Motorola Moto G4 Plus review
Closing the gap between budget and flagship
Our Motorola Moto G4 Plus review finds that the gap between budget and flagship smartphone has closed once again.
Priced from £199 or available on very inexpensive monthly contracts, the Moto G4 Plus has far better specs than those that we highlighted in our recent Moto G4 Play review. With very little price difference, the Moto G4 Plus should, in our opinion, be considered as that phone’s replacement.
Display - Plus-sized
The Motorola Moto G4 Plus has a plus-sized 5.5” Full HD display and a decent resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 pixels per inch). The front face is covered by toughened Corning Gorilla Glass.
Inside, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 1.5GHz octa-core processor with 2GB RAM. This processor is fast enough to support rich 3D screen images and can be used to run multiple apps at the same time, without slowing down.
Design - Nano-coating
The Moto G4 Plus has a water repellent nano-coating and a curved polycarbonate body. The curvature begins at 7.9mm at the edges and swells to 9.8mm in the centre. With a height of 153mm, this phone is big enough to start blurring the line between smartphone and phablet.
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Metallic looking highlights grace the surround of the main camera module and flash, adding a little character to the black or white colour schemes. The textured power button and volume keys are positioned on the right, with a 3.5mm audio jack on the top and a microUSB charging point on the bottom.
There is no notification light, so instead notifications pop-up on the screen. To ensure good call quality, two microphones have been built into the design.
Phone Set Up
Security - Fingerprint sensor
The slightly raised and square fingerprint reader is used to wake up and unlock the phone in one step. It is rather handy that the sensor offers 360 degree fingerprint recognition and we have found this to be both fast and accurate and a feature that the Moto G4 Play didn’t have.
The big issue with the fingerprint reader is its position. Located where a physical home key might be placed, but not acting as one, it takes time to get used to the fact that it does not function as the home key, which is virtual and built into the screen.
Getting started - Transferring content
If you have an old Android phone then you can download Motorola Migrate onto the Moto G4 Plus and use the app to transfer over music, photos, videos, contacts, call history and even the volume and brightness settings.
The Moto G4 Plus will be available with different sizes of internal memory; 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. All will support microSD cards with a value of up to 128GB.
Software - Pure Android
The Motorola Moto G4 Plus offers a Pure Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow experience and its pure nature helps to boost performance, with no clutter or bloatware slowing things down.
The best news however, is that Motorola has already confirmed that the Moto G4 Plus will receive the Android Nougat update. This will bring split-screen multitasking, which is something that the large screen will be able to make the most of.
The Android Nougat update should be out before Christmas 2016.
Google - Play Music
Google Play Music makes the most of the loud front-ported speaker and puts the music controls on the lockscreen. They can also be accessed when using the phone for other tasks, by dragging down the notifications window.
Camera & Video
Photography - More and bigger pixels
The 16MP camera ups the level for phones in this pricing bracket and the big pixels are designed to capture more light in poorly lit environments. The laser focus is accurate under these conditions and the phase detect auto-focus (PDAF), works in conjunction with the laser focus, in order to focus quickly.
The camera has a f/2.0 aperture, colour balancing dual LED flash and best of all Quick Capture, which launches the camera app with a twist of the wrist. The camera app on the Moto G4 Plus offers Best Shot, Burst Mode, 4x digital zoom, Panorama, Auto HDR, Video Stabilisation, Slow Motion Video and video recording at 1080p (30 frames per second).
Professional Mode lets you play around with the shutter speed, ISO and white balance and your photos and videos can be stored for free, at original quality, for two years with Google Photos.
The 5MP wide angle front camera has a f2.2 aperture, display flash and countdown timer, for aiding selfie photography.
Power - Quick TurboPower
Without a doubt, one of the most pleasant surprises was to find that the Quick TurboPowerTM charger is included and in the box. Plug this is in and the high capacity 3,000mAh non-removable battery will give 6 hours of power from just 15 minutes charge.
You shouldn’t expect to get 12 hours of power in 30 minutes, as charging slows down as further charge is added, but it is still good to see a fast charger finally offered in the box of a budget smartphone.
For even heavy users, a full days use should be achievable and if you find that your battery percentage has unexpectedly dwindled, then you can find the culprit with the phone breaking power usage down app by app and feature by feature.
Next phone review: HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle
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Written by: Michael Brown