Moto G Power vs. iPhone SE (2020): Which should you buy?

Moto G Power 2020 Hands On
Moto G Power 2020 Hands On (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Moto G Power

Moto G Power

Want a quality smartphone while spending hardly any cash? The Moto G Power is a fantastic choice. This is a solid all-around device, offering good performance, a decent LCD display, and rear cameras that offer a lot of shooting possibilities. The big draw, however, is battery life. With up to three days of use on a single charge, the G Power has some of the best endurance out there.

Moto G Power

Best for less

Three-day battery life
Large display with slim bezels
Rear cameras are lots of fun
Expandable storage
Has a 3.5mm headphone jack
Lacks NFC
Motorola's poor update policy

iPhone SE

iPhone SE (2020)

The iPhone SE is considerably more expensive than the Moto G Power, but if you have the cash to spare, you get a lot for your extra dollars. Apple's A13 Bionic processor is the star of the show, delivering the same incredible performance found on the iPhone 11 Pro. This also means the iPhone SE can relish in five or more years of software updates, something you definitely don't get on the G Power.

iPhone SE

It just works

Outstanding performance
Unmatched software update support
Easy to use with one hand
NFC for Apple Pay
Qi wireless charging
Display is only HD
Aging design

The Moto G Power and iPhone SE are two very different phones for two different groups of people. Motorola crafted the G Power to be one of the best bang-for-your-buck deals out there, and it absolutely succeeds. Despite the dirt-cheap price, the Moto G Power manages to offer a quality display, reliable performance, good cameras, and legendary battery life. However, if you want features like wireless charging, NFC, or the blazing-fast speed of the A13 Bionic processor, the iPhone SE delivers all of that while still maintaining a reasonable price.

The Moto G Power is a seriously great value

There's a pretty large price difference between the Moto G Power and iPhone SE, and unless you really need iOS or the raw power of the A13 Bionic chipset, the Moto G Power delivers a perfectly enjoyable Android experience while saving you serious cash.

Right off the bat, the best thing about the Moto G Power is its battery life. Thanks to a 5,000 mAh battery packed inside the phone, you can expect up to three days of use on a single charge. You might need to charge the G Power after two days if you're throwing a lot at it, but for general use, it's quite easy to hit the three-day marker.

Most phones, including the iPhone SE, need to be placed on the charger every single night. Even if that's something you've grown used to and don't necessarily mind, going to a phone that can last an entire weekend without ever needing to be plugged in is quite magical.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Moto G PoweriPhone SE (2020)
Operating SystemAndroid 10iOS 13.3
Display6.4-inchLCD2300 x 10804.7-inchLCD1334 v 750
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 665Apple A13 Bionic
Expandable StorageUp to 512GB
Rear Camera 116MP primary cameraf/1.712MP primary cameraf/1.8
Rear Camera 22MP Macro Vision cameraf/2.2
Rear Camera 38MP ultra-wide cameraf/2.2
Front Camera16MPf/2.07MPf/2.2
Battery5,000 mAh1,821 mAh
Charging15W wired charging18W wired chargingQi wireless charging
AudioDual stereo speakers3.5mm headphone jackMono speakerLightning port
Water ResistanceWater-repellent nano coatingIP67
Dimensions159.85 x 75.84 x 9.63mm138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm
Carrier CompatibilityAT&TSprintT-MobileVerizonAT&TSprintT-MobileVerizon

Other aspects of the Moto G Power aren't as impressive, but they hold their own just fine. The Snapdragon 665 chipset allows for perfectly adequate performance, the 6.4-inch Full HD display is nice and sharp with slim bezels surrounding it, and the trio of rear cameras are a lot of fun to use. The 16MP primary camera takes pretty good shots if you're in an area with ample lighting, with the Macro Vision and ultra-wide cameras allowing for different photo possibilities you just don't get on the iPhone SE.

Moto G Power

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

Combine all of that with 64GB of expandable storage, a water-repellent nano-coating, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the Moto G Power goes far and beyond what its price tag suggests.

As for the negatives, there are only two major ones. The Moto G Power doesn't have NFC, meaning you can't use it for contactless Google Pay payments. I use Google Pay all the time, so using something like the G Power where it doesn't work is awfully irritating.

There's also the matter of software updates. Motorola only promises one major OS upgrade for the G Power, meaning it likely won't ever see an update beyond Android 11. With other companies like Nokia offering two years of major updates and three years of security patches for phones with similar or lower price tags, that's inexcusable.

But the iPhone SE may be worth the extra cash for some people

iPhone SE 2020

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

If the Moto G Power is such a great smartphone, why should you go out and spend more money on the iPhone SE, especially when it has those huge bezels and outdated design? Looks and price aside, there are a few big areas where the iPhone SE is the clear winner.

The most obvious has to do with performance. The iPhone SE is powered by Apple's A13 Bionic processor, which is the exact same one you'll find in the $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro. In other words, the SE has the most powerful mobile chipset on the market. If you're someone that plays a lot of Fortnite on your phone or likes to dabble with AR apps, the extra horsepower of the SE is worth its higher price.

On top of that, there's another benefit of the iPhone SE having the A13 Bionic — software updates. Since it's so darn powerful and futureproof, we can look forward to at least five years of consistent updates for the phone. That's leaps and bounds better than what you'll get with the Moto G Power, and if you plan on keeping your phone for a few years, this is a huge benefit of the iPhone.

What else about the iPhone SE stands out? Its single 12MP rear camera is one of the best you'll find in this price range, having Qi wireless charging and IP67 dust/water resistance is fantastic, there's an NFC chip for Apple Pay, and the compact size makes it a wonderful choice for folks that have grown tired of large, bulky handsets.

Two great phones for two groups of people

At the end of the day, we can easily recommend both the Moto G Power and iPhone SE — which one you should buy over the other just comes down to your personal wants/needs.

The Moto G Power is the better choice if you're trying to spend as little money as possible or want top-notch battery life, whereas the iPhone SE makes more sense if you need flagship-grade performance or that promise of reliable software updates.

You'll also need to consider your operating system preference, seeing as how the Moto G Power is an Android device while the iPhone SE runs iOS. If you're a long-time iPhone user, you'll be more comfortable with the iPhone SE. If Android has been your go-to OS, the Moto G Power is the more logical purchase.

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.