The biggest difference between the Moto G4 and the G4 Plus is the camera, but that’s not to say the cheaper brother is a slouch in the optics department. The Moto G4 has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera that's better than we could have hoped for at the price. In fact, it’s the best camera you can get for the money.
While the sensor is the same as on last year’s Moto G, improvements to the software and the speedier processor all mean that it performs better.
HDR, a setting that combines several settings and shots for a more even overall exposure, is automatic and fast to boot. This means that I got a lot more usable shots than I have from previous Moto Gs.
Not all is rosy, though. There are still occasions where it takes a little too long to focus and results can be inconsistent. So it's not as good as the more expensive Moto G4 Plus. That's clearly a step up when it comes to every aspect of picture quality, as well as being more reliable and faster to focus.
Just to manage expectations, if you compare the camera on the new Moto G with the likes of flagships two or three times its price, you'll be disappointed. The likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 6S and HTC 10 are significantly better, especially in lower light conditions where the Moto G4 struggles.
When the lights go down the Moto G loses detail and has problems with white balance, casting an orangey patina over shots taken in street lighting. Still, the G4 provides great shots in daylight where colours are reasonably vibrant and accurate.
It’s impressive to see quite how far the Moto G has come from the first iteration that took dark and blurry photos.
If you love taking photos then it’s well worth spending the extra on the Moto G4 Plus, though. The beefed-up 16-megapixel sensor provides more detail, but I also found colours to be more accurate. The biggest improvement I found was in focusing and low light.
The G4 Plus comes with laser autofocus and this means it’s a lot faster and provides more consistent results. It also doesn't suffer from the same low-light colour issues.
The camera app has been greatly improved. It's fuss-free and intuitive, but still comes with plenty of settings to tinker with if you want to. In normal mode it's a simple point-and-shoot affair. Pro mode lets you tweak plenty, from focus to shutter speed, with immediately viewable results, helping overcome some of the issues I’ve outlined above.
Of course the Moto G4 can also shoot video, and does so with decent results. It shoots at a maximum of Full HD at 30fps or you can opt for slow-motion. Annoyingly this appears to be a step back from the previous model, as it shoots 540p at 120fps as opposed to 720p at 120fps – that’s a significant loss of fidelity.
The front-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and does a good job of taking bright selfies, even in dingy lighting.