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Motorola’s newest cheap Android phone looks shockingly good

A render of the front and back of the Moto G Play (2024).
Digital Trends

Last year was the first in almost a decade without a Motorola Moto G Play launch of some kind. The last device, the Moto G Play (2023), launched in December 2022 and, well, it was a little disappointing. Thankfully, Motorola heard its critics, and has delivered the Moto G Play (2024) — the biggest upgrade for Motorola’s budget range in years.

With a new processor, camera, and various small additions, Motorola hopes the new upgrades are enough to propel the Moto G Play (2024) to the top of lists of the best budget smartphones. But will it? Here’s everything you need to know about Motorola’s new $150 device, the Moto G Play (2024).

More power and a new camera

A close-up view of the Moto G Play (2024), showing its camera sensor.

A budget phone shouldn’t feel like a budget phone, and it was the sluggish and laggy performance of the previous Moto G Play that made it so much worse than its competition. That’s probably why a big part of this upgrade rests on the phone’s processor. Out is the MediaTek Helio G37 and in is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680. It’s still an older processor, but it should provide a hefty performance boost.

Not only is it built on a 6nm process (putting it far above the Helio G37’s 12nm), but it’s also significantly better at handling everyday tasks, and even 3D gaming. You’re not going to be gaming at Ultra settings on this, by any means, but with the right Low or Medium settings, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to hit more than playable frame rates in games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile.

Another big improvement is to the phone’s rear camera. The new Moto G Play sports a 50-megapixel main camera, a significant increase from the previous 16MP lens. And while it may seem like a downgrade from the last phone’s triple-lens system, in reality, the two 2MP lenses were only used for macro and depth-sensing anyway, and likely won’t be missed. The 50MP lens uses pixel binning, which basically means it downsizes images from 50MP to boost light, effectively using four pixels as one and providing more light exposure for lowlight images. It’s not going to top the best camera smartphones list, but it may surprise us.

A render of the Moto G Play (2024), showing the power button.

Storage has been increased to 64GB, with up to 1TB of expandable storage through a microSD card, and there’s also 4GB of RAM. Another welcome change is a shift in the fingerprint sensor’s position, which has been removed from the back of the phone in favor of a side-mounted sensor.

It’s otherwise similar-looking to the last Moto G Play, with a simple and clean design, but the plastic back now flows into the raised camera unit around the lenses, rather than being a separate material.

Old favorites have been improved

Renders of the Moto G Play (2024), showing the front and back of the phone.

One of the major draws of the Play range wasn’t just the low price — it was the enormous battery. Thankfully, that’s not changing with this new model. The Moto G Play (2024) has the same massive 5,000mAh cell as its predecessors, and this is a very good thing. The last Moto G Play had a battery life that could stretch into three days, greatly surpassing even the most conservative and energy-sipping flagship and midrange smartphones. What it may lack in shiny features, the Moto G range has always made up for in battery life

It remains to be seen whether a change in processor to the Snapdragon 680 will affect this battery life, as different processors use different amounts of energy, but Motorola has also shored up one of our previous complaints by upping the charge rate. No longer limited to a meager 10 watts of charge, the Moto G Play (2024) will now be able to soar with 15W of charge speed. Alright, so it’s not the fastest charging device around, but it will significantly reduce the amount of time the phone spends on a charger.

The 6.5-inch display, while largely the same, has some small improvements that hint at flagship capabilities. The LCD display has a 90Hz refresh rate, like last year, which is nice by itself, and amusingly faster than some flagship smartphones. However, it now will also swap between 90Hz and 60Hz when a higher refresh rate isn’t required. This apes the dynamic refresh rates on phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The Moto G Play (2024) will be available unlocked from Amazon, Best Buy, and Motorola starting February 8. It will also be available from a number of carriers, including Verizon, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular. The price will be $150.

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