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Moto G7 for $300, and all the rest: How to tell all four new Moto G7 phones apart

The Moto G7, G7 Plus, G7 Power and G7 Play are budget phones with plenty to offer.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At a time when $1,000 phones roam the Earth, Motorola's four new Moto G7 handsets tell a different story: One where budget phones aim to be satisfying, on-trend devices that cost roughly a third of the price of the iPhone XS. The Moto G7, Moto G7 Plus, Moto G7 Power and Moto G7 Play are all variations on a theme.

They share backbone specs like full-screen faces with slim bezels, Android Pie, a headphone jack and external storage up to 256GB. From there, the phones take on subtle differences. For example, the Moto G7 Plus -- which won't sell in the US -- has a more powerful processor and a big camera upgrade, while the Moto G7 Power gets its character from its extra-large battery.

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Motorola has a long, rich history of big wins in the mobile phone space, from the first cell phone call, to the iconic Motorola Razr and what will be Verizon's first 5G phone

While the company has struggled to make a splash in the modern phone era -- its magnetic Moto Mods failed to connect in a meaningful way -- the Moto G family has carved out an important space as the king of budget phones. The Moto G has been CNET's top budget pick year after year.

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The Moto G7 Power has a 6.2-inch screen and 5,000-mAh battery.

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The Moto G7 is the latest casualty of rising phone prices. While still "cheap," its price jumps up $50 to $299 from $249, a 20 percent hike from 2018 to 2019. The increase underscores that phones are getting more expensive to own across all categories, not just the most premium models, as component costs rise and slow sales hit dominant brands such as iPhone and Samsung.

Here's how the four new Moto G7 phones break down. Check out our specs chart for a quick breakdown, as well as our in-depth comparison story -- Motorola Moto G7 vs. G7 Play, G7 Power and G7 Plus -- for more details. 

Moto G7: The standard bearer ($299)

This is the step up we expected in 2019's G7 phone. The most well rounded of Moto's new G7s for the US, this looks and feels more luxe than you'd expect for a $300 (£239) device. There's glass on the front and back, a small teardrop-shaped notch and ultrathin bezels all around.

Those slimmer margins mean the 6.2-inch display feels expansive without the phone being a behemoth. The dual 12-megapixel/5-megapixel camera setup makes depth-sensing portrait photos possible using that second lens (the G7 Power and play have that too, using software only). You also get the same "auto smile capture" mode as the G7 Plus, for both sets of lenses.

An 1.8GHz octacore Snapdragon 632 chipset helps keep tasks moving along, so everything felt zippy in the brief time I had with the phone. As a bonus, there's water resistance up to IP154 and 64GB of onboard storage to fill up with your photos, videos and apps.

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The G7 Power's 5,000mAh battery promises over two days of battery life.

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Moto G7 Power: The battery beast ($249)

The name says it all. The Moto G7 Power's 5,000-mAh battery takes center stage on this device, promising 2.5 days of battery life on a single charge. TurboPower charging means you can effectively top up the battery to give you 9 additional hours of use in just 15 minutes of charge. It'll cost £179 in the UK.

The splashproof G7 Power has a wide eyebrow-style notch on its 6.2-inch screen, but you can tell by holding it that the body is more rudimentary than the Moto G7. A finish that Motorola calls "glass polymer" looks like glass, but is really made out of plastic. Hey, on the plus side, it'll be harder to break.

From a camera perspective, the Moto G7 Power has a single 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter. Portrait-style photos that blur the background are a go, but the phone uses software, rather than two lenses, to achieve the effect.

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It may be the cheapest of the G7 phones, but the Moto G7 Play has a 13-megapixel camera and a fingerprint reader all the same.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Moto G7 Play: The biggest cost saver ($199)

The smallest and most compact Moto G7, the G7 Play was designed to bring you the essentials at a reasonable rate. There's nothing fancy or noteworthy here, but Motorola still manages to slot in specs that suggest decent performance for the value buy, on paper at least. We won't know for sure until we get a chance to review the phones.

This G7 Play has a 5.7-inch screen (with a wide notch), a splashproof, plastic body with a soft-touch grip, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a decent 3,000-mAh battery. Like the G7 and G7 Power, the modest G7 Play still comes with Android 9 Pie, a headset jack and rear fingerprint reader, and a Snapdragon 632 chipset. That processor alone makes the G7 Play 110 percent faster than the G6 Play, according to Motorola's claims. It'll be £149 in the UK.

It comes with a more humble 32GB of baked-in storage and just 2GB of RAM. This isn't a phone meant for intensive gaming or lightning-quick photo processing. But rest assured that you'll be able to store up to 256GB more files than the phone comes with, thanks to the expandable storage slot on every Moto G7 phone.

Moto G7 Plus: The budget 'splurge' (£269)

The £269 G7 Plus won't make it to the US, but the most advanced of Motorola's G7 crop holds the most on-paper appeal. It shares many of the Moto G7's core specs, like a 6.2-inch FHD+ screen, teardrop notch and Gorilla Glass backing. But it also adds a huge camera upgrade --- a 16-megapixel/5-megapixel dual camera setup with optical image stabilization (OIS) -- and a 12-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies.

It also has a more powerful processor -- Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 instead of Snapdragon 632 -- and is water resistant at a rating of IP54 (protected from limited dust and spraying water from any direction). Extras include red and indigo colors, stereo speakers tuned by Dolby and the fastest Turbo Power charging, which gets you 12 hours of juice in 15 minutes.

The G7 Plus includes high-resolution zoom (all the G7s do), and an "auto smile capture" mode for the rear and selfie cameras, which will automatically take a photo with up to five people in the frame, once everyone smiles and stops moving around.

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Hello, headphone jack.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Moto G7 phone specs


Motorola Moto G7 Play Motorola Moto G7 Power Motorola Moto G7 Motorola Moto G7 Plus
Display size, resolution 5.7-inch LCD; 1,512x720 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 1,520x720 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 2,270x1,080 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 2,270x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 294 ppi 271 ppi 403 ppi 403 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 5.85 x 2.81 x 0.32 in. 6.28 x 2.99 x 0.37 in. 6.18 x 2.96 x 0.31 in. 6.18 x 2.96 x 0.33 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 148.71 x 71.5 x 8.19 mm 159.43 x 76 x 9.3 mm 157 x 75.3 x 8 mm 157 x 75.3 x 8.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 5.33 oz.; 151g 6.98 oz.; 198g 6.07 oz.; 172g 6.2 oz.; 176g
Mobile software Android 9.0 Android 9.0 Android 9.0 Android 9.0
Camera 13-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel, 5-megapixel 16-megapixel, 5-megapixel
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video capture 1,080p 1,080p 4K 4K
Processor 1.8GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.8GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.8GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.8GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Storage 32GB 32GB 64GB 64GB
RAM 2GB 3GB 4GB 4GB
Expandable storage Up to 512GB Up to 512GB Up to 512GB Up to 512GB
Battery 3,000-mAh 5,000-mAh 3,000-mAh 3,000-mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back Back Back Back
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special features Water repellent with P2i nanocoating; front-facing flash Water repellent with P2i nanocoating; TurboPower charging Water repellent with P2i nanocoating; TurboPower charging Water repellent with P2i nanocoating; TurboPower charging
Price off-contract (USD) $199 $249 $299 300 euros, converts to about $340
Price (GBP) £149 £179 £239 £269
Price (AUD) Converts to about AU$280 Converts to about AU$350 Converts to about AU$420 Converts to about AU$480

This story originally published at 5 a.m. PT.

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