Motorola Moto G6 Plus review: Motorola’s mid-range flagship

Alex Kidman 3 July 2018 NEWS

The Moto G6 Plus brings heavy value with its large display and impressive performance.

Quick Verdict
Motorola's largest G-series phone isn't just blessed with a large screen but also with the best performance and a new appealing style. You've got plenty of choices in the mid-range, but the Moto G6 Plus stands out as a worthy contender.

The good

  • 18:9 display
  • Good application performance
  • New glass design looks great at this size
  • Dual SIM plus MicroSD expansion

The bad

  • Ordinary camera
  • A big slippery handset
  • No water resistance


The Moto G6 Plus may as well be Motorola's current "flagship" phone here in Australia.

Sure, Motorola still sells the Moto Z series phones and their intriguing Moto Mods, but the most up-to-date model we have here in Australia is the Moto Z2 Play, and that's more than a year old at this point. We never saw the Moto Z2 Force, and there's no news around the Moto Z3 Play showing up Down Under either. The Moto X4 is sold locally, but it has a lot less presence than the G series phones, which are the ones people buy in large quantities.

All of this puts a lot of weight onto Motorola's more affordably priced handsets, and especially the well-regarded Moto G series phones. Thankfully, while it's not an extraordinary evolution of the Moto G concept, the Moto G6 Plus is a solid and reliable handset that outperforms its siblings for the most part.


Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Design

As you might expect from a phone with an existing smaller sibling and a "plus" suffix, the Moto G6 Plus is like the Moto G6, only bigger. That means that it shares the same 18:9 ratio display, which is somewhat taller and thinner than last year's G-series phones. We're seeing a lot of manufacturers, even in the budget and mid-range spaces, switch over to 18:9 displays. In the case of the Moto G6 Plus, what you're faced with is a 5.9-inch 1080x2180 LCD display. It's nicely bright, but still below what you might see out of a decent OLED display.

Like the Moto G6, the Moto G6 Plus offers a fully glass and metal build, which does give it a kick up in the style stakes. We're seeing a lot more mid-range devices that challenge the designs found on premium phones, and the Moto G6 Plus makes the most of Motorola's new designs at this size.

That's not always a positive point, however. Like so many other large glass-backed phones, the Moto G6 Plus is noticeably slippery in the hand. A case would be a very wise investment here. A larger phone also means that the Moto G6 Plus's camera bump is even more noticeable around the back.

The Motorola Moto G6 Plus's controls are very simple, with a thin fingerprint sensor below the display and volume and power controls on the right hand side of the handset. The Moto G6 Plus has very fine ridging on the power button to make it stand out, although it's so thin that you might not even notice that until you look at it.

The Moto G6 Plus is a Dual SIM phone, but it's one with a very welcome point of difference. The vast majority of Dual SIM phones use the secondary SIM card slot for microSD expansion as well, forcing you to choose one or the other, but not both. Like the Moto G6, the Moto G6 Plus has a SIM tray that features two distinct SIM slots plus a microSD card reader. It's a great inclusion, and one that I hope every other dual SIM phone maker picks up on.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Camera

Motorola has never been a powerhouse name in the camera space, with the majority of its phones delivering solid but unexceptional performance for their relative price ranges. That's pretty much exactly what you get out of the Motorola Moto G6 Plus.

It has a very slight edge on the regular Moto G6 in camera specification terms, with dual 12MP f/1.7/5MP f/2.2 lenses to the Moto G6's 12MP f/1.8/5MP f/2.2 lenses. However, like the Moto G6, you can't actually access that secondary lens on its own terms. It's strictly there to deliver portrait-style bokeh effects on your shots should you need it.

It's still fundamentally the case that premium phones sell themselves on their camera chops, but we've seen impressive strides in the cameras found on many mid-range devices.

I can't say that the Moto G6 Plus stands ahead of its competition in this regard because realistically it doesn't. It's a perfectly functional camera that will deliver solid results in decent light, but not spectacular ones if pushed. That's what you should expect from a mid-range phone, and it's what the Moto G6 Plus definitely does.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Performance

The Moto G6 is an average performer, but Motorola gives the Moto G6 Plus a definite edge with the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, where its smaller sibling makes do with the Snapdragon 450 instead. The Moto G6 Plus pairs that with 4GB of RAM in the unit as tested, as well as 64GB of onboard storage. We've seen a number of Snapdragon 630 handsets here at finder, including the Nokia 6 2018, the HTC U11 Life and the Sony Xperia XA2, so the Motorola Moto G6 Plus has plenty of competition.

In benchmark terms, the Moto G6 Plus acquits itself with solid performance, very much on par with other Snapdragon 630 handsets:

It's the same story in 3D graphics performance, where the Moto G6 Plus ever so slightly outpaces its immediate competition:

The Motorola Moto G6 Plus isn't an Android One phone, although Motorola's own modifications leave it awfully close to feeling like stock Android. You do get Motorola's by-now-standard action modifiers, such as chopping motions to enable the flashlight built in by default. Being Android, of course, you're left with plenty of control over how you want the interface to look.

The Moto G6 Plus lacks any kind of water resistance. It'll repel light rain, but don't get it seriously wet. It won't live to regret it.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Battery life

There's a balancing act in play for any large screened handset when it comes to battery life. A larger display rather naturally uses up more power, but having a larger frame often gives manufacturers more space to expand battery capacity. The Moto G6 Plus features a 3200mAh battery, which isn't all that large for a phone this size.

Still, we've recently seen Motorola's phones do very well in benchmarking terms, so I was keen to see how the Moto G6 Plus would fare with Geekbench 4's punishing battery life tests:

The Motorola Moto G6 Play strikes a very nice balance here between actual performance and battery life. It didn't run for as long as the smaller Moto G6, but it achieved a much higher battery score, indicating it was working much harder during the testing period. That's what you should want out of a phone.

In real-world testing, it's very easy to get a single day's battery life out of the Moto G6 Plus, and while I didn't push it that far, two days should be feasible for moderate users.

The Motorola Moto G6 Plus charges via USB C, and it's great to see more phones in the mid-range switch away from Micro USB. There's sadly no sign of wireless charging, however.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Should you buy it?

If you're an existing Motorola phone user looking for an upgrade, the Moto G6 Plus is a solid option. However, it's very much a case of being more of the same from Motorola rather than any kind of radical reinvention of the form.

As I noted in the review of the Moto G6, Motorola is somewhat coasting with this generation of Moto G handsets. They're good devices, but there's a lot of competition locally that you should also consider. Motorola should make sure that its 2019 G series phones start pushing the mid-range envelope a little harder, or it could easily find itself left behind by newer challenger brands.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Pricing and availability

The Motorola Moto G6 Plus is available in Australia outright for $499.

Buy the Motorola Moto G6 Plus

Buy the Motorola Moto G6 Plus from Amazon AU

Motorola's largest G-series phone comes with a 5.9 inch display, all-glass finish and dual rear cameras to give you the phone features you need at a price you can afford.

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Motorola Moto G6 Plus: Alternatives

The obvious in-house alternative to the Moto G6 Plus would be the Moto G6. It's less powerful, but it is $100 cheaper and gave us even more battery life from a smaller battery! Going down the scale, you could opt for the Motorola Moto G6 Plus Play to save even more dough. There's a pretty serious performance gulf between the Moto G6 Plus and the Motorola Moto E4, but then that is reflected in the difference in asking price.

If what you're after is a low-cost clean Google experience, consider the Nokia 6 2018 or the HTC U11 Life as viable alternatives. In the larger screen size category, the Nokia 7 Plus is also worth comparing as is Oppo's R11s.

Motorola Moto G6 Plus: What the other reviewers say

SiteCommentScore
Android Central"This is Motorola's bread and butter."4.5/5
TechRadar"The Moto G6 Plus blurs the line between budget and mid-range smartphone."4/5
Trusted Reviews"It successfully takes much of what we already loved about the G6 and improves on those foundations."4.5/5
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Specifications

Product Name
Moto G6 Plus
Display Size
5.9 inches
Resolution
1080x2180
PPI
409
Processor
Snapdragon 630
RAM
4GB/6GB
Storage
64GB/128GB
Operating System
Android 8.0
Front camera
8MP
Rear camera
Dual 12 MP/5MP
Battery
3200mAh
Dimensions
160x75.5x8mm
Weight
167g
Price
$499
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