Moto G6 vs. Moto G6 Play: Is the G6 worth the extra cash?

The Moto G series has long been hailed as one of the best ways to get an excellent phone at a decent price, and the all-new Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play seem to be no exception to that rule. The new phones boast a modern design, improved specs, and more — all at a pretty good price.

But which one is better for your situation? Is the slightly more expensive Moto G6 the one to go for, or should you stick with the slightly cheaper Moto G6 Play? We put the two phones head to head to find out.

Specs

Moto G6 Moto G6 Play
Size 6.06 x 2.85 x 0.33 inches (153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3 mm) 6.09 x 2.84 x 0.35 inches (154.4 x 72.2 x 9 mm)
Weight 5.9oz (167g) 6.2oz (175g)
Screen size 5.7 inches 5.7 inches
Screen resolution 2160 x 1080 pixels 1440 x 720 pixels
Operating system Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage space 32/64GB 16/32GB
MicroSD Card Slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services No No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Qualcomm Snapdragon 427
RAM 3/4GB 2/3GB
Camera Dual rear 12MP and 5MP, front 8MP Rear 13MP, front 8MP
Video 1080p at 60 fps 1080p at 30 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.2
Ports USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack Micro USB, 3.5 mm headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance No No
Battery 3,000mAh 4,000mAh
App marketplace Google Play Google Play
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Black, Deep Indigo Black, Deep Indigo
Price $249 $199
Buy from Motorola Motorola
Review score Hands-on Hands-on

Performance, battery life, and charging

lenovo moto g6 vs play
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Both the Moto G6 and the Moto G6 Play feature decent specs for the price, but one of them is clearly more powerful than the other. While the Moto G6 Play features a Snapdragon 427 processor coupled with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM, depending on the region, the standard Moto G6 steps things up a little to a Snapdragon 450 processor coupled with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. Safe to say, if you’re looking for performance then the standard Moto G6 is the device to go for here.

While the standard Moto G6 will likely be the better performer, the G6 Play may be the better option for battery life. The Moto G6 comes with a very respectable 3,000mAh battery, but the G6 Play steps things up to a 4,000mAh battery. With a lower-resolution display, that should translate into a much longer battery life.

The standard Moto G6 may feature a smaller battery, but it will charge faster. The device features 15W TurboPower Charging, which should charge quicker than the Moto G6 Play’s 10W Fast Charging.

Winner: Moto G6

Design and durability

lenovo moto g6 vs play 2
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

The Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play feature similar designs, but they’re not totally the same. On the front, both offer a 5.7-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. While the standard Moto G6 offers a fingerprint sensor and home button under that display, the Moto G6 Play instead moves its fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone. Both phones come in Black or Deep Indigo colors.

Unfortunately, neither of these phones are water resistant, though they do offer a so-called “water repellent coating.” That should help for things like a bit of rain, but don’t drop the phones in the pool or bath — they may not make it out alive. They should fare similarly in drops — both phones feature glass backs, which Motorola says helps make the phones cheaper.

These phones are extremely similar when it comes to design and durability.

Winner: Tie

Display

lenovo moto g6 vs play software
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

Both of the phones feature a 5.7-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9, and they’re both LCD displays. The display on the standard Moto G6, however, offers a much higher resolution. The phone’s resolution comes in at 2160 x 1080 pixels, with a pixel density of around 424. The Moto G6 Play, on the other hand, features a display with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels, which equates to a pixel density of 282.

The resolution is the only way in which these displays differ, so it’s clear that the display on the Moto G6 is quite a bit better.

Winner: Moto G6

Camera

lenovo moto g6 vs play camera
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

One of the biggest points of difference between these two phones is the camera. While the Moto G6 Play features a single-lens camera, the Moto G6 steps things up to a dual-sensor camera.

Let’s start with the Moto G6. As mentioned, it offers a dual-sensor camera, with the primary sensor sitting in at 12 megapixels, and the secondary sensor coming in at 5 megapixels. The camera features an aperture of f/1.8, which should help make for slightly better low-light shots than the the Moto G6 Play. The front-facing camera comes in at 8 megapixels.

The camera on the Moto G6 also offers some cool extra features, like a portrait mode, object recognition, face filters, and more.

Speaking of the Moto G6 Play, it offers a single-lens main camera that comes in at 13 megapixels with an aperture of f/2.0, while the front-facing camera comes in at 5 megapixels. The Moto G6 Play doesn’t match all the same features as the standard Moto G6, but it still boasts things like face filters, and it has phase detection autofocus.

We’ll have to wait and see just how those stats translate into photos and video in the real world, but the Moto G6 looks a lot better on paper.

Winner: Moto G6

Software and updates

lenovo moto g6 vs play display
Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

While there was once a time when Motorola could be considered among the best companies in terms of software updates, that seems to be changing. Thankfully, the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play will get updated — unlike the new Moto E — but Motorola says they’ll only get one or two updates. In other words, the phones ship with Android 8.0 Oreo, and they should eventually make it to Android P, but there isn’t much of a guarantee that you’ll get any updates beyond that.

Generally speaking, Motorola sticks with a relatively stock version of Android, though it adds a few features that some might find useful. For example, the standard Moto G6 features one-button navigation, which means you can use gestures on the home button to control the phone. There’s no real difference between these phones in the software department.

Winner: Tie

Special features

In terms of special features, the two phones are pretty similar. They do offer some nice features, though — such as Moto Actions, which allow you to access different apps through gestures. For example, you can access the camera by double twisting your wrist. They also offer Moto Voice, which uses “Show Me” as the trigger word. For example, you can say “show me Chrome” to open Google Chrome, or “show me the weather” to see the weather.

Still, features like this aren’t specific to one of the phones — so this one’s another tie.

Winner: Tie

Price

The Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play are both inexpensive phones, but they come at a slightly different cost. The standard Moto G6 comes in at $250, while the Moto G6 Play costs a slightly cheaper $200.

Both of the phones will be available for purchase starting in Spring.

Winner: Moto G6 Play

Overall winner: Moto G6

No surprise here — the Moto G6 is simply a better device. But, it’s also a little more expensive. If you don’t care about the extras, then it may be worth simply sticking with the Moto G6 Play and saving $50. But if you have the extra money to spare, we recommend going for the more powerful Moto G6 — it’s faster, has a much sharper display, and boasts a more versatile camera.

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