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Motorola Moto G4 Play: Reviewing Moto's $150 smartphone

By Scorpus ยท 25 replies
Nov 5, 2016
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  1. For budget smartphone buyers, the phone series I continually recommend is the Motorola Moto G. Now in its fourth iteration, the Moto G has delivered excellent entry-level value since its inception, despite increasingly stronger competition from Chinese vendors. The recently-released Moto G4 Play is no exception.

    The G4 Play is the cheapest model in Motorola’s revamped Moto G line, which also includes the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. While the standard Moto G4 received several hardware updates relative to last year’s third-generation Moto G, the G4 Play is a minor refresh that packs largely the same hardware at a lower price point.

    Returning in the Moto G4 Play is the 5.0-inch 720p LCD and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 SoC, along with 16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM as standard. Last year, this bundle of hardware cost $220 at launch, but in 2016 you’ll pay just $150: a significant 32 percent reduction in price. The G4 Play also packs a larger battery, but a downgraded camera system.

    Read the complete review.

  2. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 815   +828

    Finally a removable battery!
    Shame it's in a low end product, but still, a removable battery in the wild.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2016
    Reehahs and ikesmasher like this.
  3. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,560   +1,004

    I'm confused. Why is the author so impressed by that hardware at 150$? O_o
    GyratingIndy likes this.
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,270   +895

    Because of the competition on the same price range, increase both in memory and disk, stuff like that.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,560   +1,004

    that's the problem, these specs were old even in 2015. it can't compete at 150$. it's brand name will help it sell though.
    GyratingIndy likes this.
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,957   +1,288

    it doesnt really even have much competition at that price range new?
  7. Rspmobile

    Rspmobile TS Rookie

    Really the value is buying it from a prepaid service such as Verizon for $80. I wouldn't pay full price. For full price you can find an older Samsung S4 or S5. For GSM phones the Idol 3 with 5.5 inch screen, 13mp and Octa-core, just as an example.

    However, my mother and sister in-law only gets Verizon in their area using prepaid 1st Gen MotoG for 2 1/2 years with no problems. They will probably be a returning customer to Motorola.
    Reehahs likes this.
  8. hojnikb

    hojnikb TS Enthusiast Posts: 33

    specs are meaningless, if software sux. this is especially true on lesser knows brands; they stick fancy sounding specs but skimp heavy on software.
  9. Rspmobile

    Rspmobile TS Rookie

    Yeah, I can agree. I like my Idol 3. Very simple on software, not a lot of blotware. Even though it has 2gb of ram and 16gb of storage, when you bench test it, the read/write speed sucks and bottle necks the processor. Which explains why at times it lags out.

    If Motorola built the software well, even with the low end specs of the G4 Play, it will be a good experience. That's what my family experienced with the 1st generation model.
  10. GyratingIndy

    GyratingIndy TS Rookie

    I can't justify the price when it has absolute dogcrap performance, especially when I can buy second hand phones at much, much lower price with, much, much better hardware.

    As someone that games casually on his phone, I won't be spending a dime on one that can't even play emulated games and give a satisfactory experience.
  11. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,962   +231

    Good specs does not equal good phone. I've used "faster" phones from Chinese brands at the same price that are worse due to terrible software, cheap camera sensors, poor displays, no optimization at all etc.
  12. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,270   +895

    It's a stock android experience with really good hardware that doesn't have any kind of competitor on that price range. I don't know why people expect flagship performance on entry level price... and don't come with the "yeah you can get a used..." if people wanted to get used phones Motorola wouldn't be putting out a 4th generation of the probably best seller phone ever.
  13. Rspmobile

    Rspmobile TS Rookie

    Just to clarify my statement about getting a Samsung S4 for the same price. If you go to and searched for that phone, you will find NEW S4 for $150 for Straight Talk, Verizon and Tmobile. A phone that has been on the market for 3 1/2 years. I had a Verizon Samsung S4 for 6 months and it is comparable to most new budget & mid-range phones at $150-200 with much of the same specs except most new budget & mid-range have more efficient octa-core processors and bigger batteries. I was always looking for a charger with the S4 which was a pain in the butt.

    Does anyone remember the MotoE? If MotoE had another generation it would be the specs of this MotoG4 Play. I wouldn't pay more than $100, which is selling for $84.99 at Verizon right now.

    If I had to pay $149.99 for MotoG4 Play, I would save my pennies a little longer and buy the REAL MotoG4 for $199 that has the bigger processor, camera, screen, and battery. That's the phone that rival older flag ship phones and prove to be a rock solid phone.
    Reehahs likes this.
  14. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,560   +1,004

    I doubt that something with a snapdragon from the 600-800 series with more RAM will be slower (it's not really hard to beat a phone that has such a weak GPU like the Adreno 306 and a 1.2 GHz CPU quad core).

    it's not like I'm talking without actually using such phones. I've imported plenty in my life to know exactly what to expect and which ones are good/bad. as long as you ignore the no-name phones you'll be fine. you have hundreds of reviews you can check before buying a phone.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
    Rspmobile likes this.
  15. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,258   +614

    These 80-150 dollar phones, aren't really aimed at people who view tech review sites.
    These are aimed at the "flip phone" generation, that hasn't updated to a smartphone, for whatever
    reason, mostly, because they just need a basic phone, and, if you've ever walked into a typical
    "phone store", all you see are iPhones, Samsung's and the like, with their insane prices. Also,
    these are probably steered in low income areas, 3rd world/emerging markets.
    Smartphones, for what you get, are priced WAY too high. Heck, unless you are into pixel peeping,
    benchmarks, bragging rights, high end games, a phone equipped with a SD801 chip, 1080p screen
    2gb ram, 12mp OIS camera, 3,000mAH battery & microSD card, will work for the majority of users.
    I mean come on! Most people are talking, texting, selfies, web browsing. It's not like they are doing
    some cutting edge graphics, math science. IT'S A PHONE. Yes, it's supplanting tablets, some PC
    work/use, but still yet, it's A PHONE, not a fashion statement, considering the price, that's what it appears.
    Hey, if you want to pay 1,000 dollars for some high end phone, be my guest. I wait until a new one comes
    along, then buy last years "new" thing at a huge discount.
    Rspmobile likes this.
  16. Rspmobile

    Rspmobile TS Rookie

    Yeah, you got a true point about most who buy $80-150 phones. My mother in-law would like the G4 Play so she can do the two simple things of calling and texting. She usually just asks me to pickup whatever I think will work well for her. They arn't going to waste their time researching (from their view point of wasting time).

    I agree with you about the insane prices, not only the phone but the plan. No offence, I never understood the buyer who spends $28 for a phone + $11 protection plan + $35 plan + $20 line access = $94 a month. I had that argument with a Verizon rep wanting me to switch from prepaid. So I pay $45 a month but you want me to pay $94 a month!? Does that really make sense if I have no problems with the prepaid service I have? In two years I could buy four mid-range $250 phones with my prepaid plan for that amount of money. That's about how much my friend is paying per month with her Samsung S7, and she will never do more than update her status on Facebook and do selfies. The S7 is a great looking phone but not for $672. She will replace it in a couple years before she even begins to tap into the performance of that phone.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2016
    p51d007 likes this.
  17. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,045   +206

    This guy seems to favor hard drive performance over your graphics card\ cpu.
  18. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 215   +55

    2 year old Samsung Galaxy S5 is better and cheaper.
  19. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,258   +614

    Yeah, I jumped off the "contract" stuff about 4 years ago, switching to an MVNO (straight talk). It's insane...on carrier, the silly bill takes up ONE page it seems like, just for the "fees"...contract fee, billing fee, 911 fee, paperwork fee. With Straight talk, I pretty much get everything I had, and I get a bill that is SIMPLE.
    Hey, it's their money, if someone wants to spend a silly amount for a phone & plan, knock yourself out!
  20. Fbarnett

    Fbarnett TS Booster Posts: 210   +30

    I love these kind of comments what do you buy second hand for MUCH MUCH lower than $150.00 that has better specs?
  21. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,962   +231

    It doesn't matter if the phone is technically faster if it sucks to use in other ways
  22. Scorpus

    Scorpus TechSpot Staff Topic Starter Posts: 1,962   +231

    You can purchase a refurbished Galaxy S5 for around $150 but not a brand new one. So they're not the same price, which makes sense because the S5 is better (although I'd recommend the LG G3 for a cheaper Snapdragon 800 series device)

    Storage performance is extremely important. Slow storage = slow app loading = slow phone
  23. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 215   +55

    Last year's best stuff is a better all around best deal!
  24. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,560   +1,004

    "sucks" - that's a word that should be used only for something that is crap and you should definitely not use it for phones that you never even held in your hand. you are talking like you already made up your mind so I doubt that anything I say from now on will change your way of thinking.

    here's how I use that word: it sucks that apple removed the audio jack; it sucks that Samsung phones explode; it sucks that Moto G4 Play is a generation or 2 behind its competition (buying older gen western phones is still better, the same with importing chinese phones).

    the moto g4 play is good only if you need to buy something fast and can't find anything else or you don't know how to find something better. it's a safe buy, not the best, but it's also not a bad buy per se..
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  25. polord

    polord TS Rookie Posts: 21

    "and the all-important 3.5mm headphone jack on the top"


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