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Moto G4 Plus review: A memorable upgrade

The Takeaway

Lenovo's first full cycle with the Moto brand seems to be off to a good start, at least with the most powerful variant, the Moto G Plus. While the device shares a number of hardware specs with the Moto X Play, a slimmer, more approachable design, and the addition of a fingerprint sensor, make this one of the best devices in its class.

The Good

  • Nice, simple design
  • Fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate
  • Good camera quality and features
  • No-nonsense Android software

The Bad

  • Snapdragon 617 processor feels overworked
  • Lacks popular Moto Voice features
  • Loose, plasticky buttons and back cover
  • 5.5-inch Full HD
  • IPS LCD Display
  • 1920x1080 resolution (400ppi)
  • 16MP, ƒ/2.0 lens, PDAF, laser AF
  • 5MP front camera, ƒ/2.2 lens, wide-angle
  • 3000 mAh capacity
  • Quick Charge 2.0
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • Octa-core (4x 1.5Ghz, 4x 1.2Ghz)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD slot with adoptable storage

A sober, safe upgrade

Moto G4 Plus Full Review

The Moto G has gone through a fascinating journey since its introduction three years ago. What started as a bet on the burgeoning mid-range market by Google, Motorola's then-owner, has grown into the smartphone maker's most popular line.

Now fully ensconced under new owner, Lenovo, the Moto G family has expanded to include three handsets, the most capable of which is the new G4 Plus variant, which looks and feels identical to the regular G4 but offers more RAM, double the storage, and a higher-megapixel rear camera. Oh, and a fingerprint sensor. Together, these add up to a considerable upgrade over the previous generation, and, from a branding perspective, raises the G's pedigree close to the Moto X Play, which debuted last year.

About this review

I (Daniel Bader) am publishing this review after using an unlocked black XT1641 variant of the Moto G4 Plus for about a week, running Android 6.0.1 with the May 1, 2016 security patch. The build number is MPJ24.139-23.2.

Most of the review was written while connected to the Rogers 4G LTE network in Canada.

Plastic in a good way

Moto G4 Plus Hardware

The designs of every Moto G to date have been informed by the times: each year, the device has grown considerably in size, sprouting from a one hand-manageable 4.5-inches in its first venture to a more year-appropriate 5.5-inches today. In that time, as relatively battery thickness has flattened to accommodate the increased surface area, the product has remained largely the same weight.

What personality the phone has is directly related to its near-symmetrical austerity.

But that physical flattening has also affected the notable design flourishes Motorola was known for over the past few years: under new boss Lenovo, the Moto G4 Plus resembles any number of big-screen Android smartphones with fingerprint sensors and rounded corners. Even around back, the brand's personality has all but vanished.

Moto G4 Plus

What's left is a handset with, aside from the camera "strip" on the back, few differentiating features — which is perhaps the perfect way to broaden the Moto G's ascendent appeal to markets far beyond its core few. Like the previous models, the Moto G4 Plus features a removable plastic back with no access to the embedded battery, which has received a capacity boost of 21.4% to 3000 mAh.

Familiar placements for the power and volume buttons on the right side reveal the first evidence the G4 is firmly in the budget market: the plastic extrusions are flimsy and loose, not quite rattly, but awfully close. Elsewhere, the headphone jack and micro-USB ports are centred on the top and bottom of the phone, respectively, capping off a continued tradition of ultra-simplicity.

Moto G4 Plus

What personality the phone has is directly related to its near-symmetrical austerity. Unlike similar devices from HTC and Samsung, Lenovo flanks the centred fingerprint sensor with nothing but free space; the company continues to use Android's virtual navigation buttons as it has since the original Moto X in 2013.

Differing from its metal competitor, HTC's One A9, that fingerprint sensor doesn't even function as a home button, but despite its diminutive appearance, works well in most situations.

The 5.5-inch Full HD display on the Moto G4 Plus is also its biggest asset; vibrant and sharp, with ample brightness for most situations, it was likely lifted from last year's Moto X Play, with which the G4 Plus shares more than a few internals. Considering the same screen also graces the cheaper and more widely-available Moto G4, this is something to be celebrated.

Here's the thing, though: the Moto G4 Plus arrests the progress made by its predecessors in some important ways. Despite sufficient space for an HTC 10-like dual-speaker setup, the G4 Plus has only one, embedded in the earpiece above the display. (Stereo speakers debuted in the second-generation Moto G and disappeared a year later, but still.) Perhaps more importantly, the Moto G4 Plus lacks the IPX7 water resistance of its immediate predecessor, a feature that was unprecedented for the price. On their own, they're not big omissions, but together they, like the physical device itself, represent a flattening of features.

Moto G4 Plus

Simple, stock

Moto G4 Plus Software

Like most devices with the Moto moniker, the Moto G4 Plus runs what can only be called a barebones version of Android — specifically Android 6.0.1, with the May 1, 2016 security patch — with all but the most minor of changes over what you'd find on a Nexus phone.

Indeed, from the Google Now Launcher to the removal of Motorola's own Gallery app in favor of Google Photos, the only recognizably "Moto" piece of software is the app of the same name, which controls what we've come to know as Moto Display, and Moto Actions.

Lenovo has clearly influenced the Moto G's external design, but has left the software experience alone.

The former is put to good use here, and has received an upgrade over previous versions. While the Moto G4 Plus lacks the infrared sensors of its more expensive Moto X Style counterpart, it engages the phone's accelerometer to determine when to pulse the latest three sets of notifications. As in years past, these bubbles can be previewed by merely tapping on them — though this year they are more information-dense, and show color — or engaged by sliding up to unlock the phone. This always-on display is now standard across flagships, from the LG G5 to the Samsung Galaxy S7, but Moto devices still do it best.

Moto G4 Plus

Moto Actions are a bit more idiosyncratic, but no less useful: you'll be double-chopping the phone to engage the flashlight, and double-twisting it to quickly enter the camera. Pick up the phone upon receiving a call to change the ringer to vibrate, or flip it onto its face to silence it altogether.

Still, as far as the G series has come, it still lacks Moto Voice, the ability to engage the phone with a key phrase like "OK Moto" and be read emails, texts, or Google Now responses. That it was present on the less-powerful Moto X Play means that either Lenovo is phasing out the feature (we'll see when the new Moto X/Z products launch in early June), or wants to use such it to differentiate its flagship line from its budget one.

Moto G4 Plus

Though Lenovo has clearly influenced the Moto G's external design, it appears the company has left the software experience alone. (Unfortunately, the Chinese OEM didn't take the opportunity to demand the Moto team change its awful default ringtone, which is so dissonant and jarring it may be illegal in several countries.) From the the notification shade and quick settings to the standard Marshmallow multitasking menu, Android largely gets out of its own way, paving the way to engage in Google's services (by default) and the thousands of other Android apps in the Play Store.

Moto G4 Plus

Another area the Moto G4 Plus shines is in the integration of expandable storage into the operating system. Employing Adoptable Storage feature, a microSD card up to 128GB in size can be formatted to seamlessly work alongside the 32GB of internal storage. I did just that, formatting a 32GB SanDisk card to augment what shipped with the phone, and the OS silently began installing apps and storing files on the new partition, with no detriment to performance.

Moto G4 Plus

A spec bump stutter

Moto G4 Plus Performance

On paper, the jump from a quad-core Snapdragon 410 chip in last year's Moto G to a Snapdragon 617 in this year's is a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, said chip is only slightly more capable. With eight Cortex-A53 cores instead of four, the 617 is derived from the Snapdragon 615, which is nearly two years old by now, replaced by Qualcomm's own 650-series lineup.

For a mid-range phone with a value-first pedigree, this shouldn't be a problem — and in my testing I found no show-stopping performance issues — but the Plus moniker is betrayed somewhat by the phone's anemic spec sheet. This is compounded by the bait-and-switch presence of just 2GB of RAM alongside the 32GB of storage (Lenovo advertised two variants upon announcement, 3/32 and 2/16) and the phone's long-term performance outlook becomes a bit murkier.

To say that I am impressed by the G4 Plus's rear camera would be an understatement.

On more than one occasion, a background process jammed up the foreground app, requiring me to manually end them one by one until I found the culprit. Worse, the camera app was consistently slow to open, forcing me to wait up to three seconds before the shutter button would respond. Once loaded, the camera app was a dream, but this all speaks to the fact that the Snapdragon 617 doesn't solve a fundamental issue of Qualcomm's low-cost chips: Cortex-A53 just isn't very powerful. Adding an extra four cores at 1.2Ghz doesn't address the A53's lackluster single-core performance.

Still, for 95% of people 90% of the time, the Moto G4 Plus has more than enough horsepower to get the job done.

Moto G4 Plus

A delightful surprise

Moto G4 Plus Cameras

Before Lenovo purchased it, Motorola spent a lot of time emphasizing that camera quality was one of the main areas of investment in the Moto G line. Improving from a 5MP lens in the first generation to 8MP and then 13MP in the second and third respectively, Lenovo split the difference this time around, giving the plain Moto G4 an improved 13MP sensor and its Plus counterpart a brand new 16MP module. Paired with a sharp f2.0 lens and a brand new camera app, the Moto G4 Plus has proven to be a superlative filmic companion.

Part of the G4 Plus's photographic prowess comes from its dual autofocus system, a now-perfunctory Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) system, along with a rare-in-this-price-bracket laser focus assistant, both of which function to reliably find subjects near or far in any measure of lighting conditions.

To say that I am impressed by the G4 Plus's rear camera would be an understatement. In sunlight, the G4 Plus takes photos with ample detail and plenty of color, promptly adjusting exposure in various lightning conditions with a tap on the screen. In Automatic mode, the G4 Plus makes the right decision most of the time, and engages HDR (which is set to Auto by default) only when absolutely necessary. Unlike the Nexus 5X, Lenovo errs on the side of keeping it off unless the scene absolutely warrants it.

What Lenovo has proven with this year's Moto G4 Plus is that super high-quality photos are now available in the sub-$300 market.

Lenovo has also revamped its HDR processing, both for better and for worse. It is now considerably more powerful, able to properly expose highly contrasting areas — such as the one above — without losing detail in the shadows or blowing out the highs. To do that, though, HDR is considerably slower than it used to be, prompting users to hold their hand steady during the shot. It's a thoughtful and reassuring addition, but won't alleviate the issues with movement that often ruin multi-exposure photos.

The Moto G4 Plus also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve to quickly get to the camera. In addition to the aforementioned double-twist gesture, users can press the power button twice to get to the camera and, provided there are no loading issues, begin taking photos quickly.

Moto G4 Plus

But this year, Moto's camera app has a new Professional mode, which adds manual controls in a fashion we've seen from the likes of HTC, Samsung and LG. The UI resembles HTC's Manual mode most distinctly, with drop-down tabs that can be adjusted on a vertical slider. Focus, shutter speed, white balance, ISO (light sensitivity), and exposure compensation are all here.

Shutter speed is adjustable from 1/5 s to 1/3200, so this isn't the phone for those looking to capture steadycam time-lapses of the moving night sky. Similarly, ISO is adjustable from 100 to 3200, though many daylight captures taken in Auto mode went as low as ISO64. The sensor itself is capable of some fine things, and shots taken in poor light are still more than usable at ISO2000.

What Lenovo has proven with this year's Moto G4 Plus is that super high-quality photos are now available in the sub-$300 market. Phones double that price reached that level a couple of years ago, however, and have since been packing in extra features to justify the investment. To wit, the G4 Plus lacks stabilization of any kind, and the Snapdragon 617's bandwidth-limited nature limits video capture to 1080p at 30fps. Quality itself is quite good — again, better than I expected — but unremarkable.

On the selfie side, the G4 Plus has a similar-sounding 5MP sensor and f/2.2 lens combo as last year, but the company reports improvements in both areas. Specifically, the lens is considerably wider than its predecessor's (around 100-degrees compared to 72-degrees) and it also supports autofocus, a dramatic improvement over the fixed-focus variety in the third-generation Moto G. And like many selfie-capable smartphones today, the G4 Plus mimics a front-facing flash by momentarily illuminating the screen prior to the shutter.

Moto G4 Plus

All-day companion

Moto G4 Plus Battery

Here's the thing: Lenovo packed a 3000 mAh battery into a device that's 7.9 mm thick and available for around $300. That's remarkable in itself, but there are inevitably going to be people who complain that the cell isn't as big as the X Play's 3630 mAh cell. To them, I'll say this: don't worry.

One advantage of the Cortex-A53 cores inside the Snapdragon 617 is their power-sipping nature. I used the G4 Plus for about a week as my main phone and never once had to recharge it in the afternoon for fear of it dying. But charge it I did, mainly to see how quickly the included TurboPower charger — Motorola's branding for Quick Charge 2.0-capable adapters — tops up the device. And it's quick: since the cell is actually smaller than the X Play, it takes less time overall — around 90 minutes — to charge it from zero to full, but a 20-minute top-up provides between 15 and 20% depending on the battery's state.

Moto G4 Plus

The bottom line

Moto G4 Plus? Buy it

Over the years, being the lucky fellow I am, I've rarely been happy transitioning from the inevitably powerful flagship in my pocket to testing a mid-range or entry-level device. The Moto G has consistently been the exception.

This year, the most powerful Moto G does away with some of the frills of its previous incarnations, including front-facing stereo speakers and water resistance, but it makes up for it in improved build quality, vastly better performance, and an awesome rear camera.

On its own, the Moto G4 Plus is easy to recommend, but it goes up against a number of incredibly competitive products, including the Nexus 5X, the newly-discounted OnePlus 2, and the upcoming Alcatel Idol 4. Indeed, Motorola (and by extension, Lenovo) no longer owns the low-cost, high-quality Android space, but if the Moto G4 Plus is any indication, it's not going down without a brawl.

Where to buy the Moto G4 Plus

The Moto G4 Plus have been announced in India and Canada so far, with more markets to come.

In India, the device is already available for ₹14,499.

In Canada, the device is coming in early June for around $400 outright, which usually translates to around $50 on a 2-year contract.

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

112 Comments
  • Promising for the Moto Z (moto x 2016) based the camera performance of the Moto G4. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But both the Moto G4's don't have a compass sensor which means maps functionality reduced and no VR compatibility. These points are missed in a lot of reviews.
  • So that means that Maps/Waze/Etc. will not work to its maximum capabilities? Or what does the lack of a compass sensor really means?
  • It means the pointer wont turn with you on navigation apps, not a big deal Posted from outer space on my Moto X Style
  • That is a shame. I guess I'll get the X Play then.
  • Daniel discussing camera performance? Ruh roh!
  • Seems like they could have included last year's flagship processor (810/808) and still fit in the mid-range price category. I don't quite get the purpose of the removable back if the battery isn't replaceable - seems like a waste.
  • Agreed. The next company who puts out a solid handset with a replaceable battery will have a clear USP in the current market.
  • Last year's flagship SoCs from Qualcomm are garbage. Put a 801 or a 650/ 652 in it or go home. 617 is potato class. 810 808 are OMG let's forget we ever shipped such a pile of crap class But this is the mobile space. Where so many people think current gen potato class SoCs is better than N-1 ones. OMG IT'S NEWER!!! So they can get away with it. Because specs don't matter! Maybe now we can finally cure this delusional thinking with android daydream. Posted via the Android Central App
  • 820 is pretty damn good though. Glad Qualcomm got their sh*t together. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • Indeed. But that silicon isn't going to make it into Moto's mid-range device A OEM could put a 820 into a 300 dollar range device. But not one that is trying to sell their flagship model at the 450-550 range. Because that extra 10 bucks or so they pay for the top their silicon = jacked up prices and super high margins Posted via the Android Central App
  • no problem with the 810 in my 6p ... probably more the exception than rule though ... I agree with the 801, it's still a solid chip Posted via the Android Central App
  • The SD810 on the Nexus 6P doesn't seem to be as bad as earlier phones with the same chip. It still does throttle, but doesn't seem to adversely affect the user-experience in daily use. I think optimized software might play a significant role here. And I, too, agree that even in 2016, the SD801 is still a capable processor.
  • Everyone forgets about the SD805. Better than 801. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Completely 100% agree. Loved my Note 4. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • Probably better than the 808 too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's nothing but the best of the best. Google developed it to perfection running the 810. Qualcomm essentially greatly reduced throttling issues with it throughout the production of
    V 2.1. They also boosted performance on the A57 cores. The 430 is also a monster. Basically in my experience and 90% of the people I've read it's performance is flawless and as smooth as it gets Posted via the Android Central App
  • I still think the 810 is quite the dud, but at least the 6P wasn't adversely crippled by it. Performance in daily use was as fast as you'd expect.
  • It was a dud. But not even remotely on the 6P. It's internal design and the way it handles thermal dissipation is without a doubt the best implementation of the 810 by quite a bit. So the A57's and 53's can do what they were built to do along with that monster 430 GPU. Be blazing fast. It's all about the combo of software optimization and the tweaks Qualcomm progressively made with V 2.1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Don't forget software. The one factor that some people miss but I think is quite significant.
  • It's one of the most significant factors Posted via the Android Central App
  • I agree with that. Especially now, when phones have become so powerful to the point where new processors don't have a performance impact as significant as before in daily use. Even Samsung looks to have finally understood.
  • Ya it's crazy, the 820 is a big performance boost over the 810 on paper and benchmarks but side by side anything running it is just a hair faster than the 6P in prolonged tests from all the comparisons I've seen. It's all about software optimization Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wish Samsung let everyone use the 7420. That was the chipset of 2015. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • Yeah, the 7420 was quite the beast.
  • Nothing could quite compare besides the Apple A9. Man, FinFet makes all the difference. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • The A9 was a beast as well. It may only have 2 cores, but each of those cores do pack quite a punch. I actually have the larger iPad Pro with the A9X and it's also pretty darn beastly. Only thing is that they're only on Apple's devices. I think a lot of flagship processors in 2015 were duds, really, especially the 810. The Exynos 7420 and the Apple A9 seem to be the ones that really came out on top.
  • Same here. They produced a highly efficient, powerful SoC with the 7420. The 8890 is the best of the best too. It's got the A9 beat overall Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, the 8890 is a stellar performer. Single-core performance is only a touch lower compared to the 820 and A9 and its multi-core performance is crazy. We probably won't notice it much in daily-use, but the Exynos-powered GS7 is pretty darn Fast, with a capital F.
  • My Moto X Force literally almost never throttles, nor does it overheat. I can benchmark it right now after about 30 min. of consistent use and still get a 4,600 score out of it in Geekbench. Even when this phone does get warm, it doesn't lag. The only time it gets hot is when it is charging, because remember it is a turbocharger. And my Nexus 6p runs a little cooler than my MXF, but theottles a little bit, unlike the Moto X force. Both perform amazing. Also the oneplus 2, even with its CPU being under locked by 2/10 of a GHz, had a well optimized CPU that didn't throttle much and one could still get more performance out of one (CPU and GPU) than the HTC or Sony with the CPU at its standard clockspeed. Given these well optimized devices that are toe and toe with the exynos 7420, I think Qualcomm was the problem with this whole overheating thing; it's just that HTC does not understand how properly to optimize CPU performance; hell, even their 10 gets a bit more toasty than some other SD820 phones and the CPU throttles down way sooner. Just look at the benchmarks; the phone can score a geekbench score of 5,300 one moment, open a few apps and the phone is already a little warmer than its competitors and is scoring 3,600 on geekbench. And Sony simply could not optimize their SD810, even with the Z5 series. Given that Motorola, even Motorola under Lenovo, knows how to get some killer performance out of their phones, as do some other brands, that proves to me that Qualcomm really wasn't the problem here. It was HTC and SONY that ruined qualcomm's reputation by releasing poorly optimized phones, especially HTC. The mediatek helio x10 powered M9+ did not solve this problem; it actually overheated too. I am not hating on HTC, because otherwise their phones are amazing especially the 10, but their phones usually do run hotter than their competition. The SD820 is mediocre on the HTC 10, LG G5, and Galaxy S7, which are usually the slowest phones of their year in their respective class, and the SD820 is KILLER on the new ZTE axon 7. Judging by how well their phones are optimized performance-wise, the SD820 will probably be an absolute beast on the Moto Z Style, too, as well as the oneplus 3.
  • I think that that the issue was definitely the 810 but it could have not been as bad. There's a reason LG went from the 810 in its Flex 2 to the 808 for the G4 and V10, which both got better performance than the Flex 2. Having a 20nm chip instead of the 14/16nm FinFet chips made that 810 get pretty warm. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • They went with the 808 because they couldn't effectively develop for the 810 at the time., Them and HTC as well. That's not to say it wasn't Qualcomm's fault because it was mostly. The early crops of 810's were poorly optimized compared to the later more refined V 2.1 along with continuing software optimization. To me the 6P is proof of just how powerful the 810 and 430 are capable of being. It's very impressive, and while you wouldn't think that its much faster than the 808 in the X pure when doing daily things, I was surprised to see that side by side that it really is. What's also impressed me about the 6P has been the crazy good memory management. Many apps are able to run in the background most times Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sure the early 810 iterations were not as well optimized in themselves as later versions were, but there were some phones that used the early versions and did not have the issues HTC and LG had. Case in point, the Leeco (then Letv) one pro and one max had the early SD810, and they were as well optimized as a new s 6p or Moto X force, and they did not overheat. The xiaomi mi note pro got toastier than the later SD810s but performed similarly. Some of the problen was Qualcomm using the 20nm process instead of 14nm for such a CPU but the problem was mostly within the manufacturers utilizing it and doing a terrible job at optimizing the CPU to perform well within their devices. The 808 CAN run cooler than the SD810 due to effectively being an SD810 3/4, but even then, the LG G4 overheats. The phone literally gets to 52/53° C after 20-30 minutes of intensive The problems the SD810 had within HTC and LG devices were tagged as problems for the entire CPU, and this is partially true. The SD810 did get hotter than other top end CPUs, but the original SD810 still performed well, even if it ran hotter than others, case in point the Xiaomi mi note pro and to a greater extent the Letv one pro, and Letv one max; but it, in a well optimized phone, even in its original state before revision, did not normally get as hot as the HTC one m9 or the LG G flex 2. If I was more conservative, I would have been able to put 2 and 2 together before 2015 ended, and understood why HTC and LG had the worst performing SD810s (and 808s). HTC, as I have said, is not very good at managing thermal conductivity of their smartphones or throttling, with even their SD820 powered HTC 10 getting hotter and throttling sooner the Galaxy S7 and even the LG G5, and Samsung does not get very good performance out of the CPUs they use compared to some others. As for LG, they are not as bad as HTC at managing throttling and overheating, but they are not so great either. Their LG G3 had a bad overheating problem with the SD801, and it lagged more than even the S5, and since QHD was a new thing, people blamed it on that. But the QHD was not the problem, given that Oppo managed to put a QHD screen on their find 7 and manage performance decently. Its battery life was not good but it was usable with no problems. The G flex 2 was a mess, obviously, but more surprising is the G4. It overheats, too, and it has an 808. After 20 minutes of playing GTA San Andreas on my cousin's G4, it was a hot and barely comfortable to hold, lagging mess of a phone. By comparison, the Moto X pure display model I used at best buy worked just fine after 20 min. of Asphalt 8, with no lag or frame drops during gameplay, and it was warm after this period of time, but worked fluidly, with no lags or stuttering. LGs Nexus 5x with the 808 does not have an overheating problem like the G4..... because it has a throttling problem. Anandtech claims this phone can only maintain peak frequency and speed for 2 minutes of normal usage, before it throttles down to speeds below that of an SD615. Try benchmarking it 3 times, and your score would go from 3500 geekbench down to 1900 geekbench. The score on an MXPE would go from about 3600 to maybe about 3200. Not saying the Nexus is a bad phone, as it is an excellent phone and definitely more liveable than the G4, but it throttles like crazy and also lags a little during gameplay. Even this Moto G⁴ plus with a slower 617 would maintain a faster CPU and GPU speed. And I cannot speak for the V10.
  • All are good points. The 20 nm node process definitely has something to do with earlier issues. That and the issues with throttling when all 4 A57 cores are online with poor software optimization of course. I hadn't realized there was such a performance disparity between early 810 flagships, but I do know the M9 and G flex 2 were terrible at launch and for some time after. The G4 was also horrendously developed by LG, but they really impressed with the V10 and G5. Surprisingly the V10 generally performs extremely well running the 808. I used to fear the 810 and I was somewhat disappointed when Google decided to go with it in the 6P. But that's turned a complete 180 for me after seeing what a beast it really is with very highly optimized Android firmware Posted via the Android Central App
  • The V10 was a beast with the 808, like the X pure. The mi note pro was really good with the 810 before revision, but software optimization makes the difference between a well operating device and one that is garbage. HTC has a light skin as a saving grace, but actual performance for its respective CPU and management of overheating and throttling is poor on their phones, along with most LG phones. Samsung is just as bad as HTC but in the opposite way, with their management of overheating and throttling being mediocre but better than HTC, but since Touch wiz is so damn heavy, the phone lags and stutters like freaking crazy. You can have a phone with the fastest processor ever and if it is not optimized well, it can run worse than something like this. Like I said, yes the SD810, even before it was revised, ran slightly warmer than others of its class, but performed as well, maybe slightly below (due to 20nm process instead of 14nm) the exynos 7420. Look at the early SD810 phones with good optimization, like the Xiaomi mi note pro and the Letv one pro/max. They perform a little worse than a nexus 6p or an MXF, and a little worse than the exynos 7420 phones the 6p and MXF are on par with, but the problem of overheating and throttling was exacerbated by the optimization (or lack thereof) on HTCs and LGs part. Also, on the flip side, a phone called the YU Yutopia (by an upstart, runs cyanogenmod, sold in India) uses the SD810 v2.1, and since YU is total garbage and they cannot figure out how to make awesome hardware on paper run like awesome hardware in real life, their SD810 v2.1 revised phone lags and stutters like it was purchased at the 99¢ store and overheats and throttles like the HTC one M9. It literally becomes uncomfortable to hold after 10 minutes like the HTC one M9, from what people say. Yet again, qualcomm's CPU ran a little warmer than other flagship CPUs, but the problem was not even a problem with well optimized phones like xiaomi mi note pro, and Letv's first flagship smartphones, and even with the SD810 revised v2.1 and the SD808, overheating and throttling was a huge issue with phones that have horrible optimization.
  • That's some good info. There's no doubt that optimization plays the largest role in performance, which is why benchmarks are somewhat meaningless. Looking at what Google did with the 6P, wow. That's some excellent development. Between that and the hardware I'm liking it even more than I thought I would. I have the gold variant and Its easily the best phone I've had, and I think the best Android device of 2015 Posted via the Android Central App
  • True. The best two phones of 2015 were 1. The Nexus 6p and 2. The Moto X force. That's why I have them! Benchmarks are not always meaningless; optimization is the biggest factor, but sometimes you gotta use benchmarks to understand how well your CPU and GPU are optimized to the phone compared to others with the same or similar processor.
  • I'd say the best phones were the 6P/5X and Note 5/ S6 Edge+/ S6 Edge/ S6. The G4 and V10 were good as well. Didn't like any Moto phones from last year due to the regression in display technology (IMO) and they just aren't like they were under google. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • What I personally thought were the best last year were the Nexus 6P and even the iPhone 6s, along with the Note 5.
  • Everyone has a different opinion. I cannot stand Samsung phones because even though they slimmed touchwiz down, it still is garbage. Moto AMOLEDs used to suck, they were 200 nits max and white was freaking yellow. The only OLED screen on a Moto that was as good as competition (about as good as the Nexus 6p) was the P-OLED on the MXF. And Moto under Lenovo is not a problem, it is a good thing. Google's Moto phones had the same features of these, but it's supposed to be that way. Motorola was washed of some of their parents, but it took Lenovo to do something that was as innovative as the OG Moto X, and that is the modular Moto Z. All we lost was the curved back. The main problem for Moto was that everything stayed the same/too similar to how it was in 2013. Lenovo has left a lot alone, they are just making modular, different looking phones. I don't like the new design as much, but it's nice and cool. Moto is not the same as it was under google; but yet again Moto can't stay the same. Things have changed, but that's good.
  • Furthermore the 5X was a good upper-midrange phone, but not a high end phone by any means. And you may as well have a 615 in your phone due to how bad the nexus 5x throttles. Other than that, it was great. G4 had an overheating problem but it is a good phone, but the V10 was just great. The whole galaxy 2015 series was garbage. Their battery life was below average, they had touchwiz (garbage), and they lagged like crazy. Hell, the S7 lags a little; less than the S6 as it is newer, but touchwiz is the reason why Samsung phones are garbage.
  • Solid points all around. I totally agree with you on the LG G4 being pretty darn hot. I've had 2 and both got really hot. I don't really do benchmarks, but I had an opportunity to try Antutu on a OnePlus 2 more recently, and for the sake of curiosity, I put the LG G4 next to it to see how they fared during sustained use. Well, both throttled. And while the OnePlus 2 was pretty warm on its metal parts, the LG G4 was really hot on its camera module (where the SoC is located), and the top portion of the screen was actually hot enough to make it uncomfortable to touch.
  • Strange. My moto x force throttles like hell, always overheating in my pocket and everything, albeit my oneplus one would reach battery temperatures of up to 50 Celsius, where as this never goes above 46, but instead it just gets hot quicker. Sometimes when it gets above 35, opening apps becomes a difficult task because everything lags up and crashes and I've had it freeze. TBH my oneplus one had less problems than this and that says something. Smartlock doesnt really work on it either and occasionally when it disconnects from my zenwatch i literally cannot connect back to it until many attempts later.
    Not to mention the constant pop-up dialogues i get several times a day telling me that an app, or more, has crashed. I've had multiple "system UI has stopped" dialogues as well. I think android 6.0 has ruined this phone, I'm only on december security patch.
    Oh and using it whilst charging for me is a no-no, because the amount of lag I get is extreme. Same for using it whilst an app updates or something.
  • Then the problem is you have a poorly binned CPU. A device can have the same CPU as another and one could run like a charm and the other could do what yours is doing. Since overheating is not normally an issue with the Moto X force, it has to do with the bin number; the lower the bin number, the better the processor will operate. Not all processors are created equal. For example, the HTC 10 normally throttles down a lot quicker than its SD820 competition. However, some of the phones that HTC produces off of that line with that processor perform better than the GS7(SD820) and the processors that have been poorly binned will cause the phone to perform terribly, overheat, throttle, whatnot. We can make generalized analyse about a device's performance and behavior, but there are always exceptions to that rule. Moto cannot be blamed for such issues you are having, just as Google and Huawei cannot be blamed for those out there with Nexus 6p's that perform like this, because there are some Nexus 6p's that overheat and throttle just as your X force does. Neither my X force or my Nexus 6p overheat, they perform normally as compared to the rest of the lineup of each respective device. For example, the note 5 is not supposed to overheat and throttle. I used one at best buy that they were allowing customers to use, not a display model, as I was considering buying one and I didn't wanna use a display model. It lagged to the point of being completely unusable, and geekbench 3 crashed. I couldn't even type on the keyboard. This happened because that phone had a very poorly binned exynos 7420. You cannot control the binning of your processor in your phone, and this goes for any phone. Phones and computers with poorly binned CPUs get RMAd all the time, so since your phone is not acting like it is supposed to, I would suggest you RMA and then try and get a new Moto X force and see if that one overheats and throttles like this one. None of the Droid Turbo 2s I have used had overheating and throttling problems because their CPUs were decently binned, and they operated like the reviews said they did. Even if you get a different phone, there is still a chance of it acting like garbage. And the company cannot be blamed for the issue if it is a poorly binned processor that is causing the phone to act like yours does.
  • You're gonna need to fully wipe and factory reset your X force so you can start from scratch. Problem solved Posted via the Android Central App
  • The 808 isn't a bad chip. I've had no issues with it on my Nexus 5x. Performance is good, battery life is good, and it definitely doesn't get very hot. Posted via the Android Central app on my Nexus 5X with Project Fi
  • Or just buy last year's flagship for damn near the same price and get a better phone all around. That's why this $200-300 "midrange" tier makes no sense. You can absolutely find a G4 or S6 on new egg or eBay at these same prices if you're patient. Posted via the Android Central App
  • QUIET!!!! You are making to much sense. Shush now. Haha I have bought previous years flagships for under $400 new for years. If you go with a used or refurbished that is like new, you can get them under $300. I never understood the new. I am eyeing a LG G4 refurbished for around $325. Tell me that won't spank this phone in every category. I have never felt like I am missing out when buying last years flagships. I might buy this phone a year from now when they are discounted to the $199 mark because that is about the most I will pay for new. I admit, it is fun to buy new, but it truly is a waste of money these days and whenever I start thinking about it, common sense takes over and I ultimately make the right decision and you get the added benefit of seeing which phones ended up having problems and you get updated (fixed) patches that resolve issues that everyone else had to wait and suffer with on the new phone. Funny thing is, people dump a new phone because of problems, it gets a bad rep. and later they fix the problem with an update and these phones are dirt cheap because they were considered bad.
  • Agreed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's always my way of doing it. 1 year old used flagship with year of warrenty, for half (or less) of the launch price, almost always beats a midranger. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed Posted via the Android Central App
  • I typically buy nexus phones during their first year, but my secondary and back up phones are all year old flagships. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Totally agree, I got my Samsung Galaxy S5 about a year ago for less than $400 and I think it makes much more sense than going for a mid-range
  • Yes Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wonder how the G4 Plus and the normal G4 one would compare with the HTC M8, or the LG G3, those phones are still on some stores here in The Netherlands and they are spank NEW, for the same or even a better price. I think that the Samsung S4 is just 10 euros more expensive than the normal G, and the plus is 30 more. Remember, those phones are totally new and not refurbished, with warranty, closed in the box and everything.
  • I was looking forward to the reviews of this phone. Good camera and price are great news, but no mention of NFC. I assume it doesn't have it. With more and more contactless payment options in the UK, it is difficult to go for a phone without this feature.
  • In other articles, they have said no NFC. That and no Moto Voice... Posted from my XT1575
  • I currently own a Moto X Pure and I'm looking forward to the Moto Z...
  • If Moto Voice is missing in the Moto Z that will be the end of my 4 yr Moto ride.
  • +1 A truly useful and unique feature that is necessary for me.
  • Moto voice is staying on the Moto Z. They know they cannot remove it, and also, the Moto G and Moto E never even had Moto voice in the 4 and 3 year lifespans they have had, respectively. This feature has only been on the Moto X series, and will only be on the Moto Z, the new top end moto device. It seems as though people think this Moto G plus has replaced the Moto X/Moto Z Play, but it hasn't. The Moto Z Play will be modular like the Moto Z style, will have the same size and resolution screen, but the screen will be AMOLED. Further more, it will either have an SD625 or an SD650/652, and will probably have the same camera with the added ability of recording 4K video. And it will have Moto voice. Quite an improvement over the Moto G plus, which is for people that do not want to spend any more than $300 for a phone, period.
  • So it's a moto version of last years Alcatel idol 3 with a better camera, but worse speakers. It has more internal memory but it's also thicker and heavier. As the idol 3 is down to $99 from cricket wireless i just can't see the price tag being justifiable. A snapdragon 652 would have made this phone much more interesting. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Unfortunately, the Chinese OEM didn't take the opportunity to demand the Moto team change its awful default ringtone, which is so dissonant and jarring it may be illegal in several countries.) " I laughed...so true!
  • Meh.. Posted with ❤love❤
  • Does this have the bands to work on Verizon? Posted via the Android Central App
  • https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kqzyfj.com%2Fcli... yes. AT&T Galaxy S7 Onyx Black with Unlimited Data
  • Redesigned moto X play Posted via the Android Central App
  • With a fingerprint scanner, more memory, and a way better camera. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think we will see a Moto Z Play with a SD650 later this year.
  • I was honestly shocked to read such a great review on it. I literally just thought moto was doomed lmfao. Maybe things're actually gonna be better. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The only thing missing is the update promise. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • You mean like how Motorola made a promise to keep the Moto e 2nd gen up to date yet my Verizon moto e 2nd won't even get a single letter upgrade(released with lollipop, won't get marshmallow)? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah and it's such a shame they just gave it up because even though I'll admit it wasn't a necessary phone,for the price I paid it was incredible. I used it for almost a year and never had any complaints other than that miserable camera. A 4.5 inch screen though really is something magical,and the battery never let me down. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What about the heating issues? I have heard a lot about it on 15-20 min of gaming or camera usage. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The overheating is actually minor. Most top end phones get that hot after 15 minutes of gaming with super high graphics settings. This is a mid range phone, and it is equipped with an Adreno 405 GPU because Moto is trying to let everybody know that this is not for super intensive gaming. And even with that said, this performs better than any other phone with an Adreno 405 as far as gaming and GPU performance goes. It does not lag, at all. Play these kinds of games with those kind of settings for 30 minutes or more and expect your phone not to get hotter than 45° Celsius? Very few devices can do that without throttling and lagging like crazy, making the game damn near unplayable, even some top end phones. My Moto X force gets as warm as this phone after 20-30 minutes of that kind of gaming, but stays at that temperature and never lags. And c'mon, the overheating mess that a few people are saying this has is coming from people that expect an SD652 in a moto G for under $300, people that don't understand that the phone is not overheating. Videos make the phone get hot and lag a little, but regardless, the phone performs better than any other phone I have seen with this processor combination and does not crash and is not a laggy mess, like samsung's A5 and A7 phones or HTC's one A9.
  • Well, let's be honest with ourselves. At least Lenovo didn't completely screw up with the Moto G.....for now. We'll see how it goes in the future when all the updates come out and whether they'll actually update the phone in a timely manner. Still a pretty solid device, though.
  • G4 Plus got an update 2-3 days after the release for camera improvements, as far as I remember
  • Two of the G's best features have been taken away...first the speakers and now the water resistance. Not seeing any reason to purchase this. The Honor 5x (currently on sale for $160) seems like a better deal right now.
  • The only Moto g to have front facing STEREO speaker was the second generation Moto G. The first one had an awful rear facing speaker, and the third one had a mono front facing speaker like this, but it's setup was the same setup found on the Moto X play, the Nexus 5x, the ZTE axon phones of 2015, and many more. Manufacturers do that to trick you into thinking that your phone has stereo speakers when it really has a mono front facing speaker. The difference here is that the sound relocated to the top of the front, and you lost absolutely nothing. Big deal. The Moto G 3rd gen was the only Moto phone of 2014-2015 to be completely waterproof. The Moto G⁴ is water resistant like the Moto X pure/ Moto X force. You can use it in the rain, spill your cup of tea on it, forget your phone in your backyard by a sprinkler, or submerge it in shallow water for about 5-10 minutes and be perfectly ok, but you can't use it in a pool or shower, chuck it in a fish tank (not that you would do that) or hose it off like you could with the previous iteration of the Moto G, which sucks. And btw this absolutely decimates the honor 5x, sorry bub.
  • Thanks for the diatribe. I've had moto g's in the past (my 2nd gen is sitting in a drawer) and I'm well aware that stereo was removed after the 2nd gen. TO CLARIFY, my point was...first they removed stereo speakers (after the second gen) then waterproofing (after the third gen). If the G4 has water resistance then that's awesome however I did not read that in the article so cool your jets homie. (BTW I'm also well aware of the merits of "Water resistance" as my primary device is an X pure. Thanks again for your wealth of knowledge though). Finally please once again share your wisdom and enlighten me on how this device (at $300) "decimates" the similarly spec'd Honor 5x (at $160). I'm talking hardware (not software) . Sounds to me like you've spent ample time with the G4 by your comment. Is this true?
  • Honor 5X's performance, cameras and storage are worse than the G4 Plus. Three big reasons there to consider this.
  • Uh... Why is there a pic of a (fossil) watch on an article about a phone? (android central app). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Great camera on a mid-range phone, with decent battery life. I agree with the others that a 805 or even the 801 would have been a better choice. But I'm more surprised at the non-removable battery under a removable back. So close, yet so far. At least the battery won't go flying when dropped, and I'm one of the few people who prefers an all day battery over swappable ones that last half a day. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Removable rear cover without a removable battery has been the norm with the Moto G since the beginning. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • After reading this I come away with a 'meh' feeling about the phone. I actually had high hopes for this but will wait for something else. I'm really disappointed they did away with the voice control functions in the software which put the Moto phones in a class of their own
  • They didn't do away with anything that it never had. What I mean is that the Moto G lineup never had the Moto voice feature, and some of them never had Moto actions to the level this has. Moto voice has always been exclusive to the Moto X/Moto Z series of phones.
  • At last a decent Moto G. It took Lenovo to turn Motorola into a firm where you might actually consider buying one of their devices. And that has never been the case in the history of phones. Posted from my Nokia 3310
  • But will the Moto G (2015) get the new actions, display and camera app? That is the real question Posted via the Android Central App
  • I thought that this phone was dual SIM.. is there two versions? Posted via my Motorola Startac
  • At least the Indian version is Dual SIM.
  • I really want this phone, I love my Moto G 3rd Gen. Amazing phone at the price I paid . Moto G
  • Very curious about US pricing. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • The Indian to US pricing is $223 but I suspect it will be way more when released. Posted via my Motorola Startac
  • For the Plus? Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Based on the current exchange rate INR 14999 = US$223.75 . INR14999 is the price quoted in the review.
  • Yes for the Plus with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage model.
  • Off to a good start. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Well I'm glad to hear it's not the train wreck I was fearing, though the SD 617 performance concerns me. I guess for the money you're paying it's hard to complain, but like others I also think an old 805 would have done a better job. I don't known why more OEMs besides one plus haven't gone that route... Maybe it's harder to provide software support for?... I don't know. That camera app looks so much the lumia camera app, which is a very good thing! The plastic back looks cheap as hell, even by budget phone standards. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I guess they don't go with the older processors since they are 32-bit, which is stupid IMO since even then SD801 and 805 are so much more powerful than the SD61x/62x series.
    That was my first thought too! Lumia Camera was the best designed camera app and we have seen so many OEMs use similar UIs in their camera apps.
    The back is really ugly. Much prefer the 3rg Gen's back.
  • My Moto G 2015 is staying in my pocket. This isn't enough of an improvement, plus the water resistance is gone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It isn't gone but it's lesser water resistant than last year's model. I wonder if the moto z will be water resistant. A shatterproof and waterproof phone would be worth paying flagship prices to me
  • Wouldn't it make more sense for most people to buy the Moto X Pure? It's been $249 new recently for the 16gb model and $299 for the 32gb. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It seems they may have shot themselves in the foot with this phone.
  • Is it really better than the Moto X PE @ $399?
  • Disregard the old price on Moto X PE.
  • I think $300 as the article states is too much. The Mi max has the snapdragon 652, 64gb internal, 3gb ram, 4850mah battery, 6.4" fHD screen...all for the equivalent of $260 USD. The snapdragon 652 benchmarks about double of the snapdragon 617. Now I am sure Lenovo/Moto will give a better user experience and a better camera...but still, $300 is way too much.
  • Xiaomi is known for offering phones that have better hardware than what their prices would suggest, so that really is no surprise.
  • US pricing hasn't been announced. Converting the $400 CAD price gets you to around $300. But we know that Canadian prices are higher. Converting the ₹14,499 price gets you to around $216 USD. Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Lenovo's influence on hardware design is so forced. It takes totaly artistic clueless person to mess up clean Motorola symmetrical design with that disgusting home button. It looks wrong.
  • cant decide if im going to get this, i have a z5 at the moment and the battery life is shocking, i was going to get a redmi note 3 until i realized id have to put up with MiUI if i wanted all the phones features working so im thinking this is probably my best bet for +5" phone with decent battery but its a bit of a shame that theres no VR compatibility but i can switch out again when the next nexus drops around the same sort of time as daydream releases id expect
  • This phone is just fugly and huge sure it's cheap but come on. The 2015 G was a nicer looking phone than this.
  • It's awesome phone which i have ever used