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).Read more: Review: HTC One X9 and OPPO R9 - mid-range Android phones
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.
BatteryRead more: Sony Xperia X Performance review: Sony’s most disappointing product in years
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.Read more: Review: Incipio OtterBox and 3Sixt cases for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge
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!
Apple iPhone X
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft takes $550 off the Alienware 15 gaming laptop as time runs out on PC deals
- How to automatically mute a website within Google Chrome, forever
- Amazon's Echo Show has dropped in price by $80
- FCC votes to kill net neutrality in an unsurprising move. What happens now?
- Microsoft knocks $550 off the fantastic Dell XPS 13 as last-minute PC deals get crazier
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- PC World 2017 Editors' Choice Awards Nomineees Announced
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Android DeveloperOther
- CCAutomation Anywhere developerQLD
- FTSenior Salesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Manager - IVRVIC
- FTLead Change ManagerOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTInfra Deployment Lead/- Windows 10 SOE rollout projectOther
- TPSolution Architect | eDRMS | 2 PositionsQLD
- FTSQL DeveloperQLD
- FTCyber Security Program ManagerACT
- CCProject Manager - InfrastructureWA
- FTMS Dynamics CRM DeveloperNSW
- CCWin10 Apps PackagerWA
- FTScrum MasterOther
- TPTechnical WriterACT
- FTIntegeration ArchitectOther
- TPBusiness and Test Analyst | Student Management SystemQLD
- TPSenior Project ManagerNSW
- CCPlatform Engineer - Identity & Access Management - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- FTBI DeveloperWA
- TPProject OfficerNSW
- CCLinux Platform/Development SpecialistACT
- FTJava DeveloperOther