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Moto G6, the king of the budget phone maintains the throne

Moto G6, the king of the budget phone maintains the throne

Motorola has a long heritage in mobile that predates the movement that we now know as smartphones. The now Lenovo owned brand is also a pioneer of the Android landscape (most notably recognized by their Droid line) but recently they have all but conceded the flagship market for the mid-range to budget phone price points. The king of this market has been the G line from Moto. From the original Moto G back in 2013 to the G5 from last year, the Moto G is synonymous with great budget smartphones. How does the latest generation 6 Moto G hold up to its pedigree? Pretty well, but let’s take a deep dive into the Moto G6 and thanks to Verizon for allowing us some time with this demo!

Specifications

Y

5.7″ Full HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio.

Y

12MP rear camera

Y

3GB of RAM

Y

5MP rear camera

Y

Qualcomm Snapdragon 450

Y

32GB of storage

Y

Android 8.0 Oreo

Hardware

The hardware behind the Moto G6 is truly impressive. If you’d shown me this phone a few years ago, and told me I could own it for less than $300, I’d have called you insane. Essentially, the G6 is a slight refresh on the Moto X4. It has the same unibody glass design with a slight curve to the back panel for grip.

Another change is that the older widescreen has been replaced by the taller 18:9 aspect ratio that makes the G6 much easier to hold in the hand when compared to the X4. The new ratio also sees the overall screen size stretched to a 5.7-inch HD IPS panel. Just below the screen, you see the new, slim fingerprint scanner that Moto has chosen for this model. Even though it’s super thin in height, I had zero issues using the scanner in for unlocking or while using Moto’s new gesture UI (more on that later).

Internally, you’ll find some mediocre numbers to move this price point in that sub-$300 range. You have a Snapdragon 450 from Qualcomm powering the Moto G6. While it’s nothing to write home about, it pairs well with Moto’s optimization and I saw no issues in daily usage that would be an issue for most users. Even when paired with 3GB of RAM, I had a hard time really seeing this phone hindered in normal circumstances. Rounding off the internals is 32GB of internal storage with optional expansion via microSD card. What’s more, I’m happy to report that it can be used as adoptable or portable storage.

One regrettable omission is waterproofing. Moto has yet to release the IP rating of the device, but they claim the G6 is splashproof. While I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker for a phone in the $300 range, it would have been a nice selling point. Even “budget” phones are starting to see this feature, so hopefully Moto addresses this in the next generation.

Software

Moto’s software is tried and true at this point. You get a super solid experience that is very similar to “stock” Android or Google’s own Pixel versions. With the exception of their own launcher and Moto additions, it’s as close to unadulterated Android as you will find in the smartphone market.

Speaking of the Moto additions, most of these are wrapped up into the Moto Actions app. You have the traditional gestures like twist to launch the camera and the double-chop to launch the flashlight. However, the G6 brings some new Moto-specific options for interaction within the UI. These new gestures are integrated into the fingerprint scanner.

The fingerprint setup is fairly simple and Moto does a great job of walking you through this new feature before fully turning it on. You have the option to replace the traditional triangle, circle, and square in the bottom navigation bar with a handful of swipes of the fingerprint scanner. A swipe to the left on the sensor is back, swipe to the right is overview multi-tasking, and tapping once is the home command. It doesn’t stop there either — you can also turn the screen off and launch Google Assistant by long-pressing the scanner.

 

Camera

The cameras found on the Moto G6 are just alright. It’s another tradition following Moto phones, but it’s still true. They are decent when you take shots in proper lighting to full sunlight. However, the lens struggles when you get into less than stellar illumination. I won’t spend a ton of time here, since this is such a subjective part of the review. I’ve dropped a few samples in the gallery and I came away feeling like the cameras were more than adequate for the price tag attached to the phone.

Battery Life

The Moto G6 is equipped with a 3000mAh battery stowed inside it’s glass body. While this is no where near the lofty capacity of the legendary Moto Z Play or the newer E lineup, it’s still respectable for a modern smartphone. It also gets above average results. I never once had to reach for charger during my 8-10 hour work day and consistently only had to charge overnight. This usually has me plugging in around 10PM after a full day that starts around 5AM.

Pros and Cons

N

Moto Actions and Gestures

N

Above average battery life

N

“Stock” Android

N

Premium glass build for the price

M

Bad low-light photos

M

Slippery to handle without a case

M

No waterproofing

Conclusion

Moto continues to build superb smartphones while keeping the non-premium consumers in mind. The Moto G6 brings a new phone to this great heritage with an increased quality that shows Moto is also willing to invest in this market to create new success. The new G6 offers a premium device for an outstanding price that’s over half of what you’d find from Samsung or Google. Honestly, after two weeks with this phone I was lacking to find anything I missed from my Pixel in most instances. The Moto G6 is available for $240, or $5 per month, from Verizon Wireless. This will get you the black model with 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage combination. This is a great price for a really amazing phone from Moto. The king of the budget smartphone is back again.

About The Author

Andrew Allen

Andrew is tech nerd and Linux geek who loves to experience the latest in mobile technology. When he's not glued to the web, he's a husband, father, and pit bull lover.