Interface and Functionality

Bare-bones Android is nice, but a few more Moto extras would be even nicer

Motorola phones tends to get points with us for their really lightweight Android interface, sticking with an Android implementation that's not too far down the family tree from stock, while also adding a handful of extra features to add value.

They say you get what you pay for, and that appears to be very much the case with those Moto extras here on the G4 Play. We've really enjoyed some of the gesture commands on other Moto handsets, like double-twist-for-camera, face-down-for-do-not-disturb, or maybe our favorite, double-chop-for-flashlight.

Lenovo seriously pares things down for the G4 Play, and the only action command that remains is an upwards swipe to shrink the display for easier one-handed operation.

While the G4 Play lacks extras, we can't fault it for delivering a nice, clean Android build that's free of bloat.

Processor and Memory

An aging processor doesn't offer much “oomph” - but what do you expect for this price?

Lenovo gives the G4 Play a Snapdragon 410 processor, a step down from the 617 in the other G4s but still a really popular choice for mid-rangers; this is the same chip that the third-gen Moto G ran last year.

That means that performance takes a hit, and while this is one of the lowest-performing 2016 models we've reviewed (at least when it comes to synthetic benchmarks), you really don't need a lot of silicon to get basic day-to-day smartphone tasks accomplished. Web browsing was fluid and stutter-free, and full-res 720p video played without a hitch.

As long as you don't go in expecting this budget handset to be something it's not, you're not going to be too upset with the G4 Play's speed. But you're going to want to take things easy on the phone – it didn't take much background-app action before the interface started slowing down a bit.

In addition to that Snapdragon 410, the G4 Play gets 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage – meager, we know, but that's what microSD expansion is for.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 28584
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 35638.33
Motorola Moto G4 46614
Sony Xperia E5 32392.33
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 1143
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 1115
Motorola Moto G4 1379
Sony Xperia E5 987.66
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 2066
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 1944
Motorola Moto G4 2808
Sony Xperia E5 2626.66
JetStream Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 18.212
Motorola Moto G4 22.703
Sony Xperia E5 19.728
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 9.6
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 14
Motorola Moto G4 18
Sony Xperia E5 15
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 4.2
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 5.6
Motorola Moto G4 4.5
Sony Xperia E5 6
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 Play 560
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 763.33
Motorola Moto G4 894
Sony Xperia E5 583


Killer carrier support that we'd love to see on more phones

One of the coolest aspects of the other Moto G4 phones has been their broad carrier support – and specifically, how some cheap unlocked phones had no trouble connecting to Verizon and Sprint, in addition to standard GSM-based networks. Thankfully we don't have to give up that support with the Play, and it enjoys the same wide compatibility.

Our only annoyance is that the phone is designed to work with micro-SIM cards, in a world that's increasingly nano-SIM – though being forced to use an adapter is hardly an arduous requirement.

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