Motorola really shook things up with the Moto G8 smartphone lineup – at least regarding their launch pattern. The phonemaker unveiled and released the Moto G8 Plus in late 2019, months before we expected to see the new series of smartphones, but only the Plus, sans any of the other smartphones we were expecting.
We don't know much about the other Motorola phones in the G8 series that we anticipate in early 2020, but they'll likely be different in their own ways, like G-series lineups before. Plus, we're still hearing leaks as to what they could be.
Since the launch of the Moto G7 series, Motorola has expanded its budget lineup with several new Motorola One handsets, so the company has a new range to compete with its previous flagships. Some of the killer features in these more recent smartphones made their way into the Moto G8 Plus, and its possible we'll see the same pattern in the other Moto G8 phones.
The Moto G smartphones typically launch in the early months of the year, so seeing the Moto G8 Plus at the end of October 2019 was a major shock. We still expect to see the Moto G8, G8 Play and G8 Power (if that's what they turn out to be) in or around February 2020.
While we wait for Motorola’s next range of impressive affordable devices to drop, we can expect the slow drip of leaks and rumors to gradually turn into a torrent of early looks in the build-up to the Moto G8’s release. Before that, we can look at the previous Moto G phones and see what we’d like to change in the 2020 versions too.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next incarnation in the Moto G range of budget phones
- When is it out? Likely early 2020, but possibly earlier
- How much will it cost? A range of prices, but all probably sub-$300 / £300 / AU$500
Moto G8 release date and price
In terms of release date, we were pretty certain of the early 2020 release of the Moto G8 series, as previous G-series units had launched that month. Certain, that is, until Motorola jumped the gun and released the Moto G8 Plus early in late 2019.
If the non-Plus devices launch in early 2020, it could be in February in the build up to Mobile World Congress, the yearly phones and tech show in Barcelona, Spain. That’s when we saw the G7 range launch, and it's a fitting stage for a new suite of affordable smartphones.
When the Moto G8 Plus launched, it cost £239 / AU$499 (roughly $310), and we'd expect the Moto G8 Play, G8, and G8 Power to be more affordable than that. The Moto G7 Play was actually more expensive than the G8, costing £269 / AU$499 (roughly $325, but it didn’t release in the US), so we could see the G8 series for cheaper than the G7s.
Moto G8 leaks, rumors and news
There have been few Moto G8 leaks, but we obviously know all about the Moto G8 Plus (since we've reviewed it), so we won't list those here.
The Moto G8 Plus had seen loads of leaks before its release, but the next most leaked handset is the Moto G8 Play, as a hands-on photo of the smartphone provided some information on the device.
It's set to have a 6.2-inch screen, 4,000mAh battery, and 8MP selfie camera on the front. There are three rear cameras, but other than one having an ultra-wide angle lens, we don't know what their specs are.
In general the Moto G8 Play looks set to be far more advanced that the Moto G7 Play, but the phone price could increase to match.
There are some leaks attached to the Moto G8, which suggest the phone (or several in the range) will have a Snapdragon 655 chipset (which would be quite an upgrade from the Snapdragon 636 in the Moto G7 Plus).
Elsewhere, we've seen a leaked image showing a Motorola phone with a pop-up single-lens selfie camera, which would be a first for the brand, but the images aren't specifically linked to the Moto G8 so this could be something else.
They're likely real though as they line up with an earlier leak of a press image showing a Moto phone with no front-facing camera – there's no pop-up camera visible but that's likely how this would be achieved, though it’s also possible (yet unlikely) that the device uses an under-screen camera.
Judging by the Moto G8 Plus however, it's possible this pop-up camera could be a future Motorola One handset.
What we want to see
While we wait for the Moto G8 range of smartphones to launch, we’ve made a list of what features we’d like to see them pack.
1. NFC on all devices
NFC is a really useful feature of modern smartphones, used for functions like contactless card payments and easy pairing of Bluetooth devices. Yet not all the Moto G7 phones have NFC compatibility, which can be a nuisance for people who love using the tech.
We’d like to see NFC functions available on all Moto G8 phones, from the Plus model to the most affordable devices, and in all regions, as the presence of NFC on Motorola handsets sometimes varies by area.
2. Improved camera arrays
Save for the Moto G7 Power, each of the Moto G7 phones has two rear cameras – that’s okay for a budget phone, but you can now pick up affordable devices with three or even four rear snappers, so Motorola’s going to have to upgrade its cameras to keep the devices competitive.
The second camera on the G7 is a depth sensor for improved background blur on portrait pictures, but we’d like to see perhaps a telephoto lens (used for optical zoom) or an ultra-wide angle lens (with a bigger field of view for great selfies or panoramic shots), as these can be really useful in taking a great picture.
3. More specialized devices
The Moto G7 Power was a distinct member of the G7 family because of what it did ‘different’: it had a much bigger battery than the others. This specialization made the phone distinct, so if a big battery pack was a tempting draw in a smartphone, you knew which model to pick up..
We’d like to see more phones that are designed for various distinct purposes, to give the G8 line even more variation. Perhaps we could see a device with a camera array that’s much better than the competition (think four lenses) or even a 21:9 device, which is an aspect ratio some phones (including the Motorola One Vision) use because it’s great for viewing movies.
- What we know about the Samsung Galaxy S11