Technology

Moto G7 vs. Moto G7 Power vs. Moto G7 Play: Which Motorola phone is for you?

moto g7 lineup
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Moto G line was king of the budget roost for several years, but Nokia has been muscling into that territory with some very tempting and eminently affordable Android phones. Motorola is looking to win the market back with a G series reshuffle that brings us the Moto G7, the Moto G7 Power, and the Moto G7 Play.

You may be wondering what sets these phones apart. There are some important differences, so we’ve pitted them against one another here and picked winners in various categories to help you decide which would suit you best. Get your Moto running, it’s time for a G series showdown.

Specs

Moto G7 Moto G7 Power Moto G7 Play
Size 157 x 75.3 x 8 mm (6.18 x 2.96 x 0.31 inches) 159.43 x 76 x 9.3 mm (6.27 x 2.99 x 0.36 inches) 148.71 x 71.5 x 8.19 mm (5.85 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 172 grams (6.06 ounces) 198 grams (6.98 ounces)  151 grams (5.32 ounces)
Screen size 6.2 inches 6.2 inches  5.7 inches
Screen Resolution 2,270 x 1,080 pixels (403 pixels-per-inch) 1,520 x 720 pixels (271 ppi)  1,512 x 720 pixels (294 ppi)
Operating System Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Storage Space 64GB 32GB 32GB
MicroSD Card Slot Yes Yes Yes
Tap To Pay Services (NFC) No No No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
RAM 4GB 3GB  2GB
Camera Dual 12-megapixel and 5MP depth sensor rear, 8MP front 12-megapixel rear, 8MP front 13-megapixel rear, 8MP front
Video Up to 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 120fps Up to 1080p at 30fps Up to 1080p at 30fps
Bluetooth Version Version 4.2 LE Version 4.2 LE Version 4.2 LE
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes Yes
Water resistance Water repellent coating Water repellent coating Water repellent coating
Battery 3,000mAh 5,000mAh 3,000mAh
App Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network Support All major carriers All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Ceramic Black, Clear White Marine Blue Starry Black, Deep Indigo
Price $299 $249 $199
Buy From Motorola Motorola Motorola
Review Score Hands on Hands on Hands on

Performance, battery life, and charging

moto g7 lineup bottom
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Whatever Moto G7 you pick, you’re going to find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 632 processor inside. We expect good performance and the ability to run most apps and games without a hitch. The Moto G7 is the most capable multitasker with 4GB of RAM inside, compared to 3GB in the Power, and just 2GB in the Play. If you like to have a lot of apps and games running, then jumping in and out is liable to be a smoother experience with more RAM. The G7 also has double the internal storage of its siblings with 64GB to their 32GB, although all three have MicroSD card slots for storage expansion.

The G7 and G7 Play both have 3,000mAh batteries inside, though we suspect the Play will have more stamina, as the larger, higher resolution screen of the G7 will require more power. The clear winner in the battery department is the appropriately-named G7 Power, which is packing a 5,000mAh battery. That’s enough power to see you through two days between charges. Speaking of charging, the G7 boasts TurboPower support at 15W, which will give you 9 hours of use from 15 minutes of charging. The G7 Power also supports 15W TurboPower, but the G7 Play charging maxes out at 10W, so it will be a bit slower to recharge.

This is a tricky category to call, though we can easily relegate the G7 Play to last place with its limited RAM and slower charging. If battery life is a key consideration for you, then the G7 Power is the one to pick, but we’d opt for the extra RAM and storage.

Winner: Moto G7

Design and durability

moto g7 lineup side
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We can see popular design trends filtering down to the budget segment with the G series. The Moto G7 has a teardrop notch in the display, while the G7 Power and G7 Play both sport notches. All three have slim bezels at the bottom of the front. The G7 is clearly the headliner here with a curved Gorilla Glass 3 back. All three have a fingerprint sensor housed in the M logo, beneath that signature round camera module on the back. The G7 Power looks similar, but is plastic with polymer glass on the back, and the G7 Play has a more clearly plastic, textured finish on the back. The G7 Play is the smallest and lightest of the bunch by quite a distance.

Most phones have some level of water resistance now, and while the G series lack IP ratings, they do all have a water repellent coating from P2i. You won’t want to submerge them, but rain and spills are likely nothing to worry about. The G7 may be a little more prone to damage with that glass back, but there really isn’t much to divide them in terms of durability.

Winner: Moto G7

Display

moto g7 lineup screens
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The G7 and G7 Power have 6.2-inch displays compared to the 5.7-inch display in the G7 Play. They are all LCD screens, but two things elevate the Moto G7’s screen above its siblings: It sports a much higher 2,270 x 1,080 pixel-resolution and it has a teardrop notch. The G7 Play and Power both have notches at the top of the screen and relatively low resolutions. That means everything is going to look better on the G7. In terms of pixels-per-inch, the G7 is 403, compared to 271 for the Power and 294 for the Play.

Winner: Moto G7

Camera

moto g7 review design
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Here’s another clear win for the Moto G7, which boasts a dual-lens main camera that pairs a 12-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 aperture with a secondary 5-megapixel sensor for depth, enabling you to capture great bokeh shots with the subject in sharp relief and the background blurred. The G7 Power has a single 12-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and the Play has a single 13-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture. Bigger apertures, signified by lower numbers, let in more light, so we expect the G7 camera to perform noticeably better in low light situations.

The G7 has one exclusive feature over the other two — Auto Smile Capture, which snaps a photo as soon as a smile is detected. There’s also High-res Zoom, which enhances the detail in photos after you zoom in digitally — this is available on all three phones.

The G7 is also the only one capable of recording 4K video and it can shoot 1,080p and 720p at higher frame rates. All three support the ability to create hyperlapse videos, for making cool, timelapse-styled videos.

Each G7 variant appears to be packing the same 8-megapixel front-facing camera, which should be perfectly adequate for selfies and video calls.

Winner: Moto G7

Software and updates

All three of these phones have Android 9.0 Pie out of the gate and we’ve been assured that they will all get upgraded to Android Q. That’s great news, because budget phones don’t always get updates. You’ll find the usual array of Motorola’s gesture shortcuts, including one button navigation and chop twice for flashlight. The amount and type of bloatware you find will likely depend on where you buy. The Moto G range has traditionally been relatively bloatware free, but Outlook crept in as the default email app last year and if you buy from a carrier, they’ll likely load a bunch of apps on there that you don’t want.

Winner: Tie

Special features

motorola moto g7 news jc 5
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Budget phones are typically light on special features and extras and that’s certainly the case here. The dual-lens camera in the G7 stands out as the biggest difference, as does the Auto Smile Capture feature, but the the extra stamina of the G7 Power will tempt some. Other than its more compact size, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about the G7 Play.

Winners: Moto G7 and G7 Power

Price

We’re not surprised the Moto G7 is the most expensive of the bunch at $299. The Moto G7 Power will cost you $249, and the Moto G7 Play is $199.

This trio will work just fine with all the major carriers, but we’d advise you to buy the unlocked versions to keep bloatware to a minimum.

Overall winner: Moto G7

This is one of the most clear cut comparisons we’ve ever done. The Moto G7 is by far the best-looking of the bunch, it boasts more RAM, more storage, has a sharper display, and a better camera. The only category where it’s bested is battery life, which is obviously the G7 Power’s specialty. If your budget will stretch, then the Moto G7 is clearly the best pick.


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