Call Quality

Motorola knows radios, and it shows

During our testing of the Moto G4 and G4 Plus, we evaluated the handsets on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon alike. While each phone proved fully capable of making and receiving pleasantly intelligible calls, it seems that the largest factor in voice-call quality wasn't the phones themselves, but the network on which we were operating. That's not exactly the best news for users who for one reason or another are bound to a particular carrier, but we're still happy the hardware itself isn't the limiting factor in our ability to move between them.

Battery Life

Flagship-level (and sometimes besting) endurance


No matter whether you go with the G4 or the Plus version, you're getting a phone with a good-sized 3,000mAh battery. And even with the move to a 5.5-inch screen this year, that's still ample power to get you through a day of heavy operation without running out of charge.

Individual batteries of the same spec will certainly vary in their performance, and while these two phones are largely identically equipped (at least in terms of factors that could influence power consumption), our tests showed the G4 outlasting the G4 Plus by a little over an hour – could the extra 2GB of RAM really have that large an impact on power needs? Even still, the 7 hours and 30 minutes of screen-on time the G4 Plus held out for in our custom tests is all kinds of respectable, even beating some of this year's flagships.

Recharging is acceptably fast, and with the help of the included TurboPower adapters, both phones were able to fully restore their batteries in under two hours. The main benefit to TurboPower, though, is getting a few hours worth of operation after just a short 15-minute charge, and it has less of an impact as you get further and further along in the charging process.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Motorola Moto G4 8h 48 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 7h 30 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 9h 57 min (Excellent)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 12h 36 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Motorola Moto G4 110
Motorola Moto G4 Plus 113
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 100
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 153

Conclusion



Both the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus are some well-done mid-rangers, marrying performance that should be adequate for casual users with some very attractive pricing.

But a lot of companies give us well-executed phones; are the new Moto G4s anything special? Well, that's sadly to say a bit of a “no.” The Moto Gs in general have been experiencing a sort of drift over the years, and while they're still a cheap alternative to Motorola's flagships, they no longer feel like they're doing much that's unique to stand out in the mid-ranger space.

That said, we really appreciate the variety of storage and memory options, especially for the low, low prices Motorola is charging for those upgrades. Two hundred dollars is a sweet starting point (even if it is a little pricier than last year's Moto G) and fifty bucks extra for a higher-res camera and fingerprint scanner isn't a bad premium – moving further still to four times the storage and double the RAM is an even easier $50 upgrade beyond that.

And while each of those upgrades seems like a sensible decision, the Moto G starts looking a little different as we push up to the $300 level. Here the phone starts competing not just with other lower mid-rangers, but affordably priced value propositions; is it worth spending another $100 and moving to something like the OnePlus 3? That Snapdragon 617 may be alright for many uses, but it's also a troubling bottleneck on a phone that lets you upgrade so many other components.

Maybe if the Moto G4 Plus let us graduate to a speedier chip, or if things like the fingerprint scanner were standard even on the entry-level $200 G4, the phones would compare slightly more favorably to the rest of the Android pack. Right now they're still both pretty good phones – they just exist in a world where some better-equipped models are just around the corner.

They're both good handsets worth picking up if they happen to deliver exactly what you're looking for. But with so many options out there, it's worth your while to consider all the alternatives before sinking the cash on this year's Moto G.

Software version of the review unit: Android 6.0.1; Build Number: MPJ24.139-48/49



Pros

  • Great value for a mid-range phablet
  • Quality, affordable upgrades over the base model
  • Battery life sufficient to get through a heavy day
  • Really well done cross-carrier support

Cons

  • Best-equipped G4 Plus faces tough competition from
  • Snapdragon 617 struggles under load
  • Neither camera option manages to blow us away
  • Large, light phone risks feeling a little cheap

PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

FEATURED VIDEO

36 Comments

1. deftozzz

Posts: 14; Member since: Jul 16, 2015

Meanwhile dxomark scored them pretty high...

2. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

meanwhile iPhone6s beat S7 in other article.. we know how reliable their camera test

4. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Happy to see the blurring corners in photos from last year's models are gone.

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

-deleted- wrong post :D

12. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

I have used G4 plus and Galaxy J7 2016. J7 has better camera and G4 plus had me a bit disappointed mainly due to so high DXOMARK. I do not trust Dxomark now.

20. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Its not because you like one device picture more than another thats its has better camera. S7 a great example some ppl love its picture but reality is to make a camera the best its must truly take what you see as a picture and not over process it.

14. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

A 7? Swear the G4 Plus should get at least an 8...

34. Acdc1a

Posts: 475; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Pricing would keep it from an 8 in my book. I took advantage (disadvantage?) of the Amazon offer on the standard G4. It's a very average phone. For $125 I can't complain but at $199 I'd be furious.

19. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

"Benchmark tests revealed some unquestionably sub-flagship performance" Why is this being held against a budget phone?

27. Veteater

Posts: 59; Member since: Aug 04, 2015

C'mon PA! This deserves about an 8-8.5. "Unquestionably sub-flagship performance"? The phone is not supposed to compete with the oneplus 3. This is $250, and it's got an SD617. Obviously it will stutter a little. Used one at best buy, and it performed well flipping through the UI, and did stutter a little bit in more intensive apps, though the experience wasn't bad, but it obviously wasn't up to snuff with my 6p and turbo 2. If you want a phone with NO stuttering and NO lag whatsoever, you don't get a $250 midrange phone. Get a Oneplus 3, Alcatel idol 4s, ZTE Axon 7, Nexus 6p, that kind of stuff. This Unquestionably sub-flagship performance is being held against the G⁴ and G⁴ plus because it's PA. The site that basically only gives good ratings to iPhones and Samsungs. A samsung would have to lag to the point of being damn near unusable to get anything less than an 8.

31. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

John V has given previous Motos really good scores (above 8 for the G, 9 for X), given their great value.

3. libra89

Posts: 2290; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Interesting.

6. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

"But with so many options out there, it's worth your while to consider all the alternatives before sinking the cash on this year's Moto G." many option? like what? did any of $200-$300 smartphone this year get score higher than 7/10?

26. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

A display better than the iPhone 6s Plus, adequate sound over the speaker as well as the audio jack, vanilla Android experience with support promised upto Android O (slower but it's there), a fast responsive fingerprint scanner, good cameras, excellent call quality and it's priced from $200-300. Yes definitely a 7 by PA.

7. Telemike

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

Nexus 5X seems a better buy with 808 over the 617 and faster udpates direct from Google. Prices have dropped on 32GB model (I got mine from Fi for $249).

8. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

If I had unlimited data (which I don't because I suck) to upload things onto cloud, then a Nexus is considerable.

9. libra89

Posts: 2290; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

And it's smaller, at least in screen size anyway. These Moto Gs seem to be okay, but why are both choices just big only? :/

21. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Nexus 5x has much more performance issue than this g4...

25. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

Not anymore, I heard most of them have been patched with monthly updates

10. waqas.mehmood2

Posts: 55; Member since: Nov 21, 2015

Average phone

11. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

It's either this or the zenfone 3, which outspecs this phone on nearly every front. So I'm really leaning toward Asus right now.

13. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

SD 617 for 1080p display sucks.

15. siddharthayadav202

Posts: 286; Member since: Apr 23, 2016

And I think the phone to compete for G4 plus is J7 2016 not A7. I wish G4 and Plus had 720p display. Gaming perf is poor.

22. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Sd617 is downgrade from 615? Had no issue playing games on my moto x play..

23. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

Maybe you can try running adb commands to switch it (whatever it is) to 720p before playing games, then switch it back for normal use.

16. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Ehhhh. Dunno how the G4 plus got less battery usage then the G4 as they're both practically the same device. I feel like the scores were averaged out between the two: Separate reviews on both would have been better.

17. TrackPhoneUser

Posts: 256; Member since: Oct 21, 2015

Seesh now it's bad to be light weight. Btw they should do a new type of battery test: Pokémon Go battery test

18. MingLiangChen

Posts: 329; Member since: Jul 06, 2012

lol, Pokemon Go, the new battery benchmarking standard

24. KingSam

Posts: 1466; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

What about the overheating reported by other reviews? Please comment on that.

28. Veteater

Posts: 59; Member since: Aug 04, 2015

Updates were sent out quite a while ago to patch the overheating and performance problems, like the patches sent out to patch the nexus 5x's problems.

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