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Moto G4 Plus Review

The Moto G4 Plus is one of the latest smartphones from Lenovo, and features a 16 megapixel camera.


|  Moto G4 Plus in Camera Phones
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Moto G4 Plus (2)

The Moto G Plus offers a large 5.5inch screen, a 16 megapixel camera, a fingerprint sensor, and is available for £199. The camera offers laser focus and phase detection focus which should make rapid photos possible. 

Moto G4 Plus Features

Moto G4 Plus (3)

The Moto G4 is available as the Moto G4, the Moto G4 Plus, and the Moto G4 Play, here we go through the main differences between the entry level smartphones from Motorola (which is a Lenovo company). The Moto G series used to be a budget smartphone, with a £100-130 price tag, and offered excellent performance for the price. As Motorola are now on the 4th version of the series, the prices have crept up, but so too have the features on offer. We'll include the Moto G3 in the table below as a comparison.

Moto G3 / G (3rd Gen) Moto G4 Moto G4 Plus Moto G4 Play
13mp BSI CMOS sensor 13mp 16mp (laser and phase detection focus) 8mp 
f/2.0 lens (28mm) f/2.0 lens f/2.0 lens f/2.2 lens
5inch screen (720p) 5.5inch screen (1080p) 5.5inch screen (1080p) 5inch screen (720p)
FullHD video FullHD video FullHD video FullHD video
Water resistant (IPX7) Water repellent Water repellent, Fingerprint reader Splashproof
2470mAh 3000mAh 3000mAh 2800mAh
1GB/8GB or 2GB/16GB 2GB/16GB or 2GB/32GB 2GB/16GB or 2GB/32GB 1GB/16GB
£129 or £159 £169 or £199 £199 or £229 £129


As we can see when we compare the models available, the G4 and G4 Plus has improved the specifications of the smartphones, and the products no longer feel like a "budget option". However, if you still want to purchase a budget phone, then previous version, such as the Moto G3 still offer that choice, without feeling as limited or budget as the G4 Play or Moto E series.

The Moto G4 Plus offers the same 5.5inch screen as the Moto G4, but has an upgraded camera, with a 16 megapixel sensor and also features laser and phase detection focus, which should mean faster focusing. There's also a built-in fingerprint sensor for added security. The smartphone comes with Android v6.0, and should get regular updates.

Moto G4 Plus (4)

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel sensor
  • f/2.0 aperture lens
  • Phase detection and laser autofocus
  • Dual LED flash (dual-tone)
  • Auto HDR
  • FullHD video at 30fps, HDR video
  • 5mp f/2.2 front facing wide-angle camera
  • 5.5 inch touch-screen, FullHD resolution
  • MicroSD slot
  • 3000mAh battery 
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Water repellent coating

Moto G4 Plus Handling

Moto G4 Plus (7)

For anyone who's used an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other smartphone with central home button it may take a while to get used to the bottom fingerprint sensor being a fingerprint sensor and not a home button. Instead the home and control buttons on the Moto G4 Plus are top be found at the bottom of the screen. The fingerprint sensor can be setup as the unlock button, so that only your fingerprint will unlock the phone, this is a useful security feature for anyone worried about their phone being stolen.

Moto G4 Plus

The number of apps installed on the Moto G4 Plus may seem a little light compared to other smartphones, but this means that you get a fairly standard Google Android interface without anything slowing you down, and then there's also as much space as possible left for you to install your own favourite apps, whatever they may be, and if you need to add more storage, then you can easily add a MicroSD card. The most important thing is that the phone feels fast and responsive in use, and is likely to be quicker than premium smartphones from two or three years ago. 

The 5.5inch touch-screen looks great, with bright saturation colours and clear text and icons. The back of the smartphone is a textured plastic cover with a round dent in it, giving extra grip. You can remove the back of the phone to put your sim card and MicroSD card in, but the 3000mAh battery can't be removed. With a 3000mAh battery, we found battery life to be adequate for a days use, and more if you used the phone less.

Moto G4 Plus (9)

The camera app has a number of different shooting modes, including a "Professional mode" that lets you manually adjust a number of different settings including metering, white balance, self-timer, ISO, and exposure compensation. You need to access the Professional mode to access full camera settings. Otherwise the photo app is quite basic, but does give access to autoHDR which will help give better dynamic range in tricky situations. 

You can also quickly access the camera when the phone is locked by shaking or twisting the phone in your hand.

Moto G4 Plus (1)
 

Moto G4 Plus Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Motorola Moto G4 Plus Sample Photos

Camera Performance - Detail is good, and at times very good, particularly in the centre of the frame, although you need to be careful of camera shake as the camera doesn't have built in optical image stabilisation. It's also worthwhile taking care with focus as we occasionally got an out of focus shot. If your subject is reasonably close to the camera, then it's possible to see the background blurred, which is unexpected in a budget smartphone.

Exposure is reliable, and colours are bright and saturated. Dynamic range can struggle at times, unless you use the HDR mode, and when using the HDR mode you need to make sure you hold the camera as steady as possible for a sharp shot. The front facing selfie camera performs reasonably well with a 5 megapixel sensor and an f/2.2 aperture. Digital zoom is best avoided. The camera can also struggle in low light, producing under-exposed and images with high levels of noise (unless you're able to use the dual-LED flash). Panoramic images are quite well stitched together, but are also low-resolution.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - ISO ranges between ISO64 and ISO3200, and it's best to use the lower ISO settings when possible, as noise becomes an issue at higher ISO speeds. 

Motorola Moto G4 Plus White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well, and you can use the presets if needed, but for most shots the camera is fine left on auto white balance. 

Video - Focus struggled at times, but video quality is quite good, and there is a high speed video mode available as well, which you can view on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel. It looks like electronic image stabilisation is available and has made the video below quite stable.

Value For Money

The Moto G4 series is no longer the budget smartphone option that it once was, and the quality of the phone has definitely improved noticeably, feeling like a much more premium model. The £199 price tag reflects this, and we feel this makes it good value for money, with a 5.5inch FullHD screen. You need to spend more money to get a smartphone with optical image stabilisation and 4K video recording, for example the LG G4 is around £280 with a 16mp sensor and f/1.8 lens. Alternatives include the following, with only the WileyFox Storm (UK only) able to better the specifications for the price.

Honor 5x, 5.5inch (FullHD), 13mp, FullHD video, 16GB, around £189,
Moto G4, 5.5inch (FullHD), 13mp, FullHD video, 16GB, around £169
WileyFox Storm, 5.5inch (FullHD), 20mp, FullHD video, 32GB, around £199
LG Nexus 5X, 5.2inch (FullHD), 12mp, 4K video, 16GB, around £225

Have a look at more smartphones in our Top 10 Best Camera Phones. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Moto G4 Plus Verdict

As with most other smartphones, the Moto G4 Plus can struggle in low-light, and the lack of optical image stabilisation doesn't help here. However, we have been relatively impressed with the flash performance of the built-in dual LED flash system, and you'd normally have to spend noticeably more for a smartphone with optical image stabilisation.

Without doubt, the Moto G4 Plus offers very good value for money, and doesn't necessarily feel like a budget smartphone anymore, with a 5.5inch screen, FullHD resolution, and built-in fingerprint sensor. The 16mp camera provides good results particularly in good light, and with an f/2.0 aperture is better than most smartphones at this price point.

Moto G4 Plus Pros

  • Dual-tone LED flash works well
  • 16 megapixel camera with f/2.0 lens
  • Large and bright 5.5inch screen
  • Fingerprint sensor for added security
  • MicroSD slot available
  • Good battery life

Moto G4 Plus Cons

  • Focus could have been better
  • Low resolution panoramic images
  • Lacks optical image stabilisation
  • Disappointing low-light performance

Features4/5
Handling3.5/5
Performance4/5
Value4/5
Overall Verdict

Motorola Moto G4 Plus Specifications

ManufacturerMotorola
Front Camera
PixelsNo Data
Max ApertureNo Data
Smartphone Cameras
Smartphone Cameras
    Additional CamerasNo Data
    Lens
    Max Aperturef/2
    35mm equivalentNo Data
    Optical Zoom0x
    Image Sensor
    Pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
    Pixels (W)4608
    Pixels (H)3456
    Sensor TypeNo Data
    Sensor Size1/2.4inch
    Sensor Size (width)6mm
    Sensor Size (height)4.5mm
    Aspect Ratio
    • 4:3
    • 16:9
    LCD Monitor
    LCD Monitor5.5in
    Screen resolution1080p
    Touch ScreenYes
    Focusing
    Focusing modes
    • Autofocus
    • Face Detection
    • Touch AF
    Exposure Control
    Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
    Shutter speeds longestNo Data
    ISO sensitivity64 - 3200
    Video
    Movie modeYes
    Video Resolution
    • 1920x1080 FullHD
    Video FPS30fps
    Stereo SoundNo Data
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    Interface
    USBUSB 2
    Wi-FiYes
    Storage
    Internal Memory2000MB
    Power Source
    Battery Type3000mAh
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsNo Data
    Dimensions
    Weight155g
    Width153mm
    Height76.6mm
    Depth7.9mm

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    Comments


    Niknut Plus
    9 2.3k 78 United Kingdom
    10 Sep 2016 5:32PM
    Impressive image quality, from what must be a tiny sensor ??....& good clear screen !!

    Bet if you went into the menus deep enough, you could possibly make a phone call with it ?????.WinkWink;

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