Motorola unwraps its latest Moto G6 and E5 handsets


Flagship Android phones might get all the press these days, but not everyone has $800-and-more burning a hole in their pocket. That fact didn't escape the notice of Lenovo-subsidiary Motorola, who's chasing the lower-midrange and low-end markets with its Moto G and Moto E handsets. The company today took the wraps off of four new phones, the Moto G6, Moto G6 Play, Moto E5 Plus, and Moto E5 Play.


Moto E5 Plus showing off its 6" screen and 5000 mAh battery

We'll go ahead and get the commonalities out of the way first. All four new smartphones have microSD slots that support cards as large as 128 GB, as well as headphone jacks. All except the bottom-rung E5 Play get math-teacher-infuriating 18:9 aspect-ratio IPS screens. The top-end Moto G6 has a glass back and charges with a USB-C port, while its brothers cling to ye olde microUSB connector and have plain-old plastic backs. None of the four new Moto phones have NFC, so Google Pay support is not in the cards. The fingerprint readers on all four phones provide biometric authentication as well as gesture control.


Moto G6

Moto's G6 is the fleetest of the bunch, sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 clocked at 1.8 GHz. That 14-nm-fabbed SoC pairs eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores with Adreno 506 graphics. Motorola will sell the phone with either 3 GB or 4 GB of memory and 32 GB or 64 GB of storage. The Gorilla Glass 3-coated screen uses a 5.7" panel with a resolution of 2160x1080. The user-facing camera is an 8-megapixel unit and the world-facing snapper setup pairs a 12-MP main camera and a second 5-MP sensor for depth-of-field effects.


Moto G6 Play

The Moto G6 Play is mostly a downgrade from the suffix-less G6, save for its larger 4000 mAh battery pack. The screen measures the same 5.7", but resolution drops to 1440x720. That's good news for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 SoC. This 28-nm-fabbed chip has four Cortex-A53 cores churning at 1.4 GHz alongside Adreno 308 graphics. Memory options drop to either 2 GB or 3 GB, and storage is down to either 16 GB or 32 GB. The front camera is still an 8-MP unit, but the 13-MP snapper on the back doesn't get a partner.


Moto E5 Plus

Motorola seems to have positioned the Moto E5 Plus as the phone of choice for folks who like big screens but keep forgetting their chargers, thanks to its jumbo-sized 6" 1440x720 IPS screen and capacious 5000-mAh battery. The manufacturer says that big pack is enough for a day-and-a-half of normal use. The SoC is a Snapdragon 435, another chip with four Cortex-A53 cores but this time around with an Adreno 505 IGP. The lone configuration sports 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The user-facing camera has an 8-MP sensor and the world-facing picture-taker is a 12-MP unit. 


Moto E5 Play

The bottom-rung Moto E5 is the humblest of the offerings, but still makes for a more-than-serviceable phone. Moto will offer two different SoC choices for the E5: the Snapdragon 425 and the Snapdragon 427. The two chips are the same except for their modems. The Snapdragon 425's X6 modem tops out at 150 Mbps downstream and 75 Mbps upstream, while the X9 modem in the Snapdragon 427 can go up to twice as fast on both counts.

Units with either SoC get 2 GB of memory and 16 GB of integrated storage. The 5.2" non-IPS LCD display's resolution is 720x1080. The camera resolutions drop to 5-MP for the user-facing unit and 8-MP for the main snapper. The battery is the smallest of the bunch, at 2800 mAh, but that's probably fine for the lower-spec hardware it's feeding.

All four handsets come with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. However, Ron Amadeo at Ars Technica says the Moto G6 and its Play sibling are guaranteed to get one major OS upgrade, presumably to Android P, at some point in the future. Motorola makes no promises about to major OS release updates for the Moto E family. On a more positive note, all four phones will get security updates "every 60 to 90 days" during their service life.

Motorola says the Moto G6 will land at $249 and the Moto G6 Play at $199 when they hit the market sometime later this spring. The company didn't provide any pricing information for the Moto E5 Plus and E5 Play in American Green People from History Times, but did say the E5 Plus will run €169 ($175 without VAT) in Europe.

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