Android Product Reviews

Moto G4 Plus Review

Skye Hudson 11-11-2016

Motorola has been the leader of the budget phone realm What's the Best Android Smartphone in 2016? Buying an iPhone is simple -- if you want the best device, you buy the newest one. If you want a cheaper one, you buy one that's a year or two old. Read More ever since they came out with their Moto G line The Moto G Is Officially Here For Only $179 Unlocked Motorola has just announced the rumored Moto G, a cheaper cousin to the Moto X that will cost $179 for the 8GB model and $199 for the 16GB model. Read More , but the new Moto G4 Plus has taken things to the next level. Whereas past generations of the Moto G made some pretty significant compromises to come in at a low price point, the G4 Plus manages to blow other phones out of the water at only $300.


So is it the phone for you? Let’s find out.



  • Price: $300 ($250 version available)
  • Chipset: Octa-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor with 550MHz Adreno 405 GPU
  • RAM: 4GB (2GB version available)
  • Storage: 64GB (16GB version available)
  • Cameras: 16MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
  • Size: 153mm x 76.6mm x 9.8mm (6.02in x 3.02in x 0.39in)
  • Weight: 155g (5.46oz)
  • Screen: 5.5″ LCD 1920px by 1080px display
  • Expansion: microSD card slot up to 128GB
  • Battery: 3,000mAh with TurboCharge
  • Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • Extra Features: Fingerprint scanner, removeable back

Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Buy Now On Amazon $304.55


If there’s one aspect of this phone that feels cheap, it’s the plastic body. This comes with its own pros and cons, though. For example, the textured plastic has more grip than an aluminum phone, and it can easily be popped off to give you access to the SIM card and MicroSD card slots (the battery however is still not removable).



But, it does look and feel cheaper. The plastic can be a little creaky in places, but for the most part, it feels solidly built. Strangely enough, the curved design is extremely reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S3.


The power button and volume rocker are along the right side, the left side is bare, the bottom has the Micro-USB port, and the headphone jack is at the top. Because it does still use Micro-USB, all your old cables should work for it, but be aware that the industry is moving towards the reversible Type-C plug What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More , and in a year or two, you might feel a little left behind.



Just below the screen, there’s a square fingerprint scanner that looks deceitfully like a home button, but it’s not (the phone uses software keys instead). Honestly, the scanner is beyond impressive. Rest your finger lightly on it, and the phone unlocks instantly, even without hitting the power button first to wake it up. I was genuinely shocked by how fast and reliable the fingerprint scanner was, and I continued to use it for the whole time I was testing the device.


The screen is a pretty standard 5.5″ 1080p LCD display, but it looks great and is bright enough in direct sunlight.


While the resolution of both the cameras isn’t bad (16MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing), they quality is lacking, especially in low-light. Photos in daylight were fine, but as soon as you go indoors, photos become grainy and blurry. The worst part was probably the slow shutter speed. There’s a good chunk of time after hitting the button before it actually takes the photo, which means you won’t be taking photos in quick succession.


There is a burst mode, but photos are even more blurry in that. You’ll also find a Professional Mode for manual camera controls, a panorama mode, and slow-motion video. But that’s it. Maybe the best part about it is the simplicity; other manufacturers pack their camera apps with so many unnecessary features that it becomes confusing.


I felt like the front-facing camera left me with especially washed-out and under-saturated selfies. Photos are definitely not the strong point of this phone. But that being said, they’re not terrible. For a $300 phone, it’s actually just as good if not better than other phones in its price range. I don’t think it was even intended to compete with $700 phone cameras.


The speaker on the Moto G4 Plus is actually built right into the earpiece. That means that you get the sound pointed directly at you, not coming out of the back or the bottom of the device. It’s not an extremely loud speaker, but it’s definitely above average.



Front-facing speakers have become a rarity on smartphones. HTC is known for their dual-front facing speakers, but even they moved to an earpiece-speaker combo in their latest flagship HTC 10 HTC 10 Review There's little to complain about with the HTC 10, aside from the mediocre battery life and quiet speakers. But there's nothing about it to get excited about, either. Read More . So seeing that feature on a budget device is a pleasant surprise.


You might think that with the Snapdragon 617 powering this little phone, it would be noticeably slow — but I haven’t found that to be true at all. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s running nearly stock Android; maybe Motorola (or Lenovo, the company that owns Motorola) has made some tweaks behind the scenes. But whatever it is, this phone is not slow. I’ve only run into lag a couple times, but that was when I was really pushing the phone by charging it, playing Pokemon GO 10 Pokemon Go Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know Pokemon Go is still fun even years after its launch. Here are the best Pokemon Go tips and tricks to get more out of the game. Read More , keeping the screen brightness on high, using it in warm weather, navigating with GPS, and checking Twitter.


But in normal use cases, the G4 Plus is plenty fast. 4G of RAM is more than enough, and getting that much for only $300 is incredible. I promise you, when you’re using this device, it does not feel like a cheap Android phone hindered by lag and bugs.


While most manufacturers change Android Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More pretty drastically, Motorola has basically left it alone — and that’s great. People tend to find manufacturer changes to be unnecessary bloat, and you get none of that here. There’s just plain old stock Android.


Motorola has added a couple little features via a single app called Moto. Here you can adjust the screen light-up during battery-saving mode for notifications, and you can control the gestures like “Chop Twice” for Flashlight. I personally found the gestures to not be very helpful, but the notification display is infinitely useful (especially since the G4 Plus doesn’t have an LED notification light).

Otherwise, there’s not much to the software. But that’s extremely good news for software updates. Lenovo has already promised to upgrade the G4 Plus to Android 7.0 Nougat by the end of this year, though only time will tell if they continue to upgrade it past that point.

Battery Life

With a 3,000mAh battery, battery life on the G4 Plus is really quite good. I wouldn’t say that it’s a standout feature, but it’s certainly better than most other smartphones. I never ran out of juice 10 Proven and Tested Tips to Extend Battery Life on Android Suffering from poor battery life on Android? Follow these tips to get more juice out of your Android device's battery. Read More before the end of the day (unless I spent the day playing Pokemon GO, but then I had a portable charger The Best Pokemon Go Power Banks Pokemon Go beats the heck out of a phone's battery. Squeezing a bit more Pokemon-catching juice out of your phone requires a power bank. But what's the best battery out there? Read More ).


In the screenshots above, you can see that after having 4 hours of screen on time, I still had 31% battery left. Most phones die before 4 hours, but the the G4 Plus just kept going.


There are two models of the G4 Plus. The one we tested had 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and cost $300. The other model is only $250 and has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. But that extra $50 is definitely worth it for all of that.

We’ve covered before why 16GB just isn’t enough storage Live Photos & 4K: Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 16GB iPhone 6s If you want to take advantage of the new iPhone 6s camera, you'll probably want to avoid picking the 16GB storage option. Read More for a modern smartphone, and you’ll certainly feel the performance difference going from 2GB of RAM to 4GB. Considering most manufacturers charge an extra $100 just to up the storage from 16GB to 64GB, you’re getting quite the deal here.

Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Moto G Plus (4th Gen.) Unlocked - Black - 64GB - U.S. Warranty Buy Now On Amazon $304.55

But even at $300, the Moto G4 Plus is still substantially cheaper than basically every flagship smartphone. The base model 32GB iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus Review This year's iPhone 7 models break with convention. For the first time ever Apple has opted for the same general design three years in a row, while introducing some divisive, but long-overdue features. Read More retails for $650; the cheapest 32GB Samsung Galaxy S7 Galaxy S7 Edge Review and Giveaway Samsung's back again with some new smartphones: the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It's still a premium device with uniquely curved edges, but should you consider upgrading? Read More can cost anywhere from $550 to $700 depending on where you buy it; the new Google Pixel Google Unveils New Pixel Phones, Chromecast Ultra, & More... Google has unveiled a host of new hardware, including new Pixel phones, the Chromecast Ultra, the Daydream View, Google Home, and Google Wifi. Read More costs $650 for the cheapest 32GB model.

For any of the faults that this phone has, it’s a bit easier to forgive them when you realize that you’re saving $300-$400.

Should You Buy It?

The Moto G4 Plus is not perfect, but it manages to pack a lot into a $300 package. The fingerprint scanner is quick, the screen is gorgeous, the software is clean, and it has expandable storage.

But on the other hand, the cameras are mediocre, it has a cheap build quality, and it still uses the now-dated micro-USB port.

Our verdict of the Moto G4 Plus:
If you can get past its few flaws, the Moto G4 Plus is probably the best smartphone in its price range. But if you absolutely need a better camera or want a metal phone, you might have to look at slightly more expensive phones.
9 10

Related topics: Budget, MakeUseOf Giveaway.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. souabh syal
    January 15, 2017 at 8:00 am

    i need this one

  2. David Martchouk
    December 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    You are wrong about needing a more expensive cellphone for better camera, check out the Sony Xperia XA Ultra, it is the same price of $300. I have this cellphone and the photos and videos I take are usually very high quality, both the rear and selfie cam. The 21 MP for rear and 16 MP for front really does make a difference, especially since selfies are so convenient! The only trade off is 3 GB instead of the Moto 4 GB, but that is only future proof, as right now the 3GB is more than enough (although I often by habit close my background apps). Battery life is probably the same as the Moto G4, maybe a bit worse. You should review the Sony Xperia XA Ultra, and then you might rethink your 9/10 for the moto G4! The Sony cellphone even has a larger screen!

  3. Abhi
    November 28, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Its seems an awesome phone in its price segment... as motorola confirmed that moto g4 will get android nougut update its will be a great phone ... eagerly waiting for the result of this giveaway ...

  4. Nitin Bansal
    November 28, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Yes team, I too loved it. A great package at reasonable price.

  5. Riyaz
    November 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    who is the lucky winner of the give away contest?


  6. ron
    November 22, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Thanks for the reviews, but please get rid of the annoying background noise (alleged music). I really don't need that audio clutter.

  7. Jerome love
    November 21, 2016 at 3:25 am

    It is a good phone not bad at all

  8. Abul kalam
    November 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks by

  9. Khusairy
    November 18, 2016 at 7:43 am

    How to solve YouTube bonus entries?
    I don't know..

    • James Bruce
      November 18, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Did you watch the video?

  10. Alfred C
    November 18, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Except 4GB of RAM, the rest quite standard. But it still a good phone to be won. :)

  11. Larry
    November 17, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    What a deal?

  12. Pamela
    November 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    My first cell phone ever was a red flip Moto Razr, and I've been a loyal fan since. Surely they've changed hands over the years?, but still...I see that little M on the back and I'm hooked. You can't get a phone like this (even with the problems you bring up) for $300. I can't imagine a better deal. Re: weak camera. I'm not up on which smartphones have the best cameras, but mediocre seems reasonable, once again, at this price point. I'm not even stoked about the iphone's camera, so I think the payoff is definitely worth it! Thanks for the great review, and for sponsoring this, MUO!

  13. G-fan
    November 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you for the review and hopefully my birthday month will bring some magic in my days.
    Fingers crossed :)

  14. Moto G fan
    November 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Let see what the birthday month will bring .... fingers crossed :) Good android is always welcome :)

  15. Giorgio Tulio Scampini Chin Aleong
    November 15, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Observo un poco incrédulo las pocas entradas que tiene este equipo en particular, es verdad, no es un Iphone o un Samsung, pero que no quepa la menor duda de que es une excelente equipo, sus especificaciones, su Android puro, su posibilidad de dual sim, la capacidad de extender la memoria, lector de huellas, carga rápida (este modelo trae el cargador) a mi me parece espectacular, estaría feliz de tener este smartphone, de hecho trate de comprarlo, pero aquí en Venezuela su costo es altísimo, por ejemplo en EEUU este equipo cuesta unos 299,00 USD, pues aqui en Venezuela su costo es el equivalente a 700, USD, es imposible comprarlo, al menos para mi. Espero realmente poder ganarlo, eso me haria muy feliz, como a cualquiera que lo gane por supuesto. pero me gustaría ser yo.

  16. Dinesh
    November 15, 2016 at 6:44 am

    I lost my Moto G4plus van get the hand set pls suggest me l got imei num also.

  17. Purbasha
    November 14, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Its a good phone indeed but it has some problems with its display. Don't know the reason but while charging if I want to use the phone it starts scrolling automatically. Please suggest me to get rid from this problem.

    • Dr.Menny
      November 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

      This is a charger problem, change it. I had this problem with a "chinese" charger used with a Sony Xperia.

  18. Nikhil
    November 14, 2016 at 5:22 am

    It's realy a grt phone from moto and in india we don't have this 4 gigs model so I hope I'll get it please
    Fingers crossed ?

  19. Nikhil
    November 14, 2016 at 5:22 am

    It's realy a grt phone from moto and in india we don't have this 4 gigs model so I hope I'll get it please
    Fingers crossed ?

  20. Dexter Cruz
    November 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Awesome giveaway! Good luck everyone.

  21. Simon
    November 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Why would micro-USB be dated? Still mostly in use. USB Type-C is the new standard but barely even in use, yet.

    Also, plx can has Phone? :P

  22. Lin
    November 13, 2016 at 9:11 am

    First time here. Hopefully i get lucky ?

  23. Tanaaz Afreen
    November 11, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    That's a gem. I'd love to win it. Already entered the giveaway. Hopefully, you awesome folks, will somehow manage to hand it over to me :) #MakeUseOf - arguably one of the best tech site on the Internet.

  24. Saku
    November 11, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Thankies, MUO! As always, awesome giveaway.