Moto G6 Play Review

The Moto G6 Play is excellent value for money and for the most part, a joy to use.

Sections

Verdict

A great, everyday phone, the Moto G6 Play is still one of the cheapest handsets that you can buy. The main issue is that the competition has got a lot tougher and you can spend just a little more to get a considerably more powerful handset from the competition. If you're on the tightest of budgets, then this is a handset that you'll be happy with but if you can just spend a little more cash, you'll be happier in the long run.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Smart looks
  • Excellent value
  • Strong battery life

Cons

  • Camera could be faster

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £169.99
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 FHD+ screen
  • Snapdragon 430 CPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 13MP rear-facing camera
  • 4000mAh battery

What is the Moto G6 Play?

One of the best ranges of budget phones, the Moto line-up has been impressing for years. Now, with the Moto G7 Play available, the question is, is the Moto G6 Play still worth buying? Certainly, the new, lower price will make the phone seem enticing, but the bigger issue is that budget phones, by their nature, don’t age as well.

Never has this been so true, as this year, when we’ve seen a huge number of high-quality low-priced handsets that have even managed to eclipse the Moto G7 lineup. Take the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, for example, with its 48-megapixel camera, or the excellent Honor 10 Lite; sure, both are more expensive than the Moto G6 Play, but for a bit extra cash you get far more features.

Related: Best budget smartphones

Moto G6 Play Design – Consistently attractive

Motorola has established a consistently attractive design language across this latest Moto G family. The Moto G6 Play, G6 and G6 Plus all tote longer, more slender dimensions than their predecessors, primarily dictated by their 18:9 aspect ratio displays, not to mention their curved reflective rears.

They might not seem as sturdy as the Moto G5S line’s construction but they’re markedly more on-trend with the current flagship contingent. Take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S9 or the Huawei P20 Pro and you’ll have some idea of what these Motos are bringing to the table: glass is definitely “in”.

Be that as it may, the Moto G6 Play is the only member of the family that doesn’t use the real thing. Despite its resemblance to its siblings, the phone is instead backed by plastic. In one sense this is a loss; from the perspective of both premium feel and scratch susceptibility. But on the other hand, the material choice renders the Play the most drop-resistant of the three. The plastic doesn’t flex under your fingers either.

Moto G6 Play shiny plastic back

Cosmetically, you get a light-reactive finish. Most of the time, the phone appears to have a standard reflective back with a dark blue finish, however, when you catch the light just right you’ll spot a bright blue S-shaped reflection carving its way across the G6 Play’s rear.

It adds a hint of pizzazz without getting close to garish. The phone’s sides are coated aluminium and the front is toughened glass (but not Gorilla Glass as its similarly-named siblings sport).

The other major external difference between the Moto G6 Play and the G6 is the fingerprint scanner. It sits on the back, instead of the front.

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I’m a fan of rear fingerprint scanners. It’s indented and easy to reach, too. However, it isn’t quite as fast as the best, plus I’ve found it more picky about finger position than some – particularly after washing your hands.

The Moto G6 Play’s scanner may be the first used by some buyers, if they’ve been buying budget phones for years. And in this instance, it’s still fairly reliable and faster than using a passcode.

Other basics that can be ticked off include a headphone jack (often omitted these days) and 32GB of storage. This is plenty for a phone costing £170, but if your storage requirements exceed this then there’s a microSD slot in the SIM card tray as well.

Moto G6 Play top corner perspective view

Water-resistance is lacking. The standard G6 and G6 Plus have a water-repelling nano-coating, which at least makes them splash-proof. While the G6 Play is likely to survive being caught in a rain shower, the same can’t be said of a dunk in the bath.

The Moto G6 Play also has a micro-USB charge port rather than the now more popular USB-C type. Plus, this device also offers fast-charging, a fantastic extra at the price.

Moto G6 Play Screen – Comparatively low resolution but great quality

The Motorola Moto G6 Play has a 5.7-inch 18:9 IPS LCD screen, but its resolution is only 1440 x 720 pixels.

This is the 18:9 equivalent of 720p, and Moto G phones have used 1080p panels since the Moto G4 in 2016. The important question: will you notice?

On first turning on the Motorola Moto G6 Play, the difference in pixel density is clear. Look a little closer than normal and pixellation is evident. However, within a few hours of use, I stopped noticing.

Moto G6 Play screen closeup on pixels

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the Moto G6’s display is closer in quality to that of a high-end phone.

The Motorola Moto G6 Play’s colour and contrast are both strong for a budget device, and you can switch between vivid and natural saturation modes, plus a few colour temperature presets. Comparing directly to the Moto G6, the more expensive phone seems to have a slight edge for bringing out the deepest reds in Vivid mode, but there isn’t much in it.

The Moto G6 Play’s screen visibility outdoors on a bright day is perfectly solid too.

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