Moto E6 vs. Moto G7 Play: Can the bargain E6 compete with the discount G7 Play?

moto e6 review 7
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While it has faced some serious competition recently, Motorola is still the unofficial king of affordable smartphones. But when it comes to appointing a jewel in Motorola’s crown, the battle has always been between the G-range and the E-range. This year, the competition is heating up with the release of the Moto E6 — a $149 smartphone with a removable battery, good budget specs, and Android 9.0 Pie. But with the Moto G7 Play recently seeing a price drop to $149, your choice between these two smartphones is more difficult than ever. Which one deserves a place in your pocket? We found out.

Specs

Moto E6 Moto G7 Play
Size 149.7 x 72.3 x 8.57 mm (5.89 x 2.85 x 0.34 inches) 148.71 x 71.5 x 8.19 mm (5.85 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 159 grams (5.6 ounces) 151 grams (5.32 ounces)
Screen size 5.5-inch IPS LCD 5.7 inches IPS LCD
Screen resolution 1,440 x 720 pixels (296 pixels per inch) 1,512 x 720 pixels (294 ppi)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Storage space 16GB
32GB
MicroSD card slot Yes, up to 256GB Yes
Tap-to-pay services No No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
RAM 2GB 2GB
Camera 13-megapixel rear, 5MP front 13-megapixel rear, 8MP front
Video Up to 1080p at 30 frames-per-second Up to 1080p at 30fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.2 LE Bluetooth 4.2 LE
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, MicroUSB 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor No Yes
Water resistance Water-repellent coating Water-repellent coating
Battery 3,000mAh (removable) 3,000mAh
App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support Verizon All major carriers
Colors Starry Black, Navy Blue Starry Black, Deep Indigo
Price $149 $199
Buy from Verizon, Motorola Motorola, Amazon
Review score Hands-on review 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Moto G7 Play Review
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

It used to be that picking a cheaper phone meant sluggish performance. That’s no longer the case. In the short time we’ve had with it, the Moto E6’s Snapdragon 435 provided smooth and snappy performance. However, it’s clear the Snapdragon 632 in the G7 Play is much more powerful, providing good performance with the latest 3D games. Both phones have 2GB of RAM powering multitasking, but the G7 Play’s 32GB of internal storage easily trumps the Moto E6’s paltry 16GB, even if both phones have support for MicroSD expansion.

Both phones sport a 3,000mAh battery, and though the capacity seems low, the conservative specs mean it should easily get through a single day’s use with power to spare. The Moto G7 Play has the edge in charging, with a USB-C port and 10W charging. The Moto E6 maxes out at 5W, and comes with a MicroUSB port.

While the Moto E6 puts up a strong fight, it’s clear the Moto G7 Play is superior in all aspects.

Winner: Moto G7 Play

Design and durability

These devices are made of polycarbonate, but there’s a clear difference in the design of each phone. The Moto G7 Play has a modern design, with slimmed-down bezels and a chunky notch at the top of the screen. While you’re unlikely to mistake it for a more expensive phone, it still looks better than the dated, big-bezel Moto E6. In this day and age, there’s really no excuse for such large bezels on even the cheapest of phones. Still, the Moto E6 does have a removable battery, which some will find desirable.

Being plastic, you’ll probably get better long-term durability than you would with most glass phones — but both lack water-resistance. There’s not a single IP-rating in residence here, with Motorola offering a water-repellent nano-coating instead. Keep both phones away from pools and they should be fine.

Plastic-fantastic may be the order of the day, but the Moto G7 Play’s more modern looks score it the win here.

Winner: Moto G7 Play

Display

Moto G7 Play Review
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

With a 5.5-inch display on the Moto E6 and a 5.7-inch display on the G7 Play, you’re dealing with a similar size of screen no matter which you pick. Resolutions are similar too, with the E6 rocking a 1,440 x 720 pixel resolution. The Moto G7 Play’s 1,512 x 720 resolution is slightly taller, but both come out with a similar pixels-per-inch measurement, meaning they have about the same sharpness.

There can only be one winner, and we’re giving it to the Moto G7 Play. The Moto E6’s display is a little dim, especially when compared to the bright display on the G7 Play. It’s close, but the Moto G7 Play takes it again.

Winner: Moto G7 Play

Camera

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There’s a similar camera suite on both of these phones. Both have a single 13-megapixel lens with an aperture of f/2.0 around the back, and the ability to record 1080p video. There’s support for Manual modes, Portrait Mode, and more. We haven’t had a chance to test the E6’s camera yet, but we imagine it’ll be similar to the G7 Play, which proved capable enough in good lighting — though it was weak in lower lighting and absolutely abysmal when processing Portrait Mode shots.

The G7 Play’s 8-megapixel selfie lens has a specs advantage over the E6’s 5-megapixel selfie lens, but it’s still too tight to call. This is a tie for now.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Moto G7 Play Review
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

You’ll find the same version of Android 9.0 Pie on both of these phones, and outside of a few Motorola additions — and some Verizon bloatware, in the case of the Moto E6 — it’s mostly stock Android. It’s smooth and zippy on both, which is nice to see in cheaper phones.

But there’s a significant different where updates are concerned. The Moto G7 Play is likely to get Android Q eventually, while the Moto E6 seems ruled out of getting any major updates at all — which is a bitter disappointment. That alone gives the Moto G7 Play the edge.

Winner: Moto G7 Play

Special features

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Most of the special features on Motorola’s cheaper phones fall squarely on the Moto app, which contains options to use various gestures as shortcuts, and the Moto Display, which shows notifications on your sleeping phone screen. The Moto G7 Play comes with the full suite, but we’re not sure which options the Moto E6 will include. Last year’s Moto E5 Plus came with all the options, while the E5 Play had a pared-down suite. We’re leaving this as a tie for now.

Winner: Tie

Price

The Moto G7 Play is currently available from a variety of retailers, including Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Amazon. It originally cost $200, but recent price drops have seen it go down to $149. That’s the same price as the Moto E6, which is now available exclusively from Verizon. The E6 will become available on other carriers and as an unlocked phone later in the year.

Overall winner: Moto G7 Play

While the Moto E6 is a fine budget phone, it just can’t compare to the Moto G7 Play. The G7 Play has a stronger processor, more storage, and a prettier design. When there was a $50 price gap, it was still worth recommending the G7 Play over the E6. Now that you can get the Moto G7 Play for the same $149 price, it’s clear you should choose it over the Moto E6.

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