Motorola Moto G6 & G6 Play hands-on

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The Moto G line has been a longtime strong competitor in mid-range landscape, so it's no surprise that another year brings yet another successor into the equation. This time around, though, we're getting a one-two punch as both the Moto G6 and G6 Play are being introduced simultaneously packing trendy features – while complemented with affordable prices.


Borrowing some of the new design aesthetics introduced by its sibling in the Moto X4, both the Moto G6 and G6 Play are redesigned with glass finishes and rounded edges that make them utterly stunning for their price points. However, it should be noted that the G6 technically is wrapped in 3D Gorilla Glass 3 – while the Moto G6 Play is covered in 3D polymer glass of no particular branding. To tell you the truth, it's really difficult to tell apart the two kinds of materials, but Corning's glass will still offer the superior protection.

With the new designs, the phones are accompanied with 3.5mm headphone jacks and p2i water-repellent coatings that'll safeguard them from minor splashes. Considering they're mid-range devices and all, it's swell that the designs of the phones have taken a more premium approach, but at the same time, the glass surfaces makes them somewhat more fragile.


Going with the trends we've seen in the industry for the last year, both handsets now feature displays with 18:9 screen aspect ratios. Specially, the Moto G6 is fashioned with a 5.7-inch 1080x2160-pixel "Max Vision" IPS LCD display – while the Moto G6 Play is donning a 5.7-inch 720x1440-pixel "Max Vision" IPS LCD display. Indeed, there's a details superiority on paper with the Moto G6's display, but it's really tough to discern when you're looking at the two from normal distances.

In our short time checking the two out, we're entranced by the sheer iridescence of the two displays, as colors pop with some serious saturation to get our attention. Viewing angles, too, seem pretty decent as they don't seem to distort all that much. And finally, they're able to output a reasonable amount of brightness in the bright conditions we were checking them out!

User Interface

Diving into the software running on the two phones, they're both running a mostly stock Android 8.0 Oreo experience – so purists will be happy to see that out of the box. Naturally, being Moto branded smartphones, you can expect to find many of Moto's signature features that we've come to appreciate. From the vast Moto Actions at our disposal, to Moto Display that breathes useful information, there's nothing really out of the ordinary that we haven't seen before. Although, with the Moto G6, new Moto Actions allow us to leverage the fingerprint sensor for one-touch navigation to mimic the typical Android on-screen menu controls.

Running the show behind the scenes, the Moto G6 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 SoC coupled with 3GB/4GB of RAM, the Adreno 506 GPU, and 32GB/64GB of storage. Meanwhile, the Moto G6 Play is packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 427 SoC coupled with 2GB/3GB of RAM, the Adreno 308 GPU, and 16GB/32GB of storage. Both smartphones also feature microSD card slots for storage expansion. While basic functions seem to perform fine in our quick assessment, they're really not meant to handle processor intensive things like gaming, but they can still probably do that to an extent if you're willing to accept slightly choppier frame rates.


Now, if you're a shutterbug and all, you'll probably want to go for the Moto G6 primarily because of its dual camera implementation, which boils down to 12MP and 5MP sensors with an f/1.8 aperture. This combination, naturally, allows the phone to capture portrait shots that blur the background with bokeh. In addition to that, the camera is tweaked with additional features such as landmark recognition, text scanning, spot color, and face filters to keep you occupied.

Conversely, the Moto G6 Play is only accompanied by a single 13MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture lens and phase detection auto-focus. Not surprisingly, its camera features are a bit more reserved, limited to things like slow motion, panorama, and manual mode.

As for their front-facing cameras, both are blessed with 8MP snappers with LED flashes as well.


In the battery department, however, it's the Moto G6 Play that's graced with the beefier 4,000 mAh battery cell, which should deliver great longevity considering it's only dealing with a 720p+ display. As for the Moto G6, there's a 3,000 mAh inside of its body, which we're curious to see how it performs given the significantly smaller capacity. On the flip side, it's benefiting from having a 15W TurboPower Charging courtesy of its USB Type-C connection – whereas the Moto G6 Play has a 10W fast charging system with its microUSB connection.


Price wise, they're going to be positioned at a relatively sweet spot for being classified as mid-rangers. We're told that the Moto G6 will come in at $249 when it arrives, while the Moto G6 Play gets the discounted price of $199. Looking at the two price points, the $50 difference separating the two might not seem all that much, but given how the Moto G6 seems to have the more robust package, like its dual-camera system, faster processor, and higher resolution display, there's absolutely more value accompanying that extra $50. So far, there's no word on when we'll see them launch, but it shouldn't be too long from now.

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