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Review: The new Moto G/G Plus phones add size, features and cost

Barbara Krasnoff | July 22, 2016
Motorola's latest Android smartphones are still less expensive than flagship devices, but are no longer in the 'budget' category.

To complement the 16-megapixel camera, the G Plus also comes with Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) to help keep things in focus. Both phones have Motorola's nicely designed camera software, which lets you easily adjust things like lighting as you take the photo -- I found the camera did well in low-light situations.

The 3000mAh battery is rated by Motorola to last for a full day of normal usage, and certainly I never found myself running short at the end of the day.

Minimal interference with Android

One thing that I always liked about the Moto line of phones is that there is a minimal amount of extra software laid over the Android OS. These new phones are no different: The only significant addition is the usual Moto app, which lets you use action-initiated features such as using a chopping motion to turn the flashlight on (a very cool new feature); placing the phone face down for silence; having it switch to vibrate when you pick it up while ringing; and giving it a couple of twists with your wrist when you want to use the camera. The app also manages the "live display," which shows info even when the screen is dark.

Otherwise, unlike its high-end Moto Z cousins, which are being currently sold by Verizon and thus have all the additional software that carriers so enjoy adding in, the Moto G phones have relatively clean versions of Android 6.0.1.

Bottom line

With their comfortable feel, excellent displays, good cameras and day-long battery life, the Moto G phones are fine choices if you want to spend less for your next Android smartphone. Considering its better camera and fingerprint sensor, I'd strongly consider spending the extra $50 for the Moto G Plus, although that does push it from "cheap" to "reasonably priced."

At a Glance: Motorola

Price: Moto G: $200 (starting Amazon price); $200 (starting vendor price). Moto G Plus: $250 (starting Amazon price) $250 (starting vendor price)

Pros: Good design and feel; improved camera; excellent display for the price; fingerprint sensor (Moto G Plus); clean version of Android; SD-card slot

Cons: Reasonable but not impressive performance


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