The iPhone SE 2020 is getting a lot attention these days — deservedly so — for packing some of the same features you'd find in one of Apple's iPhone 11 flagships into a phone that costs less than $400. But the iPhone SE isn't the only low-cost smartphone to deliver standout features for a bargain basement price.
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In our smartphone battery test, in which we have a phone continuously surf the web over LTE until it runs out of juice, the Moto G Power lasted 16 hours and 10 minutes. That's the longest time we've seen in more than two years of smartphone tests and it's the best battery life you can get in a handset today. (Way back when, the Asus ZenFone 3 topped the 16-hour mark in our testing, but good luck trying to find that three-year-old phone for sale.)
We're still testing out the iPhone SE's battery to produce an official number, but anecdotally, we're not seeing anywhere near the Moto G Power's endurance. Not that this is a huge surprise — Apple doesn't disclose battery sizes, but teardowns of the iPhone SE suggest this new phone has an 1,821 mAh power pack.
What's more, Apple says to expect battery life to be around what the iPhone 8 produced. And that phone lasted 9 hours, 54 minutes when we tested it in late 2017. That's around the average for a smartphone these days, and it's only 7 hours shy of what the Moto G Power is capable of.
Not that the iPhone SE should feel bad about falling well short of the Moto G Power's standard for longevity. Lots of phones — inexpensive and not — have a hard time matching that mark. The closest phone on our current list of devices that have come out in the last year-and-a-half is the Moto G7 Power — the phone the Moto G Power succeeds — which turned in a time of 15 hours, 35 minutes. The next closest is the Asus ZenFone 6, which costs twice as much as Moto's new budget phone.
There are reasons to get a phone beyond battery life, of course. In the case of the iPhone SE 2020, you're paying just $399 for a phone with the same pace-setting A13 Bionic processor in the much more expensive iPhone 11 lineup. The iPhone SE also supports wireless charging and can go toe-to-toe with the best budget camera phones even with just a single rear lens. Those are features the Moto G Power can't match.
But the Moto G Power has some features of its own beyond that epic battery life and sub-$300 price that make it appealing to bargain hunters. Performance is good for phones in that price range, and Motorola's clean implementation of Android continues to impress. At a time when people might be reluctant to pay big bucks for a new handset, the competition for producing the best cheap phones seems to be heating up.