Motorola has made a solid name for itself when it comes to mid-tier smartphones. Flanked by rivals like Samsung, OPPO and realme, Motorola has now released its latest offerings, the $499 Moto G8 Plus and the $299 Motorola One Macro. For the price, both phones offer good performance, a sleek design, decent cameras and great battery life. So, what's with the $200 price difference?
In the spirit of full disclosure, my current phone is the Moto G7 Plus, a phone that was provided to me by Motorola earlier in the year for review. I've been using it as my daily phone since I last reviewed it, and rely on it for nearly everything that I do. A lot of what I say here will build on my past review of the G7 and G7 Plus, because essentially, the Moto G8 Plus is last year's model given a performance and camera overhaul.
Just Give Me The Specs
Moto G8 Plus
- Display: 6.3" 1080 x 2280 pixels
- Processor: Qualcomm SDM665 Snapdragon 665
- OS: Android 9.0
- Camera: 48 MP (wide), 16 MP (ultrawide), 1080p video camera, 5 MP depth sensor + 25 MP selfie camera
- Memory: 64GB, 4GB RAM
- Battery: 4000 mAh, 15W TurboPower™ charging
- Price: $499
Moto One Macro
- Display: 6.2” 1520 x 720 pixels
- Processor: MediaTek Helio P70 processor with 2.0GHz octa-core CPU and Mali-G72 900Mhz GPU
- OS: Android 9.0
- Camera: 13MP main sensor, 2MP depth sensor, 2MP dedicated macro lens + 8MP selfie camera
- Memory: 64GB, 4 GB DDR4
- Battery: 4000 mAh, 10W rapid charging
- Price: $299
So, why the $200 difference?
The main difference between the Moto G8 Plus and One Macro (and the reason for the $200 price difference) is the processor and camera specifications. The Moto G8 Plus is designed to compete within the mid-tier phone market, going up against affordable offerings from Samsung, OPPO, realme and other rivals, while the Moto One Macro is designed as a specialty phone for those interested in Macro photography, or those on a mid-tier or tighter budget. On the surface level, they both operate similarly.
While the Moto G8 Plus rocks a Snapdragon 665 and the One Macro has a simpler Helio 970 processor, I didn't notice much difference between them. Both were snappy, responsive and smooth to use, so unless you really need that (almost indiscernible) high-speed boost, neither phone has much of a power advantage. With 15W TurboPower charging on the G8 Plus, it does have a slim speed advantage over the charging capabilities of the One Macro, but seeing as both phones' batteries last close to three full days without charging, this shouldn't be too much of an issue either.
The camera department is where they wildly diverge. As the name suggests, the One Macro focuses on macro photography and detailed close-ups. The G8 Plus goes for wide-angled photography, much like you'd see on a standard modern phone. Choosing between these phones will be a matter of circumstance and need. If you're a fiend for Instagram foodie pics, the One Macro will be right up your alley. If you're more into the bigger picture, the Moto G8 Plus' robust camera system will be just right for you.
Tell me about Moto G8 Plus
The Moto G8 Plus is a solid phone with all the basic functionality you'd ever need from a smartphone. While it does lack the bells and whistles of flagship devices — there's limited night mode functionality, no specialist macro lens, no AI upscaling or AR compatibility built it — the Moto G8 Plus is great for those just looking for a reliable and handy phone.
Despite the fact that the camera isn't as highly-packed as, say, an iPhone 11, it does well with what it has, as you can see from these very artistic shots, which came out far better than I was expecting with the talent at my disposal.
Beyond the camera, it rocks a Snapdragon 665 processor that does the job well. It's not the most high-end processor on the market, but apps load in quickly - even Pokémon GO.
Charging is also a breeze, with a TurboCharge that means you're spending no more than 1-1.5 hours charging to reach a full battery.
That charge is also likely to last several days if you're not actively using your phone. When I was reviewing it as an everyday phone, it still lasted 2.5 days.
Throughout my 10-hour day, that included browsing, social media, frequent notification checks, holding a bluetooth connection for wireless earbuds (around 3 hours per day) and making 1-2 phone calls per day.
When I left it on idle and used it only sporadically, without active daily use, it lasted much longer — in fact, the last time I charged it since writing this review was four days ago, and it's still on 20 per cent charge.
Tell me about the Motorola One Macro?
Motorola has largely slipped under the radar when it comes to conversations around the latest and greatest smartphones. And that's mostly because they tend to go hard on mid-range and budget phones that tend to be some of the strongest in those categories.
The macro photography is a heap of fun on the Motorola One Macro. While the G8 Plus can only handle photographs from a distance of at least 15cm or so away, the One Macro can handle objects as close as 2cm from the lens. The detail it can achieve is awesome, such as seeing all the threads in your bed sheets, and the tiny veins of plants.
That said, for a phone that prides itself on its macro features, the lens itself isn't mindblowing, and pictures can often come out blurry at the edges. Essentially, the macro mode is a fun little gimmick that really should be a bit better quality as the centrepiece feature of the phone.
Beyond the photography, the One Macro is still a solid little phone, particularly when considering the $299 price tag. It's has a decent processor and battery life, and has everything you'd expect in a lower priced phone.
That said, there's not much here that's particularly unique or exciting. The One Macro is a fairly basic smartphone.
If you're on a budget and not looking for any fancy features — say — a phone that supports innovations like upscaling, star-filled night sight mode, high quality video or spatial awareness — then the $299 One Macro will serve you well. But if you're looking for something with more flashy features, there are better options out there.
Just like the G8 Plus, the battery also lasts a really long time, and if your phone is in seldom use, you can easily get away with not charging it for 3-4 days. With active use, expect it to last closer to 2 days.
You can also get a full battery with around 2 hours of charge — although, a quick 2 or 3 hour battery top-up will only take 15-20 minutes if you're in a rush.
What's the competition like?
The competition for both phones is fairly robust, particularly for the One Macro. The realme 5 is a phone in direction competition to the One Macro, and features a near-identical macro camera set up with a slightly better processor (the Snapdragon 665) and a larger battery (5,000mAh). The realme 5 is also priced at $299, making it a more appealing option here.
It similarly competes with the $299 OPPO AX7, which features a 16MP (non-macro) rear camera and AI features. LG, Vivo and Samsung are also viable competition at the same price point, but not in the macro space. The Motorola One Macro exists in a very specific niche, with most companies choosing to focus on macro lenses as a supplement to a multi-camera array, rather than as its own feature.
Meanwhile, the G8 Plus goes head to head with some impressive combatants on the $499 pricing tier. The realme XT comes with a whopping 64MP main camera, including a macro lens, 8GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 712. That pretty well eclipses the G8 Plus' specs for the same price point.
A few weeks back we reported on realme mysteriously entering the Australian phone market with four devices. We didn't know what they were at the time, but all has now been revealed.
There's also the OPPO Reno Z, which has a 48MP camera and a 32MP selfie cam alongside a Helio P90 processor, and the Xiaomi Mi A3 which has similar specs to the Reno Z, but the same processor as the G8 Plus.
It does beat out Samsung's Galaxy A50 on specs alone, but on the mid-pricing tier, it's fairly well beaten by the rest of the competition when comparing them on specs.
While it's quite well priced in the market, it and the One Macro, faces some dangerous competition -especially if you're willing to shell out an extra $150 to upgrade to the Google Pixel 3a.
Should you buy either of these phones?
I've been using the Moto G7 Plus for the better part of a year now, and have been consistently impressed by its performance, battery power and overall functionality. The G8 Plus is that phone, but better, and it's definitely addressed my main gripe about the G7's poor camera quality.
The G8 Plus' camera is far better, but not overly fancy for those with more discerning taste. The G8 Plus is a good phone, but as mentioned earlier, there are also better options on the market with stronger specs and features.
The Motorola One Macro is a bit of a curiosity. If you're on a tighter budget, it's definitely a good option, but besides the neat macro lens, it doesn't offer many other particularly impressive features. If you're an Insta-fiend, then it'll work well for you, but if you have an interest in a wider range of photography options and functionality, there are other, more exciting options out there.