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" 1920×1080 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 1280×720, 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.

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 4 years ago

    I am wondering if they are using a 64 bit version of Android this time around. The excuse they gave for not doing so on the Snapdragon 410’s was that they only had 1GB of memory and 64 bit Android needed a little more memory than 32 bit Android–which was already a bit tight in 1GB.

    Well, they’re up to 2GB this time, so let’s hope they did the right thing. Going from 32 bit to 64 bit can give a huge boost in signal processing workloads (audio, video, etc.).

      • mczak
      • 4 years ago

      There’s still seemingly a 1GB variant around (of the G4 Play).
      That said – the old G3 was actually running armv7 according to geekbench (I think just about all smartphones using SD 410 were at least until recently).
      The new G4 geekbench results are now armv8, but still 32bit (aarch32) (which, btw, skews the scores a lot, since the crypto subscores make up a lot of the total score, and the crypto instructions aren’t available with armv7, but they are with armv8, regardless if aarch64 or aarch32).
      I don’t know about the G4 Play (but since there’s a 1GB variant there I think chances of it running aarch64 are just about zero, though there might be hope for aarch32).

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    all low spec’ed, so hopefully it will super cheap. i paid $149 last summer for a galaxy s5/snapdragon 801. was hoping to find decent upgrades this year with similar features, but it looks like its slim pickins.

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    Loving the G3s:

    4G/LTE support
    Waterproof
    16GB
    SD card support
    1280×720 IPS screen is fine
    1280×720 screen makes average GPU seem good.
    Damn it’s cheap.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    So Moto G4 Play is basically a rebranded G3? Wish they’d keep the size at 5″ and shift the resolution to 1080p.

    Edit: Now i’m wondering whether I should exchange my G2 for a G3 – 4 will probably be the same price and not much different.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      [s<]Moto G 3rd gen had a 600-series SoC. This is more like a Moto E with a bigger display.[/s<] nope I was wrong

      • mczak
      • 4 years ago

      It’s not quite a rebrand, though indeed it is very similar. Essentially you get:
      + somewhat larger (12% more capacity) battery
      + somewhat lighter (12% less weight) shell (still mostly same, a bit large for 5″ screen, size)
      + 16GB flash is now default
      – worse main camera
      – not waterproof

      And apparently there’s still a 1GB memory version of it (the moto g3 was either 8GB/1GB or 16GB/2GB, whereas it’s now 16GB/1GB (probably – Moto is just saying some models have less than 2GB) and 16GB/2GB (here’s hoping Lenovo is burying the 1GB versions somewhere in a landfill).
      That SD 410 is getting OLD, though. Not that the 617 for the other Moto G4 is much better mind you, on the cpu side at least, but at least the gpu is much better.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 4 years ago

        Hmmm thanks! I was feeling too lazy and snarky 😛

        I think I may settle for the G3, then. I’d probably trade the slight bump in battery life for waterproofing and a better camera. Not sure though, as my G2 still does work well.

    • tipoo
    • 4 years ago

    Well, gone are the days of Moto devices having the screen size high ground. The original Moto G and Moto X were perfect imo form factor wise, they bucked the trend of everyone playing the screen size game, the palmability combined with the dimple were great…Now they’re on the screen size game too.

    I have the 4.7″ 6S which is nice, but even that, much more slippery and no place to anchor with your finger on the back unlike my first gen G which I remember fondly.

    At least they’re all on 2GB now. 1GB on modern Android is no fun.

      • DPete27
      • 4 years ago

      I agree, screens larger than 5″ are too big.

      • Laykun
      • 4 years ago

      Unfortunately Motorola are in business to make money, not appease the vocal minority.

        • tipoo
        • 4 years ago

        They haven’t proven very good at it, at that 😉
        Really the lions share of smartphone profits are going to Apple, which also happens to retain its sub 5″ size…

        • rechicero
        • 4 years ago

        That means Apple is not in business to make money? Btw, the only premium phone sub 5″ I can think of sold very well (z3 compact). Maybe moar screen is not what everybody want, but almost the only thing they can get if they want a high end terminal? And the next stupid thing: 4K in 5″… Wait for it.

          • jensend
          • 4 years ago

          I’ve been really frustrated by the lack of midrange small android phone options. You can get cheapo phones with sub 5″ screens, or you can get the very expensive experia z compact, but there’s a $300 gap with no smaller Android phones in it.

          I have been happy with the moto g3 except that I wish I could use a shrink ray on it. I don’t want a 6″ 4K home theater in my pocket, I want an unobtrusive phone.

      • mczak
      • 4 years ago

      The Moto G4 Play actually seems to come with 1GB version, or possibly 1.5GB (the exact quote from the Moto page is “2GB RAM available in specific models and regions”). Which is indeed disappointing (but in contrast to the Moto G3, even the less-than-2GB version now will have 16GB flash).

    • Firestarter
    • 4 years ago

    I bet they’re nice phones but with how Lenovo handled the G3 during the transition I wouldn’t trust them to keep the G4 up to date for more than a year, which is just awful as this phone could probably last for 4

      • Ninjitsu
      • 4 years ago

      G2 got 6.0, just saying.

        • willmore
        • 4 years ago

        The E2 (released almost 6 months *after* the G2) didn’t, just saying.

          • Ninjitsu
          • 4 years ago

          Odd that you chose to bring the E into a G discussion.

          But yeah, they don’t treat the E very well.

            • willmore
            • 4 years ago

            We’re talking about how the company who build a phone treated it. I don’t see why their track record for other conteporary similar market segment phones isn’t relevant.

          • XTF
          • 4 years ago

          The 2015 Moto E has 6.0, at least in Europe.

            • willmore
            • 4 years ago

            Yeah, they skipped NA. *sigh*

    • NTMBK
    • 4 years ago

    “Offensive” is the right word.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    The Plus could be just about all the smartphone you could need for a couple years, easily, but Motorola has dropped the fast-upgrade ball in a big way since the Lenovo acquisition. For that reason, and the fact that the Plus won’t be that much cheaper than the Nexus 5X (prices on Moto’s site are conspicuously absent), I think the Nexus device is still the better buy.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      Thanks for salting my Moto G 4G wound.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 4 years ago

        Any time! I’m here to help!

        • willmore
        • 4 years ago

        Would that be the first gen Moto G with LTE? I.e. the XT1045?

          • morphine
          • 4 years ago

          I can’t recall the XT number, but it’s this model: [url<]http://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_moto_g_4g-6355.php[/url<]

            • willmore
            • 4 years ago

            Yeah, that’s the one:
            [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moto_G_%281st_generation%29[/url<] Sitting in my pocket without marshmallow. 🙁

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