Motorola launched a trio of budget smartphones earlier this year, namely the impressive Moto G6 Play, the excellent Moto G6 and the model reviewed here, the Moto G6 Plus.
As its moniker suggests, it’s the model for fans of larger handsets, with a 5.9-inch screen to the 5.7 inches of its fellow namesakes.
But there’s more here to entice beyond a bigger screen. Motorola has given the G6 Plus welcome performance and spec upgrades. While these mean it costs £40 more SIM-free than the G6, and a significant £100 more than the G6 Play, it does plenty to justify its top billing.
It successfully takes much of what we already loved about the G6 and improves on those foundations, resulting in a smartphone that often feels more premium than its price.
While the G6 Plus is the larger sibling, it isn’t actually that much bigger than the G6 Play and G6 when placed side-by-side. Part of this is down to the 18:9 aspect ratio of all the phones, which makes all three models pretty tall to start off.
Left to right: Moto G6 Play, Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus
Not surprisingly, the G6 Plus shares much of its central design with the G6, rather than the more budget-friendly G6 Play. This means it sports the same metal frame paired with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass on the rear, rather than the cheaper polymer of the G6 Play.
As a result, the G6 Plus feels more premium than you might have first imagined, and offers a big step up from previous Moto G phones.
The Gorilla Glass back is as glossy as you’d expect, which unfortunately means it’s a magnet for fingerprints and greasy marks.
While the lack of thickness makes the phone feel great in your hands, and surprisingly light, too, the material is rather slippery to hold.
As a result, on one occasion I almost lost the review phone when it slipped out of my pocket on a bus. Thankfully, modern life has trained me to persistently check my pockets before moving spaces.
Otherwise, the G6 Plus has the same button layout of the G6, with the same arrangement of USB-C ports and headphone jack along the bottom.
The fingerprint scanner, too, sits beneath the display. I didn’t really have any problems with the scanner during testing, although I know a lot of people who now prefer rear placements. Personally, I prefer them on the front so I can unlock a phone with it on a table. There are other unlock methods available here as well, including a basic face unlock.
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However, the fingerprint scanner is a handy option as Motorola’s Android customisations include ‘one button navigation’, which lets you hide the on-screen navigation buttons in favour of using the fingerprint scanner.
A tap acts like the Home button, a left swipe as Back, and a right-swipe as the Recent Apps button. It works well and means more screen space for your apps, and also means I don’t accidentally bash the Home button when aiming for the space bar on the keyboard.
It might have been nice to have vertical swipe options as seen on Huawei phones of old to bring up the notification pane, but there’s so little space under the display I can see why these were omitted.
Really, the only part of the design I have minor issue with is that camera bump on the back. It’s pretty pronounced, so the phone won’t lie flat; it feels like it should be enshrouded by a Moto Mod (these aren’t supported).
It does at least add some anthropomorphic charm as the dual lenses and LED flash underneath look like a face. Motorola has used an etch outline around the edge of the camera’s protruding glass circle.
I’ve noticed that dust and lint have a habit of gathering at the base, however. Combined with the fingerprints left on the rear, the Moto G6 Plus can become somewhat grubby-looking unless you wipe it down regularly.
Ultimately, these issues feel a bit nit-picky for a phone that’s as inexpensive as this. For the most part, the G6 Plus certainly punches above its price point.
Moto G6 Plus – Screen
The G6 Plus, while having a larger 5.9-inch display, shares the same FHD+ resolution of the G6, so pixel density is lower. It isn’t something you’ll notice in day-to-day use, however.
Colours are punchy and vibrant, and I didn’t find the display’s colour temperature too cold out of the box – unlike the G6. You can adjust the temperature in the settings, as well as switch between Vibrant or Standard colour modes (it’s set to Vibrant by default, which is where I left it).
The maximum brightness is high enough to not make outdoor use a problem. The adaptive brightness worked well enough and I didn’t notice any instances where the brightness adjusted frenetically.
I really like some of the Moto Display customisations. These can show notifications on the display when the phone is in standby, and also let you quickly reply to notifications without having to unlock your phone. The proximity sensor also turns on the display when you reach for it.