- Review Price: £269/$382
- 5.9-inch 18:9 FHD+ screen
- Snapdragon 630 CPU
- Dual rear cameras (12MP + 5MP)
Hands-on with the Moto G6 Plus
Motorola has released a trio of new budget smartphones, and the daddy of the family is the Moto G6 Plus.
As the Plus moniker would suggest, this is a large phone, but the 5.9-inch screen isn’t all that marks it apart from its siblings. The Moto G6 Plus also comes with a much improved camera and a big upgrade under the hood.
It’s packing a Snapdragon 630 processor, which offers a lot more grunt for all sorts of tasks from gaming to productivity. The 630 also comes with an advanced image signal processor, and that should mean better smartphone photography – one of the key areas where budget phones often drop the ball.
The Moto G6 Plus offers a significant step up in performance when compared to the Moto G6 Play and Moto G6. That means it’s also the priciest of the bunch at £269 – a full £100 more than the Moto G6 Play.
Though they might belong to the same family, the G6 Plus is miles ahead of the G6 Play. This is truly a beast of a phone for the price, and comes with features you’d expect in a phone that costs twice as much.
Of course, it can’t have everything. However, if you don’t care about full-on water-resistance or wireless charging, this is a real bargain.
Moto G6 Plus – Design and screen
Motorola has really stepped up the look and feel of the Moto G range. The G6 and G6 Plus come with much thinner bezels that give you a lot more screen for their size. The metal frame is sandwiched between the screen and a scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3D glass back. This tapers towards the front of the phone, making it really comfortable to hold.
The 5.9-inch size of the bright, punchy Full HD+ screen means the G6 Plus is a little taller and wider than the G6, but it’s still easy to use with one hand, and eminently pocketable. The 18:9 screen ratio makes it narrower than the Moto G5, but with a significantly larger screen. It’s also a full 1.5mm thinner than last year’s model.
Both the G6 Plus and G6 have a luxurious feel that I did not expect from phones at this price. Do note that the entry-level G6 Play comes with a polymer back that doesn’t feel quite as nice.
The design flourishes don’t end there. The rear cameras are highlighted in remarkable detail. The dual lenses sit centrally behind a large glass circle with an etched outline. The Moto G6 and G6 Plus look absolutely fantastic. It’s hard to believe you can get quality like this for so little money.
Instead of having the fingerprint sensor on the back, like on the G6 Play, Motorola has opted to place a narrow sensor just below the screen. If there’s one thing I’d change about the design, it’s that – it’s a bit of a stretch to reach it with my thumb.
On the plus side, the G6 and G6 Plus come with facial recognition. This is a feature that Apple introduced with the £1000 iPhone X, and now you can get it on two phones that cost a fraction of the price. We still need to wait for a full review to see whether it works as well as it does on the iPhone, though.
The Moto G6 Plus will be available in “Deep Indigo” at launch, but Motorola did say that there may be a second colour option on the way.
Moto G6 Plus – Camera
The Moto G6 Plus comes with dual rear cameras: one 12-megapixel and the other 5-megapixel. This is something we see on most flagship phones, but not often on ones that cost less than £300.
There’s a number of different ways that a second sensor can be utilised on phones, but Motorola has opted to emulate the iPhone X and iPhone 8. That means the G6 Plus can create shallow-depth-of-field effects both while you’re shooting, but also later in post-production using the Portrait App.
This worked well in my initial attempts. The object was sharp and in focus, while the background was soft and blurry.
The main camera comes with a wide f/1.7 aperture, which should let more light in and provide better photos when it’s dark. I couldn’t check this in the brightly lit testing location, but images looked detailed and in sharp focus on first inspection.
Unlike the cheaper phones in the range, the G6 Plus also comes with Dual Autofocus Pixel technology, which again should help with shooting better in low light.
Aside from the dual lenses, this looks very much like the camera on last year’s Moto G5 Plus. That’s no bad thing: we were impressed with that camera, although found it to be fussy when focusing in darker environments. Optical image stabilisation could help if this is still an issue, but at this price that would have been an enormous ask.
We do get some other nifty features, though. Aim the G6 Plus at a famous place and it will pop up information about it. It can also recognise objects. I tried it with a small plant and the Moto G6 correctly identified it as a succulent and brought information up on screen.
The Moto G6 Plus can also shoot 4K video – a step up on the 1080p limit of the Moto G6.
If you love your selfies then you’ll be excited to hear that the Moto G6 Plus has had a bump up to 8MP on the front-facing camera. It also comes with beautification, group selfie and face filter modes, while an exhaustive manual mode lets you tinker to get the best results.
Moto G6 Plus – Specs
Even though the Moto G6 Plus is priced very much in the mid-range smartphone category, Motorola hasn’t scrimped on features and performance.
Where the Moto G6 Play uses last year’s Snapdragon 430 and the G6 this year’s Snapdragon 450, the Moto G6 Plus uses the far more powerful Snapdragon 630 and couples it with 4GB of RAM (up to 6GB in certain regions).
Stock Android 8.0 on the G6 Plus is a butter-smooth experience. Apps open instantly and the camera is fast and responsive to commands, just the way it should be.
The Snapdragon 630 also comes with improved image signal processors for better smartphone photography, and supports Bluetooth 5.0. This newer Bluetooth standard is faster, goes further, uses less power and is more secure. Most people won’t notice the difference, but it’s another thing the G6 Plus has over its siblings, which only support Bluetooth 4.2.
The Moto G6 Plus also packs double the storage of the G6 and G6 Play. You get 64GB as standard, with a 128GB model also in the offing in some regions, plus the option to expand it further via microSD card.
There’s NFC for quick pairing, as well as Android Pay. A USB Type-C connector is used for charging and data transfer.
Motorola packs a fast charger in the box with the G6 Plus, which it claims provides you with 6 hours of use from a 15-minute blast. That’s handy, but I’m also pleased that the G6 Plus comes with a 3200mAh battery, which is larger than the one in last year’s model. We loved the stamina on that phone, so I hope the G6 Plus can at least match it.
One last thing to note is that, while the G6 Plus isn’t officially water-resistant, it has been treated with a hydrophobic nano-coating. That doesn’t mean you can go scuba diving with it, but it might save it from an accidental spillage.
Moto G6 Plus – Price and release date
The Moto G6 Plus will cost £269/$382 SIM-free. The on-sale date is currently TBC.
The Moto G6 Plus seems to be a formidable smartphone for the price. It looks and feels like a phone that costs a lot more, and it comes with an impressive specs list. We’ll need to test the camera a lot more before we pass judgement, but the G6 Plus sits atop what looks like an impressive triple-entry to the Moto G range.