Moto G7 Play: Hands-on Review

The Moto G7 Play is a potentially great phone for kids and those on a strict budget

Verdict

The Moto G7 Play offers amazing value for money on paper, and could be a great crash phone or choice for parents with accident-prone kids in need of a smartphone.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £149
  • 5.7-inch HD+ screen
  • Snapdragon 632 CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB storage, microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear, 8-megapixel front cameras
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 9

Moto G7 Play Hands-on: We have an opening play with this year’s cheapest Moto G

Moto G phones have never been terribly expensive, but the Play series has always taken things to the next level, pushing affordability to an extreme. Last year the formula worked a treat, with the Moto G6 Play one of our favourite affordable smartphones at Trusted Towers.

Which is the reason it’s no surprise that Motorola has chosen not to rock the boat this year with its new Moto G7 Play. On paper, the G7 Play has the capabilities to be one of this year’s best budget smartphones, featuring a clean version of Android 9 and, for the most part, decent specs considering its price. However, there’s one fly in the ointment: it has only 2GB of RAM, a factor that could impede performance.

Still interested? Then here’s everything you need to know about the Moto G7 Play, including my opening impressions after spending an hour having a play with the device.

Related: Best cheap phones

Moto G7 Play hands on back handheld

Moto G7 Play release date

The Moto G7 Play will launch at unspecified point mid-February alongside the Moto G7 Plus, Moto G7 and Moto G7 Power.

Moto G7 Play price

The Moto G7 Play will retail for £149 in the UK.

Moto G7 Play hands on front handheld top down

The Moto G7 Play is a very different beast to the regular Moto G7, Moto G7 Plus and Moto G7 Power, featuring a completely different design and set of specifications. For starters, it has a plastic – not mixed metal and glass – design. The only similarity design-wise is the circular fingerprint scanner on the phone’s rear, which is marked with a Motorola logo. The design feels well built and comfortable in the hand, but it certainly isn’t as premium-feeling as its G7 siblings.

The screen, too, is smaller. Motorola has loaded the G7 Play with a 5.7-inch HD+ resolution panel. It performed well during my hands on, being brighter and offering better contrast than I expect of a phone at this price. The only minor issue is the rather sizeable notch. Although, once again, this isn’t surprising at this price – and considering the other unique perks on offer, is more than forgivable.

The biggest of these is the clean version of Android 9.0. Moto G phones pride themselves on being loaded with a near-untouched version of Google’s OS. This is a big differentiator in the affordable market, where companies such as Honor and Xiaomi seem hell-bent on supplying handsets with intrusive skins that are full of bloatware and duplicate apps.

The Moto G7 Play’s UI is blissfully free of any bloatware, sporting a completely untouched UI. The only changes I noticed are minor features such as gesture controls to let you launch the camera by shaking the phone.

Moto G7 Play hands on camera UI handheld

The camera specs are also decent for the price. Motorola has loaded the G7 Play with a single 13-megapixel, f2.0 aperture front camera and basic 8-megapixel rear camera. These specs aren’t anything to write home about at the top, or even mid-range of the market, where dual-lens systems are common place. In addition, the cameras won’t offer great performance in low light, or clean portrait/bokeh effects. However, taking a few shots around the showroom, the rear camera felt snappy and had a nicely intuitive camera UI. As a result, I can see the G7 Play being a great option for festival goers, or accident-prone kids, who don’t care too much about image quality.

The app also has a few cool tricks, such as having Google Lens built in. For those who missed it, Google Lens is a nifty image-recognition feature that will pull up useful information about the subject at which you’re pointing the camera.

Battery capacity seems standard, with the G7 Play including a 3000mAh battery that Motorola claims will easily last a day of use. Sadly, unlike the other G7 devices, the Play doesn’t support TurboPower, and so will be slower to charge as a result.

My only serious concern about the G7 Play is that it may be slightly underpowered. The Snapdragon 632 CPU inside isn’t to be sniffed at, especially in a phone at this price, but it’s supported by only 2GB of RAM.

A few years ago, this would have been the norm; these days, it’s too low for my liking. Handsets I’ve tested in the past with this amount of memory have slowed quickly when met with demanding tasks, such as 3D gaming and multi-tab web browsing.

Moto G7 Play hands on front on table

First impressions

The Moto G7 Play offers amazing value for money on paper, and could be a great crash phone or choice for parents with accident-prone kids in need of a smartphone.

But I can’t help but be nervous about its low memory count, which could seriously impede performance. However, until I get a chance to more thoroughly test this, I can’t confirm if it is an actual issue.