Mo­torola Moto G6

MO­TOROLA RECLAIMS ITS PLACE AS THE KING OF BUD­GET HAND­SETS WITH A SU­PERB, WELLROUNDED BAR­GAIN

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - ALAN MARTIN

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.

SCREEN TEST

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.

BUY­ING DE­CI­SION

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.

KEY SPECS

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

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