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Moto G6 vs. Moto G6 Play: Which should you buy?

Moto G6

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The Moto G6 has a reasonably fast processor, great display, and dual cameras. It offers everything you could ask for in a sub-$200 phone.

Moto G6

Budget champ

Reasons to buy

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Clean Android build with Motorola add-ons
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Compatibility with all four major U.S. carriers
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Impressive dual cameras

Reasons to avoid

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Smaller battery than the G6 Play

Moto G6 Play

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The Moto G6 Play isn't as powerful as the Moto G6, but it's similar enough to still be a great value — especially with its larger 4000mAh battery.

Moto G6 Play

Long-lasting

Reasons to buy

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Same clean software
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Great battery life with a huge 4000mAh battery
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Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor

Reasons to avoid

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Slower processor
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Lower resolution 720p display
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Uses micro-USB

Both are great phones, but the Moto G6 offers more power, a higher resolution display, and an additional camera over its Play variant, and these days those benefits come at only a $10 premium. The Moto G6 Play's sole advantage is its larger 4000mAh battery, which is more than enough to power it through the day and well into the next.

What are the differences?

At first glance, the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play are hard to tell apart. Physically, the biggest difference is the placement of the fingerprint sensors; the Moto G6 displays it front and center below the display, which makes it ideal for gesture navigation, allowing you to replace the software-based navigation bar and take back the bottom of your display. You might prefer the G6 Play's placement around back, integrated into the Motorola logo, but it's hard to argue against the added functionality on the G6's sensor.

The Moto G6 is no doubt the better overall phone, but the Moto G6 Play's huge battery is a compelling bonus.

Only the Moto G6 features a second rear camera, though — a 5MP RGB sensor that measures depth and aids in portrait mode shots. It's also the only phone of the two to feature a USB-C port for charging, along with Motorola's 15W TurboPower charging for quick top-ups.

The Moto G6 Play does claim a victory with its massive 4000mAh battery — a 33% increase over the Moto G6. Combined with a more power-efficient 720p display, the Moto G6 Play has stellar battery life, though without TurboPower, it takes a bit longer to charge than the G6.

CategoryMoto G6Moto G6 Play
Operating SystemAndroid 9 PieAndroid 9 Pie
Display5.7 inches, 18:9 aspect ratio, 1080x2160 (424 ppi) resolution, IPS LCD5.7 inches, 18:9 aspect ratio, 720x1440 (282 ppi) resolution, IPS LCD
ProcessorSnapdragon 450, octa-core, 1.8GHzSnapdragon 427, quad-core, 1.4GHz
GraphicsAdreno 506Adreno 308
Memory3GB RAM3GB RAM
Storage32GB32GB
Expandable StorageYes (up to 128GB)Yes (up to 128GB)
Rear Camera12MP, ƒ/1.8, PDAF + 5MP, f/2.2 depth sensor13MP, f/2.0, PDAF
Front Camera8MP, ƒ/2.25MP
SecurityFingerprint sensor (front), face unlockFingerprint sensor (rear)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GLONASSWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GLONASS
PortsUSB Type-CMicro-USB
Battery3000mAh4000mAh
Water ResistanceP2i nano coatingP2i nano coating
Dimensions153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm155.4 x 72.2 x 9.1mm
Weight167g180g

Even though the G6 has a faster processor, the Moto G6 Play still benefits from nearly all of the same features. It runs the same clean Android experience, it features the same 8MP front-facing camera (though only the Moto G6 can use this camera for face unlock), and it's protected with the same water-repellent nano-coating. Likewise, you'll still benefit on the software side from Motorola's excellent suite of Moto Actions and the Moto Display.

With only a $10 difference in price these days, both phones are compelling in their own ways. If you really want to stretch the spec sheet as far as your money can get you, the Moto G6 won't disappoint with its faster processor and denser display, but if you need reliable battery life above all else, the G6 Play is the better choice.

There's one other factor to consider, though. The Moto G6 series has been succeeded by the newer Moto G7 line, and while the standard Moto G7 (opens in new tab) is significantly more expensive than either G6 model in question, you can pick up a Moto G7 Power (opens in new tab) or Moto G7 Play (opens in new tab) and get a newer device for not much more money.