Are you familiar with a Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) automobile companies, which have been bought by Tata in 2008? Well, to explain in brief, the JLR, a British firm, which is now a subsidiary of a Tata Motors have been owned by a couple of other brands. While BMW once owned Land Rover, Ford was once the owner of both, Jaguar and Land Rover. The point is that Motorola is one such company, which has been owned by many brands, it was first bought by Google couple of years back. But as of now, Lenovo, the Chinese tech giant is its owner. And earlier this year, Motorola name has been dropped from the branding, as the device manufacturer by them would be called just Moto phones. Though, Motorola name would stay somewhere, but not in the limelight as it used to be.
Now the newly launched Moto G4 Plus is the first handset under Lenovo branding, as it can be seen on the retail packaging. This handset was launched in last week and is the fourth generation Moto G handset. The iconic model, which has been the game changer for the mid-range segment even before the likes of Xiaomi and Honor came. Today, we are reviewing the latest generation model as we find out if it can take back its crown or will be just another mid-range handset that consumers will ignore after some time.
Motorola phones have impressed us in their earlier models, while this time it felt like Lenovo had some say in terms of design, because the grip earlier Moto handsets had was pretty amazing and they felt comfortable, as the curvy design on the back. For reference, the Moto X Play and Moto X Style had that design, as well as older Moto G handsets. But the G4 Plus is a flat design on the rear side, although, the textured back has been retained, which is a good thing. For a pricing, the device feels pretty sturdy, it doesn’t have a full metal design but have a solid metal frame body.
And it’s not surprising the company has added a fingerprint sensor on the front. If you recall, Motorola Atrix was the first handset from any company sporting a fingerprint sensor, even before Apple introduced Touch ID on the iPhone 5S. It was about time that company offered a fingerprint sensor in its latest handset. And let me tell you it is unlike any biometric sensor we have seen on other handsets. Overall, I felt, Lenovo could have offered a better design, seeing that company has designers from Motorola.
The Moto G handsets have somehow managed to offer good display and this time around the G4 Plus comes with a 1080p resolution display. The pixel density of the screen is 401 PPI (Pixel Per Inch), which is on par with the range. There is a support of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which protects the screen from scratches. It’s not Super AMOLED display, but I still liked the display quality as it’s so much vibrant than the competition.
The color reproduction, exposure level, and viewing angles are pretty good on this handset; same can be said for the sunlight legibility. The smudges can be seen on the screen after using it for couple minutes, but only when the screen is off, that too, not at extreme level. The viewing experience on this display seems to be quite good and with a large real estate, I can easily recommend you to watch movies on this handset.
Motorola has been known to offer one of the best Android experiences in the market if people are looking to get a stock like UI, but still wants enhancement that will improve their software experience. The company had mastered that art when they introduced the first Moto X, and Lenovo is carrying that forward with the Moto G4 Plus. It is good news for fans and everyone who craves for a stock Android experience with enhancements and no bloatware. With no third-party apps to use the storage, you can expect to see more storage available for the user. The software experience on this handset is pretty amazing; you’ll see Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box here. Moto enhancements like Display and Actions are all packed in a separate Moto app. Overall it feels pretty great to use this software.
Hardware & Performance
The device is powered by a Snapdragon 617 chipset, which is an Octa-core chipset from Qualcomm, clocking at 1.5GHz. It is a high performance mid-range chipset that is the latest in the 600 series. We have been using this handset for quite a while now, and all that can be said is that it’s quite a performer. I mean you’ll not experience performance like a flagship device, but it is quite the handset in terms of performance.
The device comes in two variants 2GB RAM/16GB storage and 3GB RAM/32GB storage; we have a 3GB RAM variant that has been offering power packed performance. Talking about the gaming, we played games like Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2 and Dead Trigger 2. During these gameplays, there was no lag at all; it was a smooth ride all along. There are heating issues that I would like to talk about, though, not at extreme levels, but the device to tend to heat up after some time of gaming. But nothing that won’t cool down in couple minutes of pause.
The fingerprint sensor on the device is quite responsive, after first few failed attempts; the biometric sensor seems to detect the fingerprints quite faster. Overall, I felt it’s quite a good handset in terms of performance as well. But maybe it would have been a better handset if it was powered by a Snapdragon 652, which is much better chipset in 600 Series, in terms of performance and power efficiency.
Lenovo has been touting a lot that its Moto G4 Plus has the best 16-megapixel module to offer in this price range. In its previous models, I have never completely liked the camera modules on Moto handsets, despite using best modules like Sony Exmor, they were unable to offer good result. This time, the brand has used OmniVision Purecel optical sensor technology, the brand is claiming that its module offers best low-light capture, although, I won’t say that, but it’s certainly better than its older models.
The color reproduction, exposure levels, and white balance are quite good, but one can still notice some noise in the camera outputs. It has an aperture number of f/2.0 and certain technologies like PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus), as well as Laser Autofocus. The rear module camera can only record up to 1080p video content, which is not on par with the smartphone camera standards these days. As even the 13MP module on LeEco Le 1S Eco offer a 4K video recording. Talking about the front facing module, it has a 5-megapixel resolution sensor, which is quite on par with other handsets in this range. Overall, camera package is pretty decent, but I won’t say that it’s impressive.
Battery & Connectivity
The battery capacity on this handset is at 3000mAh, which is touted as the All day battery, which is quite larger than the Moto G3. With no bloatware and great software optimizations, the new Moto handset has achieved the true all day battery life at more than average usage. One of our team members have been using the Moto Style for quite a time now, and he seems to love the battery life on that handset, and let me tell you it’s quite better than that, as it supports TurboPower, which is the fast charging technology customized by Motorola on the basis of Quick Charge 3.0. But this charging is only possible by the proprietary adapter that comes in the retail unit. Talking about the connectivity, it has a several set of features like Bluetooth 4.2 LE, Wi-Fi, two microphones, 4G LTE, Dual SIM, GPS and microUSB port support.
Is Moto back to the playing field with Moto G4 Plus? Well, it seems like it. The first Lenovo-branded Moto phone had a good display, swift interface with resourceful enhancements, a battery life that you can rely upon and a most of all, a fingerprint sensor, which is a great addition to the Moto G Series. So, should I go ahead and purchase it? Not so fast, there. Even though the package is pretty good, the pricing seems like on the little higher side of the note. Considering there are a number of options in the price bracket below Rs 12K that offers similar, as well as even better specifications, then, you’d have to tread lightly here. If you’re looking for a handset with best software experience, then Moto G4 Plus should probably be your choice.