The Moto G4 is our first look at a Moto device with Lenovo at the helm. It hits the market with an eye on securing territory threatened by recent Samsung releases. I went hands on with the device at the launch event, and here are my impressions.
Moto G4 release date and price
Although the US launch and pricing details have yet to be disclosed, the base model of the Moto G4 costs around £169, which works out at about $245, and has 16 GB of internal storage. The variant with 32 GB of storage is called the Moto G4 Plus, and also offers some interesting additional features, such as a fingerprint scanner, and comes in at £199 – around $285
There are a variety of customization options on the Moto Maker platform, with eight colors to choose from for the rear panel.
Moto G4 design and build quality
Looking at the design, it’s clear to see that Lenovo was behind the Moto G4 project. The model shares some traits with other Lenovo devices, such as the Lenovo Vibe A7010. In this new generation, we see more straight lines and a considerably reduced weight.
According to Motorola, this new-found levity has been made possible through the removal of water resistance present in previous generations. Instead of IP67, which allowed for the submergence of the Moto G (2015), the new Moto G4 comes with nanotechnology that makes it only splash-resistant.
The silver border around the top speaker closely resembles the Moto G Turbo Edition. The speaker setup on the Moto G4 differs from the Moto G (2014) in that it is equipped with a single mono speaker and not stereo audio.
The frame of the device makes it more resilient, since its edges are well polished with slightly rounded surfaces, giving a more ergonomic grip. The rear cover has received a new coating of silicone which is neither flat nor firm.
Moto G4 display
Rather than going with the standard HD, present in the last two generations, Lenovo has decided to grace the new model with Full HD resolution. The move is not so surprising given that other Lenovo models in the same price range already have this resolution, such as the Vibe K5 and Vibe A7010.
I can say that the change is more than welcome, as fans of the Moto G series can finally enjoy games and movies in high definition. Fonts and the general appearance of the system are extremely sharp and there’s good color reproduction. The display is bright, while viewing angles are excellent, all within within the standards of a good LCD panel.
Moreover, it is possible to say that the LCD used in the Moto G4 is considerably stronger than the display accompanying the Vibe K5, which has weaker colors and sharpness.
Moto G4 software
The Moto G4 leaves the factory running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a slightly modified layout. Of course, Lenovo's interface is not 100 percent pure. Among a handful of changes, a new widget can be seen and a revamped camera mode.
This widget, by the way, it is a circle that displays some system information and additional data, such as the weather and battery percentage. I do not believe that it is inspired by the Lenovo software, Vibe UI; rather, it appears to be a new version of the circular lines that accompanied the old Razr line and the Droid Turbo.
Moto G4 performance
The Moto G4 comes at a time when its rivals are carrying similar hardware to the Moto G Turbo Edition. But the Moto G4 has more benefits to offer than its predecessor. While the RAM remains the same, at 2 GB, the quad-core Snapdragon 617 is a step up from the Moto G Turbo Edition and Moto X Play, which both carried the Snapdragon 615.
We still cannot speak conclusively to the firepower of the Moto G4, since the time I spent with it during the event was not enough to test the device thoroughly. But I will deliver a more in-depth look come the final review.
The Moto G4 has a better processor than the Moto X Play
The Moto G4 ships with 16 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128 GB with the help of a microSD card. The battery is 3,000 mAh and compatible with Qualcomm’s turbo charging. A 10 W charger is included in the box, getting the Moto G4 fully charged in about one hour and 10 minutes.
Moto G4 camera
The camera was one of the features that struck me the most during the time I spent with the device. The Moto G4 and G4 Plus share the same camera software, which is a revised version of that found in previous models.
By choosing manual mode, a screen with new settings is displayed, allowing the user to customize the ISO, timer, shutter, macro mode and exposure times. The interface chosen for this mode looks a lot like Microsoft’s Lumia Camera.
The rear camera is good, but unfortunately I could not test it very widely during the launch of the Moto G4. Of course, once our review unit arrives, we will put it through its paces. The rear sensor is 13 MP, while the front is 5 MP and features an 85-degree-angle lens, suitable for those who like to take group selfies.
Moto G4 technical specifications
Moto G4 does not break free of its mid-range position despite numerous improvements. The new model is fit to face the competition that will launch later this year and also responds to its current rivals, like the Zenfone Selfie, Vibe K5 and the Galaxy S5 New Edition. With the Moto G4, Lenovo has managed to unite the highlights of the Moto G Turbo Edition and Moto X Play.
This mid-range offering, while bearing no fingerprint scanner, ensures good usability and represents a solid all-round outing. Although there are options out there with more storage, such as the Quantum GO, and also with a fingerprint scanner, such as the Vibe A7010, this new Moto is elevated by the sum of its parts: processor, display, camera and software.
After spending some time with the device, I'm confident in saying that Motorola has learned from recent mistakes – read: Moto G (2015) – and is ready to play with the competition to come.