Moto G4 Plus Review


Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-13

Moto G4 Plus was launched in India last month starting at Rs. 13,499. After the Moto G, Moto G (2nd Gen) and Moto G (3rd Gen), Motorola decided to introduce the fourth generation smartphone in two variants, Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus. Even though both the variants share similar specifications, the G4 Plus has a fingerprint sensor and also comes in 3GB RAM version. How good is the smartphone compared to its predecessor and its competition in the similar price range? Let us find out in the review.

Unboxing

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-16

We unboxed the smartphone recently, check out the video below.

Box Contents

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-15

  • Moto G4 Plus smartphone in Black color
  • Headset with microphone
  • 2-pin Turbo Charger (12V-2.15A/9V-2.85A/5V-2.85A)
  • User manual and warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-11

The Moto G (2nd Gen) and Moto G (3rd Gen) smartphones had a 5-inch 720p HD screen, finally the Moto G4 (Plus) comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p screen with a pixel density of about 401 ppi (pixels per inch). It also has a  Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, but the screen is prone to fingerprints. The display is bright compared to last year’s Moto G. The colors are vibrant, viewing angles and the sunlight legibility are good as well. This display is definitely good for the price.

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-02

Even though it has a 5.5-inch screen, it has 71.2% screen-to-body ratio, better than the Moto G3’s screen-to-body ratio of 67%.

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-10

There is an earpiece above the display that also houses the loudspeaker. It has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the front. It has a gyroscope that was not present in the Moto G (3rd Gen), but this lacks the magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer. Due to lack of magnetometer, you don’t get a good experience in some apps such as Google Maps. It also lacks an LED notification light that was present in the first two Moto G smartphones.

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-09

This is the first time Moto has added a fingerprint sensor in its smartphones. This doesn’t act as a home button and the phone doesn’t have capacitive touch buttons either. There is a microphone hole next to the sensor, which looks weird. We will discuss more about the fingerprint sensor later.

The phone has a metal frame, which feels good to hold and doesn’t slip out of hands easily. It is 9.8 mm on the thickest point and is 7.9mm on its thinnest point. The power button has a rough feel, similar to the one on the Nexus 6 and Moto G (3rd Gen). The 3.5mm audio jack is present at the top and the micro USB port is present on the bottom.

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-12

It has a 16MP rear camera on the back with dual-tone LED flash with Laser auto focus. There is a Moto dimple below the camera. It is 153mm tall and 76.6mm wide, which is decent for a phone with a 5.5-inch screen. It is slightly bigger compared to the Redmi Note 3. It weighs 155 grams, same as the last generation Moto G, even though this has a bigger screen and a bigger battery. The back cover has a smooth feel without any patterns. Even though the phone doesn’t have a metal body, the build quality is good.

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-03

Removing the back cover reveals two micro SIM slots with the microSD card slot next to it that accepts cards up to 128GB. The phone also comes with two nano to micro SIM adapters. It has a 3000mAh built-in battery, larger than the 2470 mAh battery on the Moto G (3rd Gen).

Camera

Moto G4 Plus_fonearena-05

The 16-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture, OmniVision sensor, PDAF, Laser auto-focus and dual-tone LED flash is good. The phone has a new camera UI compared to earlier Moto G series of smartphones. It has quick toggles for HDR, flash, timer and switch between front and rear cameras. There is also a manual camera mode that lets you adjust focus, white balance, ISO (100 to 3200) and exposure (-2 to +2). You can double press the power button to launch the camera when the phone is locked.

Coming to the image quality, daylight shots are pretty good and sharp. Colors are vibrant and images are not over saturated. Macro shots are good, thanks to f/2.0 aperture, but it is hard to focus small objects sometimes even though it has laser auto focus and PDAF. HDR shots are good as well. Even though low-light images have a lot of noise as usual, they are not too bad. Dual-tone LED flash helps to maintain the skin color and is not overpowering.

Overall the camera is good for the price. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture and OmniVision OV5693 sensor is just average and is not impressive compared to the predecessor. Check out the some camera samples below. (Click the image to view full resolution sample.)

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-1_Daylight

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-5_macro

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-6_macro

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-9_HDR-OFF
HDR OFF
Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-10_HDR-ON
HDR ON

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-10_low-light

Moto-G4-Plus-Sample-14_flash

Check out the complete set of Moto G4 Plus camera samples here. It can record videos at a maximum of 1080p full HD resolution at 30 fps and doesn’t have 4K video recording due to processor restriction. Video quality is good with nice details. Thanks to secondary microphone, audio quality is good as well. It can also record slow motion videos, but at a maximum of 960 x 540 resolution, so it doesn’t have much details. Check out the video samples below.

Software

Moto G4 Plus Home, Notification, About

Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow), which is almost stock. It recently received the May Android security update. The quick settings menu has slight changes since there is now a dedicated data toggle to quickly turn on the data and also switch between the data SIMs without going into the settings. It also has a new clock homescreen widget that shows weather and date along with time. It has Google Now launcher as default. There is nothing to mention about the software in specific since it offers stock Android experience.

Moto G4 Plus RAM, Storage, Format as internal

In the 3GB RAM variant with 32GB storage, you get 2881MB of usable RAM, out of which 2.2GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 32GB of internal storage you get 24.7GB of usable storage. Since this runs on Marshmallow, you can use the microSD as the internal storage and store apps in it.

Moto G4 Plus RAM and Storage

In the 2GB RAM variant with 16GB of storage, you get 1865MB of usable RAM, out of which 1.1GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 16GB of internal storage you get 10.3GB of usable storage.

Fingerprint Sensor

Moto G4 Plus Fingerprint

The fingerprint sensor is present below the display. Placement of the sensor below the display is not as comfortable as the sensor placement on the back. Fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone will be easier to access since it is the place where your finger rest when you are holding the phone. It is quick to unlock the phone most of the times  as soon as you place your finger on the sensor and offers haptic feedback as well after unlock and if detects a wrong fingerprint. It unlocks the phone even when the screen is off, so you don’t need to unlock the phone for the fingerprint recognition to work. You can add up to 5 fingerprints and you can also use your fingerprint to authorize Google Play purchases.

Apps

Moto G4 Plus Apps

Apart from the usual set of Google apps and utility apps, it doesn’t have any other bloatware. Motorola has removed Migrate app since Android M has built-in backup option and Moto Assist is also gone since Do not disturb in Android Marshmallow offers the same feature.

Moto G4 Plus Moto

It still has Moto Actions that has four features – double karate chop to turn the torch on/off, flip the phone for do not disturb, pick up to stop ringing and Twist the phone to launch the phone’s camera to capture images quickly. The Moto Display offers time at a glance when you pick up the phone and also offers notifications on the black screen when you receive them. You can swipe up to go to particular app that sent the notification or swipe either left or right to dismiss them. Moto Display compensates for the lack of LED notification light. You can also set a time if you don’t want to see Moto Display when you are sleeping.

Music Player and FM Radio

Moto G4 Plus Music Player and FM Radio

Google Play Music is the default music player for playback. It has FM Radio with FM recording. The FM Radio app has a new UI and option to play radio without earphones, but this doesn’t work properly since the earphones act as antenna. It can play 1080p Full HD videos smoothly. The front-facing speaker is quite loud and audio through third-party earphones is good as well.

Dual SIM and Connectivity

Moto G4 Plus Dual SIM and Connectivity

It has Dual SIM option in the settings that lets you customize each SIM cards. It has 4G connectivity with support for LTE bands for India. Both the SIM slots have 4G support, but you can use 4G on only one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 3G. There is a connection priority option that lets you choose Data or Voice. If you prefer Data, when you receive incoming calls on the non-data enabled SIM, it will go to voicemail when data is active. Other connectivity features include, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. It also has USB OTG (on-the-go) support, but lacks NFC support.

Performance and Benchmarks

Moto G4 Plus Benchmarks_fonearena-01

It is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 64-bit processor (Even though CPU-Z shows it as Snapdragon 615) that has four ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.52GHz per core and other four Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.21 GHz per core, faster than the Snapdragon 615. The performance is good in both the 3GB RAM as well as 2GB RAM variants. We tested several games, which were smooth and graphics is also good. The phone gets heated quickly during intensive gaming and when using the camera. Wish the company had gone with a better processor like the Snapdragon 650 that doesn’t have any heating issues. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

AnTuTu Benchmark 6

Moto G4 Plus AnTuTu 6

It scored 45885 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 6.

Geekbench 3 Multi-Core

Moto G4 Plus Geekbench 3 Multi-Core

It scored 3123 points in the Geekbench 3 Multi-Core benchmark.

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

Moto G4 Plus 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

It scored 9833 points in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited GPU benchmark and grabbed third spot.

Basemark X 1.1

Moto G4 Plus Basemark X 1.1

It scored 11766 points and grabbed the third spot in the Basemark X 1.1 GPU benchmark. Check out the complete set of Moto G4 Plus benchmarks here.

Battery life

Moto G4 Plus FA One Charge Rating Pie Chart

The Moto G4 Plus packs a 3000mAh built-in battery, slightly larger than the Moto G3’s 2,470 mAh battery. With average use it lasts for the whole day, but with heavy use such as gaming and some 4G, you can’t expect a brilliant battery life, even though it packs a 3000mAh battery. You can enable battery saver to extend the battery life when the battery is low. Since it has Turbo Charging, it can charge the phone up to 50% in about half an hour using the bundled Turbo charger. The phone gets heated when using the charger, which is common in Turbo charging.

In our battery test the Moto G4 Plus achieved a One Charge Rating of  11 hours and 38 minutes, mainly due to high scores in the talk time test. This is slightly less than Moto G 3rd Gen’s battery test rating of 11 hours and 50 minutes due to bigger high-resolution display compared to the predecessor. Check out the complete set of battery life test results here.

Conclusion

Starting at Rs. 13,499, the Moto G4 Plus is no doubt a worthy successor to the Moto G (3rd Gen) mainly due to improvement in the display and camera department. It also has a fingerprint sensor and the performance is good as well, even though it has minor heating issues. It has some drawbacks as well. Motorola has missed the notification LED again, the phone is not water-resistant like its predecessor since it only has nano coating and it also lacks a magnetometer.

If you miss the notification LED and magnetic sensor, Lenovo’s ZUK Z1 that is priced similar, is a good alternative. It also has a huge 4100mAh battery, runs Cyanogen OS that offers a lot of customization options and comes with a better front-facing camera. If you can’t spend more and don’t need a stock Android experience, the Redmi Note 3 is still one of the best phones under Rs. 9999. The Moto G4 Plus is currently available exclusively from Amazon.in.

Pros

  • Good display
  • Good camera
  • Good performance
  • Fingerprint sensor is fast
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Gets heated occasionally
  • Not water-resistant
  • No notification LED

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+