Motorola Moto G6
MOTOROLA RECLAIMS ITS PLACE AS THE KING OF BUDGET HANDSETS WITH A SUPERB, WELLROUNDED BARGAIN
If Game of Thrones has taught me anything, it’s that the titular throne is tough to hold onto. The budget smartphone crown is similarly competitive, albeit with a lot less bloodshed. For Motorola, the latest twist in the saga is good news. After a couple of disappointing generations where it lost ground to both Honor and Huawei, the Moto G6 is a phone worthy of the Moto G name.
WINNING BY DESIGN
It starts with the stunning design. As with the rest of the industry, Motorola has enthusiastically adopted the tall and thin 18:9 aspect ratio display, and it looks a million dollars here. Clad in Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back, and with a stylish curved design all the way round, the phone looks more agship than budget.
Naming no names, some handsets use premium design as an excuse for dropping popular but ddly features such as microSD card support and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The Moto G6 maintains these, as well as a ngerprint reader below the screen.
You can’t have everything, though. There’s no replaceable battery, with wireless charging and waterproo ng also absent. While the phone has a p2i waterrepellent coating, suitable for light rain or beer spillage, you shouldn’t expect the G6 to last a voyage to the bottom of the bathtub. One more negative: the circular camera housing is a dust magnet.
The Moto G6 has a 5.7in IPS screen with a 1,080 x 2,160 resolution that’s ideal for a display of this size. It provides rich, pleasant colours – but there’s a but. For a start, it’s dim compared to the best: a peak level of 408cd/m2 means that, on the two or three days of blazing sunshine we get in the UK each year, you might struggle to read things clearly.
Colour accuracy is also wayward, while sRGB gamut coverage isn’t wonderful at 86.3% in the phone’s Standard display mode. The contrast is a decent 931:1, which is a distance behind the very best performers. If the screen is your top priority, consider the cheaper Honor 9 Lite, which is 24% brighter and has a contrast ratio of 1,531:1. Fortunately for Motorola, this is by far the weakest point of the Moto G6 and, for the majority of consumers, these technical de ciencies will be a complete nonissue.
PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT
Of far more import to most is raw performance, and the Moto G6 punches above its weight as the graphs here show. The G6 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, an octa-core 14nm chip running at 1.8GHz, with 3GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Notably this is a dual-SIM device, which is something very hard to nd in the smartphone market. The G6 bene ts from a minor graphics upgrade compared to the G5S, which is again re ected in the results. A 9fps result in Manhattan 3 shows this isn’t the go-to smartphone for the latest, most graphically intense mobile games, but it eclipses the more expensive Honor 7X.
Another positive is that the Moto G6 runs what is pretty close to stock Android, and the few modi cations have been introduced for the better. The Moto’s gesture controls, for example, let you launch the camera with a double twist, or ick on the torch with a shake. In addition to the ngerprint reader, which is situated below the screen on the front, the Moto G6 also comes with a fast, reliable faceunlock feature.
Battery life is a disappointment, with the G6 lasting only ten hours and 46 minutes in our video test. There’s no sugarcoating this: that’s a poor result, but in general use you should get a day’s usage out of it fairly comfortably. It’s also worth noting that the supplied “TurboPower” charger gives you six hours’ battery life after a mere 15 minutes connected to the mains. My only concern is that, a year down the line, its life won’t be great and, unlike the G5, you can’t replace the battery.
DUAL CAMERA ARRAY
So, at the moment, you have a great-looking smartphone with an okayish screen, dual SIMs and solid performance for under $400. If you’re still on the fence, the camera ought to seal the deal because it’s nothing short of brilliant for the price.
Not that there’s anything particularly special about the G6’s dual camera array on paper. You’re looking at a 12-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/1.8 and phase-detect autofocus. The second camera is only ve-megapixels and doesn’t offer either zoom or wideangle capabilities. What it does do, however, is supplement the main camera to add depth perception.
Pop the camera into portrait mode, snap a subject and you can edit the photo based on the extra data captured by the supporting camera. Blur, replace or desaturate the background at will – it works well, even if the edges are occasionally identi ed incorrectly.
Party trick aside, though, this is a phenomenal camera for the price. Admittedly, it’s not a Pixel 2, Galaxy S9 or P20 Pro-beater, but it can be mentioned in the same
sentence without looking comically out of place. Outside, and in good light, the Moto G6 captures images of a city skyline that are bursting with detail, with colours that are pleasingly accurate. Flick on HDR mode and you’ll nd that both bright and dark areas are equalised superbly, without adding a vibrant sheen that other phone cameras often can’t resist.
The sel e camera on the front offers more of the same. Photographs aren’t quite up to the same standard but, once again, they’re both detailed and well balanced.
It’s not all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, but the compromises are made in the right places. First off, video capture isn’t 4K – but it is 1080p at 60fps. More damagingly, the camera takes a while to actually capture the image after you press the shutter button. You’ll get used to this in time, but it makes magic-moment photography more challenging, and I often found myself moving the phone early. The result? A blurry photograph doomed to the dustbin.
You can pick faults with the Moto G6, but every argument against it can be knocked down with a very simple reply: “It’s $400.” Yes, the processor isn’t the fastest, the screen isn’t great and the battery life isn’t exactly stellar, but it’s $400.
To counter those weak points, the Moto G6 has good qualities in spades: it looks stylish, the performance is solid and the camera is the best you can buy without spending over twice the money. All of which makes the G6 the easiest phone recommendation I can offer.
Octa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor • 3GB RAM • Adreno 506 graphics • Dual SIM • 5.7in IPS screen, 1,080 x 2,160 resolution • 32GB storage • dual 12MP/5MP rear cameras • 8MP front camera • 802.11n Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • NFC • USB-C connector • 3,000mAh battery • Android 8 • 72.3 x 8.2 x 154mm (WDH) • 167g • 1yr warranty $398 • www.motorola.com.au