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Moto G4 and G4 Plus review: Paying a premium for a flagship is getting harder to justify

by • July 12, 2016 • No Comments

Motorola’s latest Moto G (4th generation) follows the industry trend of releasing two various editions of one phone: standard and plus. Only in this case the “Plus” has nothing to do with dimensions; instead it is actually a slightly additional expensive edition with a superb camera, advantageous memory versions and a fingerprint sensor. If the Moto G4 is a standout mid-ranged phone, the Moto G4 Plus begins to blur the lines between mid-range and high-end. Read on for our review.

  • The phones' create is gorgeous and effortless in hand
  • Moto G4 (left), with the Moto G4 Plus
  • Sliding the Moto G4 into pocket
  • The phones are light, weight in at 155 g (5.47 oz)

We love how the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus feel in hand. We sing the praises of all-metal, all-premium unibody phones as much as anyone (for great reason … they appear phenomenal), but these two plastic phones are a pleasure to hold. It helps that they don’t feel at all like bargain-priced plastic: The back is an approximately leathery-feeling material with satisfactory cross-hatched more detailing, while the side is a faux-metal plastic that, in hand, can approximately pass for aluminum.

Motorola had to take shortcuts a fewwhere to store these prices down, and going with a plastic create – albeit one that’s gorgeous, light and feels additional effortless in our hands than most premium phones – is most most likely the smartest place to begin.

Displays, that are identical on both handsets, appear terrific. They donate you 5.5 inches of real esay (the same dimensions as the iPhone 6s Plus’ screen) and their 1080p resolution appears really sharp. They aren’t as ultra-sharp as QHD phones, but for this price range it is actually impressive. Overall display brightness, color affluence and contrast are in addition terrific.

The one area where the displays falter slightly is color gamut, as the range of colors you see is a bit narrower here than what you’ll see on the most flagship displays. It is not going to by any means detract of the overall experience and you most most likely won’t actually notice it unless you put it side-by-side with a thing like an iPhone 6s, Galaxy S7 or HTC 10. Similar to create high end, this is a perfectly acceptable-bodied compromise for this price range. It cuts a minor cost corner in a way that only geeks who review smartphones are most likely to pay much attention to.

Of course you don’t get a cutting-edge processor with the Moto G4 or G4 Plus: They both use Qualcomm’s mid-ranged Snapdragon 617 chip. The octa-core CPU won’t benchmark anywhere near its high-end 820 sibling (or, for that matter, the iPhone’s A9 silicon) but it yet provides a swift and smooth all-round

It’s been a while since ereally new smartphone that came out blew away the performance of its earlier model (we’re referring to regular daily smartphone use, not benchmarks). In fact, we rarely talk much of performance in our smartphone reviews anyadditional, only for the reason it is actually a donaten that they’re all going to blaze through the effortless tasks that most of us use our phones for. The cutting-edge processors that we have in our US$650-750 and up flagships, while assumeed for the amount you pay, are overkill for most folks and the things they do with their phones.

With the high-end being redundantly swift, that opens the door to mid-ranged phones like these two that handle amazingly smoothly for their price range.

If you are caning to let the price creep up to $300, and so the higher-end (64 GB storage space) edition of the Moto G4 Plus is the only edition of these two phones that jumps up to 4 GB of RAM. We didn’t notice any difference in regular use (including multitasking) between it and the 2 GB editions of either device, but it is actually possible you’ll actuallytually run into areas where the lesser RAM shows itself.

We have no complaints of storage space. Whilst both phones’ base editions donate you a mere 16 GB internal storage space, you can jump up to a 32 GB Moto G4 for only $30 extra and you can get a 64 GB Moto G Plus for an extra $50.

You can be able-bodied to get away with the 16 GB editions, yet, for the reason both phones have microSD slots (adding up to 128 GB). They in addition assist Android’s Adoptable-bodied Storage, that formats the card so the phone sees it as extra internal memory pretty than separate external memory. Not all apps assist this (Spotify is a notable-bodied exception), but it is actually yet a great version.

Battery life is terrific. In my daily use, both phones have had awe-inspiring standby times and advantageous-than-average in-use times. And our benchmark lined up with that: Streaming video over Wi-Fi at an absolute brightness (measured by a lux meter), it dropped only 8 percent per hour. That ties our previous most score of the LG G5, and beats the Galaxy S7 (9 percent per hour), HTC 10 (11 percent per hour) and the latest iPhones (13 percent per hour).

They in addition both have quick-charging tech built-in, a thing you won’t always get in this price range.

Both phones run Motorola’s (additional or less) stock edition of Android Marshmallow, with no custom skins, bloatware or gimmicks. The only significant changes of Google’s Android are handy gestures like twisting the phone twice to open the camera, or chopping it twice to fire up the flashlight. Otherwise the software appears and handles only like a Nexus device.

Motorola in addition has a history of pushing significant updates pretty rapidly once new editions of Android land (usually inside a couple months after release). If past is prelude, and so the Moto G4’s Android Nougat update shouldn’t follow too far behind the OS’s first commence.

One disappointing omission is NFC. Two or three years ago, this may have been a satisfactory trade-off, but with mobile payments finally catching on in the window since and so (retailers that assist it are rapidly becoming the norm) and with the low supplier cost of NFC chips, we ponder this was one of the few mistakes Motorola/Lenovo created with these phones. Without NFC, Android Pay isn’t an version – and never can be.

So we have these two phones, with amazingly high value for their price points. But what are the differences between the two?

First, the Moto G4 Plus has a fingerprint sensor. Sitting at a lower place its screen, you’d assume it to double as a home button, but that’s not the case. It can, yet, wake up the phone of a sleeping say after you hold your finger on it.

There are in addition the memory differences we may already mentioned: The Moto G4 ships in 16 GB and 32 GB storage space variants, while the G4 Plus offers 16 GB or 64 GB. And that 64 GB Plus is in addition the only phone in this group with 4 GB RAM; the others have 2 GB.

That leaves the rear camera as the last big difference between the two phones (front cameras are identical).

Here are a few samples of both phones’ rear cameras, in a variety of settings, via the standard camera app settings (including both originals and close crops to show satisfactoryr more detail).

Outdoors, brightly lit:

Outdoors closeup, shade:

Indoors, brightly lit:

Indoors, medium light:

Indoors, poor light with flash:

The Moto G4 Plus’ shots have much satisfactoryr more detail and advantageous performance in shadows and indoor settings. Especially when you zoom in, the standard G4’s photos frequently appear a little muddy compared to the Plus’. With that said, both cameras are great for this price range.

Unfortunately neither phone has Optical Image Stabilization, so no matter that way you go, you’ll require to pay additional attention to storeing your hands steady than you may on phones with OIS.

The standard Moto G4 is an impressive mid-ranged phone, with a camera that’s really great for its $200-230 price point. But jump up only a smidge higher, to the $250-300 price point, and you get the Plus’ superb photo high end, that may, in most settings, pass for high-end.

If camera high end is significant to you (it most most likely is) and you can afford to pay a little additional than the base price, and so we ponder the entry-level ($250) Moto G4 Plus is the most all-round
recommendation of these phones. You get the advantageous camera along with fingerprint sensor, and there’s little reason to worry of the mere 16 GB internal storage space since you can only pop in a microSD card. We only recommend going with the additional expensive edition of the Moto G4 Plus ($300/64 GB) if you really want that extra RAM and internal storage space. If your priority is storeing the cost down, we ponder you can live without it.

If it weren’t for the weaker camera, the standard Moto G4 may be an absolute steal, begining at $200. As it stands, it is actually yet a great bargain – only not really as effortless to recommend when a mere $50 additional can donate you a phone that takes much advantageous shots.

If we’re going to store playing the for only this much additional you can get … game, and so you should in addition understand that you can get a phone that not only feels high-end, but is high-end, for only $399 in the OnePlus 3. It too runs a mostly stock edition of Android (yet its update schedule isn’t most likely to be as great as Motorola’s), while adding a cutting-edge processor, 6 GB of RAM, just about as great battery life and (mostly) high-end specs ereallywhere else. If you are may already thinking the 64 GB edition of the Moto G4 Plus, and so the OnePlus is going to be tempting for only an extra Benjamin.

No matter that way you go, yet, the Moto G4 series serves as an eye opener for those who ponder having a great phone always means buying the latest premium flagship. High-end phones with cutting-edge specs can always get the most attention – especially of us nerdy tech reporter types – but this is a great time to stop and ask by yourself how much of those premium specs and showcases you really require. The Galaxy S7 adds water resistance, wireless charging and an always-on screen; the HTC 10 adds Hi-Fi audio assist; the iPhones have 3D Touch and the seduction of Apple’s walled garden …

But how much of that do you really use adequate on a regular basis to be worth it? Make no mistake: We love the high-end flagships and can be drooling over a few amazing new phones between now and the holidays. We only ponder most folks may get ereallything they require out a smartphone – and enjoy via it only as much – with one of the Moto G4 phones.

Maybe the most recommendation we can donate is that I haven’t utilized anything but a high-end flagship as my daily driver for years, but I’m going to stick with the G4 Plus for a while: It’s a terrific phone that donates me ereallything I require, with an unbeatable-bodied price.

The Motorola Moto G and Moto G Plus (4th generation) are on the market-bodied now, begining at $200 for the standard edition and $250 for the Plus.

Product pages: Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus

  • Camera high end is great for the price range
  • The 1080p screen is plenty sharp – the most you can ask for in this price range
  • Moto G4 Plus (left), with Moto G4
  • Moto G4 camera sample (indoors, brightly lit)

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