Motorola Moto G4 Plus review
The Moto G4 Plus is one of two variants of Motorola’s fourth generation Moto G, the firm’s best selling smartphone range ever.
This is the first time Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) has launched a duo of Gs, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the Moto G4 Plus is the bigger brother to the Moto G4.
It’s not though. In fact, it sports the same chassis, 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 5MP selfie snapper and 3000mAh battery as the new Moto G.
Where do the differences lay between the two then? Well, the new Moto G Plus boasts an enhanced 16MP rear camera with laser auto focus, phase auto detection and improved contracts detection.
Whether the G4 Plus camera can actually compete with the iPhone remains to be seen – keep an eye out for our in-depth Moto G4 Plus review in the coming weeks – but it certainly has some solid foundations to mount a challenge.
During my brief hands on time with the new Moto G Plus I found shutter speed to be pleasingly snappy, and color reproduction was very natural – especially when compared to the shots I took with the Moto G4, which came out a little over-saturated.
Detail was acceptable, but the G4 Plus didn’t wow me with the shots I snapped in the wooden-clad briefing room. At this end of the market however, it’s likely to do well against the likes of the OnePlus X and other handsets of a similar price.
It’s worth noting the handset I got hold of was still running development software, so things could improve further on the final build.
The camera app also comes with a Pro mode (something that’s not on the G4), allowing you to get down and dirty with your photography choices, although I didn’t have a chance to check this out during my time with the phone.
The body is unashamedly plastic, and there’s no doubting that this is a budget handset. It doesn’t feel anywhere near as premium as the identically price OnePlus X and even the new Lenovo K5 – which is a good deal cheaper – looks and feels nicer.
That’s not to say it’s badly built – the Moto G4 Plus is a solid smartphone capable of taking a few bumps and knocks – and on the front you’ll find another feature which sets it apart from the G4.
Below the full HD display sits a raised square bezel housing the phone’s fingerprint scanner (not a home button). Digit readers are becoming the norm at the top end of the mobile market, but the technology is slowly filtering its way down and it’s good to see it on the G4 Plus.
That does mean those who opt for the Moto G4 won’t get this feature, so it’s up to you whether you value this and the rear camera boost at an additional £30 (around US$40, AU$60). I’d say it probably is.
Something you won’t be able to use the fingerprint scanner for though is Android Pay, as the Moto G4 Plus doesn’t come with NFC.
For many that may not be an issue, and while Motorola says it’s focused on features its users wants – screen, camera and battery life – I’m still pretty disappointed.
NFC has been worming its way into our phones for years now and the technology isn’t exactly expensive anymore. Android Pay also ushers in a perfect use case for the contactless communication, so it’s a shame Motorola has omitted here.
Moving on screen and the 5.5-inch, full HD display is bright and clear. Stock Android Marshmallow looks great, and the octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM under the hood ensure everything runs smoothly.
In a similar move to what we’ve seen on the HTC 10, Motorola has removed some of its duplicate apps, relying solely on Google’s offerings such as Photos.
It’s also added some of its own features too, include gesture controls to trigger the torch and camera, and its glance view, showing you the time and any notifications when you wave your hand over the screen.
There’s 16GB of storage inside, but that can be expanded by up to 128GB with a microSD card, while the fast charging 3000mAh battery can regain six hours’ worth of juice in just 15 minutes.
Motorola also bundles the fast charging plug block in the box of the G4 Plus – something it doesn’t include with the G4.
In the UK you’ll be able to get your hands on the Moto G4 Plus from mid-June, with the handset coming with a £199 (around US$280, AU$390) price tag. If you fancy customizing your phone you can head over to the Moto Maker site to select accent colors and different rear cover materials and finishes.
The Moto G4 Plus is yet another strong contender in the affordable smartphone market from Motorola. While the price means it may not strictly be a budget offering, it gives those with tighter purse strings something to get excited about.
If you can afford the additional £30 (around US$40, AU$60), the G4 Plus is worth getting over the Moto G4 – the fingerprint scanner makes unlocking simpler, the improved rear camera will make your social media accounts sing and with the quick charge power adapter included in the box, running out of juice should be less of a worry.