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Motorola Moto G4 Plus Review - Midrange Winner?

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Back in the 90's when and the Gizguide team were in their younger years, there were two gadgets that almost every adult at the time always had or always wanted to have. The gadget were beepers or mobile phones and most of it was made by the Motorola. 
We reviewed Moto's G4 Plus!
We reviewed Moto's G4 Plus!

It was the time where Moto was the dominant player but since then have declined. So much so that they even left the Philippine Market. That story is now over because as soon as we reported that Moto is back in this article (insert link), Moto quickly announced their new line of smartphones for the Philippine market. Recently, we got one of those phones and here is what we think.

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Motorola Philippines for an honest review.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass 3 protection at 401 ppi
CPU: 1.5 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 617 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 405
RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
Back Camera: 16 MP f/2.0 w/ PDAF, laser AF and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP f/2.2 w/ auto HDR
Battery: 3,000 mAh w/ fast charging support
OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1, FM Radio, GPS, A GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity, sound, gyroscope
Others: Fingerprint sensor
Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm
Weight: 155 g
Price: PHP 13,999

Unboxing / Accessories

Basic inclusions inside
Basic inclusions inside

The Moto G4 Plus comes with 1.6A USB Turbo charger, USB to micro USB data charging cable, earbuds w/ mic, and paper manuals.

Build Quality / Design

Headphone slot on top!
Headphone slot on top!

The phone has a nice rounded design overall, and is very light which makes it easy to use. It is also very thin for its size. The phone lacks any premium materials like metal or glass. One reason for this is for Moto Maker which is sadly not available here.  
micro USB charging port below
micro USB charging port below
Volume rocker and power button at right
Volume rocker and power button at right
Microphone and fingerprint scanner / home button below
Microphone and fingerprint scanner / home button below

The silver polycarbonate frame has a nice finish that from a far makes it look like metal. What surprised us is that it made it look premium and not look cheap. At the back is a textured rounded back plate with the signature Moto dimple and logo. The texture is looks great and adds surface area to give that extra grip to avoid accidental slips.

The front is mostly glass with sensors, speakers and the main button are the only parts not covered by it.

The back has a camera hump for the 16 MP camera with two-tone flash while the removable textured back plate when removed exposes the microsd card slot and two mini SIM slots.

Moto actually bundled two SIM adaptors should you have nano SIMs only which is a nice touch!

The left side is empty because all of the buttons are on the right. Textured power button above the volume rocker helps distinguish the two buttons. The 3.5 mm headphone jack is on top while the power button and volume rocker are on the right.

Display Quality

10 points of multi-touch!
10 points of multi-touch!

The 5.5 Inch 10-point multitouch 1920 x 1080 resolution with 401 ppi that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 is bright at its brightest and is near darkness at it's dimmest. The viewing angles are great with responsive and accurate touch implementation. We almost never so artifacting or ghosting.
There's 10 points of touch!
There is also an option to switch between  the color modes of normal to vivid colors for those who love their colors saturated.

Battery Life

Sealed 3000 mAh battery with micro SD, dual sim slots!
Sealed 3000 mAh battery with micro SD, dual sim slots!

The G4 plus has a 3000 mAh non-removable battery. In real world usage, I would come home with 15% battery left. 

In real life performance, it is good enough to last for a regular day of work from 7 AM to 5 PM. Given it's size, it's processor and display, it could be better though given that it isn't a QHD display. What made it so much better is the Turbo Power!

Turbo Power is their own quick charge solution. The G4 plus can be charged from 1% to 80% in an hour while the phone does not become too hot. The Moto also accepts qualcomm quick charge but funnily enough still displays the TurboPower notification. The charging time will depend on the charger. 

In case you lose the included cable, you can use most cables made in the last 5 years for turbo power. We tried using a cherry mobile, nexus 9 and a Tronsmart cable and they all work with the Moto G4 plus. 

Audio Quality

Earpiece doubles as a loudspeaker!
Earpiece doubles as a loudspeaker!

The speakers are laid with the caller ear piece so most of the sound is coming from the top area of the phone beside the sensors and secondary camera. 

The speaker's maximum volume is loud enough with no distortion and with decent range. The trebles and the bass are well balanced and I never found myself disappointed but I wasn't blown away either. 

The sound quality from the earphones is good. It louder, clearer and deeper than the main speakers and I would recommend using it when only listening to personal audio.

The microphone on the other hand is decent. I have never experienced complaints from calls I made with the TELCO or with Facebook or Viber.

Camera

Main camera with dual tone flash!
Main camera with dual tone flash!

The camera performed great! The phone is equipped with 16 MP f/2.0 w/ PDAF rear camera w/ dual tone LED flash. The Camera app has HDR and flash modes and can take 1080p videos up to 30 fps and slow motion of 120fps but at 540p only. We didn't find a setting for image stabilization.
Moto G4 makes point and shoot daylight mobile photography fun!
The main camera takes sharp, vivid and decent contrast images that pop and make taking photographs fun! Lowlight performance isn't that great as expected. At least it isn't as bad compared with most midrange phones.
Manual settings of the camera
Manual settings of the camera

You can control the exposure by tapping the area you want to be in focus and adjust the exposure by moving your finger from side to side to your desired exposure. It doesn't appear to have manual mode which would be a problem for photography enthusiasts. For most people, it wouldn't matter because the pictures are decent straight from camera.

Rear Camera Samples

Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
Well lit shot
Well lit shot
Close-up shot
Close-up shot
Lowlight at night
Lowlight at night

The secondary camera is good to even though it just has 5 megapixels auto HDR sensor at f/2.2. Selfies are sharp, vivid and rendered well. We recommend this if you just want great pictures out of the box! We did notice that it may be slightly below the competition in terms of low light selfie performance and the on screen flash does not help.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie HDR daylight
Selfie HDR daylight
Lowlight test
Lowlight test
Selfie screen flash
Selfie screen flash

The results are similar to the main camera albeit at a lower megapixel count. What surprised us is that it can take 1080p Video at 30 fps and slow motion of 120 fps at 540 fps which is the same with the main camera! We didn't find a setting for image stabilization though.

Video Samples


Performance

Antutu and geekbench score
Antutu and geekbench score

With an Antutu score of at least 46K, it is bound to crush texting, calling, e-mail, word processing and the like! We also tried watching 1080p at 60 fps on YouTube without problem! Every day tasks with the phone are snappy and are responsive with barely no lag. The 3 GB RAM helps a lot when we have multiple apps in the background and multiple chrome tabs at the same time.
Asphalt 8 game settings
Asphalt 8 game settings

The 1080p resolution to us is a perfect balance between looks and practicality. Images look sharp and crispy but doesn't eat too much battery and so far it helps in games too. As Asphalt 8: Airborne is at high graphic settings with a constant 30+ fps!
Visual quality at high with a consistent 30+ fps!
Near stock Moto UI!
Near stock Moto UI!

It is running a near stock android experience with added features with Moto brand software. Moto apps are generally stock apps with improvements. We love them and we wished we could use them with other phones. It's best to try them for yourself!

Moto added features like the press power button twice to quickly launch the camera which is super useful and is as fast as Samsung's own double press the home button for camera! 

Phone connectivity is very good as well. LTE, 3G, HSPA and Edge are all represented well and we have never experienced problems with calls, texts and Data browsing with it. We find this a very compelling phone!

Pros - Bright, saturated 1080p display, grippy and pretty textured back plate, turbo charge is so quick, double press power for camera should be standard on other phones, Moto Apps should be the new standard for near stock apps, great bright condition images from both cameras!
Cons - Battery life is average and is saved by turbo charge, low light selfie cam performance could be better, on screen selfie flash barely helps

Verdict

At this price range, it may not be the best but it is definitely not a bad phone. If you pick this, you are picking reliability and above average performance at almost all categories! The main and secondary camera performed well above our expectations at bright and dim conditions. The pictures are sharp, vivid with eye catching features. The only caveat is the secondary camera's performance in low light, aside from that, this is one of the best phone cameras at its price range. There are trade offs but we can live with them and we consider this phone a winner.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4
Audio - 4
Battery - 4
Camera - 4.25
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.08
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