Motorola has been busy these last few months, putting out a range of different phones at different price points. While we like the modular Moto Z3 Play, it's a bit expensive compared to the rest of the lineup at $499. The company's lower budget selection is arguably much more important; there are plenty of great options in the $500 ballpark, but Motorola is one of the few companies that consistently puts out high-quality, inexpensive phones.
The Moto G6 is the company's latest in its wildly popular line of low-cost phones, modernizing the brand with 2018 design traits and refreshed internals. Last year's mid-range Moto X4 is coming down in price these days, though, to the point that you can get it for almost as cheap as the G6. So what's a better use of your money; last year's mid-range option, or this year's budget option?
Specs aren't everything, but especially in lower price ranges, they can make quite a bit of a difference in performance and overall usability. Take a second to look through how these two phones differ on paper.
|Category||Moto X4||Moto G6|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo (8.1 on Android One variant)||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Display||5.2-inch IPS LCD
1920 x 1080, 424PPI
|5.7-inch 18:9 IPS LCD
2160 x 1080, 424PPI
|Chipset||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, 8x 2.2GHz Cortex-A53 cores||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, 8x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 cores|
|GPU||Adreno 508||Adreno 506|
|Expandable||Yes (microSD slot)||Yes (microSD slot)|
|Rear Camera||12MP f/2.0 + 8MP f/2.2, PDAF, 4K at 30fps||12MP f/1.8 + 5MP f/2.2, PDAF, 1080p at 60fps|
|Front Camera||16MP f/2.0, 1080p video||8MP f/2.2, 1080p video|
|Connectivity||WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB-C||WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, USB-C|
|Security||Fingerprint sensor (front)||Fingerprint sensor (front)|
|SIM||Nano SIM||Nano SIM|
|Dimensions||148.4 x 73.4 x 8mm||153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3mm|
What the Moto X4 does better
The Moto X4 may be approaching its first birthday, but its specs still hold up well against the Moto G6. It's got a few advantages; the Snapdragon 630 is a bit more powerful than the 450 (you'll find the same Snapdragon 630 in the higher end Moto G6 Plus, and the Moto X4 is IP67-certified for water and dust resistance, whereas the Moto G6 simply features splash resistance. In addition, certain variants of the Moto X4 ship with 6GB of RAM, while the Moto G6 maxes out at 4.
Depending on where your Moto X4 came from, the software may be more up to date than that of the Moto G6, as well. Most Moto X4 units run Android 8.0 Oreo with some slight Motorola customizations, but Android One models (which mostly come from the Project Fi online store) have already been updated to Android 8.1. While this is a relatively minor update, it still brings new features over 8.0 and instills good faith in the continued software support of the Moto X4.
The Moto X4 also benefits from better cameras. Though both features dual lenses, the Moto G6's secondary sensor is simply for measuring depth for Motorola's selective focus features, which most won't find terribly useful. On the other hand, the Moto X4's secondary lens allows for wide-angle photography, unlocking much more creative potential. The Moto X4 also captures video at up to 4K at 30fps — the Moto G6 maxes out at 1080p.
What the Moto G6 does better
Don't be too scared off by the Moto X4's advantages; the Moto G6 has plenty of its own. For one, it has a much more modern design, thanks to the larger 18:9 display. It's still made of glass, and Motorola used the same reflective coating around the back as the Moto X4. By all means, this phone looks and feels much more premium than its price tag would have you believe.
In addition, the Moto G6 features the same 3000mAh battery as found in the Moto X4, but a more power-efficient processor should keep it running for a bit longer, and the 15W TurboPower support means it'll recharge just as quickly. That processor also ensures smooth performance; while not quite as powerful on paper as the Moto X4's Snapdragon 630, the Snapdragon 450 inside of the Moto G6 is plenty capable for carrying out daily tasks and even some casual gaming.
The Moto G6 also has a solid set of cameras for a sub-$250 phone. The 5MP secondary depth sensor allows for portrait photography, selective desaturation, and more, and the front-facing camera can go extra wide for group selfies. There are some AI features baked in as well, including Google Lens support and the ability to scan documents into searchable text, something students will definitely appreciate.
Of course, Motorola's popular Moto Actions are still present, meaning you can still double-twist the Moto G6 in your hand to launch the camera or double-chop to toggle the flashlight. You're not missing out on many hardware features either, since the G6 retains the 3.5mm headphone jack and front-facing fingerprint sensor, as well as the USB-C port — a first for the Moto G line.
Which should you buy?
Both phones are excellent options for budget-minded consumers, but for the time being, the Moto X4 is still a better pick for most people — particularly those on Google's Project Fi network, whose Android One variant comes at a reduced price and the promise of timely software updates. That doesn't just mean major updates like Android 8.1 Oreo, it also means you'll receive regular security updates and patches that keep the Moto X4 fresh and secure. Its cameras are more well-rounded than the Moto G6's, as well, and some will appreciate the ability to shoot 4K video.
However, if you're more concerned with design than having the absolute latest build of Android, or if you're unable to shell out the extra cash for the Moto X4, the Moto G6 won't disappoint. The 18:9 aspect ratio looks modern and helps fit a much larger display into a body that's roughly the same physical dimensions as the Moto X4.
Given the choice, which phone would you pick up? Have you already been using the Moto X4, or is the Moto G6 with its newer design giving you something to save up for? Let us know in the comments below!
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