Motorola Moto G6 Review: Glass in pocket

For a long time, Motorola’s Moto G was our favourite budget phone. Then the G5 let us down, and despite attempts to revive the franchise by launching several alternative versions, including the somewhat more successful G5S, it never quite recovered. Read our Motorola Moto G6 Review.

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Feels a lot more expensive than it is, with impressive dual cameras and screen.

But now it’s back. The Moto G6 isn’t just a decent phone for the money, but one that’s as distinctive as any Apple or Samsung device. From the front, it could be mistaken for earlier budget phones. The large 5.7in screen comes in the fashionable stretched 18:9 format, but doesn’t reach the sides like a Galaxy or the top and bottom like an iPhone X, and the fingerprint reader and Motorola logo are awkwardly shoehorned into the bottom bezel.

Pick it up, however, and the curved Gorilla Glass 3 back not only looks superb, with a slightly protruding circular panel for the dual rear camera and flash (see image below), but feels great in the hand and shouldn’t easily scuff or scratch. Between the front and back is a matching metal frame. It’s not perfect – a ‘liquid-repellent’ coating is the nearest you get to waterproofing, and that camera bulge is something of a dust trap – but all in all it feels a lot more expensive than it is.

The screen has the now-familiar 2160×1080 resolution, and uses the IPS technology seen in all iPhones except the X rather than the often more vivid AMOLED. But the default ‘Vibrant’ mode makes everything look pleasingly colourful, even if our test meter found only 87 per cent of the sRGB colour range covered and a relatively modest contrast ratio. The 25 percent brighter Honor 9 Lite wins here, but really, unless you’re buying a phone mainly as a field monitor for an outdoor film production, you won’t be disappointed.

On the inside, the eight-core Snapdragon 450 processor can be described as ‘good enough’ alongside recent cheaper, low-end devices. Android 8 Oreo feels more than adequately responsive, enhanced by extra Moto gestures for tasks like activating the camera or torch, and we managed to get some pretty demanding games running at low-quality settings. At 10 hours 46 minutes in our video-playback test, battery life isn’t anything to shout about either, but in general use it’ll get you comfortably through a day.

If Motorola has skimped a bit on these features, it’s splashed out on the dual cameras. The second lens doesn’t add zoom, but improves depth perception, which means you get nice shallow- depth-of-focus Portrait options, with the usual variable results, but you also simply get better pictures, especially in low light.

In most conditions it’s only a whisker behind the Galaxy S9 or Google Pixel 2, which cost three times as much. There’s no 4K video, but we’d question the relevance of that anyway. Our only complaint is the slightly longer than average delay between pressing the button and taking a picture, which can catch you out until you get used to it.

As well as Google Assistant, you get Moto Voice, which works even while the screen is off and controls functions like making calls, getting directions and checking what song is playing.

Sound is also enhanced by Dolby Audio, which has an equaliser that lets you adjust audio to your taste – adding more bass to games and films, for example – and apply volume levelling. These touches complete a phone that feels like Motorola cares again.

Motorola Moto G6 Review: VERDICT

10 Total Score
Best value Motorola Moto G6 Review

Motorola says it's 'designed to impress'- and it does. The Moto G6 has risen to the competition and taken the lead again

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Motorola Moto G6: Price Comparison

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Moto G6 – 32 GB – Unlocked (AT&T/Sprint/T-Mobile/Verizon) – Black...
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Motorola Moto G6

For the past few years I’ve been looking for what I thought was impossible: a good phone cheaper than the zillions Apple expects you to pay for its iRip-offs. I found it a few weeks ago – the Motorola Moto G6 (pictured) – taking a cue from your review where you gave it a five-star ‘Buy It!’ award.

What I need most in a phone is a bright screen, because my eyes aren’t as sharp as they were. The phone’s ‘Vibrant’ mode makes everything vivid and colourful. You mentioned in the review that a 10-hour battery life “isn’t anything to shout about”, but it’s more than enough for me. It has never run out on me, though admittedly I use it more for reading news than watching videos. I’m so glad I resisted buying an iPhone. I was tempted because I thought it was the only way to guarantee quality, but the Moto G6 is truly superb. David Sutton

Motorola Moto G6 Review: ALTERNATIVE

Huawei Honor 9 Lite

This has shorter battery life and its dual cameras don’t perform quite as well, but it’s nicely made

Motorola Moto G6 Review: SPECIFICATIONS

5.7in 2160×1080-pixel screen • 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel rear cameras • 8-megapixel front camera • 32GB flash storage • MicroSD card slot – 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • 3G/4G • 154x72x8.3mm (HxWxD) • 167g

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