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Moto G4 Plus review

evan kypreos

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  • Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus hands-on
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Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Incredible value
  • Good camera
  • Speedy fingerprint scanner
  • Stock Android
  • Lovely screen for the price

Cons

  • A little unwieldy
  • Processor is getting on a bit

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Key Features

  • 1080p, 5.5-inch display
  • Snapdragon 617 CPU
  • 2/3GB RAM
  • Android 6.0.1
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • 16MP camera
  • 5MP selfie camera
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £199.00

What is the Moto G4 Plus?

The Motorola Moto G is the standard by which every budget smartphone is measured. Since the first version was released back in 2013 the Moto G has dominated the TrustedReviews Awards Budget Phone of the Year category. You can’t get better bang for your buck anywhere.

Up until now we’ve only had one version of the G released every year, but Lenovo, who bought Motorola last year, has this time brought us two: the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus.

You might expect the G4 Plus to be larger than the regular Moto G4 – it'd make sense with a name like that, wouldn't it? But you’d be wrong. The Moto G4 Plus is exactly the same size as the G4 and comes with the same whopper of a 5.5-inch screen.

Watch: Moto G4 and G4 Plus review

So what is the difference?

Well there's the price for starters. The Moto G4 Plus costs £199 for the basic 2GB RAM/16GB storage option. That’s £30 more than the equivalent Moto G4. The extra cash has been spent wisely, though – you get a fast, responsive fingerprint scanner and a better camera.

Is it worth it? Having used both phones for a while now I’d say yes, very much so. This is the best Moto G you can get right now.

Related: Moto G4 review

Moto G4 Plus – Design

The Moto G4 Plus is no style icon. It looks pretty similar to the myriad budget smartphones out there – glass slab front, plastic back.

At first glance I was underwhelmed, but I’ve come to appreciate the understated looks of the G4 Plus.

For starters the dark grey metal frame makes this feel like a phone that’s worth more and gives the G4 Plus a stability and robustness that’s rare in phones costing less than £300. I’ll attest to its durability, as I’ve dropped it twice – the second time on a hardwood floor – and it remains unscathed.

Moto G4 Plus 15

The soft-touch finish on the rear is reasonably grippy, but does get greasy quite easily. Pop the back off and there’s access to a microSD and Micro SIM tray – a Nano SIM adapter is included. The battery isn’t removable, however. Well, not without removing screws and voiding your warranty.

Buy Now: Moto G Plus at Amazon.com from $249.99

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There are only two visible differences between the G4 Plus and G4. The first is a tiny extra sensor in the camera module for laser autofocus and the second is a small square at the bottom of the screen.

The latter is the fingerprint sensor and it’s rather good, if a little ugly. It’s nice and responsive and unlocks the phone as quickly as the Touch ID sensor does on the vastly more expensive iPhone 6S. Unfortunately, unlike with Apple’s phone, the fingerprint sensor on the Moto G4 Plus isn’t a button, so it doesn’t do anything other than unlock your phone. It feels like a wasted opportunity to add a nifty shortcut.

Moto G4 Plus 13

The biggest issue with the Moto G4 Plus is, well, how big it is. Even though it’s not as massive as the Nexus 6P, its 5.5-inch screen puts it distinctly into phablet territory and that means it'll be more than a handful for a lot of people.

If you’ve not bought into the benefits of large phones, and prefer to have a petite device in your pocket or handbag, you might need to look elsewhere – the Moto G4 Plus is almost the same size as the giant iPhone 6S Plus. It’s a real shame Lenovo hasn't given us the option of a smaller Moto G.

Still, if you can handle it there are a lot of benefits to having a larger phone, not least of which is the screen.

Moto G4 Plus – Screen

Every Moto G phone has had a good screen for its price, and the G4 Plus is no exception. In fact, its screen is fantastic and better than ones on some phones that cost a lot more.

For starters the resolution has been upped to Full HD, so it’s now pin-sharp. There are phones with higher resolutions out there, but I defy most people to notice the difference if the screen isn’t a few inches from your eyes. If you enjoy a bit of mobile VR, you might want a sharper panel, but for everyone else it’ll be absolutely fine.

The display technology used is still IPS. That means you don’t quite get the same black levels as with AMOLED phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, but it’s very bright and colourful.

Colours are punchy, blacks decent and it has enough brightness to be viewed outdoors on even sunny days.

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It really is a joy to use and makes the Moto G4 feel luxurious and like a much pricier phone than it is.

The only negative when it comes to image quality is that the colours aren’t perfectly accurate. The Simpsons' yellow skin has a faint greenish tinge to it and reds can be a bit too oversaturated, but this is still a far superior screen to any Moto G before it.

The screen is very fast and responsive to touch, although palm rejection isn’t perfect. I regularly find myself zooming in when trying to hit a link on a webpage because the bottom of my thumb interacts with the screen when I’m stretching.

One of the best features of the Moto G4 Plus is its Android software. I'll take a closer look at it on the next page.

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toboev

May 17, 2016, 5:21 pm

There may be a place for bijou shiny metal phones, but it is wrong to assume that is the benchmark in all cases. A workaday mobile which lives crammed in a handbag along with pens, keys and random loose change needs a robust outer skin that shrugs off such daily wear without looking sorry and bedraggled. Why can't reviewers get that, that not everyone wants their phone to be a beautiful precious object? A phone that demands a case could be considered a failure of design to meet its purpose.

Muthaiga Institute of Awesome

July 3, 2016, 10:27 pm

Motorola makes superb phones

Hugo Weaving

July 6, 2016, 5:09 pm

Great Camera, great display, great battery, and cheap... amazing phone.

Yakuzah

August 30, 2016, 9:19 am

Great phone, shame they omitted an NFC chip. Which in my opinion would not add much cost to the phone. Then it would have been perfect.

snake42591 .

September 1, 2016, 11:57 pm

So you're saying that metal phones arent very durable. You're wrong. They're just as if not more durable than plastic phones. Who ever said you have to have a case on a metal phone?

BTW what reviewers get is that for 600 dollars the phone better be designed beautifully or else people wont buy it. People buy more for the name and looks of a device than anything else. That is a fact.

toboev

September 2, 2016, 3:43 pm

Well I'm glad you've set the record straight there.

jaffa99

October 15, 2016, 2:47 pm

A metal case also compromises antenna design too much, that's why my wife often connects her iphone to the internet using the wi-fi hotspot in my MotoX - she's got no signal as soon as we're out of town.

Generating wi-fi, cellular, bluetooth and NFC signals inside a metal box is far from optimal.

Richard Lloyd

December 2, 2016, 12:30 pm

I'd like to see this phone compared to the Blu Vivo 6 (which is what the Vivo's sales guide on the Blu site does in fact!) - I just bought the latter for 184.99 on Black Friday and it has mostly better specs (only the Moto's rear camera beats it) at a lower price. If this Moto gets 10 out of 10, then the Vivo 6 should get 11 out of 10 :-)

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