Moto G6 Play

£169 inc VAT from

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The Moto G6 Play is a sleek bud­get phone that costs just £169. It is an out­stand­ing cheap phone in 2018 that in no way feels like one de­spite cost­ing less than the Moto G6 and G6 Plus.

While those two hand­sets have bet­ter spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the G6 Play has charmed us right out

the box. It is well de­signed, sleek yet sturdy and a de­cent per­former con­sid­er­ing the low-end spec sheet.

Here’s our review ex­plain­ing why the Moto G6 Play is such a good deal.


While the G6 and G6 Plus look pretty much iden­ti­cal, the Moto G6 Play has a slightly dif­fer­ent de­sign. You can tell it’s part of the same range of phones, but the Play has a few quirks that make it stand out.

For starters, the fin­ger­print scan­ner is on the back and has the Mo­torola logo on it. You might pre­fer the place­ment com­pared to the front­mounted G6 and G6 Plus, but that’s en­tirely down to per­sonal pref­er­ence.

At first glance you’d think Mo­torola had re­moved its head­phone jack, but ac­tu­ally it’s moved it from its po­si­tion next to the USB port on the G6 and G6 Play to the top of the de­vice. An­other change here is that this port is Mi­cro-USB rather than USB-C, which is a shame con­sid­er­ing its an older stan­dard, but un­der­stand­able con­sid­er­ing the price.

While the more ex­pen­sive G6 mod­els have a sleek 3D glass rear cover, the G6 Play is plas­tic. It still looks and feels good though, and ac­tu­ally the plas­tic cover helps in terms of grip. The other thing miss­ing here is a p2i wa­ter-repellent coat­ing

(in the UK at least), so you’ll have to be a lit­tle more care­ful with it around wa­ter, but we used it in the rain and it came out un­scathed.

The G6 Play is a bit chunkier than most phones at 9mm and weighs a rea­son­able 175g. These aren’t huge dif­fer­ences to the other G6 phones, though and the bulk and weight ac­tu­ally help to make it feel more pre­mium – but if you want a slim, sleek phone this is not it. Our review unit is an at­trac­tive hue though some­what a fin­ger­print mag­net. But the way it re­flects light is very cool for a bud­get phone and helps it to stand out, along with its cir­cu­lar cam­era mod­ule.


The G6 Play’s screen is a 5.7in 18:9 LCD, but not a Full HD res­o­lu­tion at 1440x720p. We still re­ally liked us­ing the phone, and the lower res­o­lu­tion of the dis­play in com­par­i­son to the G6 and G6 Plus isn’t an is­sue in our eyes. It can deal with colour re­pro­duc­tion well in stan­dard mode, but has the op­tion to change to vi­brant to boost the sat­u­ra­tion. The dis­play is more than suf­fi­cient at this price, and this is one of the cheap­est 18:9 phones we’ve seen, and Net­flix on the bus was no trou­ble at all.

Pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and stor­age

It’s im­pres­sive to see the G6 Play has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of stor­age, which matches the en­try con­fig­u­ra­tion of the reg­u­lar G6. How­ever, the pro­ces­sor drops from a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 450 to a 430. The lower-grade chip means per­for­mance isn’t as good, and in a tan­gi­ble way, though we found

the phone per­fectly ser­vice­able as our main phone for sev­eral days. Multi-task­ing is a tad slow at times and the cam­era app lags, but for calls, texts, so­cial me­dia, email and even Spo­tify to Blue­tooth head­phones, the G6 Play is sur­pris­ingly ex­cel­lent.

As our bench­marks shows, the G6 Play holds its own against phones of the same price and specs. It per­forms faster in frames per sec­ond tests than the G6 due to its lower res­o­lu­tion screen – but in fact, you won’t no­tice any difference in use be­tween any of these four phones.

Con­nec­tiv­ity and au­dio

As is stan­dard on lower-end phones, there is Blue­tooth 4.2 for con­nect­ing to ac­ces­sories such as

speak­ers, but with the ab­sence of the aptX stan­dard, au­dio qual­ity to wire­less head­phones is no­tice­ably patchy. If you want to use the speaker, it’s a front port deal and gets quite loud, but is only suited to talk ra­dio or pod­cast play­back – and a quiet solo Net­flix ses­sion at a push.


Mo­torola has given the G6 Play a 13Mp cam­era, but there’s no sec­ondary lens. There’s phase de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus and an f/2.0 aper­ture, and the re­sults are just about so­cial me­dia-ac­cept­able, but it is ob­vi­ously not a stand­out shooter.

Note how it can cap­ture the sky well in some shots, but it be­comes blown out in oth­ers. The level of de­tail cap­tured for a bud­get phone is pretty de­cent, though.

Video is lim­ited to 1080p at 30fps, though the phone can still record slow mo­tion. The front cam­era is 8Mp like the other G6 mod­els but, again, has fewer fea­tures here and is pass­able at best.

Bat­tery life

Although most ar­eas are down­grades, the Play of­fers a much higher-ca­pac­ity bat­tery than both the other G6 phones. It’s a whop­ping 4,000mAh, com­pared to the 3,000- and 3,200mAh G6 and G6 Plus.

Mo­torola says this means you can get 32 hours us­age from the de­vice, which sounds amaz­ing – and more im­por­tantly we found to be true in real world use. The G6 Play lasted for over two days of use be­fore hit­ting any­where near 10 per­cent bat­tery, which is im­pres­sive on a mod­ern (if low-end) smart­phone.

It also ben­e­fits from Turbo Charg­ing: you can get six hours of life from a 15-minute charge and in our tests, it charged from 0- to 33 per­cent in half an hour.


Over­all, the ex­pe­ri­ence on the G6 Play is solid thanks to Moti’s un­clut­tered An­droid skin that barely changes any­thing from stock. Notably, there are fewer cam­era fea­tures on the phone com­pared to the G6 and G6 Plus thanks to the lack of dual rear cam­eras.

You still get An­droid 8.0 Oreo with a stock in­ter­face – it’s very much the ex­pe­ri­ence you get on Google’s own Pixel de­vices bar a few aes­thetic changes. That means An­droid as it’s in­tended, with no bloat­ware to take up valu­able stor­age, im­por­tant when you only have 32GB (although it is ex­pand­able).

Mo­torola does add its own Moto app, which con­tains help­ful things such as ac­tions and things you can do with the dis­play. The G6 Play doesn’t have Moto Voice, though.


The Moto G6 Play is a great lit­tle sur­prise of a phone. It holds its own next to the other two G6 phones and has bet­ter bat­tery life (and a cooler fin­ger­print sen­sor). The 18:9 dis­play and pre­mium (but plas­tic)

de­sign means it feels just as well-made as phones dou­ble the price but doesn’t com­pro­mise on per­for­mance to do so. With a head­phone jack as a plus, a mi­nus is Mi­cro-USB but we’ll for­give that on its strengths and can rec­om­mend the G6 Play as one of the best bud­get phones of 2018. Chris Martin and Henry Bur­rell


• 5.7in (1440x720, 282ppi) IPS LCD ca­pac­i­tive dis­play

• An­droid 8.0 Oreo

• Qual­comm MSM8937 Snap­dragon 430 pro­ces­sor

• Octa-core 1.4GHz Cor­tex-A53 CPU

• Adreno 505 GPU

• 2/3GB RAM

• 16/32B stor­age, mi­croSD up to 256GB

• Iris/fin­ger­print scan­ner

• 13Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era: f/2.0, 1.12μm, phase de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus, LED flash

• 8Mp front-fac­ing cam­era: LED flash, 1080p

• 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi

• Blue­tooth 54.2


• Mi­cro-USB 2.0

• Non-re­mov­able lithium-ion 4,000mAh bat­tery

• 154.4x72.2x9mm

• 175g

The level of de­tail cap­tured for a bud­get phone is pretty de­cent

The G6 Play’s cam­era is de­cent for a bud­get cam­era

GFXBench T-Rex

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