Motorola’s Moto G6 Play has the largest battery in its price range and can last over two full days.
Motorola released a trio of Moto G6 smartphones this year, debuting them in the form of the regular Moto G6, Moto G6 Play, and the Moto G6 Plus. Now, only the Moto G6 and G6 Play are launching in the US, with the Moto G6 Play being a slightly lower-specced device but with a much larger battery. However, is that larger battery worth picking up the Moto G6 Play over the standard Moto G6? Let’s see if it is worth that $199 price tag.
Moto G6 Play Specs
The Moto G6 Play does also adopt that tall display trend with an 18:9 1440×720 resolution display here. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, along with the Adreno 308 GPU. There is also 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage on board. There is also a model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, however, in the US, only the 2GB/16GB model is available – and that is the model we are reviewing here.
Motorola is using just a single camera on the Moto G6 Play here, which is a 13-megapixel sensor with a f/2.0 aperture. There is also phase detection auto-focus included, so you can get some great imagery out of this camera in low-light. The front-facing camera is a 5-megapixel sensor. So it likely won’t take the best selfies, but it will get the job done.
Other odds and ends on the spec sheet include WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 and location tracking via A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS. The Moto G6 Play does include NFC, but only in Europe, so our North American model here does not have it. However, there is a headphone jack. This is all powered by a 4000mAh capacity battery and Android 8.0 Oreo.
In the Box
The Moto G6 Play is mostly sold as a prepaid device, so you’ll see it in very minimal packaging here. In fact, it is packaged in the typical prepaid packaging, which hangs up in stores. Open it up, and you’ll find all of the usual things in the box. That includes the Moto G6 Play, a clear silicone case, the micro USB cable and wall adapter as well as the usual paperwork.
Moto G6 Play Hardware
Surprisingly, Motorola has gone with glass on the Moto G6 Play, which is destined to be a prepaid smartphone. That’s actually a good thing as it makes the Moto G6 Play look and feel more premium than the price would indicate. It’s a glass unibody design, with 2.5D glass on the back, which makes the Moto G6 Play fit nicer into your hand, and easier to hold onto. The back of the device is pretty clean, but it does have a pretty large camera bump for the camera this time around, which matches the other camera modules on Motorola devices, but it seems a bit overkill for what looks like a really small camera and flash. Below that is the Motorola dimple that actually, finally, doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
On the bottom of the Moto G6 Play, you’ll find the micro USB port here for charging the device. Not too surprising that Motorola went with micro USB here, seeing as the company was likely looking to cut costs, and micro USB is still very, very popular right now. There’s also a microphone hole on the bottom as well as the top. The top is also where you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack. Something that might look a bit out of place on a smartphone in 2018, but it is here. The volume rocker and power button are located on the right-hand side.
The hardware and build of the Moto G6 Play are actually pretty impressive, considering it is priced below $200. It’s a glass device with a full-screen display on the front and a headphone jack. The only real downside here is the fact that there is a micro USB port for charging, in the world of USB-C. But for most people, that’s not going to be an issue. It might be the best-looking smartphone that’s under $200 right now.
Moto G6 Play Display
There’s essentially a 720p display on the Moto G6 Play here, which is not that great, to be honest. It’ll get the job done, and no you can’t see pixels on the display here, but it’s not as great as what is available on the Moto G6. The colors are a little dull here, and not as saturated as on an AMOLED panel, but it does get the job done.
Typically on lower-end smartphones like this one here, the digitizer can be a bit of an issue with the display, making it seem like the device is lagging when it’s not. The digitizer is what translates you touching the screen into hitting buttons and such. And a slow digitizer can be an issue, but it’s not an issue here. The digitizer seems to be pretty fast and accurate, which is important here.
Moto G6 Play Performance
The Snapdragon 430 inside the Moto G6 Play is not the most high-performance chipset out there, but it’s also not the worse. In previous years, the Snapdragon 400-series chips were very slow and would lag pretty badly. But with the Snapdragon 430 in the Moto G6 Play, that’s not the case. Of course, Motorola likely did some software optimization here to make it run smoother. But as far as day-to-day performance goes, the Snapdragon 430 with 2GB of RAM seems to be running perfectly fine. Now where things do get a nasty is when you are playing games or using apps that use a lot of resources like Facebook. So if you’re looking to play any graphic-intense games on the Moto G6 Play, you won’t have the greatest experience. But lighter games like Subway Surfers will work just fine here.
Moto G6 Play Security
The Moto G6 Play does have a fingerprint sensor, which isn’t true for every handset in this price range. Motorola has decided to use the dimple on the back as the fingerprint sensor finally). It works really well actually. It might even work better than what is on the Moto G6. The Moto G6 uses a much smaller, and thinner sensor on the front of the phone, while the Moto G6 Play uses a larger, circular sensor, which makes it easier to use. Motorola did not include facial recognition on the Moto G6 Play, there’s no official reason why, but it’s likely due to the price point here. Which is fine, seeing as most smartphones are using the front-facing camera only for facial recognition, it’s not as secure as a fingerprint. It’s actually surprising to see a fingerprint sensor on the Moto G6 Play, seeing as it does retail at under $200.
Moto G6 Play Phone Calls & Network
The Moto G6 Play that we have is the Verizon Prepaid model. So it is locked to Verizon’s network. But if you do buy the unlocked Moto G6 Play, it will work on all four carrier networks. This is great for those looking to buy a new phone for their mom or dad, and are unsure which carrier they use. As it works on all four. With this Moto G6 Play, we were able to get calls in on Verizon’s network without any issues, though it does not support Verizon’s Advanced Calling features, which include HD Voice and VoLTE. As far as data goes, you’ll get fast 4G LTE speed here, about the same as you would on a regular postpaid device from Verizon.
Moto G6 Play Sound Quality
Motorola is also using just one speaker on the Moto G6 Play here, which is located in the earpiece. This helps give Motorola a more unibody design, as it doesn’t need holes elsewhere in the body. But it does mean that the speaker won’t be as good as on other smartphones. It does get the job done, and the quality here isn’t bad. But it isn’t as loud as you might expect from a smartphone in 2018. Luckily, Motorola has included a headphone jack here – the only Motorola smartphone to have one in 2018, so far. So you are able to plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite music with your own pair of headphones. The quality of audio you get from the headphone jack will largely depend on the headphones you plug in. Since there’s no special DAC inside of the Moto G6 Play.
Moto G6 Play Benchmarks
On the Moto G6 Play, we ran the usual three benchmarks, which include 3D Mark, AnTuTu and Geekbench 4. On 3D Mark, it picked up an overall score of 72, with a graphics score of 57 and a physics score of 855. On AnTuTu, it picked up an overall score of 43,968. Finally, on Geekbench 4, the Moto G6 Play picked up a single-core score of 651, and a multi-core score of 1803. You can see the full results from the testing in the gallery down below.
Moto G6 Play Battery Life
The battery life on the Moto G6 Play is pretty impressive, of course, looking at the spec sheet, you would expect that. The Moto G6 Play will be able to last close to seven hours of on-screen time. We were able to get nearly four hours, with 49-percent battery left. Which actually puts it at the best battery life of any smartphone in 2018. Which is a bit surprising, considering the price. This is a smartphone that will definitely last you at least two full days, that’s a good thing, and makes this a great phone for those that don’t want to charge their phone every single night, and that is very possible with the Moto G6 Play.
Despite the Moto G6 Play sporting a mid-range spec sheet, it does have Quick Charge 3.0. Which is going to allow users to quickly charge the Moto G6 Play; in fact, you can fully recharge it in under two hours. That is definitely nice to see, especially since this does have a larger battery, at 4000mAh capacity here. There’s no wireless charging, despite having a glass back. Of course, that would require more parts, and raise the price of the Moto G6 Play, so it’s not that surprising to see it missing here. But overall, battery life is superb, and you can still fully recharge the Moto G6 Play pretty quickly.
Moto G6 Play Software
Out-of-the-box, the Moto G6 Play is running on Android 8.0.0 Oreo, along with the April 1, 2018 security patch. That security patch is a bit outdated at this point. However, Motorola has said that it won’t be rolling out security updates every single month. Instead, it’ll roll a few months patches together and push it out all at once. The company believes that is a better option than pushing out so many updates. So there should be an update coming soon, but where this is a lower-end smartphone, it’s not on Motorola’s high-priority list. Having said that, it should still get Android P, but likely not until 2019.
The software on the Moto G6 Play is very similar to other Motorola devices. It is running on essentially a stock version of Android. Now Motorola has included some of its own features here, which are all located in the Moto app. This is a good idea for Motorola as it is able to update these features – and push out new ones – by updating the app in the Play Store instead of having to push out a full software update. Now, compared to the Moto G6 and Moto Z3 Play, the Moto app on the Moto G6 Play is rather empty. You only get Moto Key, Moto Actions and Moto Display on the Moto G6 Play.
Moto Key is the newest feature here. It’s essentially a vault that can save your passwords for different apps, websites and services, which you can then use your fingerprint to access. It’s similar to what LassPass and other password apps offer right now. Moto Actions are full of different gestures you can use to get around the Moto G6 Play. This includes some of the favorites like chopping twice to turn on the flashlight, or twisting your hand for a quick photo and more. Not all of the gestures are here though. There are still plenty that are missing. And then you have Moto Display, which is Motorola’s take on the always-on display. It’s pretty simple here. The display will “breathe” to let you know you have notifications, which you can see from the lock screen without unlocking your device.
Otherwise, Motorola has a pretty “Vanilla” approach to software on the Moto G6 Play here. This is actually a good thing, as it allows the software to run better on lesser hardware. Allowing Motorola to offer up a cheaper device without sacrificing on the performance and experience. As far as the software experience goes here, it’s actually pretty impressive, especially when you factor in the price.
Moto G6 Play Camera
The camera on the Moto G6 Play is arguably not the best. It does have a 13-megapixel sensor with a f/2.0 aperture, so it’s not the worst. The camera takes decent pictures. Don’t expect this to compete with something like the Galaxy S9, or even the Moto Z3 Play. Motorola has typically had a troubled past when it comes to cameras, and that does show up here on the Moto G6 Play. There are times where the camera here will blow out the background of the picture, and this typically comes from “cheaper” smartphones that don’t focus as much on the camera. Luckily, even in auto-mode, you are able to adjust the exposure so you are able to keep the background from getting blown out as much. It’s a nice feature to have there, but it would be better if this was done automatically. Especially seeing as how most people do use their phone’s auto mode almost exclusively for taking photos.
Motorola’s camera app is the usual minimal approach. There are a few different modes included, which include Panorama and Time Lapse, but that is really about it here. There’s nothing too special when it comes to different modes in the camera app, and that is actually fine. Since most people will never use anything other than the auto mode. It’s pretty simple to navigate around the camera’s interface, and the shutter is also pretty fast, making it great for taking images of moving subjects like kids and pets. You can view the full-size and unedited versions of all the pictures we took with the Moto G6 Play, in the Flickr gallery below.
No Facial Recognition
The Moto G6 Play is a pretty decent smartphone, especially if you factor in the price. Sure, most of us are consumed by the “flagship” smartphones, and always want to compare products to those high-end devices. But that’s simply not fair, seeing as the Moto G6 Play is about a quarter of the price of most flagships. What is important is that the Moto G6 Play is able to do all of the daily tasks that we ask of our smartphones. That includes checking email, browsing Twitter, taking selfies, and such. It can do all of that while lasting up to two days as well. Which makes the Moto G6 Play a really good option for those looking to spend a bit less than what an LG G7 ThinQ or something else in that price bracket would cost.
Should I Buy the Moto G6 Play?
If you are a light user, i.e. someone that just calls, texts, checks email and such on your smartphone, then the Moto G6 Play is definitely worth picking up. It retails for $199, and Amazon even has it at $189 for Prime members. And in that price bracket, this is likely the best phone you’ll be able to buy for quite some time now.Buy Moto G6 Play Buy Moto G6 Play (Motorola)