The Motorola Moto G Play, priced at $249.99, is a low-cost smartphone that competes with the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G in the entry-level segment. While the Galaxy A14 offers 5G connectivity, the Moto G Play does not. However, if 5G is not yet prevalent in your area, the Moto G Play can still be a suitable choice. Additionally, considering the limited availability of full-featured smartphones under $300, the Moto G Play provides an affordable option for budget-conscious consumers. However, it’s worth noting that our top pick in this price range is the Moto G Power, which offers better battery life and a superior 50MP camera.
- Affordable: The Moto G Play is competitively priced, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers.
- Large 90Hz Display: The phone features a spacious 6.5-inch display with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate, providing an enjoyable visual experience.
- Good Call Quality: The call quality of the Moto G Play is impressive, ensuring clear and audible conversations.
- No 5G: Unlike some other smartphones in its price range, the Moto G Play lacks 5G connectivity.
- Underwhelming Performance: The phone’s performance is not particularly impressive, with noticeable sluggishness when launching apps and performing daily tasks.
- Low-Resolution Screen: The screen resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels (HD+) is lower than expected, but this compromise is common for a phone in this price range.
- Lackluster Speaker: The audio performance from the single speaker is unimpressive, lacking bass and not ideal for music listening.
Design and Display:
The Moto G Play boasts an aesthetically pleasing design that does not feel cheap. Its plastic material is sturdy and does not attract fingerprints or scratches. The phone is available in an attractive dark blue color called Deep Indigo.
With dimensions of 6.58 x 3.01 x 0.37 inches (HWD) and a weight of 7.16 ounces, the Moto G Play is relatively large, but it is consistent with previous generations. The screen-to-body ratio is decent at 86.45%. The display features noticeable bezels and a selfie camera notch above the screen, but they are not overly intrusive.
The 6.5-inch screen size is suitable, but the resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels (HD+) is relatively low. However, it is worth mentioning that the Moto G Play surprises with its 90Hz refresh rate, which is rare in phones under $300. The phone’s back houses three vertically aligned cameras, with a fingerprint reader located in the upper half of the rear panel.
Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, power button and volume rocker on the right edge, a single speaker and USB-C port on the bottom, and a SIM/microSD card slot on the left edge. The phone has an IP52 rating for mild protection against dust and light water splashes, although it is not fully waterproof.
Connectivity and Performance:
Although the Moto G Play lacks 5G support, its LTE performance is reliable and offers solid speed. However, considering that some other phones in this price range do offer 5G at a slightly higher cost, it might be worth considering an upgrade for future-proofing purposes. In tests, the Moto G Play achieved download speeds of 2Mbps in a weak coverage area, and 48Mbps in an area with strong T-Mobile coverage. The phone supports Wi-Fi 5, providing good speeds but not exceptional ones.
Call quality is excellent, with clear audio on both ends. The speakers are sufficiently loud, with a volume peak of 85dB for the earpiece and 92dB for the speakerphone. Bluetooth 5.0 is supported for connecting accessories.
In terms of performance, the Moto G Play delivers what is expected from a phone in this price range. Benchmark tests reveal average scores, such as 5,243 on the PCMark Work benchmark and 161 on the single-core and 581 on the multi-core tests of GeekBench 5. While the phone’s gaming performance is limited, it still manages to offer a satisfactory experience for casual gaming.
The Moto G Play’s camera system is modest but acceptable for a phone in this price range. It includes a 16MP primary camera, a 2MP macro shooter, and a 2MP depth sensor. The front-facing camera is a basic 5MP shooter. In daylight conditions, the rear cameras capture decent photos, although low-light photography is less impressive. The portrait mode adds a bokeh effect to photos, but the background blur is not as clean as desired.
The macro lens performs well in capturing details up close, although the resulting images are low-resolution due to the 2MP sensor. Video recording capability is limited to 1080p at 30fps. The front camera produces somewhat washed-out images even in good lighting. While the cameras are satisfactory for basic photography needs, upgrading to a midrange device would provide a significant improvement in camera quality.
The Motorola Moto G Play is an affordable smartphone that provides decent value for its price. While it may not offer top-tier performance or advanced features, its affordability is its key selling point. However, for a slightly higher price, there are better options available. If 5G connectivity is essential, spending a little more on a different phone might be worthwhile. Alternatively, the Moto G Power offers better battery life and camera quality at the same price, while the OnePlus Nord N300 provides superior performance and 5G capability. Ultimately, the Moto G Play is a suitable choice for budget-conscious consumers seeking an average Android experience.