Mo­torola Moto G4 Plus

On pa­per, pho­tog­ra­phy is one area that might con­vince you to spend the ex­tra cash on the Moto G4 Plus since it comes with a 16Mp camera

Tech Advisor - - Contents - Chris Martin

Mo­torola has up­dated its best bud­get smart­phone line-up for 2016 with two dif­fer­ent mod­els: the G4 (£169) and the Plus, which we look at here. De­spite its name, the Plus isn’t any big­ger, but comes with a fingerprint scanner, ex­tra RAM and stor­age, plus a higher res­o­lu­tion camera.

De­sign

The G4 Plus is a stylish-look­ing handset that re­tains the look and feel of pre­vi­ous Moto G phones. It’s big­ger than Mo­torola’s pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of Moto phones due to a larger screen, though so some users will find the device un­wieldy. It’s not too thick and heavy ei­ther at 9.8mm and 155g.

Build qual­ity is good, though the Moto G4 Plus is still very much a plas­tic phone and there’s bet­ter avail­able at this price point elsewhere if this is im­por­tant – the OnePlus X is a prime ex­am­ple. It’s a shame Mo­torola doesn’t of­fer other ma­te­ri­als, such as wood and leather, like it does with the Moto X Style for an ex­tra cost for those who want it.

One of our only com­plaints about the de­sign is that the vol­ume rocker is a lit­tle tricky to use as it is very flush with the case. We also en­vis­age the groove for the ear­piece above the screen will get clogged with dirt over time.

A big­ger is­sue is that un­like last year’s model this phone isn’t wa­ter­proof. In­stead, it of­fers ba­sic splash pro­tec­tion which it thinks is enough for most con­sumers.

Per­for­mance

The G4 Plus is ex­actly the same size and shape as the reg­u­lar Moto G4. This means it has the same 5.5in screen size, de­spite the likes of Ap­ple and Samsung us­ing, plus mod­els for a big­ger phone.

You might think that per­haps the screen res­o­lu­tion is higher but it’s still Full HD like the cheaper model. We’re not say­ing it’s a bad thing and the screen is very good qual­ity of­fer­ing good con­trast, colours and view­ing an­gles. As we’ve said, it’s mainly the size that might put some users off, so it’s a bit of a shame there isn’t a choice on that front.

The G4 Plus also uses the same Qual­comm Snap­dragon 617 pro­ces­sor as the reg­u­lar G4. The octa-core CPU (up to 1.5GHz A53 cores) is a nice jump from the Snap­dragon 410 pre­vi­ously used, and fea­tures Cat 7 LTE and Adreno 405 graph­ics.

There’s po­ten­tially a big dif­fer­ence if you splash out on the higher-spec­i­fi­ca­tion model of the Moto G4 Plus, which comes with 64GB of stor­age and 4GB of RAM, which is dou­ble the stan­dard model on both fronts. Stor­age be­comes less of an is­sue due to the in­clu­sion of a mi­croSD card slot, which can take up to 128GB.

Sadly, we’ve only been able to benchmark the en­try-level model and you can see the re­sults op­po­site. We’re im­pressed with the per­for­mance from a user point of view; the Moto G4 Plus is smooth op­er­a­tor in gen­eral use.

You might be a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed when it comes to con­nec­tiv­ity as al­though the Moto G4 Plus is more ex­pen­sive you still only get 11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and reg­u­lar Mi­cro-USB. There’s no NFC, mod­ern Wi-Fi or other fea­tures such as USB-Type C.

The fingerprint scanner pro­vides ex­tra se­cu­rity, though the lack of NFC means you can’t use it with An­droid Pay, which is a shame. It’s fast and ac­cu­rate most of the time, but it’s smaller than most and also has a small rim around it, which feels odd at first but also you lo­cate it. What’s strange is that you can’t use it as a home button.

Like the reg­u­lar G4, the Plus has a 3000mAh bat­tery which is

non-re­mov­able, even though you can take the rear cover off. In our benchmark test, the Moto G4 lasted a very de­cent eight hours and 50 min­utes with a score of 3537.

What you do get for your money is a Tur­boPower charger in­cluded in the box, which the reg­u­lar Moto G4 doesn’t have. Mo­torola claims that via fast charging you can get six hours of bat­tery life from a short 15-minute charge, or 25 per­cent charge go­ing by Mo­torola’s 24-hour bat­tery life claim. In our tests, how­ever, we found it charged only 17 per­cent in the space of 15 min­utes.

Cam­eras

On pa­per, pho­tog­ra­phy is one area that might con­vince you to spend the ex­tra cash on the G4 Plus since it comes with a 16Mp camera com­pared to the G4’s 13Mp snap­per. It still fea­tures an f/2.0 aper­ture, phase de­tec­tion and laser autofocus plus a dual-LED (dual tone) flash.

You’ll need to shoot in a 4:3 as­pect ra­tio to use all 16Mp as the phone shoots at 11.9Mp by de­fault. Sadly, in our tests there’s re­ally no vis­i­ble dif­fer­ence in still pho­tos, even when you crop into a small sec­tion, so for up­load­ing to so­cial me­dia you’re def­i­nitely not go­ing to no­tice any ben­e­fit.

It’s dis­ap­point­ing to find that the G4 Plus, like the reg­u­lar model, is limited to 1080p video record­ing at 30fps, de­spite the ex­tra res­o­lu­tion. It can also only shoot slow mo­tion 120fps video in a pal­try 540p.

Soft­ware

There’s un­der­stand­ably no dif­fer­ence be­tween the Moto G4 mod­els when it comes to soft­ware and the Plus comes with An­droid Marsh­mal­low 6.0.1. We’re happy to re­port that Mo­torola keeps things very much stock, so you get a pure user in­ter­face ex­pe­ri­ence al­most like buy­ing a Nexus phone. Mo­torola’s thin layer does in­clude some handy fea­tures though which are wel­come additions. There are ba­sic things like the clock wid­get, which has date and tem­per­a­ture info, but most are found in the Moto app. Head here to find some use­ful func­tions that were pre­vi­ously spread across var­i­ous apps. It’s a hub for things like Moto Dis­play and Moto Ac­tions. The former al­lows you to get in­for­ma­tion on the lockscreen with­out turn­ing on the screen. You can also set up a time pe­riod to keep the screen dark. Moto Ac­tions is a set of op­tional ges­tures for quickly do­ing things like launch­ing the torch or camera app. You can also pick up to an­swer a call or flip over to en­able do not dis­turb. It’s a blank can­vas as there are no du­pli­cate apps for things such as mes­sag­ing. You just get the stan­dard Google selec­tion and then can down­load the apps you want from the Google Play Store.

Ver­dict

The Moto G4 Plus is a nice phone but it’s sim­i­lar to the reg­u­lar model. Since we’re dis­ap­pointed in the camera (with no no­tice­able dif­fer­ence), it’s not worth pay­ing the ex­tra to get a fingerprint scanner that can’t even be used with An­droid Pay since there’s no NFC. The only real rea­son to opt for the Plus is to gain more stor­age and the ex­tra RAM which comes with the 64GB model; how­ever, the mi­croSD card slot negates this.

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