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Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015): What’s the difference?

Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015): As Motorola unveils the Moto G4 and G4 Plus, we see how the new smartphones compare to the 2015 Moto G.

As expected, Motorola has lifted the lid on its latest mid-range smartphone, the Moto G4, ahead of a scheduled UK launch event. Manufactured by Lenovo, the new device represents the fourth-generation of Moto G handsets, which are typically among the best mid-range smartphones money can buy.

How does the new Moto G4 compare to its immediate predecessor, the 2015 Moto G? Let’s take a look at the key specs and features.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Moto Z

Watch: Hands on with the Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015) – Design and display

Unlike in previous years, the Moto G4 will (slightly confusingly) actually be two different phones – the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. The differences between the two new phones are subtle, but they’re both a step up from the third-gen Moto G when it comes to their display.

Both G4 devices sport a 5.5-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) screen, which is bigger and better than the 2015 Moto G’s 5-inch 720p display, though all three handsets come with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection.

Related: Moto G 2016 vs Moto G Plus: What’s the difference?

When it comes to design, ante up to the G4 Plus and you’ll now find a fingerprint scanner integrated into the front of the handset, which Motorola claims is capable of unlocking your phone in less than a second – a useful feature that the third-gen Moto G obviously lacked, and one that doesn’t quite make its way down to the G4 plain.

The exact dimensions of the G4 and G4 Plus are still a mystery, but we understand they’re both slightly thinner than last year’s device. Like the 2015 Moto G, the G4’s will be offered in black and white flavours as standard, with the option to customise your handset using MotoMaker if you buy direct from Motorola.

Related: Moto G4 (2016) Deals: Where to buy new Moto G and Moto G Plus

new moto g

Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015) – Performance and battery

Under the hood, both new Moto G4 handsets pack a new-gen Snapdragon 617 chipset, comprised of eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz and an Adreno 405 GPU. That’s double the number of cores found in the third-gen Moto G and an improved graphics chip – the 2015 model came with a quad-core Snapdragon 410 setup clocked at up to 1.4GHz and an Adreno 306 GPU. On the Moto G4, this is backed up by 2GB of RAM, while the G4 Plus will offer 2GB, 3GB and 4GB configurations – last year’s Moto G3 offered 1GB and 2GB options.

The battery spec has also been bolstered with the Moto G4 family. Both the G4 and G4 Plus pack a 3,000mAh TurboPower fast charging cell – apparently, you’ll be able to get six hours worth of juice from just 15 minutes of plug-in time using Motorola’s Turbo Charger (which comes bundled with the G4 Plus but not the regular G4).

The 2015 Moto G came with a 2,470mAh battery, so it’s a big upgrade in battery capacity.

Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015) – Camera

Motorola seems keen to talk up the camera capabilities of the G4 and G4 Plus, though only the latter really represents a major improvement on last year’s Moto G. The G4 Plus model comes equipped with a 16MP OmniVision PureCell Plus rear sensor (f/2.0 apererture) and there’s now a manual ‘Pro mode’ aimed at more serious smartphone snappers, too. It also sports a 5-megapixel front ‘selfie cam’ with an 84-degree wide-angle lens.

Both the third-gen (2015) Moto G and Moto G4 feature a 13MP rear camera, though the G4’s front snapper gets the same wide-angle treatment at the G4 Plus. All three devices support 1080p video capture.

moto gMoto G (2015) camera

Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015) – Storage

The 2015 Moto G was offered with either 8GB or 16GB of on-board storage. Things look brighter for media hoarders this year, with the Moto G4 coming in 16GB and 32GB variants, and the Moto G4 Plus being offered with up to 64GB of room.

Realistically, 16GB just isn’t sufficient these days, so we’d advise coughing up for a 32GB model if you use your phone for more than just calls and texts. All three handsets come with a microSD card slot so you can augment the built-in storage.

Video: Watch our hands-on with Android N

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Moto G4 (2016) vs Moto G3 (2015) – Software

One of the reasons we like Moto devices so much is because they don’t mess around with the stock Android experience. That’s still the case with the Moto G4 duo, both of which ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The third-gen Moto G started life with 5.0 Lollipop but is now upgradable to Marshmallow. Based on experience, we’d expect the Moto G4 to be one of the first devices to be eligible for an update to Android N later this year – check out the video above for a taste of what’s coming.

Related: Best Android Keyboard Apps

Price and availability

The Moto G4 is set to hit the UK in early June this with a base price of £169. It’ll be available from a variety of places, including Tesco, Argos and Amazon. The G4 Plus is a shade more expensive, starting at £199, and will be an Amazon exclusive when it lands in mid-June.

Buy Now: Moto G4 at from $199

If it’s an older phone you’re after, the 2015 Moto G can generally be had for around £130 these days from mainstream retailers like John Lewis, though its price may well drop further when the newer devices are out in the wild, so you may want to wait a bit if it’s the third-gen Moto G that takes your fancy.

Buy Now: Moto G3 at from $169


Suffice to say, the Moto G4 and G4 Plus are a significant improvement on 2015’s third-generation Moto G. Across the board, they pack superior specs and features, from a bigger, sharper screen to a more powerful processor and beefier battery. Crucially, they’re also both still eminently affordable, with neither breaking the £200 barrier – further proof that a high quality phone needn’t cost the earth in 2016.

In my opinion, the extra money you’ll pay for a G4 or G4 Plus is definitely going to be worth it, though the 2015 model is still more than serviceable. Once again, Motorola has produced a lovely looking mid-range handset (or in this case, two), so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions and full review to learn more.

Related: Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus (2016)

VI Video was already generated for this page.

Let us know how you think the 2015 Moto G compares to the Moto G4 and G4 Plus in the comments below.

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