The Moto G Pro (also known as the Moto G Stylus) looks like a regular mid-range smartphone, except for a couple of “buts”. It has two features that cannot be found in any of the more or less well-known competitors. The first is the presence of a stylus hidden in a frame. The second is an action camcorder that shoots wide-angle video when the smartphone is rotated vertically.
Need neither one nor the other? You can spend a little less money on the Moto G8 Plus or Moto G8 Power, or a little more on the more attractive Xiaomi Mi 10 or Mi Note 10.
If you need a stylus, then there are almost no options. There is, of course, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, but not everyone can afford it. The Moto G Pro’s stylus isn’t as good as the Galaxy Note 20’s, but it still lets you take notes and recognize handwriting.
In Europe, the smartphone is called Moto G Pro, in the US – Moto G Stylus. In our review, we will focus on the first name.
The Moto G Pro has a very capacious battery. Some smartphones can hold longer, but the hero of our review is doing well with this. Moto G Pro will easily last a day in almost any scenario, and there will be little left for the night.
The performance of the device will not be enough only if you want to drive Fortnite at maximum graphics settings. Moto G Pro has a special mode for taking pictures in low light conditions. It can drastically improve the dynamic range of images.
There are many competitors in the category that can be both better and cheaper: Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, Realme X50, Samsung Galaxy M31 and Moto G8 Plus. However, only the Moto G Pro has a stylus. It is not given for free, this must be understood.
The smartphone was announced back in May. In USA, it is not yet available for purchase. In Europe, you will have to pay about 300 euros for it. It’s a little more expensive than other similar devices in its class, but it has 128GB of storage and a stylus that simply wouldn’t fit in a traditional form factor.
The Moto G Pro looks very similar to the G8 Power. This is a mid-sized smartphone; not very thin (9.2 mm), but it has rounded edges that smooth out its dimensions.
Both the back cover and the frame are made of plastic. There are no metal inserts, only the display and camera lenses are made of glass. In general, this is normal for a smartphone of this level.
The Moto G Pro stylus is a hardware feature of the smartphone. It’s nice to hold it in your hands. The main part of the body is made of metal, the tip is made of plastic. It is inserted into the smartphone, so you don’t have to look for where to attach it after use.
But it’s worth noting that it’s no match for the styluses that come with the Galaxy Note family or tablets. This is an ordinary condenser stylus and it does not know how to determine the degree of pressure. Using it in the Autodesk Sketchbook application will not be as comfortable. For example, in more advanced models, you can usually make the line a little thicker with a stronger pressure. Here, this can also be done due to the fact that the area of contact with the screen becomes a little larger, but it does not work as efficiently.
The rest of the hardware works well. The fingerprint scanner reads quickly and accurately. It is worth noting the excellent stereo sound for its class. Even, perhaps, the best among competitors, including Moto G8 power, Redmi Note 9, Samsung Galaxy M31 and Oppo A52.
The Moto G Pro has a 6.4-inch IPS display. In the upper left part there is a hole for the front camera. It may seem huge, but thanks to a different aspect ratio, the dimensions of the device are among the smallest in its class.
The screen is quite good for a budget model. With it, you don’t have to go into the shade on a bright sunny day to see the picture on the screen, but you don’t have to wait for the gamut that is in OLED displays.
The image refresh rate is standard – 60 Hz. Moto G Pro supports HDR. The display resolution is 1080×2300 pixels.
Three color profiles are available: natural, enhanced and saturated. The difference between them is not so great.
The smartphone runs on Android One, which sets it apart from the rest of the Moto G series devices. This is one of the most pleasant innovations along with a dark system theme.
The Moto Active Display feature allows you to display notifications on the screen even when the smartphone is in sleep mode, thanks to motion detection.
Many mid-range smartphones already have quad-camera setups. Usually one of them is good, the second is average, and the rest are more for the image. Motorola is taking a more pragmatic approach.
For example, on the Moto G8 Power, the third camera works like a 2x zoom telephoto. The Moto G Pro has three cameras, including a 16-megapixel GoPro-style ultra-wide-angle sensor. It is quite distinctive, since the recording is carried out horizontally when the smartphone is standing vertically. This 90-degree-rotated sensor and electronic stabilization to boot make it easy to record video in a traditional format while holding your smartphone with one hand. However, the question arises when it should be used. Most social networks use portrait orientation, and the Moto G Pro can’t take photos. A similar solution has already been seen in Motorola One Action and Moto G8 Plus.
The main camera has a 48-megapixel sensor. But the appendage in the form of a 2-megapixel macro camera is not even worth discussing: with a strong approximation, this “under-camera” cuts detail, dynamic range and contrast. Macro shots look pale.
Since there is no depth sensor, you can only take portrait shots of people. Algorithms used in the device, as a rule, work well, but sometimes artifacts appear on the border of the background and hair or clothing.
Luckily, the main camera handles most tasks. With good lighting, the color palette of the pictures is transmitted very accurately. Automatic HDR in the vast majority of cases only improves the photo.
There is also a night mode. It takes 2-3 seconds to shoot. Detailing and contrast, of course, are no longer the same as in daytime photography, but the dynamic range is greatly increased. Although it is far from the night mode in the Google Pixel 4a.
I would like the smartphone to have an excellent Sony IMX586 sensor instead of Samsung GM1, which is not such an unrealistic Wishlist even in this budget. This matrix is much better both in terms of dynamic range and overall performance.
The limitations of the Samsung GM1 can be seen in the dark areas of the shots, which become very grainy. The tendency of the smartphone to overexpose the picture in highly contrasting scenes is noticeable.
Smartphones from Motorola have been suffering from this for a long time. The issue is solved quite simply – a simple manual adjustment of the exposure. However, it should be understood that not all people will want to do this.
When it comes to shooting with an action camera, there are some pitfalls. Sometimes it becomes noticeable vibration around the edges, the cause of which is electronic stabilization. Also, the camera has a lower resolution, which leads to worse detail in the resulting video. Shooting resolution is 1080p. So it’s likely that you’ll want to use the main camera to shoot video, unless of course you need to hold your smartphone while riding a skateboard.
The quality of the front camera is average. In good lighting, the detail of the face is quite good. When there is not enough light, the smartphone uses pixel linking to brighten the shots.
The Moto G Pro is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor. It is quite productive, but not the most powerful in this category of smartphones. Recall that the same is in the much cheaper Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T.
Overall system performance isn’t the super-smooth Snapdragon 765G-powered smartphone, but most will find the Moto G Pro quite comfortable to use. This is facilitated by a very comfortable amount of memory: 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of permanent memory.
Almost all games can be played safely, but in the case of Fortnite, you will have to sacrifice settings. However, competitors with chipsets from MediaTek and Exynos perform no better.
In the Geekbench test, Moto G Pro scored 1372 points (312 points per core), which is generally in line with the average temperature in the hospital.
Don’t forget the speakers. It’s much more enjoyable to play with stereo sound.
Moto G Pro is equipped with a 4000 mAh battery. The package includes an 18W TurboPower charger. This is an entry-level device among fast chargers.
It will take 45 minutes to replenish energy from zero to 50 percent, and not 30 minutes, as on many flagship devices. You can fully charge your smartphone in a couple of hours. Not fast, but not slow either.
The Moto G Pro can easily survive a whole day of moderate use, and even 30 percent will remain.
In this segment, there are many devices with a much more capacious battery, the number of milliamp hours in which can reach 5000 mAh, as is the case with Redmi Note 9 or Moto G8 Power, or even as much as 6000 mAh, like the Galaxy M31 (which, by the way, is thinner than the hero of our review).
In general, this smartphone is not for lovers of great autonomy. Which, however, allows it to be very comfortable for the average user.
In what cases is it worth looking at it?
- You need an interesting budget smartphone. A stylus and an action camera are two key factors in buying this machine.
- You enjoy listening and watching movies, including your smartphone’s built-in speakers. They are definitely good here.
- You need pure Android. The Android One label has long been a sign of quality and the absence of unnecessary applications in the system.
When should you stop buying?
- You need a full stylus. No need to flatter yourself that when you buy the Moto G Pro, you will get the same experience as with the Galaxy Note 20. The stylus of the former does not have a pressure sensor. And while the Moto team got around this limitation, it only works in Motorola’s own apps.
- You want maximum performance for your money. The Redmi Note 9 Pro costs about the same, offering better performance and a better camera. However, it is no longer surprising that the American brand is losing the company to Chinese companies.
- You need good autonomy. The Moto G Pro manages to get through a day’s work, but a number of rivals are capable of more. Samsung Galaxy M31, Moto G8 Power and Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 have much more capacious batteries.
Moto G Pro is one of the most interesting mid-range smartphones. He has a stylus and a camera sharpened specifically for video. You will have to pay a little more for the device than for competitors, but this is a price for a fresh wind in the mass of the same and good Android devices available.