Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: Should you buy a Moto G5 Plus instead?

Price when reviewed

The Motorola Moto G4 Plus has been surpassed by the Moto G5 Plus, so you’re first question when considering the handset is – should you pay extra for the most recent handset?   

You can read our review of the Moto G5 Plus for a full breakdown of that device, but the short version is, yes, 2017’s model is a notable improvement. That’s not to say the Moto G5 Plus isn’t without its problems. It’s still more than the Moto G5, priced at £190 via Amazon UK (on Amazon US it’s just under $230). While that would be a bargain in the Moto G4 Plus era of phones, times have changed and the Lenovo P2, Honor 6X and Huawei P9 Lite all offer up a more compelling option for affordable mid-range handsets.

If you’re wondering what the chief differences are between the Moto G4 Plus and Moto G5 Plus, here’s a handy specs table for you to peruse.

Moto G4 Plus Moto G5 Plus
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
CPU Octa-core (4x 1.5GHz & 4x 1.2GHz) Octa-core (2.0GHz)
GPU Adreno 405 Adreno 506
Display 5.5in 1080 x 1920-pixel IPS LCD (401ppi) 5.2in 1080 x 1920-pixel IPS LCD (424ppi)
RAM 2GB, 3GB or 4GB 3GB
Memory 16GB, 32GB or 64GB 32GB, 64GB
Battery Non-removable 3,000mAh Non-removable 3,000mAh
Camera 16-megapixel, f/2, dual LED flash, laser-autofocus (rear)

5-megapixel f/2.2 (front)

12-megapixel f/1.7 dual LED flash (rear)

5-megapixel, f/2.2 (front)

Dimensions 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm (LWD) 155g 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm (LWD) 155g
Misc Android 6 (upgradeable to Android 7), Wi-Fi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, microUSB, fingerprint sensor, fast charging Android 7, Wi-Fi 802.11 (dual band), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, microUSB fingerprint sensor, fast charging

The other phone to consider is the Moto G4. Read on for our comparison to that handset, as well as our overall verdict on the Moto G4 Plus. 

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Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: Screen

Motorola Moto G4 Plus vs Moto G4: What’s the difference?

Do you get a bigger screen? Nope. The Moto G4 Plus has a 5.5in, 1,080 x 1920 display, just like its sibling. How about a faster processor? Definitely not. It’s powered by the self-same 28nm, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor, with the same Adreno 405 graphics component.

Surely it has a larger battery? Well, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? I’m going to have to disappoint you. The Moto G4 Plus has a 3,000mAh battery, just like the G4.

More storage? Well yes, the Moto G4 Plus has 32GB compared with the Moto G4’s 16GB, but let’s not forget the Moto G4 has a microSD slot capable of taking cards up to 256GB in capacity, which makes it comparatively cheap to upgrade. Is this £60’s worth of upgrade? Absolutely not. In fact, is there anything worth having for your extra hard-earned here? That depends on your priorities. What it boils down to is this: the Moto G4 Plus has a fingerprint reader and a better rear camera.

At this point, you may very well ask yourself “what’s the point?” then go out and buy the Moto G4. That’s what I would do. If you’re in the camp that’s curious to know more, however, then read on.

Motorola Moto G4 plus: Fingerprint reader, but no Android Pay

The fingerprint reader is the most obvious difference between the two handsets. An unassuming square module rimmed with chrome, it sits just below the screen in the centre of the screen surround. While other manufacturers have chosen the rear of the phone for the fingerprint reader, I think this position is better. It means you can use the reader while the phone is sitting flat on your desk without having to pick the phone up.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: fingerprint reader

It works well, too. After registering your digit, it can be used to unlock the phone quickly and without fuss. Furthermore, integration with Google Play and third-party services such as LastPass means it can be a great convenience and time-saver. This is why fingerprint readers are a must-have feature in the modern smartphone.

It would also have been nice to use this to pay for items via Android Pay. Alas, you won’t be doing that with the Motorola G4 Plus. With no NFC chip built into the phone, it has no means of communicating with contactless terminals or Oyster card scanners. That’s disappointing, however you look at it.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: The camera

The Moto G4 Plus’ camera has more pixels and more features than the Moto G4’s. That’s 16 megapixels to the G4’s 13, plus a hybrid phase-detect and laser-based autofocus system, which makes it better at taking pictures. The question is, how much better?

In terms of quality, there isn’t a huge amount in it. Look close (and I mean REALLY close) and you can see that images captured with the Plus have a little more detail, as you might imagine. The Moto G4 smears out the finest of details where colours are similar and near each other; the G4 Plus’ camera does that to a lesser extent. 


^ Moto G4 Plus


^ The Moto G4 (left) produces images that are less detailed than the with the G4 Plus, but the differences are only visible when you zoom right in

There’s also a slightly different colour balance between the two, with the Plus capturing slightly more true-to-life, cooler colours. In comparison, the Moto G4’s photographs look a little on the orange side. Once again, though, the differences are marginal and easily adjusted out with a little judicious editing.

Even the “improved” autofocus doesn’t make a huge difference. Admittedly, focus doesn’t jump around like it does on the regular Moto G4, and the Moto G4 Plus locks on without hunting back and forth, which makes the camera a touch more reliable in use.

In all honesty, though, there isn’t much between the two rear cameras. I’d hesitate to trade up to the Moto G4 Plus for this alone.

Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: Performance and battery life

From a core hardware point of view, the Moto G4 Plus is identical to the Moto G4, unless you opt for the 64GB version, which adds 2GB of RAM and £35 to the price. Unfortunately, Motorola only sent me the 32GB G4 Plus, so the results below only confirm that there’s no difference between the two base models. However, I doubt the extra 2GB will make a huge amount of difference to either the benchmark results or the day-to-day speed of the phone.





As you can see, there’s barely a hair’s breadth between the Motorola Moto G4 and the G4 Plus. Only the maximum screen brightness is there any kind of significant gap, but this isn’t particularly noticeable.

As for battery life, that’s excellent as well, but as the graph shows it isn’t much different to the Moto G4. In our video rundown test, in which a video is played continuously with the screen set to 170cd/m2 and flight mode engaged, the Motorola Moto G4 Plus lasted 13hrs 31mins (811 minutes in total). That result sees it fall short of Motorola Moto G4’s result by eight minutes, but it’s close enough that it will make no difference at all in day to day use.


Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: Verdict

Does this add up to a convincing case for the Moto G4 Plus? Taking everything into account, I don’t believe there’s enough here to justify the extra spend.

Yes, the camera is better, and yes, you do get a fingerprint reader – oh, and there’s a more powerful mains charger in the box that lets you charge the phone more quickly. But is this all worth £60? I’d say not.

That’s not to belittle the Motorola Moto G4 Plus, though. It’s the Moto G4 with slight improvements, so it’s awesome. But compare it directly with its sibling, which is damned near as good and available for so much less, and it’s a considerably less appealing purchase.

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