Motorola launches offensive of entry-level Moto G4 handsets

The Moto G has long been regarded as one of the best mid-range phones out there for a while now. Motorola is looking to capitalize on that fame by refreshing the Moto G family with a new "G4" version and adding a couple more members, as well: the slightly upmarket Moto G4 Plus and the presumably affordable Moto G4 Play.

Moto G4

Let's start with the "regular" Moto G4. The two main improvements over last year's model are a 5.5" 1920x1080 screen (good for 401 PPI) and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 SoC, which packs eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5 GHz. Graphics horsepower comes by way of an Adreno 405 GPU, and the SoC is accompanied by 2GB of RAM.

Motorola is proud of the Moto G4's 3000-mAh battery, a juice pack the company claims can last a whole day under mixed usage. The company says its quick-charging technology lets users get six hours of life out of the phone with only 15 minutes' worth of charging time. The G4's back camera is a 13-MP snapper with a dual-LED flash, capable of recording 1080p video at 30 FPS.

The handset comes in 16GB and 32GB versions, and users can expand its storage further with a microSD slot that's capable of taking in cards as big as 128GB. Besides the now-standard 4G LTE connectivity, the Moto G4 is equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. The Moto G4 is available in black and white versions, and it can be customized with Motorola's Motomaker service.

Moto G4 Plus

Motorola has released the more upmarket Moto G4 Plus. Most of the G4 Plus' specifications are similar to the G4's, but there are a couple differences. The camera on the G4 Plus is a 16MP shooter equipped with phase detection auto-focus. According to DxOMark, this camera can trade punches with the unit inside the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus handsets. Along with the improved shooter, the G4 Plus comes with a fingerprint reader, and it's also available in a version with 4GB of RAM.

Moto G4 Play

The third entry in the refreshed lineup is the Moto G4 Play. This model is the most similar to the previous-generation Moto G3. It gets a Qualcomm 410 SoC clocked at up to 1.2GHz, alongside an Adreno 306 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Base storage capacity is 16GB, but even this lower-end model retains the microSD slot, allowing for further expansion. The display on the G4 Play measures 5" and has a resolution of 1280x720, which works out to 294 PPI.

The Moto G4 Play offers 4G LTE GSM connectivity, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. The battery is a 2,800 mAh unit, which Motorola says should be good for an entire day's worth of usage. Fast charging is supported, too, provided users buy an optional 10W charger.

Motorola says that general availability for all three phones is set for "mid-summer 2016," although the Brazilian and Indian markets are apparently getting first dibs. There's no official word on pricing.

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