Motorola Moto G4 Plus: Hands-on and first impressions

The Moto G4 Plus is a big improvement over its predecessor but sheds one of Moto's USP features.


Lenovo-owned Motorola today launched the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus smartphones in India. The Moto G4 Plus will be available via Amazon from tonight with prices starting from Rs 13,499. We spent some time with Motorola’s Moto G4 Plus at the launch event today, and here are our first impressions.

The Plus moniker for the Moto G4 may confuse you that it is a larger screen variant. It isn’t. The smartphone has largely similar specifications of the base Moto G4 smartphone except that it has upgraded camera capabilities, expandable storage and a fingerprint scanner. It is worth pointing out here that the Moto G4 Plus is the first smartphone under the Moto series to come with a fingerprint scanner.

The Moto G4 Plus comes in two variants – one with 2GB of RAM and 16GB built-in storage priced at Rs 13,499, and another one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB built-in storage priced at Rs 14,499. Another major change is that expandable storage now supports up to 128GB via a microSD card. Rest of the features of the two Moto G4 Plus variants remain the same — a 5.5-inch full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass, Snapdragon 617 SoC, 16-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front facing camera, and 3,000mAh battery. The smartphones run on Marshmallow 6.0.1 out of the box. Also, both the smartphones now support VoLTE connectivity.

Design wise the Moto G4 series is a pleasant refresh over the previous generation Moto smartphones. Though it is not a radical overhaul, but certainly feels a lot better. The subtle changes include micro textured back, flatter side edges and modified camera set up on the back. Though it still feels wider in your palms, but nonetheless looks much better and smarter. At 7.87mm, the smartphone is quite slimmer than the Moto G 3rd generation, which is 11.6 mm thick.

It seems that Moto has managed to achieve this thinness by letting go of its water resistance feature, which has been one of the key USPs of all Moto smartphones starting from the entry-level Moto E. The Moto G3 had IPx7 rating but there is no mention about it in the Moto G4 Plus listing on Amazon India. BGR India  has learnt that the Moto G4 comes with nano coating that makes it water repellent but has no IP certification. This basically means the smartphone can bear moisture or splashes of water but cannot survive being immersed in water. Considering that the water resistance was a big feature on the last year’s Moto G, this is a step backwards. The fingerprint scanner on the bottom of the front panel is quite different as compared to the ones you see on other smartphones. The scanner is squarish in design contrary to the circular or oval shaped ones we have seen on the other smartphones so far.

Besides the refreshed design, the Moto G4 Plus promises a solid performance with the combination of the Snapdragon 617 octa-core with 2GB and 3GB RAM combinations. The Snapdragon 617 is quite a stable SoC. The last time around I used a smartphone with the Snapdragon 617 SoC was the HTC One A9, which was quite a decent performer.  This combination on the Moto G4 Plus should be good enough to deal with moderate to heavy usage. The camera has been upgraded from 13-megapixel to 16-megapixel, while the front camera has remained at 5-megapixel. The rear camera comes with laser auto focus and PDAF, which is something we don’t see in smartphones at this price point. Apart from the camera hardware, Motorola has also added support for time lapse and slow motion videos. It has also added a professional mode, which offers users the ability to tweak settings.

Unlike earlier when the Moto G series didn’t have much competition, this time it has its task cut out for it. It will go up against the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which has sold over 600,000 units in just two months. It will interestingly also face competition from its parent company Lenovo’s Zuk Z1 as well as the LeEco Le 1s.

  • Published Date: May 17, 2016 8:05 PM IST
  • Updated Date: May 17, 2016 9:18 PM IST