Moto G series has been the most significant device lineup for Motorola to “Rise from the Ashes” as they were losing the Android smartphone market rapidly. Moto G first generation (2013) was a great device with an attractive price tag of $179 or ₹15,000 in India and turned out to be an instant hit.
Now its late 2016 and current Moto G 4th gen is already 5+ months old, so here is my review on how it has performed in my prolonged usage.
Before diving into the review, lets have a look at what this phone looks like on specs sheet
- System on Chip: Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor with Adreno 405 GPU
- RAM and Storage: 2/3/4 GB and 16/32/64GB (Expandable upto 128GB via microSD)
- Operating System: Android Marshmallow 6.0.1
- Display: 5.5 Inches with 1920 * 1080 resolution (401 PPI), IPS LCD panel
- Camera: 16MP (f/2.0 aperture) rear camera with Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and Laser Autofocus; Video at 1080p @ 30fps. 5MP (f/2.2 aperture) front facing camera
- Connectivity: 4G LTE Dual SIM, WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n ;2.4 GHz + 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, No NFC
- Battery: 3000mAh with Turbocharging
- Other Features: Fingerprint Sensor, Front Speaker (Mono), Water repellent nano-coating
The Moto G4 Plus has a bit different design compared to it’s predecessor. While Moto G 3rd gen had a curved back, Moto G4 Plus has a flat back with a minor camera hump which does wobble a bit when kept on the table or a flat surface.
The body is curved around the edges with a metal like material which adds to it’s aesthetics and the device is comfortable to hold due to the curved edges. Talking about the curves, Motorola has added curves to all the corners as well.
On the front, we see a common outlet for earpiece and a mono speaker at the top, which is quite loud but a bit tiny, though it is way better than any other phones who have speakers at the back or at the bottom. At the front, we see a square shaped fingerprint scanner just below the screen and a primary mic besides scanner. Fingerprint scanner is not a button and it is just a touch surface and sad part is, this sensor does not double up as the home button (in Android 7.0 update you can long press it to lock the device). The scanner is very quick and no complains about the accuracy and the speed.
On the right hand side we have power button up top and Volume rockers below it. The buttons are clicky and the best part is that the power button has ridges on it, so it does prevent accidental screen locks while you want to change the volume.
With the buzz of extinction of 3.5mm audio jack, you should not worry about it, as it is present and works fine.
This is the hardware about which I am not quite pleased about. The display is 1080p with great viewing angles and at 401PPI, its crisp and colors are very good but not as saturated as AMOLED displays found on Galaxy S7/S7 Edge. Games and media are great to look at on the 5.5 Inches of display.
So what makes the display unpleasant? Lets talk about it.
When the phone arrived, there was nothing wrong with the display. After 3 months or so, I started to observe screen burn-in issue.
Below picture shows the issue in detail. You can have a look at top right, the battery indicator and time is still there with a faded look, top left (near the date and time) and just above the brightness bar you can see the faded Google search bar’s microphone icon. At the status bar there are ghost image of WiFi as well.
This becomes more visible if you are viewing some dark content on the display and it was super annoying to me. The point to be noted is that it happens around the edges of the display only. The issue gets solved automatically most of the times but comes back again. With Android 7.0 update, thankfully I have not detected this problem yet.
Moto G4 Plus variant that I have is equipped with Snapdragon 617 and 3GB of RAM. The performance was never an issue throughout my usage. I did a lot of multitasking with many apps in the background and phone did not stutter at all, thanks to 3GB of RAM but the performance may vary for lesser RAM variant.
I tried multiwindow feature on this device after Android Nougat update and the feature worked buttery smooth except for a few apps which crashed and the apps are more responsible for it than the phone itself.
I played some heavy games like Asphalt 8, Nova 3 and they ran smoothly without any frame drops or lag. So gaming is great on this device and no complains about it.
The noticeable increase in the temperature at the top portion of the phone was the thing which I did not expect. After playing for just about 10-15 mins of Asphalt 8, the phone was heating A LOT. After I updated it to Nougat the phone still heat up but not as much as it was heating on Android Marshmallow. So the issue is still there and needs to be fixed completely.
This is where the device excels. With the 3000 mAh of battery the phone lasts for a whole day easily with still some 15% juice left if you are a heavy user. Coupled it with the Doze mode in the Android Marshmallow and Nougat, the device consumes very little battery when the phone is not being used i.e. when it is kept idle.
Even if you are too heavy user of the phone, Motorola claims that turbocharge gives you 6Hrs of general usage after only 15mins of charging which is more or less true as it took 1Hr 20Mins for my phone to charge from 0 to 100%. For turbocharging you need to use the charger provided in the box that came with the phone as other charger wont work as fast.
I am very happy with the battery of this phone and hope it ages well.
Motorola has never been known for their cameras, because we have never seen any exceptional camera phone in any of their phones till date. It is the same with Moto G4 Plus.
Don’t get me wrong, the camera at 16MP captures some great details but the dynamic range is just about okay, colors are pretty accurate most of the times but can be undersaturated if the light is less. On the other hand it performs better than expected for outdoor shots in direct sunlight. In the indoor lighting conditions, the images are grainy and low light performance is average.
Videos shot outdoors were stunning but the stabilization was not great since it does not have any optical image stabilization. Again the indoor videos did suffer with some noise.
Laser AF and PDAF is quite fast but not as fast as any flagships and does it’s job fairly well. If you are not too much into the photography then you might not even observe the flaws.
The camera app is quite simple to use and nothing fancy here like any manual control mode etc. Just tap the subject and click the picture. Camera app can be launched by the popular twist gesture and it is the fastest option to launch camera.
Front camera is decent at 5MP and has wide angle lens which can capture more subjects in a single frame.
The phone came with Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 out of the box. Motorola has done a very good job here with close to stock Android with a few custom Motorola apps like gestures to launch camera and flashlight or pick up the phone from table to silent the ringing phone etc. The UI seems very smooth while using with no lags whatsoever. The default launcher is Google Now launcher which is super easy to use but offers very little customization.
Recently Motorola started soak test for Android Nougat 7.0 and I installed it on my device. The multiwindow, quick reply from notification slider worked fine while battery life remained more or less the same. The bugs I came across were about the Moto Gestures like Chop to turn the flashlight on etc did not work properly like they did on the earlier OS.
Motorola is still the fastest company to rollout the updates and still continues to be the one and I am quite happy on that front.
What I liked?
- Fast performance
- Very good price at $250 or INR 15k
- Fast updates
- Great battery life
What I did not like?
- Average Camera
- No NFC
- Awkward placement of fingerprint sensor and it cannot be used as home button
- Frequent screen Burn-in issue
- Phone heats a lot while heavy usage
Moto G4 Plus is a great package with its own flaws. Has fast performance and does a great job at day to day tasks. Motorola has cut corners around No NFC, plastic build, average camera, but at this price point I am not complaining about it. With promised update to Android 7.0 Nougat, the phone is future proof. Apart from phone overheating and screen burn-in issue, the phone is bang for the buck.
If you are thinking about buying a phone around $250 or INR 13k to 15k, this is the phone you should buy.
Thanks for reading this review folks! Please let me know in the comments’ section below if you have any queries about this device
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