC, Stereo Speakers, WiFi6, BT 5, stock+ Android, regular updates a solid camera experience and a headphone jack, I just can’t see what’s missing.
The Moto G7 Plus if the flagship of the midrange. I know that might be an oxymoron but I think the Moto G7 Plus has set the benchmark for devices at and around the $500 price point. For some, it may be a little more than they wanted to spend and for others maybe even a little less then they may be willing.
However I think if you can get the extra few dollars together the Moto G7 Plus is a worthy upgrade, and I’d challenge anyone to find a phone with solid performance, guaranteed software upgrades and a decent camera all at that price.
If you’re wanting to know if you should get a Moto G7 Plus, I unreservedly recommend it, if you’re looking for a phone at the less than $1000 mark then you simply have to include the G7 Plus for consideration.
I’m well known for being a big supporter of Android One devices, and we may be seeing a few more brands support the program in Australia. Currently there are some Android One devices around this price point that will deliver a similar stock experience with ongoing updates, however, those devices haven’t had the best of review by us or others.
So while I would still recommend comparing to an Android One device in the balance Lenovo’s experience and execution in the Moto G7 range is just hard to beat. I’ve loved using the Moto G7 Plus, and honestly, I don’t want to stop using it, I could easily swap one of my two SIMs into this and review it longer term.