Moto G4 Plus – Performance
It’s a little tricky to benchmark the Moto G4 Plus because there are few versions available with different internal components. These will vary depending on where you buy it. My review unit was the most basic model with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, costing £199. You don’t get that option if you buy directly from Motorola, as the cheapest version on its site has 32GB storage (£229) and there’s the option to bump it up to 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM (£264).
The 2GB/16GB configuration will be an Amazon exclusive for £199, although it’s currently unavailable to purchase.
All versions come with Qualcomm’s mid-range 617 CPU, which is a bit long in the tooth. That’s not to say it doesn’t perform, though.
Like each Moto G before it, the G4 Plus zips along merrily. Apps open up instantly, it doesn’t often get bogged down when multiple apps are open, and animations are smooth. I’ve been using it at the same time as the £459 Sony Xperia X and it performs as well as, if not better than, that.
Gaming performance is the area that really surprised me – I’ve had no issues playing even graphically intensive titles such as Asphalt 8 and Hitman Sniper. Loading times can often be a little exaggerated over a higher-powered device, and there’s the occasional dropped frame and slowdown when the action heats up in the likes of Freeblade, but it isn’t anything that ruins the experience.
Something a little concerning is how hot it gets after even short gaming sessions. Just 10 minutes of Clash Royale and the top of the G4 Plus started to get uncomfortably warm.
In our usual benchmarking tests the Moto G4 Plus scores 3,198 in the multi-core test in Geekbench 3 and 9,616 in Ice Storm Unlimited, putting in the same ballpark as the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016).
One of the sacrifices to meet this price was NFC, so Android Pay and quick pairing is a no-go.
Related: Best Bluetooth Speakers
Call quality and overall signal, on Three’s UK 4G and O2 networks, has been on par with other phones I’ve tested, with calls coming across crisp and clear. The ear speaker on the G4 Plus can be turned to very high levels, although it starts to sound a bit shrill at the top.
Moto G4 Plus – Software
The Moto G4 Plus sticks with a vanilla flavour of Android 6.0.1 and that’s a very good thing for a number of reasons. Firstly, history has taught us that Moto Gs get updates much faster and with Android Nougat on the horizon that’s great news. If you’re concerned about your data it’s worth mentioning that security patches come much quicker too.
You also get the benefit of Google’s fantastic Material Design throughout, with no ugly icons or superfluous bloatware. Google Now is quickly accessed from a swipe to the left on the homescreen, and Now on Tap works as advertised.
It’s even more impressive that the bits Lenovo has added are actually really useful, unlike the gimmicks we’re normally fobbed off with. The classic Moto Display feature is still here – pick up the phone and the accelerometer will kick into gear and briefly make the screen glow, showing off the time and any recent notifications. It’s seriously useful and I miss it when I jump to other phones. Turn the phone on its face when it’s ringing and it will go silent, while my favourite is a shortcut to get the torch on or off by moving it in a sharp chopping motion twice. These are the sort of tweaks and features I like to see.
Crucially the Moto G4 Plus supports Marshmallow’s Adoptable Storage feature, letting you combine the internal storage and the microSD. It’s very handy and if you pick up a fast 64GB card you bump your overall storage from 16GB to 80GB and means that the 16GB version won’t hold you back as long as you don’t switch cards regularly.
One of the biggest differences between the Moto G4 Plus and the cheaper Moto G4 version is its camera. I compare the two on the next page.
How we test phones
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.