What’s up with all the Moto Gs? Lenovo has finally taken the wraps off of the long-awaited Moto G (2016), but this time around, there isn’t just one Moto G. Now there are three Moto G devices, dubbed the Moto G4, the Moto G4 Play, and the Moto G4 Plus. Starting in Q4, customers can “expect to see Android N on the Moto G4,” a Motorola spokesperson said, which means that both the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus will soon have Android Nougat. But this one similarity aside, what about differences? Which one is right for you? Check out their strengths and weaknesses in the side-by-side comparison below.
Moto G4 Play
Moto G4 Plus
|Dimensions||153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8 mm (6.02 x 3.01 x 0.31-0.38 in)||144.4 x 72 x 8.95-9.9mm (5.69 x 2.83 x 0.35-0.39 in)||153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm (6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 in)|
|Weight||5.47 ounces||4.83 ounces||5.47 ounces|
|Resolution||1,080 x 1,920, 401ppi||720 x 1,280, 294ppi||1,080 x 1,920, 401ppi|
|SD Card Slot||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Processor||1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617||1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410||1.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE||Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE||Wi-Fi, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, EVDO, LTE|
|Camera||Front 5MP, Rear 13MP||Front 5MP, Rear 8MP||Front 5MP, Rear 16MP|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 4.1||Yes, version 4.1||Yes, version 4.1|
|Charger||Micro USB||Micro USB||Micro USB|
|Availability||TBD – Motorola||TBD – Motorola||TBD – Motorola|
Storage and power
Let’s get one thing out of the way — the Moto G4 Plus is the “best” phone on the list. There’s no question about it. Lenovo is obviously attempting to offer a Moto G at multiple price ranges, and the best of the bunch is a pretty good smartphone.
As far as storage goes, we can see a clear progression from the Moto G4 Play to the Moto G4 Plus. The Moto G4 Play offers a meager 16GB of storage, which really isn’t enough for those who aren’t heavily invested in cloud services. That being the case, the Moto G4 Play isn’t right for you if you want space for music and video storage. The Moto G4 Plus, on the other hand, is available in either a 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB configuration, meaning it’s perfect for those who want to be able to download a good deal of content. RAM is just as variable. Both the standard Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Play offer 2GB of RAM. To be clear, 2GB isn’t a horrible amount, especially for a budget device. The fact that the Moto G4 Plus goes up to 4GB, however, really brings it into flagship territory.
Let’s remember, however, that no device in the Moto G4 lineup is really intended to be a flagship device. The processor on the Moto G4 Plus is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 — a great processor, to be sure, but not flagship-level. The device can certainly handle a lot, but not everything. The standard Moto G4 utilizes the same processor, however the Moto G4 Play opts for a Snapdragon 410, which can handle even less. If you’re simply looking to make calls, browse social media, watch a few videos, and maybe read a Digital Trends article in Google Chrome, you’ll be fine with any of these phones. For the mobile gamer, however, either the Moto G4 or the Moto G4 Play would be a better choice.
Winner: Moto G4 Plus
Battery life and charging
Battery life looks to be an interesting aspect of the Moto G4 lineup. The Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus have the same battery capacity (3,000mAh) on paper, and that should play out as such in real-life, especially given their display is the same size and resolution. The Moto G4 Play, however, only packs a 2,800mAh battery. At first glance, you might think that this means that the device will exhibit shorter battery life, but in reality, it will likely tout a similar battery life to the Moto G4 and G4 Plus given its smaller display and lower resolution. All three of the devices also offer turbo-charging, so if you run out of juice before the day’s done, you should be able to plug it in for a few minutes to get a quick burst of power.
The camera junkies among us may want to stick to the higher-priced Moto G4. The Moto G4 Play probably won’t meet your needs with its 8-megapixel sensor, which is less than the 13-megapixel sensor on the Moto G (2015). The standard Moto G4 contains the same sensor, while the Moto G4 Plus brings things up to 16 megapixels. In this case, it’s really a case of you get what you pay for — the more you can spend, the better camera you’re going to get.
Winner: Moto G4 Plus
As previously mentioned, the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus offer the same display size and resolution. In fact, they venture into phablet territory, boasting 5.5-inch displays and 1,080p resolutions. Neither sports the 2K display found on most modern flagships, but they’re certainly not bad either. The Moto G4 Play, again, brings things down a little with a 720p display.
To be honest, it’s somewhat disappointing to still see a smartphone with 720p resolution, though, its understandable that Lenovo wanted to cut down on costs for the cheapest of the three devices.
Winner: Tie between the Moto G4 and G4 Plus
As far as design goes, the three devices are very similar. In fact, the standard Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Play feature nearly the same design, with rounded edges and a more refined look than last year’s models. Only the Moto G4 Plus deviates from the design of the other two devices — although it merely looks like a larger version.
The big difference between the Moto G4 Plus and the Moto G4 is that the former includes a fingerprint scanner — a first for the Moto G4 lineup. Not even the Moto X has a fingerprint scanner! The fingerprint scanner on the front of the Moto G4 Plus does somewhat detract from the minimalistic look of the device, sure, but it’s a fair trade for enhanced security.
Winner: Moto G4 Plus
There isn’t too much to say on the software front. All three devices run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and all three will likely get an update to Android N shortly after it’s made available. Motorola devices generally offer stock Android, and it seems as though that will continue under Lenovo’s guidance, at least in the near future. If Android as Google intended it and quick updates are your thing, any of these three devices is a good choice.
The price for the three devices hasn’t yet been revealed, however, it’s likely that the standard Moto G4 will fall somewhat inline with the Moto G (2015), which starts at $180. The Moto G4 Plus will surely cost more than that, and the Moto G4 Play a little less.
So which one should I get?
Whichever device you can afford is probably the best one to go for. Of course, things are a little more complicated than that. The standard Moto G4 offers the same display as the Moto G4 Plus, so if you plan on watching a lot of videos, the standard Moto G4 will be fine. If you’re a mobile gamer, though, the Moto G 4Plus might be a better option given the higher RAM. For the music junkies and file hoarders among us, the more storage the better, which means the Plus is your best bet. And, of course, if you’re a photographer, the more you can afford to shell out, the better camera you’re likely to get. The fingerprint sensor also gives the G4 Plus a boost over the regular G4.
The Moto G4 Play, on the other hand, will be fine for those on a budget who simply want to browse social media, manage calls, and peruse the web. There are plenty of options to choose from, each of which is catered toward a different user. If you’re not on a strict budget, the Moto G4 Plus is your best bet. It has the strongest feature set of all the G4 models, and it should still be reasonably priced.