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Moto G

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Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus hands-on
  • Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus hands-on
  • Motorola Moto G 4 1
  • Motorola Moto G 4 5
  • Motorola Moto G 4 7
  • Motorola Moto G 4 9
  • Motorola Moto G 4 11
  • Motorola Moto G 4 13
  • Motorola Moto G 4 15

Summary

Key Features

  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Snapdragon 617 CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • 13MP camera
  • 5MP selfie camera
  • Android 6.0.1
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £169.00

Hands-on with what may be the affordable phone of the year

For years now the Moto G has been the best budget phone you can buy. It's always been the perfect mix of price, power and ability without ditching many important features to meet the price-point.

Enter the Moto G4, the first in the line-up to be made by Lenovo as opposed to Motorola. It's the most powerful Moto G yet, but it's still affordable at £169.99.

I’ve just had an opportunity to play with the latest Moto G – well, the pair of them – and if my opening impressions are anything to go by, they may once again be the best "non-flagship" phones out there. But, not all is perfect.

Related: Best Affordable Smartphones

Motorola Moto G 4 5

Following Lenovo’s takeover of Motorola Mobility last year, there were initial rumblings that the G line might be for the chop. Those rumours were quickly quashed, and with good reason.

The fourth-generation Moto G is a nice step forward, which tweaks the formula that worked so well last year. The screen is bigger and sharper, the CPU faster, the software newer and the feature set wider. It’s a tempting prospect. It does lack the water-resistance of the Moto G3, though.

Both the Moto G and Moto G Plus are identical when it comes to size: both have a 5.5-inch display with a 1080p resolution – and it looks great. However, my one slight reservation is that the more generous dimensions may put off some people.

It’s a sizeable phone now; still manageable, but sizeable nonetheless. It’s 0.5-inches bigger than last year’s Moto G, and if you’re staunchly against large phones then this handset probably isn’t for you.

I’d have preferred to see the size increase applied to only the Plus model, with the regular G staying at 5 inches.

Related: Best Android smartphone

Motorola Moto G 4 7

Still, colours on the screen look fantastic and it’s super-bright. I’ve spent only a short time with it, but it’s a huge upgrade over the 720p display from last year.

There have been some improvements in the camera department, too – although it's the Plus that really sets itself apart here. The Plus has 16-megapixel sensor with both laser and hybrid auto-focus, while the regular Moto G4 has a 13-megapixel sensor, an f/2.2 aperture and an 84-degree wide-angle lens. It isn't as good as the one on the £199 Plus, but it remains a pretty potent package for a phone that costs £169.99.

Again, I've had only a short time to play around with the camera, but in that time it impressed. Moto’s once not-so-great camera app has been spruced up to make it fast to load, fast to focus and, importantly, fast to shoot.

My initial test shots look good, but I’ll need more time with the handset to see if it really offers an improvement over last year's model.Motorola Moto G 4 15

Selfies, too, look decent, thanks to the 5-megapixel sensor on the front camera.

Hoping to keep the phone chugging along all day is a pretty standard 3,000mAh battery. That’s the same size cell that sits inside the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10 – both of which have a more pixel-dense display to power, so I have high hopes. Moto phones have impressed me with their stamina in the past, notably the Moto X Force and Moto X Play, so I expect this one to do the same.

Another fantastic addition to such an affordable phone is Turbo Charging. I raved about this feature on the Moto X Style, and it should provide six hours of use from a mere 15-minute charge. You’ll need to provide your own Turbo Charger, though; one isn't supplied in the box.

In true Moto fashion, the G4 comes running a near-stock build of Android Marshmallow 6.0.1, with only a few small tweaks and different apps littered about. This, along with the mid-range Qualcomm 617 CPU and 2GB of RAM, make for a speedy, smooth experience. I’ll be interested to see how it runs on a day-to-day basis, but I’d make an early prediction that will perform pretty well. There’s 16GB of storage as standard – typical for a phone of this price – plus a microSD card slot.

Motorola Moto G 4 13

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First Impressions

Lenovo’s first stab at a Moto G device could very well be the best yet. But, by being a much larger device, I fear it could alienate a number of potential customers.

Still, if the size isn’t an issue then it’s a fast phone with what appears to be a strong camera and plenty of power. It comfortably outshines its modest £169 price once again.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Rick

November 15, 2013, 7:55 pm

I bought this phone today, and it's honestly the best budget phone I've ever bought. It easily rivals some £200 devices; mine was £120 from Phones 4 U (plus a £10 top up which can be applied to a contract) for the 8GB version. The only down side is the lack of a micro SD slot, but otherwise it is incredible value. I'm really pleased with it and reckon if you need a new phone, this is the way to go. It's a mid-range phone at the price of a crappy entry level one!

BritishGuy94

November 15, 2013, 8:57 pm

This seems like a good mid range phone at a very low price. This is definitely Google's attempt to stop windows phone from gaining share in South America and Europe. The current market seems to be:

High end - Android and IOS.

Mid range - Android, Windows Phone and to a lesser extent IOS.

Budget - Windows Phone and Android.

The low end android phones do seem to be low end except for a few but the low end Windows Phone seem to be mid range in specs. However, with this new one android is now leading in the low end market again possibly limiting windows phone growth and maintaining androids dominance.

aksolanki

November 16, 2013, 12:06 am

Hi, does this handset have a notification light? Not a single review has mentioned this. I was hoping trustedreviews would have covered this.

Andrew_TR

November 16, 2013, 12:16 am

Hi,
Yep, there's a nice white LED above the screen - didn't spot it at the start. I'll add this to the review when I get a chance.

Revitalize

November 16, 2013, 7:59 am

Andrew,can I ask you something?
What type of sim did moto g use?mini sim,micro sim or nano sim?

RJ

November 16, 2013, 8:47 am

It's a micro sim. You have to prise off the back cover, breaking off finger nails along the way. It's the only reason to take the cover off as the battery is fixed and there is no SD card.

RJ

November 16, 2013, 8:52 am

It's a tad more intense than the Nexus 4 or 5 - but still a bit wishy washy compared to e.g. Blackberry notification lights.

mitchell dennis

November 16, 2013, 10:59 am

i have one of these and guess what. it does it glows white when i get emails :)

mitchell dennis

November 16, 2013, 11:00 am

oh btw this phone id freaking amazing! puts other OEMs to shame

andy roid

November 16, 2013, 11:33 am

I have an xperia T - how is the motorola G in comparison please? My main interest is battery life, music quality through headphones and gaming performance - camera is of no interest to me! I really need to know as im thinking of selling my xperia T to get a motorola moto g! :-)

betelgeuse

November 16, 2013, 2:08 pm

average battery life mr williams,every other review has stated the battery life as the single standout feature lasting a full 2 days

Andrew_TR

November 16, 2013, 5:57 pm

We'll be adding more detail on battery life soon. It's one of the tougher bits to test empirically (with a phone). You'll get about a day and a third to a half if you keep data on and use it a bit. Battery testing is something we're looking at improving in future reviews.

toboev

November 16, 2013, 6:51 pm

Good to hear. Buy yourself a lightmeter also - most of the reviews just stick screen brightness to 50%, ignoring whether this is brighter or dimmer than others. Given that the screen sucks most juice, it would be a big source of error.

Revitalize

November 17, 2013, 4:25 am

Oh,its like that,thank you bro,
Im will buy Moto G when it enters Malaysia next year

MC Wong

November 17, 2013, 5:04 am

Possibly also in response to upcoming tizen phones from Samsung. This should checkmate Samsung's attempts to replace android.

Igor

November 17, 2013, 11:19 am

Does this phone have a constant blinking LED notification light?

Rusty Shackleford

November 17, 2013, 2:29 pm

yeah, many recent events suggest google seriously feels threatened by windows phone.

Neil Anderson

November 17, 2013, 4:10 pm

were do you buy this for 135 pounds pls

RJ

November 18, 2013, 7:45 am

No idea where you can get it for 135, but you can get it for 119 at Phones4Us, unlocked :) - in store or online, with a free extra back cover.

RJ

November 18, 2013, 7:49 am

It's a funny thing, battery life with smart phones. If you want to maximise battery life, say if on the road without a charger, you can shut down so many functions (GPS location, Google Now, as well as the usual screen brightness and timeout etc) - with that I can 2 days easily on my Moto G or Nexus 5. With all the bells and whistles on it drains like crazy. A lot of people don't tweak their phone power variables to suit their particular set of power requirements.

jana

November 18, 2013, 9:49 am

hi, does the moto g box contain wall charger???

i saw the unboxing of it on youtube... it doesnt,
did u got???

wibbling

November 19, 2013, 12:31 pm

hard disks, regardless of how well made probably wouldn't stand up to the vibration, power requirements, stability or electrical interference of a telephone.

May be wrong, but that'd be my thinking.

Christos Paraskeva

November 19, 2013, 1:17 pm

Because these hard drives are massive in comparison, making the phone much bigger. Not to mention the reliability issues (especially when dropped).

I too would have liked to see a Micro SD slot, but the truth is the sort of people who will buy this will likely not care. I'm actually the only person I know who fills my Note II with a 64GB memory card. Most of my friends are happy with 8 or 16gb space, and won't even fill that.

Someone who wants these things (SD slot, bigger screen, better camera + CPU) will likely be more drawn towards the higher end phones anyway.

Khurram Liaqat

November 19, 2013, 7:39 pm

I also think it is another attempt to stop fragmentation; putting an unbeatable phone in the budget end that will get the updates fast. It's also to build the brand of Android; a Google stock experience rather than the skins we always see.

Khurram Liaqat

November 19, 2013, 7:44 pm

They're right to feel threatened. Microsoft isn't a company that just "gives up". Since it got into the game a little late, it has to catchup, but it also saves itself some pitfalls by observing what iOS and Android got right and what they got wrong.
So Windows Phone is very locked down, so it is instantly recognisable and runs smoothly, and hopefully wont fragment like Android.

However it's a shame it's not gathered a lot of developer support, and remains in that chicken and egg loop of lacking enough users to attract developers, and lacking enough developers to create the content to attract the users...

All of those issues can be put aside, of course, since... "It's just so nice",

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