Is this the best value phone on the market? Moto G4 Plus review
High-end performance from a mid-priced phone
- High spec at low price
- Fast fingerprint reader
- Hit and miss cameras
It's not much of a looker but its a great performer. Specs and features are high end and the price stays low. Camera performance could be better though.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Motorola’s G phones have always been decent mid-range choice but they’ve not been particularly exciting and they’ve tended to be small, low-powered and cheap. The Moto G4 Plus on the other hand caught our eye because its specs approach those of much higher-end phones, it’s a decent size at 5.5-inches and yet its RRP is $400. It’s no coincidence that this is the first major Motorola phone to make use of parent company, Lenovo’s, manufacturing facilities.
It’s not a shiny, glossy, expensive-looking phone, but it’s smart and functional – it put us in mind of a Dell Inspiron corporate laptop. The textured, rubbery rear means that gripping the phone is very easy and comfortable – it doesn’t feel like it’s going to slip, unlike many competitors.
5.5-inch, 1920x1080, 401ppi display, 2/16GB or 3/32GB RAM, Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617 chipset, two quad-core processors, Adreno 405 GPU, 16/5-megapixel cameras, Android 6.0, 3,000mAh battery, microSD slot (separate), Dual NanoSIM, Fingerprint reader, 153x77x10mm, 155g. Full specs here.
Handling and general use
It’s very easy to hold and comfortable in the hand thanks to the textured back and it also feels more drop-resistant than other glass-and- metal competitors. The first thing that struck us was the fingerprint reader at the bottom of the screen on the front. Ordinarily, this might be awkward to reach and press – especially if integrated into a physical button – but the sensor is up there with Huawei’s P9 as the quickest we’ve ever tested. Unlocking is virtually instant and easy to do if you enroll both thumbs. We’re completely over drawing patters on screens and entering code numbers now. All phones need to be like this.
The screen gets bright and the colours are vibrant although it’s not as good as the AMOLED screens on the market. But we had no issues – 5.5-inch 1080p screens like this are generally very comfortable to look at because there’s no squinting at small text.
The power button and volume switch lie on the right-hand side. On the left is a flap which covers two separate SIM card slots plus a microSD card (which takes up to 256GB).
Our variant had 2GB of operating memory and 16GB storage and everything ticked along nicely. Some games can be a bit slow to load, but for general-purpose usage, most apps opened without any annoying lag.
The OS is not far removed from straight Android. Double swiping down reveals the function buttons (as usual) but there aren’t many there and they’re hard to customize. Also, changing screen brightness from here has to be done manually. We had to download a media player and a file manager and the built-in screenshot feature could be better, but these aren’t big problems. You can’t swipe down to search for apps but your most frequently-used apps will appear at the top of the app list when you’re in that screen. All in all, this is a decent Android phone without the gimmicky bells and whistles that we see at the high-end – just all the important stuff.
As for actual phone usage, we found conversations were particularly clear more often than not. However, the speakerphone could be very quiet which was odd considering the speakers are generally loud and clear when playing music.
The 3,000mAh battery is quite generous and we found it easily lasted a full day no matter what we threw at it. Moto also has implemented a Turbo charge feature whereby it can gain six-hours talk time in just 15 minutes of charging. In reality, this is similar to other phones’ fast charging.
The deciding factor for many phones nowadays is the camera performance – both front and back. Moto’s 16-megapixel rear camera comes with “laser” focus for quickness. The area we noticed this best, however, was with video where focusing was quicker and smoother (and quieter in some cases) than we’d seen from most other competitors. The camera doesn’t have Optical Image Stabilization - and it shows - but the shakiness is not as bad as others when walking around. While exposure was generally accurate, white balance seemed was a bit off too often – we frequently experienced colour casts in video segments and pictures.
Taking pictures is near instant and if the lighting is right, so is the picture. It can be good in low light but certainly not all the time.
At $399 this really is a great-value phone. Compared to the tragic Sony Xperia Performance we reviewed last week, it’s nigh-on-impossible to find $600 worth of differences and features like the fingerprint reader, dualSIM, battery life are actually better. But it’s not an unqualified success with - its hit and miss camera lets the side down a bit. We’d also be inclined to spend the extra $50 and get the 3GB variant with 32GB memory – that’s a good-value upgrade. Elsewhere it's still worth checking-out the slightly-more-expensive Oppo R9 and HTC One X9.
It’s available in Black or White which isn’t too surprising – this may be a very solid, great-value phone, but it’s not particularly exciting. For a bit more you can grab the Huawei P9 with its fantastic Leica camera and better screen. Also interestingly is the imminent arrival of the Alcatel Idol 4S which is $100 cheaper, far more stylish and even comes with a case and a VR headset! We’ll be reviewing that next.
Nonetheless, Motorola (and Lenovo) should be congratulated on what they’ve achieved here. It’s a very good Android phone at a very affordable price.
- Huawei Mate 8 review: probably the best all-round Android phone you can buy
- Review: Periscope users rejoice with Feiyu’s G4 Plus 3-Axis Gimbal for Smartphone video
- Has Corsair fixed the main problem of PC gaming in the living room? Corsair Lapdog review
- What do Sydney's famous landmarks look like in a Pokemon world?
- Logitech G610 Orion Blue keyboard review
- A Phone Power Pack for Pokemon Players
- Sony Xperia X Performance review: You deserve a lot more phone for $999
- Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 is now the company's fastest mobile chip
- FAQ: What the FCC’s 5G vote will mean
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review
- How to make your phone look and work more like stock Android
- The affordable new Moto E grows in size, but not price
- Google Keyboard 5.1 adds customizable themes
- Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?
- 3 things to know about Softbank's plan to acquire ARM
- Jabra Halo Smart review: If you're all talk, this Bluetooth headset is a solid choice
- 11 things that Pokemon Go is changing in the real world
- Samsung files artificial muscle patent for use in flexible smartphones
- Review: The new Moto G/G Plus phones add size, features and cost
- Moto Z review: Motorola proves modular smartphones are the future of mobility
- Moto Z: Is this the Droid you’ve been looking for?
- Moto Z Force review: Motorola's beefier Z smartphone is better without its mods
- Blackberry announces DETK50, a secure US$299 Android phone
- How to take control of your Android notifications
- After delays, Lenovo finally ships its first OLED laptop
- Samsung officially announces the Galaxy Note 7 and a refreshed GearVR
- 7 things you need to know about Samsung's Galaxy Note7
- Moto 360 2nd gen. smart watch review
- Report: Nexus home button animation and 'night light' option appear amid a batch of leaks
- Oppo F1s review: 2016 has another King of the Best Value phones
- Moto X Force review: Leading features from a mid-range phone
- Moto G4 Play review: it's OK
- LG X Power smartphone review
Join the newsletter!
Brought to you by Norton Symantec
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- 2 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Serious Sam 4 teased ahead of E3 showcase
- Dropbox Showcase Now Available to Teams, Along With New Functionality
- Ultimate Ears unveil Alexa-powered BLAST and MEGABLAST smart speakers
- BeoPlay introduce P6 portable speaker
- Jaybird celebrate Earth Day with special edition Jaybird RUN earbuds
PCW Evaluation Team
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus M review: Leaner and meaner
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- Picture Perfect: OPPO prepare their boldest smartphone yet
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior ETL DeveloperOther
- TPSecurity Operations SpecialistQLD
- FTData AnalystOther
- TPDigital Project ManagerNSW
- CCSite Reliability Engineer (SRE)QLD
- FTPrinciple Health Sales Executive - Enterprise IT Healthcare Perm - Syd / MelbNSW
- CCSenior Internet Applications EngineerNSW
- FTDatabase Systems Specialist - AzureOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTSenior iOS Software EngineerOther
- FTArchitect - ServiceNowOther
- FTSenior Project Manager - OFM ImplementationOther
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- TPSenior Software DeveloperSA
- TPChange Management OfficerQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSecurity Operations SpecialistOther
- CCStorage EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Solution Architect - Brisbane locationVIC
- CCFront End Developer, North Sydney, UI knowledge, ReactJS, Adobe ManagementNSW
- CCChange Manager - Australian TelcoVIC
- TPProject Manager - Infrastructure - Data CentreQLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst - PERMANENT -Other
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - Multiple RolesACT