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New name, same values

BANGALORE:While Motorola marked a return to form with the X series a couple of years ago, it has been the affordable G line of devices that has been their bread and butter. After a string of great phones under Google overwatch, Motorola, which is now under Lenovo ownership, has to prove that the DNA that made their recent devices great is unaltered. Enter the Moto G4 Plus, armed with more market-friendly specs than its predecessors, and the responsibility of maintaining the success streak.

Moto G4 Plus

Physically, the phone retains the design language of the lineup, a plastic build and slightly curved contours, with the Motorola logo in the signature recessed dimple on the back. The fingerprint scanner on the Plus, however, is on the front, flanked by a microphone on one side and a vestigial-seeming LED on the other. This LED serves no real purpose apart from blinking a couple of times when the phone is connected to a charger, though some software tweaks can likely take advantage of it. The fingerprint scanner has a raised square outline, which makes it easy to find in the dark, but does detract from the phone’s clean, if unspectacular looks. The grippy back panel, which opens up to give access to dual-SIM and microSD slots (no need to sacrifice a SIM slot for expandable storage) helps with overall handling. One minor gripe is the absence of USB Type-C, which would have helped with future-proofing.

This year, Motorola, or Moto by Lenovo as they are now known, have given up their stubborn refusal to enter the spec war and equipped the G4 Plus with a very nice 5.5-inch full HD display panel. The processor has also seen a slight update from the Moto G Turbo edition, with the new Snapdragon 617 powering the show. Like the Turbo edition, this phone also ships with a fast charge-capable Turbo charger out of the box, and it does the job of topping up the 3,000 mAh battery spectacularly well. The rear camera is a 16MP shooter assisted by laser and phase detection autofocus and the front facing camera has five megapixels to work with.

On the software front, it is good to see that Lenovo have let Motorola continue to do their thing, and the interface is near stock and perfectly fluid. There are no annoying extra apps except the Moto app, which is a watered down version of the one on the X Play and Style phones. On the G4 Plus, available features are the notification display, which lets notifications fade in and out of the screen and alerts you of pending ones when you pull it out of a pocket. Gesture-based interactions like a double chop motion for flashlight and double twist to start camera are also back.

Our review unit, which had 3GB RAM and 32GB inbuilt storage, was able to breeze through moderate to heavy use without any hiccups, and performance remained steady even with a little gaming thrown into the mix. The fingerprint scanner is accurate and quick, with misreads being few. The G4 Plus is also available in a 2GB and 16GB configuration for Rs.1,500 less, but we’d recommend shelling out the extra dough for better performance in the long haul.

On the camera front, the phone performs rather well for its category, and takes good pictures in bright light. Low light conditions can cause the software to struggle a little and highlights and fine details tend to catch it out. While some manual exposure control and focus lock options are available, the camera app itself is rather simple otherwise.

The stock UI and beefy battery combination kept the phone running smoothly throughout our testing process, with only a couple of days requiring a charge before the day was out. Thanks to the Turbo charger, even that is rectified by a short stint on the power.

There has been a lot of debate about the direction Motorola and Lenovo will take and what this means for the company’s devices. With the G4 Plus, the formula has been tweaked but the magic is still there. At Rs.14,999 for the 32GB variant, it is a little on the pricey side in its category. That said, for anyone looking for a no-nonsense device that excels at what it does without making tall claims, this is an easy recommendation.

Pros Cons
Simple, efficient UI Priced higher than competition
Good battery life Average design
Fast fingerprint scanner No USB Type-C
Decent camera performance

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