Motorola Moto G4 Play Review
Motorola's Moto G4 Play is a budget phone that doesn't pretend to be anything else, which means it's neither exciting nor disappointing.
One of the key reasons that Android has been able to take a commanding position in Australian smartphone sales has been thanks to the large number of budget-priced handsets on the market. Not that long ago paying less than $300 for a handset meant putting up with all sorts of compromises, but as technology has improved many of those compromises have been removed. You still won’t get world-beating performance, but for most everyday uses, phones such as the Motorola Moto G4 Play offer enough power, and certainly enough battery life.
Motorola Moto G4 Play Specifications
|Motorola||Moto G Play|
|OS||Android 6.01 ("Marshmallow")|
|Processor||Snapdragon 410 1.2GHz|
Upsides: Why you’d want the Motorola Moto G4 Play
- Great Battery life: Low end phones normally have woeful battery life, because skimping on capacity is an easy shortcut for manufacturers looking to save a few dollars in the construction process. Motorola hasn’t done that with the G4 Play, instead offering up a decent 2800mAh battery to run its 5 inch display. The end result is a handset that can comfortably last the day in anecdotal testing, something that’s backed up by testing in Geekbench 3’s battery test
Handset Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration Geekbench 3 Battery Score Samsung Galaxy J2 10:05:20 2689 Motorola Moto 4G Plus 9:44:10 3977 Motorola Moto G4 Play 9:36:00 3840 Alcatel Pop 4 9:20:30 2490 Alcatel Idol 4S 8:14:20 4943 LG Stylus DAB+ 8:11:40 3278 Alcatel Go Play 7:21:10 2941 Oppo R7s 7:00:00 2800 Telstra Signature Premium 5:48:50 3260 Huawei P8 Lite 4:39:40 2768
Stablemate the Moto G4 Plus, which has similar characteristics, narrowly edges out the G4 Play. While the Galaxy J2 still tops the budget phone battery chart, it did so with a much lower performance score, indicating that it wasn’t capable of running as hard for as long as its lower timed competitors.
- Dual SIM: There still aren’t too many dual SIM phones available in Australia, so if you’re in the position where having two numbers at once is desirable, the Motorola Moto G4 Play could be a very appealing prospect.
- Fast charging: It’s not a feature you’d expect on a low-end phone like the G4 Play, but (as long as you’re using the supplied 10W charger) the Moto G4 Play can rapidly charge up its 2800mAh battery.
- Clean Android UI: Motorola really doesn’t do much to Android 6.0.1 beyond a few gestures for easy screen shrinkage, so if you’re the type who likes a clean Android experience this should appeal. In some ways it’s what the older Nexus phones used to be: a basic clean phone experience at a budget price point.
- Acceptable camera: Camera optics are often the first thing that you compromise on with budget phones, but the Moto G4 Play’s 8MP camera is essentially workable. Fast and sharp? No, but you really can’t expect top-shelf optics at this kind of price point. It’s as much (again) a sign of how far budget phones have come that you’re getting serviceable optics, if not exceptional ones, at this price point.
Downsides: Why you might not want the Motorola Moto G Play
- Incredibly generic design: If you asked someone to draw a picture of a generic smartphone, we’re willing to bet that the picture they came up with would look remarkably like the Motorola Moto G4 Play. It’s not so much that its style is bland; it’s that its style is essentially absent. That’s not a bad thing in a utility smartphone, but be aware that anyone looking at the Moto G4 Play will most likely figure it be a cheap phone on first impressions. Most budget smartphones struggle to stand out from the pack, but the Motorola Moto G4 Play doesn’t even try.
- Mediocre performance: The G4 Play’s battery life is decent, but that’s because its processor doesn’t push particularly hard in any given direction at all. Here’s how it compares using Geekbench 3’s processor tests against a range of similarly priced handsets:
Handset Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better) Telstra Signature Premium 745 3116 Motorola Moto G4 Plus 715 3042 Oppo R7s 696 2980 LG Stylus DAB+ 470 1418 Alcatel Go Play 453 1368 Samsung Galaxy J2 315 1044 Alcatel Pop 4 289 945 Motorola Moto G4 Play 1436 480
We don’t have many budget-range figures for the newer Geekbench 4 test so far. As such this isn’t a straight competitor comparison, because the other figures are for seriously premium-priced phones. Instead it gives a picture of where the G4 Play’s performance sits:
Handset Geekbench 4 CPU Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 4 CPU Multi Core (higher is better) Apple iPhone 7 Plus 3374 5649 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge 1359 5333 Samsung Galaxy S7 1378 4718 Apple iPhone SE 2449 4171 Apple iPhone 6s 2465 4052 Google Nexus 6P 1293 3594 Sony Xperia X 1122 2626 Motorola Moto G4 Play 522 1334
Here’s how the G4 Play managed on 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited Test against similarly priced handsets:
Handset 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited Result Motorola Moto G4 Plus 9757 Telstra Signature Premium 9559 Oppo R7s 8390 Motorola Moto G4 Play 4475 LG Stylus DAB+ 4321 Alcatel Pop 4 3863 Samsung Galaxy J2 3469
If you’re only a moderate smartphone user the G4 Play could be an entirely adequate phone, but be ready for a little processor lag if you push it hard in any way.
Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?
The Motorola Moto G4 Play is a budget phone, and it doesn’t shy away from that. If you’re not fussed about having the latest and greatest and just want a plain smartphone to get on with the job of being a plain smartphone, it’s perfectly suitable. It is, in essence, the supermarket label version of your favourite smartphone product; nothing fancy or that you’d particularly flaunt, but certainly worthwhile for the money.
The budget space is awash with choices in this space, however, and while the Motorola Moto G4 Play is certainly affordable, it has plenty of competition from devices such as Motorola's own G4 Plus, the Alcatel Go Play, or Samsung's Galaxy J2.
Where can I get it?
The Motorola Moto G4 Play is on sale now for $279 through Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Officeworks in black only, or in black or white from Motorola’s web site.