Motorola was starting to become the go to for budget phone options in North America with the Moto G series. Now they’re back, this time under the Lenovo helm, with the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play, and Moto G4 Plus. Our Moto G4 Plus review takes a look at the Plus version of Motorola’s latest offerings.
The Moto G4 Plus has the following features and specifications:
- CPU: 1.5 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 617 octa-core processor
- GPU: 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU
- RAM: 2GB or 4GB
- Storage: 16/32/64GB internal, up to 128GB microSD card support
- Display: 5.5″ 1080p Full HD (401 ppi)
- Battery: 3000 mAh with TurboPower charging
- Water repellent nano-coating
- Networks: 4G LTE (Cat 4), UMTS/HSPA+, GSM
- SIM card: micro-SIM, nano-SIM with included adapter
- Rear camera: 16MP f/2.0 with laser auto-focus and color balancing dual LED flash; 1080p/30fps video capture
- Front camera: 5MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4GHz + 5GHz
- Speakers: front-ported speaker
- Sensors: fingerprint reader, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light
- Dimensions: 153mm x 76.6mm x 9.8mm
- Weight: 155g
- Free storage with Google Photos: Stay automatically backed up and organized, and get two years of storage at original quality.
What’s in the Box
- 1x Moto G4 Plus smartphone
- 1x Wall charger
- 1x Micro-USB to USB cable
- 1x MicroSIM/nanoSIM adapter
- 1x User guide
With a similar design to the previous Moto G offerings, the Moto G4 Plus has a gunmetal coloured aluminum frame. The corners are still rounded, but slightly less rounded than the Moto G (3rd gen). The left side of the phone is where you’ll find the volume up/down rocker about halfway up the phone, with the power button just above that. The Micro-USB port is centered on the bottom, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is likewise centered on the top of the phone. While there are plenty of device still being released with Micro-USB ports, it’d be nice to see more released with USB-C ports instead.
The front of the phone houses the front facing speaker across the top, with the front facing camera to the right of it. The included fingerprint scanner sits centered on the bottom of the front of the screen. At first I was averse to this placement but after getting over my derp moment, simply registered my thumbprint and after less than a day it felt just as easy to use as the back fingerprint scanner on my Nexus 6P.
The back features a slightly textured, removable plastic cover, with the trademark Motorola dimple just under the camera and dual LED flash housing. Removing the cover gives you access to the microSD card slot and microSIM slot. One of the included items that I absolutely loved about the G4 Plus is that Motorola included a microSIM to nanoSIM adapter. It’s a small thing but if you’re swapping phones frequently, or are going from a device that uses a nanoSIM, you don’t have to worry about getting a new SIM card from your cellular provider. Even though the back is removable, the battery isn’t easily replaceable and requires a special screwdriver to remove it from your device.
Unlike the last Moto G though, the Moto G4 Plus isn’t water proof but instead has a water repellent nano-coating. While it’s not waterproof, you don’t have to worry too much about spills, splashes, or light rain on the front and back of the device itself.
The Moto G4 Plus is nicely designed and comfortable to hold and use with one hand. It’s also light, and one of the first things I noticed was how heavy my Nexus 6P feels in comparison.
In the U.S. you can use Moto Maker to further customize your Moto G4 Plus, while in Canada unfortunately you’re stuck with the black 32GB version.
The Moto G4 Plus features a 5.5″ full HD 1920x1080p IPS LCD screen, giving it 401 ppi density. The display is crisp and clear, with good colour representation. The screen is easily visible from various angles and lighting conditions, and the adaptive brightness functionality works as expected.
Running Android 6.01, the Moto G4 Plus has a pretty close to stock interface. At a glance, the only difference I noticed was the addition of a handy Time & Weather widget front and center on the home screen. Pre-installed apps were very slim as well, with only your basic Android and Google apps, an FM Radio app, and Motorola’s Help and Moto apps initially installed on the phone.
In addition to your basic Android interface, Motorola has once again included some of their handy Moto Gestures and display notifications. With the Moto G4 Plus, you can perform a chopping motion twice to toggle the flashlight, place the phone face down to silence notifications and calls, lift the phone when it rings to immediately switch to vibrate mode, and twist your wrist twice to open the camera — even when the phone is locked.
If you’re unfamiliar with Motorola’s display notifications, when enabled, battery friendly notifications fade in and out while the screen is off so you can see what’s going on without turning your phone on. You can choose which apps not to show, select how much detail is shown, as well as set a time range when display notifications don’t appear at all.
The Moto G4 Plus is a great choice if you’re after a pretty much stock Android experience with a few useful gesture additions.
With its 1.5 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 617 octa-core processor and 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU, I really didn’t have any issues with the performance on the Moto G4 Plus. Our review unit came with the Canadian configuration with 32MB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Apps and games loaded quickly and ran fine, and I didn’t experience any freeze ups or crashes while using the device. Games like Hearthstone, Pokémon GO, and other popular casual games ran great, while the same could be said for various email, photo editing, and other apps.
My main complaint with the Moto G (3rd gen) that I reviewed previously was that it only had 1GB of RAM and you noticed it, especially when updating apps. With the extra GB of RAM, that was no longer an issue on the G4 Plus.
For a single speaker, the sound on the Moto G4 Plus actually gets quite loud and when streaming from Google Play music, 50% volume seemed to be about the maximum I wanted to go. Anything louder than that and it was too loud and it started to distort at about 75% volume. You’re definitely not getting much bass or surround sound here, but the sound is definitely adequate for listening to tunes or watching videos in a pinch — typically things you usually use earbuds or headphones for anyways.
The camera on the Moto G4 Plus is pretty decent on both indoor and outdoor photos. Like most smartphone cameras, you can tap the screen to set the focal point. Long pressing will lock the focal point to that spot, and when you set the focal point you also have the option to adjust the exposure (lighter or darker) with a slider. The usual HDR on/off/auto, flash on/off/auto, and timer off/3s/10s options are present as well.
In addition to the default mode, the camera also includes a Professional Mode which lets you adjust settings like manual focus, white balance, shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation.
Other options include being able to toggle the shutter sound, set where your photos are stored (on the phone or microSD card), toggle twist to switch cameras, photo sizes, and video resolution. The 16MP rear camera takes full HD 30fps 1080p video, as well as 120fps qHD (540p) slow motion video.
One thing I did notice however was sometimes the camera was pretty quick to launch and be ready for taking a picture, other times it took a few seconds. Once it did launch, the Moto G4 Plus’ new auto-focus was very quick and responsive.
Call quality on the G4 Plus was decent, there were no issues on either end of the call and the reception on my cell provider was great.
Battery life. The bane of smartphones. Motorola boasts all-day battery with the 3000 mAh battery. The Moto G4 Plus also features TurboPower™ charging, which gives up to 6 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging.
Suffice it to say, the battery easily lasted an average day (unless you’re playing Pokémon GO of course). The TurboPower charging was great for days with heavier use (*cough* Pokémon GO *cough*), and worked quite well to get a quick battery boost in a short time.
Price is a tough one here. In the U.S., the phone starts at $249.99USD for the 16GB version while in Canada only the 32GB version is available at a price starting at $400CAD depending on where you purchase it. Unfortunately the Canadian price puts it on the higher end of budget phone pricing. Still, it performs well, has a fingerprint scanner and has a decent camera and would be a solid purchase for most users.
If you’re looking for a close to stock Android smartphone with great battery life, a decent camera, and a larger screen, the Moto G4 Plus should be on your consideration list.