Motorola has unveiled its lineup of 2021 smartphones, with the Moto G Power (2021) serving as the low-cost model. It manages to offer a massive 5,000mAh battery and a sumptuous 6.6-inch display while costing only $200. While it ranks highly in the value-for-money category, it is not the only recent smartphone to offer premium features at a less-than-premium price. The Google Pixel 4a is another strong contender in this category, with a $350 price tag that includes one of the best cameras on the market, good software, a gorgeous screen, and a long battery life are also included.

The question is, which low-cost Android is superior? We answer this question by pitting the Moto G Power (2021) against the Google Pixel 4a. We hope that by comparing their specifications, designs, displays, performance, cameras, and software, we can help you decide which device best suits your needs.

Specs

Google Pixel 4aMoto G Power (2021)
Size144 x 69.4 x 8.2 mm (5.67 x 2.73 x 0.32 inches)165.3 x 75.9 x 9.5 mm (6.51 x 2.99 x 0.37 inches)
Weight143 grams (5.04 ounces)206.5 grams (7.30 ounces)
Screen size5.81-inch OLED6.6-inch LCD
Screen resolution2340 x 1080 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (443 pixels per inch)1600 x 720 pixels, 20:9 ratio (266 ppi)
Operating systemAndroid 11Android 10
Storage128GB32GB, 64GB
MicroSD card slotNoYes
Tap-to-pay servicesGoogle PayGoogle Pay
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 730Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
RAM6GB3GB, 4GB
Camera12.2-megapixel rear, 8MP frontTriple-lens 48MP, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth rear, 8MP front
Video4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps1080p at 60 fps
Bluetooth version5.15.0
PortsUSB-C, headphone jackUSB-C, headphone jack
Fingerprint sensorYes, rear-mountedYes, rear-mounted
Water resistanceNoNo
Battery3,140mAhFast charging (18W)5,000mAhFast charging (15W)
App marketplaceGoogle Play StoreGoogle Play Store
Network supportMost major U.S. carriersMost major U.S. carriers
ColorsJust BlackFlash Gray, Polar Silver
Prices$349$200
Buy fromGoogle, Verizon, US CellularMotorola, Amazon, Best Buy
Review score4 out of 5 stars3.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and long-term viability

The Pixel 4a was a watershed moment in the design of Google Pixel phones. It ditched the bulky forehead bezel in favour of a more modern edge-to-edge display interrupted only by a hole-punch selfie camera. This is essentially the same design as the Moto G Power (2021), which has an edge-to-edge display as well, but with the selfie camera in the top-center rather than the top-left. The similarities don’t stop there, as both phones have plastic backs, which detracts from their otherwise nice (if unspectacular) appearance.

Despite its smaller size, the Pixel 4a boasts a better display than the Pixel 4 despite its comparable design.While the Moto G Power has a higher resolution screen (1600 x 720 pixels), it has a lower pixel density (266 ppi). Motorola’s phone had an LCD screen as well, but it was noticeably less sharp and vibrant than the 4a’s OLED equivalent.

The Moto G Power has a water-repellent coating on the back, although neither phone has an IP classification.With a much sharper display, the Pixel takes this round because to its longer battery life and less likely to break down while in use.

Google Pixel 4a is the winner.

Battery life, performance, and charging

The Moto G Power is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662, whereas the Pixel 4a is powered by a Snapdragon 730. There is a noticeable difference between the two chips, especially when playing newer games or juggling multiple apps. The Moto G Power only features 3GB of RAM as standard, which is inferior than the Pixel’s 6GB. You can get 4GB of RAM for $50 more, but even then, Motorola’s phone will still lag behind Google’s.

The Pixel 4a also includes 128GB of internal storage as standard, whereas the Moto G Power has 32GB. You read that correctly: 32GB. In 2021, this is woefully inadequate, and while you can pay an additional $50 for 64GB of internal memory, even this isn’t particularly generous. As a result of this, you can upgrade your Motorola phone outside, but it will cost you money.

The Moto G Power, on the other hand, redeems itself with its battery. Given the less-demanding screen and the 5,000mAh battery, it should easily last two days for a moderate user. The Pixel 4a, on the other hand, has a 3,140mAh battery. This is still quite adequate, lasting at least a day under moderate-to-heavy use. Unfortunately, it can’t compete with the G Power’s battery, but with a better processor, RAM, and internal storage, Google’s phone wins this round.

Google Pixel 4a is the winner.

Cameras

The Google Pixel 4a’s standout feature is its camera. Only having one 12.2-megapixel rear camera makes it look to be less capable than the Moto G Power’s 48-megapixel camera, which also has 2MP macro and depth-of-field cameras. Nonetheless, Google’s impressive software, which uses machine learning to take highly impressive photos in nearly all conditions, greatly enhances the Pixel 4a’s effectiveness and versatility.

On the other hand, the camera is most likely the Moto G Power’s weakest point. Despite having more megapixels, its main rear lens produces images that are somewhat muted, with more noise than you’d like in this day and age. Furthermore, the macro and depth lenses are largely redundant, leaving you with a main lens that punches well below its weight.

It’s also worth noting that the Pixel 4a is capable of recording 30 frames per second in 4K and 120 frames per second in 1080p. This is not something the Moto G Power is capable of, as its maximum resolution is 1080p at 60 frames per second. When combined with the far superior main camera, this is an unmistakable victory for the Pixel.

Google Pixel 4a is the winner.

Updates and software

The Moto G Power and the Pixel 4a are both powered by stock Android. The Pixel 4a, on the other hand, has received the Android 11 update, whereas the Moto G Power is still on Android 10. Having said that, Motorola’s approach to Android is among the best of any manufacturer, with the company incorporating a variety of useful gestures while keeping unwanted intrusions and bloatware to an absolute minimum.

When it comes to updates, however, the picture changes. Motorola’s Moto G Power smartphone is still on Android 10, and it’s unlikely to get anything more than a basic update to Android 11. Following that, it will receive security updates for two years, while the Pixel 4a will be upgraded to Android 12, and so on.

Google Pixel 4a is the winner.

Features that are unique

The Pixel 4a and Moto G Power are both fairly inexpensive phones with few standout features. The Google Pixel 4a’s standout feature is its excellent camera, which rivals almost anything found on a more expensive smartphone. It also includes a few Google-only features, such as Google Maps augmented reality directions and the A.I.-powered Call Screen, which can filter out spam calls for you.

The only semi-unique feature of the Moto G Power is the aforementioned gestures, also known as Moto Actions. These allow you to take screenshots with three fingers, open the camera with a twist of the phone, and turn on the flashlight with a chopping motion.

These are nice touches, but they’re not game changers. To put it another way, this round is a tie.

Tie for first place

Cost and availability

Motorola sells the Moto G Power (2021) for $200, or $250 if you want the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory. It is supported by all major carriers and is available from major retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.

The Google Pixel 4a is priced at $349. Aside from Google, it’s also available from Verizon, US Cellular, and Google Fi, as well as a number of retailers.

Google Pixel 4a is the overall winner.

The Google Pixel 4a is $150 (or $100) more expensive than the Moto G Power, but it is a significantly better phone (2021). It has a sharper screen, a faster processor, more internal memory, and a far superior camera. It may not have as much battery life as Motorola’s phone, but it is sufficient for most people, and its promise of more updates is also a vote winner.

Even so, if you want to save even more money, the Moto G Power is a great phone for $200 or $250. It may lack some of the features of more recent competitors, but its massive battery and large screen are undeniably appealing.

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