Hardware Overview and System Performance

Like with the Moto G 2015, the Moto G4 Play's main piece of hardware is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, an entry-level SoC with four ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at up to 1.21 GHz. The chip also includes an Adreno 306 GPU clocked at 400 MHz, along with a single-channel LPDDR3 memory controller.

Considering the Snapdragon 410 was used in the previous generation model, ideally I would have liked to see an upgrade to something more powerful after a year. However, the Moto G4 Play is cheaper than its predecessor, and the Snapdragon 410 is a capable, competitive chip in the sub-$150 market.

Unfortunately Motorola has not upgraded the Moto G with 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi support, so the G4 Play is stuck with just Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n on 2.4 GHz. Bluetooth 4.1 is included, as is A-GPS, although there's no NFC.

There are two models of the Moto G4 available, but one (the XT1609) should be discounted entirely as it contains just four LTE bands, all of which are also found in the other model. In other words, buyers should look towards the XT1607, which includes 13 LTE bands and five HSPA+ bands, covering the vast majority of networks around the globe. LTE speeds are listed as Category 4.

It's great to see Motorola improving the amount of storage in the Moto G to 16 GB as standard, which I believe is enough for the app requirements of everyday users. Considering the G4 Play includes a microSD card slot, increasing the amount of storage is relatively cheap and trivial. The Play also comes with 2 GB of RAM, which again was only seen in the more expensive Moto G 2015 model.

General system performance is typical of an entry-level device: not particularly fast, but not frustratingly slow. Compared to a top-end phone you'll have to wait a little longer to open applications and switch between them, and the phone is slower at applying filters to photos and playing high-end games. However, the general experience that the Moto G4 Play provides is good, especially for the price.

Across the range of benchmarks I performed on the Moto G4 Play, last year's model reports marginally faster performance in most CPU-bound workloads. Devices with Qualcomm's lower-mid-range Snapdragon 617, like the Moto G4 Plus, clock in at 27 percent faster.