Motorola details three new Moto G smartphones

The Moto G4, G4 Play, and G4 Plus are a curious expansion to Motorola's budget smartphone line.

If one is good, perhaps three are better. At least, that must be the thinking behind Motorola’s decision to split its Moto G into three distinct phones for the fourth-generation run.

Tuesday’s announcement features not only a new Moto G4, but a G4 Plus and G4 Play. The Moto G4 offers a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 3,000 mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. It also includes fast charging, which Motorola says will get you six hours after a 15-minute boost. Storage options are 16GB and 64GB, with RAM offerings in 2GB or 4GB.

The G4 Plus offers a better camera, with a 16MP shooter that includes laser focus and phase detect autofocus. According to DxOMark, the camera ties with the iPhone 6S Plus and Nexus 6P in its ranked list. Both devices offer Motorola’s always-on display, though largely go with a stock Android experience for the rest of the software.

moto g4 backs Motorola

The Moto G line will feature different color selections for a customized look.

Finally, the G4 Play is the budget one in the line, with a 5-inch display, 2,800 mAh battery, 2GB of RAM, and a 720p screen. It has a Snapdragon 410 processor with storage options of 8GB and 16GB. The G4 Play is splash-proof and has replaceable shells, but it’s still very much a budget smartphone.

The Moto G4 and G4 Plus launch Tuesday in Brazil, and the G4 Plus in India. The phones will branch out internationally this summer, which is when we may see them here in the U.S. The G4 Play will be available “globally” also during the summer months. No U.S. pricing or carrier support is yet available, but they're all promised to be global phones that work on all major carriers. The G4 Plus is priced starting at Rs 13,499 on Amazon India, which is about $200 U.S.

Why this matters: This is the first major launch from Motorola after the company was acquired by Lenovo. And to be honest, it feels a little confusing. On the one hand Motorola is playing to its strongest markets, and is trying to diversify the lineup for various price points. But successful phones in the U.S. tend to come from focused flagship lines that don’t go through major overhauls into new models. Plus by the time it reaches American shores we’ll already be in Nexus rumorville, so it’s hard to see how appealing these might be.

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