Motorola Deals Four of a Kind     


In recent weeks Motorola has introduced four new smartphones each of which is slightly different from the next. It seems to be along the theme of the Moto mods in which Motorola added accessories such as speakers, cases, battery life extenders, and so on. The four new models in no particular order are the G6, the G6 Play, the E5 Play and the E5 Plus. These are budget phones that still have plenty of features but without the huge price tag of the so-called flagship phones from Apple, Samsung, and LG.

They are, first and foremost, smartphones so if your primary use model is making phone calls, getting texts or email, or surfing the web, all of them will do just fine. If you are looking for a smartphone camera to rival a Nikon or Sony, you should probably look elsewhere. We’ll take a look here at some of the distinguishing features of each, but if you are looking for a really deep dive you might want to check out this article from The Verge.

We found that general appearances among the four phones are comparable as was their performance as phones and Internet surfing devices. There are some differences in processor speed, display size and battery life and especially camera features.

Moto smartphone

Moto G6 Play

This is the most affordable of the G6 phones. In the US, it costs $50 less than the Moto G6. The Moto G6 Play has a lower resolution display and only a single rear camera, but it also has the biggest battery of the three – a 4,000-mAh whopper more capacious than the one found in the Galaxy S9. Read CNET’s full Moto G6 Play review.




Moto G6 Play by the numbers:

Operating System – Android Oreo

Display size – 5.7”

Resolution – 720p HD+

Aspect Ratio – 18:9

Built-in storage 32 GB

Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 427

Battery size – 4000 mAh

Rear Camera – 13 MP

Front Camera – 8 MP

Price range: $100 -$200

Moto smartphone

Moto G6

The Moto G6 we looked at comes with 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM and no NFC. It has a higher resolution display, dual rear cameras and a more powerful processor than the “Play.” In the UK and Australia, the Moto G6 comes with NFC, and there’s a “step up” UK version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Motorola is making a big deal about its dual camera system, worth looking at if you are interested in a smartphone with photographic capabilities comparable to that of higher-end phones. Each model is tweaked a bit depending on where you live. There is also a higher end Moto G6  Plus but it is not available in the U.S.

Moto G6  by the numbers

Operating System – Android Oreo

Display size – 5.7”

Resolution – 1080p Full HD+

Aspect Ratio – 18:9

Built-in storage 32GB / 64GB

Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 480

Battery size – 3000 mAh

Dual Rear Cameras – 12 MP and5 MP

Front Camera – 8 MP

Price range: $200 -$250

Motorola’s G series was first introduced in 2013 and set a new standard for affordable phones. The newer models are solid advances to the series. The company’s aim with the Moto G line is to bring those features you’d normally expect on high-end phones to a cheaper handset. It’s never going to be the same experience as buying a genuinely high-end phone, but it does allow you to get a taste of those top-end features without spending a fortune. 

Moto smartphoneMoto E5 Play

Motorola’s E series has always focused on no-frills phones with solid performance for an affordable price. The new Moto E5 Play follows suit, with a capable Snapdragon processor, enough RAM to handle most common tasks and an increasingly rare removable battery. The E5 Play isn’t the fastest or most eye-catching phone on the market, but it’s available for as little as $39.99 depending on where you buy it, making for a solid, reliable budget handset. For a deep dive into this budget phone, we suggest this review from PCMag

The E5 Play follows the design language of the Moto E4, with a similar lightweight black plastic construction and a removable back cover. It feels sturdy and durable, despite not being officially ruggedized, with a water-repellent coating that can withstand accidental spills and splashes, but not full immersion in water. While the E5 Play won’t weigh down your pocket, it’s not the easiest to use with one hand due to a thick top and bottom bezel. Call quality is mixed. Earpiece volume is reasonably loud, letting you take calls outdoors, but clarity and noise cancellation aren’t the best.

The E5 Play is powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 427 processor depending on where you buy it. The difference between the two chipsets in fairly negligible in terms of performance, but for the purposes of testing, we used the Boost Mobile version which has a Snapdragon 427 clocked at 1.4GHz and 2GB of RAM.  One advantage the E5 Play has is that its battery is removable, allowing you to swap it out for a fresh cell if you run out of juice. It’s also capable of fast charging with the included 5V/2A adapter.

Moto E5  Play  by the numbers

Operating System – Android Oreo

Display size – 5.2”

Resolution – 720P

Built-in storage 16GB

Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 or 427

Battery size – 2800 mAh

Rear Camera – 8MP

Front Camera – 5MP

Price range:  $60 -$120 

Moto smartphoneMoto E5 Plus

In general, most reviewers are less enthused about the E5 than the other models here.  For a deep dive, you might want to look at this from TechRadar   The Moto E5 Plus scores good marks for performance and battery. Despite having a bigger screen, it lacks the increased resolution, upgraded processing power, and premium-feeling design of the Moto G6, and those prevent it from being the budget champion it was bred to be.   It’s an Android Oreo phone with a hefty 5,000mAh battery, an expansive 6-inch display, and an upgraded octa-core processor that’s fast enough for most tasks. All that combined with a low price point makes it a fair option for almost anyone looking for a cheap phone.

The Moto E5 Plus has hints of a premium, almost flagship smartphone. The display takes up a substantial portion of the phone, with thin, though still present, bezels on the sides. The Moto E5 Plus is built to have the look of a metal frame and glass back, but it instead uses plastics and polymers that don’t feel quite as premium. On the plus side, the plastic back panel is less likely to shatter than a real glass one. For all the flagship look, that appearance quickly vanishes.

The rear of the phone is one of the strongest smudge magnets we’ve ever come across. We tried wiping it on our shirt to see if we could get it looking pretty again for a second, but that didn’t work and would have been re-smudged in a matter of moments anyway. Dust seems attracted to it as well. The rear also houses a fingerprint scanner and what at first appears to be a dual-sensor camera but is awkwardly just one camera and a laser auto-focus sensor. The display is the main selling point for the Moto E5 Plus, because it packs a big one in for a low price. It has a 6-inch IPS LCD display with an HD+ (720p) resolution.

Moto E5  Plus  by the numbers

Operating System – Android Oreo

Display size – 6.0”

Resolution – 1440 HD+

Built-in storage 32GB

Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 435

Battery size – 5000 mAh

Rear Camera -12MP

Front Camera – 8MP

Price range:  $150 -$198

Bottom Line

These two lines of Motorola phones prove that you don’t need a $1000 phone for most everyday needs. The old adage is that 90% of users only use 10% of the features. If you are part of the 90% these phones are definitely worth looking at. At the same time, we caution you to be careful in your selection. You have a lot of choices and a lot of trade-offs.  And what makes it even more confusing is that some of the carriers are pricing higher end phones within this group for less than some of the budget phones.  Go figure. But do your research. And if there’s nothing you like, wait. Another few weeks and Motorola is likely to unleash even more models.

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.


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