Review Motorola Moto G6 Play: An Android smartphone for tight budgets - Page 2

3 out of 5 stars

The smartphone experience on the Motorola Moto G6 Play

The Motorola Moto G6 Play performs well when it comes to phone calls. It supports 4G LTE and, from our own experience, its signal reception is good. We used it in a mountainous region where the mobile coverage is not great. However, it fared better than our iPhone SE and managed to keep a steady mobile connection. The phone conversations we had were of good quality, and both we and the people to whom we spoke were able to understand what was said.

One thing that is not that great about the Motorola Moto G6 Play is its display. Although its colors and contrast are excellent, being an IPS display, the resolution is rather low for its diagonal size: at 5.7 inches in diagonal size, the 720 x 1440 resolution means that you get the PPI density of only 282. In other words, that means that you can see the pixels on the screen if you look closely. Although after a few days you get used to it and it is not annoying anymore, if you switch from a better screen to this one, it is a noticeable change in quality.

On the other hand, the lower resolution also means that the smartphone uses less energy and processing power to display images on the screen. Which, in turn, says that the battery should last longer than on a smartphone with a high-density display. In fact, while using the Motorola Moto G6 Play, we found out that its battery, which has a significant 4000mAh capacity, can offer you an autonomy of at least a day on a single charge. When we did not use it to play games, we managed to use it for two days in a row without charging it.

The Motorola Moto G6 Play that we had for testing was the European version, and it came with an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM. This was probably the reason why the smartphone handled multitasking well. The operating system was running smoothly, and the apps opened fast. We cannot say if the same is true for the version with 2GB of RAM, or for the American version of the smartphone, which comes with a quad-core processor.

Gaming is decent on this smartphone, although the GPU is not spectacular. The detail that helps in this area is the small resolution of the display, which means that frames are smaller in size (compared to a 1080p display), thus more comfortable to handle by the graphics chip.

We found the Motorola Moto G6 Play to be a good choice when it comes to watching movies. If you use your smartphone for that a lot, you might be happy to learn that the big battery and the lower screen resolution translate to many hours of watching movies without having to charge your smartphone. You can binge watch your favorite TV series for a whole day before having to charge the battery.

Unfortunately, although the loudspeaker has a high maximum volume, which should be a good thing when you push it to the max, there are noticeable sound distortions. If you want to listen to music, for better quality, you should use a pair of headphones. Use a pair that you already have or buy a new one, because the Motorola Moto G6 Play does not bundle any headphones.

Finally, a few words about the fingerprint reader: it is good to have it and can be useful. However, in our experience, the fingerprint reader on the Motorola Moto G6 Play is iffy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, but most often it only works the second time you touch it. The low cost of this smartphone is likely the reason why the fingerprint reader is not that great.

After using the Motorola Moto G6 Play for almost two weeks, we can say that it does an excellent job at being a phone. It is also great if you want a smartphone that can last for more than a day on a single charge. Multitasking is smooth, video playback also, but the screen has a too small resolution for its size, and the fingerprint reader is iffy.

The camera experience on the Motorola Moto G6 Play

The Motorola Moto G6 Play has a 13-megapixel rear camera with an f2.0 lens aperture and a 5-megapixel (on the American version of the smartphone) or an 8-megapixel front camera (on the versions sold in the rest of the world). The camera app is easy to use and can use HDR (High Dynamic Range) and shoot panoramas. It can also record videos in Full HD 1080p at 30 frames per second, as well as slow-motion videos.

Unfortunately, we could not find anywhere on the internet what image sensor is used on the Motorola Moto G6 Play. The smartphone also does not have any optical stabilization system, and that means that you must have steady hands not to blur your photos or videos. In general, the images we took with this smartphone outdoors in bright light were of good quality. However, when the light is dim or at night, colors are washed out, and the photos are grainy. They are decent for the smartphone's price. Here is a sample gallery to see for yourself:

The Motorola Moto G6 Play can film videos at a maximum Full HD 1080p resolution. Being a budget smartphone, it cannot shoot videos in 4K or optically stabilize the videos you record. This translates into videos that are often shaky. Here is a sample we filmed, in which you can see what to expect from Motorola Moto G6 Play in dynamic videos that involve much movement:

Here is another video that we recorded with the Motorola Moto G6 Play, in which you can see how the camera does when more static videos are recorded, with little movement involved.

Motorola Moto G6 Play can also shoot videos in slow-motion. These videos are recorded at a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. Here is a sample to see what slow-motion videos look like:

The Motorola Moto G6 Play offers a decent camera that can shoot good photos in good lighting conditions. However, in low light environments, photos are grainy and lack detail. On the video part, it is pretty much the same story, although you should also be aware that there is no optical image stabilization and your videos might be quite shaky.

Android 8 Oreo and the bundled apps

The Motorola Moto G6 Play comes with Android 8.0.0 Oreo installed. With a few minor exceptions, the operating system has not been modified by the company and offers a similar user experience as the default Android made by Google. The only noticeable changes compared to the default Android is that the background on the apps drawer shows a picture and that to access the apps drawer you have to swipe your finger on the screen instead of tapping a button. Otherwise, everything is pretty much the same.

Also, Motorola did not pre-install any useless apps on this smartphone. Besides the standard Android apps that you get on any other Android-powered device, you only get three other apps: LinkedIn, Outlook and Moto. LinkedIn is the app of the well known professional social platform, Outlook is the email app from Microsoft, and Moto is an app that gives you advice on how to use your smartphone and a few settings which you can change about the way it works. That is all!

We love the fact that the operating system installed on the Motorola Moto G6 Play is the latest available and we also like to see that there are no useless apps bundled with it. Good job Motorola!

Performance in benchmarks

The hardware specs on the Motorola Moto G6 Play tell us that this is an entry-level Android smartphone. However, the specs do not tell the whole story. To find out more, we also ran a series of benchmarks. Here are their results:

First, we ran the Basemark OS Platform Benchmark, an all-in-one benchmarking tool for measuring the average performance of Android devices. Motorola Moto G6 Play got an overall score of 895 points, which is a meager score. It is 40% lower than that of a Huawei P10 lite.

Then, we used Geekbench 4 to see how well Motorola Moto G6 Play uses its processor cores. The single-core test is relevant because some apps do not know how to use more than one core, and many games rely on the per-core speed to work well. Motorola Moto G6 Play had a score of 640 points, which puts it behind the Huawei P10 lite by 236 points.

The multi-core test revealed a score of 2324 points. This test set assesses the processor's speed when running multiple tasks simultaneously, using multiple cores. This time too, the Motorola Moto G6 Play showed weaker performance compared to the Huawei P10 lite (997 points less).

Motorola Moto G6 Play supports 4G LTE mobile data connections, so we also used Speedtest to test its performance in this area too. However, the problem with these tests is that we ran them in a mountainous area where the mobile coverage is not great. However, the results that we got were decent, as you can see in the screenshot below.

The average download speed was about 26.8 Mbps, and the average upload speed was about 6.5 Mbps. In comparison, the Huawei P10 lite averaged 13.2 Mbps at download and only 3.9 Mbps at uploading data.

Next, we ran a few gaming benchmarks, to see how good the Motorola Moto G6 Play is when playing games. We used the GFXBench GL Benchmark. We only took into consideration the results measured in the 1080p Car Chase Offscreen, 1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen and 1080p T-Rex Offscreen tests. We choose only the 1080p tests because their resolution is standardized at 1080p and the results can be compared with other smartphones, even if their screen resolutions differ:

  • In the 1080p Car Chase Offscreen test, Motorola Moto G6 Play rendered only 154 frames. It is a similar result to that of the Huawei P10 lite, and it is not a great result for users who are interested in playing demanding games with lots of visual details on their smartphone.
  • In the second gaming test that we ran, which was 1080p Manhattan 3.1 Offscreen, the Motorola Moto G6 Play managed to render 284 frames. It is a weak result, again similar to the Huawei P10 lite. It confirms once more that this smartphone is not great for demanding games.
  • The third gaming test, 1080p T-Rex Offscreen, showed that the Motorola Moto G6 Play fares better in older games or games with less demanding visual details. It managed to render 916 frames, which is not an impressive result. It is almost the same as what you would get from a Huawei P10 lite.

The Motorola Moto G6 Play can run games but with few graphical details and low framerates.

For the final test, we used PCMark Work 2.0 battery life test to measure the autonomy of the battery when running everyday tasks such as browsing the web or editing documents and photos. Motorola Moto G6 Play managed to last for 12 hours and a half. It is an impressive result for any Android smartphone.

Where To Buy

The benchmarks that we ran show that the Motorola Moto G6 Play offers modest performance both in everyday tasks and in games. It is not a powerful device so you should not expect it to be fast in any task, although it should do OK in typical daily activities.

Do you like the Motorola Moto G6 Play?

The Motorola Moto G6 Play is a smartphone that you can like, but only if the price you pay for it is your primary interest. Although it is not a powerful or fast device, considering how it looks and how inexpensive it is, we feel that it is worth buying for some budget-conscious users. Do you think the same? Comment below and let's discuss.