Wrap Up: An Interesting Budget Proposition
The Moto G4 Plus is more expensive than both the current Moto G4 and last year’s Moto G, but it does feature some unique upgrades and features. However, for all the good things this handset provides, I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra cash.
The best aspect of the Moto G4 Plus' hardware is the new 16-megapixel camera. It delivers great detail and fantastic color performance, providing a decent upgrade on Motorola’s past offerings at this price point. In fact you’ll be hard pressed to find a smartphone camera as good as the G4 Plus’ for $250: it’s better than past flagships that sit at a similar price point.
The display on this phone is also very good. Motorola has upped the resolution to 1080p, which is now the standard for devices at this price. The LCD panel brings fantastic brightness, great color reproduction, and above average contrast. Essentially all areas of this display are an upgrade over previous Moto Gs.
Technically speaking, the Snapdragon 617 provides a small performance improvement over the Snapdragon 410 used in past Moto Gs. It’s a capable SoC for 1080p graphics, however the performance gains I saw do not fit with the extra hardware available in the S617. Considering the Moto G4 Plus is $70 more expensive than last year’s S410-powered Moto G, I would have liked to see a larger performance improvement.
Otherwise the G4 Plus does contain a good range of extra hardware. There’s upgraded wireless capabilities, particularly the inclusion of Wi-Fi ac support, and there’s now a 64 GB model available with 4 GB of RAM. You’re also getting a decent fingerprint scanner on the front, which is one of the key upgrades over the standard Moto G4.
Battery life is pretty good, improving on the Moto G 2015 to provide several extra hours of stamina in our tests. This gives the Moto G4 Plus above average battery life, particularly considering there is only a 3,000 mAh cell inside.
On the downside, the Moto G4 Plus design leaves a lot to be desired. The plastic body looks and feels generic and compares unfavorably against some of its direct competitors such as the Meizu m3 Note. At this price point I expect more than just a basic design and Motorola hasn’t upgraded their budget smartphone build for several years now. The front camera isn’t very good either, but that's an acceptable trade-off for a good rear camera.
I haven’t talked a lot about the software on the Moto G4 Plus because it’s basically stock Android 6.0 with a few minor Motorola additions. I like the glance notification features when the display is off, but other than that the software experience is untouched Android.
Motorola hasn’t committed to fast Android updates, though at least there’s no skin to bog down the phone over time.
I remain unconvinced releasing the Moto G4 Plus at $250 was a good decision. I don’t see the value in forking out an extra $50 over the standard Moto G4 which aside from the fingerprint sensor and upgraded camera is identical in every other way. By all reports the standard Moto G4’s 13-megapixel camera is still very good at its $200 price point.
At $250 the Moto G4 Plus also faces stiff competition from previous-gen flagships. The LG G4 costs $280, which is just $30 more and packs much better hardware across the board. Or you could purchase the Google Nexus 5X, which often hovers around $250 as an unbelievably good deal.
My advice is to pocket your $50 and purchase the standard Motorola Moto G4 if you’re after an excellent budget handset. If you want to spend a full $250, I’d strongly recommend the Nexus 5X over the Moto G4 Plus, which provides much better value at its ultra-cheap price point.
Pros: Fantastic rear camera. Great upgrades to the display. Runs stock Android. Includes a fingerprint sensor. Above average battery life.
Cons: Generic plastic design. Performance isn’t great for the price. Lacks value compared to the non-Plus model.