Notebookcheck

Lenovo Moto G4 Play Smartphone Review

Manuel Masiero, Tanja Hinum (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 10/14/2016

Round 4. The Moto G4 Play may be the cheapest device of the Moto G lineup, but Lenovo has not cut all the corners. In our tests, the 5-inch Android smartphone impressed us with its good price-to-performance ratio, good hardware and long runtimes.

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Lenovo is expanding the Moto G family: the Moto G4 Play is the newest addition following the Moto G4 and the Moto G4 Plus. This model has an interesting price of 159 Euros (~$174) and comes with a lot of features: a quad-core processor, 16 GB storage, the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow, an HD display, 5 and 8 MP cameras and a wireless module with LTE Cat.4 support.

In contrast to the more expensive, yet faster and better-equipped Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, the test model is similar in hardware to the Moto G of the 3rd generation. This model scored highly in some of our tests and its successor, the Moto G4 Play, must match the third-generation model and the new, updated competition, which includes devices such as the Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL, HTC One A9Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 and Sony Xperia XA.

Lenovo Moto G4 Play (Moto G Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 294 PPI, Capacitive, Multi-touch, IPS, Gorilla Glass 3, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 10.4 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: MicroSD cards up to 128 GB, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, Chromecast, USB-OTG, App2SD
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GSM (850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz), UMTS (850, 900, 1,900, 2,100 MHz), LTE Cat.4 (Bandwidth 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 40), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.9 x 144.4 x 72 ( = 0.39 x 5.69 x 2.83 in)
Battery
10.6 Wh, 2800 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix f/2.0 shutter, LED flash, Auto-HDR, 1080p videos up to 30 fps
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix f/2.2 shutter
Additional features
Speakers: Front speakers, Keyboard: virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, USB charger, brief manual, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
137 g ( = 4.83 oz / 0.3 pounds), Power Supply: 30 g ( = 1.06 oz / 0.07 pounds)
Price
159 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Lenovo has put a sturdy synthetic case on the Moto G4 Play. The case has rounded corners and edges and the gaps between the materials are very small. The chassis is available in black or white and has a rough back, which makes it easy to hold. If you remove the back cover, you will find a 2,800 mAh battery, a MicroSD slot and two Micro-SIM slots. Unlike the Moto G of the 3rd generation, the Moto G4 Play is not safe in fresh water, but its nano-protective layer can repel some water.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

The Moto G4 Play uses a middle-class SoC, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 APQ8016, and it provides 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage for use. The user will be able to access 10.4 GB out of the box. The storage can be expanded further using the MicroSD slot (by an additional 128 GB). The MicroSD card can be formatted as internal storage or portable storage. It is also possible to move apps to the MicroSD card. External storage can be connected via USB-OTG. Chromecast is available to transmit display content to an external monitor or TV. This feature will require a suitable Chromecast stick to work. The removable rear cover hides a MicroSD slot and two Micro-SIM slots.

Left: no ports
Left: no ports
Right: volume rocker, power key
Right: volume rocker, power key
Top: headphone jack
Top: headphone jack
Bottom: Micro-USB port
Bottom: Micro-USB port

Software

Lenovo has left the preinstalled Android 6.0 Marshmallow version almost untouched. The manufacturer has also kept its own apps to a minimum. In fact, the only Lenovo apps on the phone are the help app and the Moto App. The latter can be used to perform functions such as regulating notifications. Furthermore, the Moto App can allow the user to activate swipe gestures, which would help when using the phone with one hand.

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Communication and GPS

The Moto G4 Play can communicate over the quad-band GSM (850, 900, 1,800, 1,900 MHz), quad-band UMTS (850, 900, 1,900, 2,100 MHz) and LTE Cat. 4 (bandwidth 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 40). The download speed can reach up to 150 Mb/s and the upload speed allows up to 50 Mb/s. During our tests, the connection quality was always good.

The WLAN module of the Moto G4 Play supports the 802.11 b/g/n standards but only on the 2.4 GHz frequency. The speeds we measured in our test with the reference router Fritzbox 6490 were not great. The Moto G4 Play offered 46.7 Mb/s transmission and 45.6 Mb/s receiving speeds, which is only half as fast as the Sony Xperia XA. Communication in close distances is possible using Bluetooth 4.1 LE, but NFC is not available.

iPerf Client: Wi-Fi speed
iPerf Client: Wi-Fi speed
iPerf Server: Wi-Fi speed
iPerf Server: Wi-Fi speed
Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
92.5 MBit/s ∼100% +103%
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
Adreno 306, 410 APQ8016, 16 GB eMMC Flash
45.6 MBit/s ∼49%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Sony Xperia XA
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
83.6 MBit/s ∼100% +79%
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
Adreno 306, 410 APQ8016, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.7 MBit/s ∼56%
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors
GPS indoors
GPS indoors

The test model has a GPS module, which works quite well indoors. Outdoors, the module is much faster and a little more precise. We took the model for a test run with a bicycle. This test included the professional GPS Garmin Edge 500 for comparison and had a path of 8 kilometers. The Moto G4 Play gave us a good impression, despite not being quite as accurate as the Garmin GPS. According to the smartphone GPS, we were, at times, riding through the forest or trying to ram through a house. However, the deviation of 190 meters is small, which means that the Moto G4 Play is precise enough for everyday app use.

Moto G4 Play: path
Moto G4 Play: path
Moto G4 Play: bridge
Moto G4 Play: bridge
Moto G4 Play: forest
Moto G4 Play: forest
Garmin Edge 500: path
Garmin Edge 500: path
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: bridge
Garmin Edge 500: forest
Garmin Edge 500: forest

Telephone and Speech Quality

Telephone app: dialing
Telephone app: dialing
Telephone app: favorites
Telephone app: favorites

Lenovo has put two microphones in the Moto G4 Play. Both record speech well and test calls using the mobile and landline networks were quite good. Call recipients could hear us well at all times thanks to clear, loud sound. If you use the speaker function, the test model sounds a bit dull, but this is not a major issue. The refined standard telephone app from Android is used for making calls.

Cameras

Main camera (click for original)
Main camera (click for original)
Webcam (click for original)
Webcam (click for original)

The f/2.2 front camera of the test model has good light sensitivity and a 5 MP resolution (2592x1944 pixels in 4:3, 2592x1458 pixels in 16:9). The camera produces decent pictures. It can capture videos in FHD at 30 frames per second. It also offers a timer, HDR and display flash, which brightens the display to improve shots in dark surroundings. Furthermore, focus and lighting are offered as options. If you tap on any part of the display, both will be adjusted automatically. The user can swap to the camera module by tapping the on/off button twice.

The 8 MP rear camera offers the same picture and video functions. It uses an f/2.0 shutter and captures pictures in up to 3264x2448 pixels with the 4:3 format. For 16:9 photos, the user has to choose 6 MP (3264x1836 pixels). Like the front camera, the main camera produces lively pictures with strong colors, thanks to active HDR. Sadly, the focus of the camera is not great, as edges and details end up blurry. Pictures of trees and plants are likely to be blurry. In dark areas, the photos will not be very detailed. These cameras are good for occasional photos, which is expected for a price of 159 Euros (~$174).

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

To check the color accuracy of the main camera, we compared photos taken in strict lighting conditions with the reference colors of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. No editing was done after the picture was taken. As can be seen from the ColorChecker chart, the camera tries to make the colors as strong as possible, but this seems to hurt the color accuracy.

We also checked the picture quality of the camera by taking a picture of the test chart with artificial lighting. The Moto G4 Play had no problems making the middle of the picture detailed. However, near the edges, the details become blurred, which is normal for most smartphone cameras.

ColorChecker colors. The bottom half of every patch shows the original color.
ColorChecker colors. The bottom half of every patch shows the original color.
Excerpt from test picture
Excerpt from test picture
Test picture (click for original)
Test picture (click for original)

Accessories and Warranty

Lenovo includes various, small information handouts and a short introduction manual for the Moto G4 Play. The power adapter included has a non-removable Micro-USB cable. To connect the smartphone to a PC, a suitable Micro-USB cable will be required. The manufacturer has not announced any special accessories for the Moto G4 Play. Lenovo does include a 24-month warranty on the phone.

Input Devices and Interface

Lenovo uses the standard Android 6.0 Marshmallow keyboard. This keyboard is well-designed, with a good layout which puts all important keys in accessible positions.

The keyboard supports swipe typing and speech input via the "Ok Google" command. The capacitive touchscreen can recognize up to 10 fingers at a time and reacts reliably to all input. Practical: the Moto G4 Play shows updates and notifications directly on the lock screen.

Portrait keyboard
Portrait keyboard
Landscape keyboard
Landscape keyboard

Display

The display is similar to other Moto G models. The 5-inch panel offers 1280x720 pixels and a pixel density of 294 PPI. It is possible to distinguish every single pixel on the 16:9 display, but you will have to look very closely. 

The average brightness of 414.2 cd/m² means the test model is brighter than the HTC and Samsung competitors. The displays of the Sony Xperia XA (475 cd/m²) and the Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL (566 cd/m²) are even brighter. The 94% illumination is also great.

The black value of 0.42 cd/m² and the resulting contrast ratio of 981:1 are good values. The AMOLED displays of the HTC One A9 and the Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 have theoretically infinite ratios, which puts them well ahead of the competition.

404
cd/m²
417
cd/m²
430
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
412
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
406
cd/m²
416
cd/m²
414
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 430 cd/m² Average: 414.2 cd/m² Minimum: 14.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 412 cd/m²
Contrast: 981:1 (Black: 0.42 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.6 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 6.9 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
96.7% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.4
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
HTC One A9
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
AMOLED, 1280x720, 5.2
Sony Xperia XA
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Screen
11%
22%
7%
-9%
6%
Brightness middle
412
586
42%
346
-16%
289
-30%
518
26%
418
1%
Brightness
414
566
37%
349
-16%
291
-30%
475
15%
407
-2%
Brightness Distribution
94
84
-11%
93
-1%
96
2%
81
-14%
95
1%
Black Level *
0.42
0.57
-36%
0.61
-45%
0.49
-17%
Contrast
981
1028
5%
849
-13%
853
-13%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.6
4.2
25%
1.55
72%
4.7
16%
6.8
-21%
3.92
30%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.7
8.4
13%
7.3
25%
11.4
-18%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.9
6.3
9%
2.05
70%
3
57%
7
-1%
3.81
45%
Gamma
2.4 92%
2.39 92%
2.15 102%
2.03 108%
2.35 94%
2.27 97%
CCT
8422 77%
6614 98%
6267 104%
6291 103%
8151 80%
7361 88%

* ... smaller is better

The HD panel is not very accurate in terms of color. Our test with a photo spectrometer and the CalMAN software revealed that the gray levels and mixed colors have very large deviations from the ideal values (Delta E less than 3). The results stay the same, whether the color profile is set to "standard" or "intensive". Both color profiles are far off in terms of color temperature as well. 6,500 K would be perfect, but the colors are around 8,400 K, which results in a "cooler" depiction. These deviations are not noticeable with the naked eye, which means that these flaws do not affect everyday use.

Color accuracy (sRGB, standard color profile)
Color accuracy (sRGB, standard color profile)
Color space (sRGB, standard color profile)
Color space (sRGB, standard color profile)
Gray levels (sRGB, standard color profile)
Gray levels (sRGB, standard color profile)
Saturation (sRGB, standard color profile)
Saturation (sRGB, standard color profile)
Color accuracy (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Color accuracy (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Color space (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Color space (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Grey levels (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Grey levels (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Saturation (sRGB, intensive color profile)
Saturation (sRGB, intensive color profile)

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 31 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 95 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
32 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12 ms rise
↘ 20 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 18 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8773 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Due to its high brightness levels, the Moto G4 Play is comfortable to use outdoors (as long as it is not too bright). When it is cloudy outdoors or when the user is in shaded areas, the phone is clear enough to read. Direct sunlight renders it illegible due to the reflective surface.

The viewing angles of the IPS panel are great. The picture remains stable even at flat angles, with only slight color deviations.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoors
Outdoors

Performance

The middle-class SoC, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 APQ8016, allow users to surf the web and run apps on the Moto G4 Play comfortably. If multiple apps are open simultaneously, the user may experience slight delays in transitions (opening menus, changing windows, etc.). These delays were so short that they did not impact user experience.

The synthetic benchmarks show that the Moto G4 Play has solid performance, which can match the Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL and the Samsung Galaxy J5 2016. It is a little faster than the HTC One A9 and the Sony Xperia XA.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
28399 Points ∼11%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
26169 Points ∼10% -8%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
27232 Points ∼11% -4%
Sony Xperia XA
48331 Points ∼19% +70%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
716 Points ∼17%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
719 Points ∼17% 0%
HTC One A9
1051 Points ∼25% +47%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
709 Points ∼17% -1%
Sony Xperia XA
1259 Points ∼30% +76%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
758 Points ∼18% +6%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
42 Points ∼1%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
42 Points ∼1% 0%
HTC One A9
618 Points ∼7% +1371%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
42 Points ∼1% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
525 Points ∼6% +1150%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
39 Points ∼0% -7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
53 Points ∼1%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
53 Points ∼1% 0%
HTC One A9
680 Points ∼11% +1183%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
53 Points ∼1% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
603 Points ∼9% +1038%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
49 Points ∼1% -8%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
9256 Points ∼12%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
9043 Points ∼11% -2%
HTC One A9
9423 Points ∼12% +2%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9022 Points ∼11% -3%
Sony Xperia XA
12138 Points ∼15% +31%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
10148 Points ∼13% +10%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
3858 Points ∼1%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
3767 Points ∼1% -2%
HTC One A9
9015 Points ∼2% +134%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3838 Points ∼1% -1%
Sony Xperia XA
10916 Points ∼2% +183%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3789 Points ∼1% -2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
4432 Points ∼2%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
4328 Points ∼2% -2%
HTC One A9
9163 Points ∼4% +107%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4400 Points ∼2% -1%
Sony Xperia XA
11156 Points ∼5% +152%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
4402 Points ∼2% -1%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
5.2 fps ∼0%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
5.2 fps ∼0% 0%
HTC One A9
16 fps ∼0% +208%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
5.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
18 fps ∼0% +246%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.3 fps ∼0% +2%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
9.6 fps ∼0%
HTC One A9
16 fps ∼0% +67%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9.7 fps ∼0% +1%
Sony Xperia XA
28 fps ∼1% +192%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
9.5 fps ∼0% -1%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
1.8 fps ∼0%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
3.8 fps ∼0% +111%
HTC One A9
6.4 fps ∼0% +256%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1.8 fps ∼0% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
7.2 fps ∼0% +300%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1.7 fps ∼0% -6%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
4.1 fps ∼0%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
1.8 fps ∼0% -56%
HTC One A9
6.7 fps ∼0% +63%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3.8 fps ∼0% -7%
Sony Xperia XA
15 fps ∼0% +266%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3.7 fps ∼0% -10%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC One A9
3.8 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
4.8 fps ∼0%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC One A9
4 fps ∼0%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
11 fps ∼0%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
4283 Points ∼32%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
3691 Points ∼28% -14%
HTC One A9
4293 Points ∼32% 0%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4126 Points ∼31% -4%
Sony Xperia XA
4685 Points ∼35% +9%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3701 Points ∼28% -14%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
551 Points ∼27%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
544 Points ∼27% -1%
HTC One A9
786 Points ∼39% +43%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
551 Points ∼27% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
717 Points ∼35% +30%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
484 Points ∼24% -12%
Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
313 Points ∼1%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
317 Points ∼1% +1%
HTC One A9
726 Points ∼3% +132%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
312 Points ∼1% 0%
Sony Xperia XA
669 Points ∼2% +114%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
315 Points ∼1% +1%
Memory (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
741 Points ∼12%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
797 Points ∼13% +8%
HTC One A9
1018 Points ∼16% +37%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
643 Points ∼10% -13%
Sony Xperia XA
1076 Points ∼17% +45%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
394 Points ∼6% -47%
System (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
1035 Points ∼6%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
1088 Points ∼7% +5%
HTC One A9
1595 Points ∼10% +54%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1060 Points ∼6% +2%
Sony Xperia XA
2289 Points ∼14% +121%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1166 Points ∼7% +13%
Overall (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
603 Points ∼7%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
622 Points ∼7% +3%
HTC One A9
981 Points ∼12% +63%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
585 Points ∼7% -3%
Sony Xperia XA
1043 Points ∼12% +73%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
515 Points ∼6% -15%

Legend

 
Lenovo Moto G4 Play Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 APQ8016, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC One A9 Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia XA Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash

Browser benchmarks show a similar result. The test model matches the performance offered by the Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL and the Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 and remains ahead of the HTC and Sony competitors.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
2773 Points ∼6%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
2685 Points ∼5% -3%
HTC One A9
3911 Points ∼8% +41%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
2730 Points ∼6% -2%
Sony Xperia XA
4046 Points ∼8% +46%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3296 Points ∼7% +19%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
12952.9 ms * ∼22%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
13524.7 ms * ∼23% -4%
HTC One A9
11053.7 ms * ∼19% +15%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
13046 ms * ∼22% -1%
Sony Xperia XA
9609.8 ms * ∼16% +26%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
11843 ms * ∼20% +9%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
48 Points ∼6%
HTC One A9
69 Points ∼9% +44%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
47 Points ∼6% -2%
Sony Xperia XA
72 Points ∼9% +50%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
52 Points ∼6% +8%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
17.094 Points ∼5%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
17.533 Points ∼5% +3%
HTC One A9
24.79 Points ∼7% +45%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
16.8 Points ∼5% -2%
Sony Xperia XA
27.5 Points ∼8% +61%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
20.832 Points ∼6% +22%

* ... smaller is better

Read and write operations are good on the Lenovo smartphone. The sequential data transfer speeds are good and the random read and write speeds can top the charts. The MicroSD performance was tested using the reference card, the Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (max. 95 MB/s read, max. 80 MB/s write). At 65.5 MB/s and 51.1 MB/s, the sequential read and write rates do not exploit the full performance of the MicroSD card but do reach above-average speeds.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
51.1 MB/s ∼59%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
18.93 MB/s ∼22% -63%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
46.61 MB/s ∼53% -9%
Sony Xperia XA
50.68 MB/s ∼58% -1%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
65.5 MB/s ∼68%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
38.43 MB/s ∼40% -41%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
79.83 MB/s ∼83% +22%
Sony Xperia XA
72.87 MB/s ∼76% +11%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
28.31 MB/s ∼17%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
3.6 MB/s ∼2% -87%
HTC One A9
3.61 MB/s ∼2% -87%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
11.6 MB/s ∼7% -59%
Sony Xperia XA
10.6 MB/s ∼6% -63%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.11 MB/s ∼3% -82%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
17.9 MB/s ∼10%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
9.1 MB/s ∼5% -49%
HTC One A9
10 MB/s ∼6% -44%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
21 MB/s ∼12% +17%
Sony Xperia XA
22.05 MB/s ∼13% +23%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.79 MB/s ∼13% +27%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
43.95 MB/s ∼18%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
31.1 MB/s ∼13% -29%
HTC One A9
39.61 MB/s ∼16% -10%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
72 MB/s ∼29% +64%
Sony Xperia XA
68.64 MB/s ∼28% +56%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.33 MB/s ∼9% -49%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
144.12 MB/s ∼16%
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
130.6 MB/s ∼15% -9%
HTC One A9
187.57 MB/s ∼21% +30%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
147 MB/s ∼16% +2%
Sony Xperia XA
240.43 MB/s ∼27% +67%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
131.42 MB/s ∼15% -9%

Games

The graphics chip integrated in the SoC, the Qualcomm Adreno 306, is not one of the fastest available on the market for smartphones and tablets. It is capable of running most games fluidly. However, some games have a hard time running well with max details. For example, Asphalt 8: Airborne runs at a mere 16 fps. However, the device is still quite strong, as other top games, such as Dead Trigger 2, run smoothly at 35 fps.

Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high29 fps
 very low29 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high60 fps

Emissions

Temperature

The Moto G4 Play stays comfortably cool and, even after a hour of full load, the temperatures reach a max of 38.8 °C. Its modest heat emissions come at the expense of the SoC, which is throttled to lower speeds. As the battery test of the GFXBench shows (rendering a scene thirty times), the Moto G4 Play offers constant, yet low performance.

GFXBench: performance
GFXBench: performance
GFXBench: frame times
GFXBench: frame times
GFXBench: battery use
GFXBench: battery use
Max. Load
 37.8 °C
100 F
34 °C
93 F
31.9 °C
89 F
 
 38.8 °C
102 F
33.5 °C
92 F
31.4 °C
89 F
 
 37.8 °C
100 F
34 °C
93 F
31 °C
88 F
 
Maximum: 38.8 °C = 102 F
Average: 34.5 °C = 94 F
32.6 °C
91 F
34 °C
93 F
35.4 °C
96 F
31.4 °C
89 F
33.4 °C
92 F
34.8 °C
95 F
31.9 °C
89 F
33.3 °C
92 F
35.6 °C
96 F
Maximum: 35.6 °C = 96 F
Average: 33.6 °C = 92 F
Power Supply (max.)  42.1 °C = 108 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-350
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.5 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38.8 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 35.8 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the bottom side is 35.6 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 34.3 °C / 94 F, ranging from 22 to 326 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The Moto G4 Play has a mono speaker, which sits above the display. This means it cannot be accidentally covered when the smartphone is lying on the table. Although the max volume of the speaker can reach a mere 67.6 dB(A), it produces good sound. Highs and mids are clear and there is limited bass. As expected, the 3.5 mm headphone jack offers better sound, but no headphones are included in the delivery.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2017.919.719.617.92519.618.619.519.63117.617.521.317.6402019.223.2205017.715.620.717.76315.516.621.915.58017.218.214.417.210018.120.315.918.112528.930.425.328.91601424.611.81420014.929.511.914.925016.432.413.516.431518.934.214.718.940022.238.813.422.250025.843.914.425.86303046.910.63080036.853.1836.810004056.98.940125039.856.39.839.816003956.1839200036.952.68.136.9250036.553.66.536.5315035.453.86.435.4400037.756.46.237.750004058.15.740630044595.744800043.658.65.743.61000038.6545.838.6125003246.15.832160002437.25.624SPL51.167.620.851.1N7.121.20.37.1median 35.4median 52.6median 8.1median 35.4Delta810.33.6835.342.132.435.331.13031.331.134.630.731.734.633.733.62633.737.436.639.437.434.526.836.234.527.626.728.627.626.124.325.426.124.626.121.324.624.222.723.324.221.620.922.521.626.921.722.426.937.730.521.337.747.441.418.447.459.652.917.559.668.96217.568.975.869.817.275.875.369.816.875.370.165.117.370.166.761.317.466.766.460.216.666.467.66117.367.666.961.317.666.967.862.117.667.869.963.917.769.974.96917.474.980.57517.780.581.676.717.981.671.866.918.171.855.65018.155.685.680.129.885.659.2421.359.2median 66.9median 61.3median 17.7median 66.913.813.91.613.837.727.732.437.722.330.631.322.326.529.131.726.52931.4262932.337.239.432.32927.736.22924.627.628.624.623.223.425.423.228.321.821.328.330.823.223.330.834.52422.534.537.222.922.437.242.126.921.342.147.428.218.447.456.236.117.556.262.641.517.562.670.848.617.270.875.853.716.875.872.450.217.372.470.548.117.470.568.146.716.668.167.245.117.367.268.547.217.668.570.949.417.670.974.953.217.774.976.554.417.476.576.354.717.776.365.242.617.965.251.330.718.151.346.826.118.146.884.162.229.884.156.714.71.356.7median 65.2median 42.6median 17.7median 65.213.911.21.613.92832.42833.331.333.332.531.732.534.92634.947.639.447.633.736.233.730.728.630.727.925.427.930.421.330.433.223.333.235.122.535.141.822.441.845.421.345.45018.45055.817.555.860.517.560.56717.26767.416.867.468.117.368.164.817.464.858.716.658.76417.36471.517.671.57417.67474.517.774.573.917.473.97117.77169.417.969.458.318.158.348.918.148.98229.88248.51.348.5median 60.5median 17.7median 60.511.61.611.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseLenovo Moto G4 PlayAsus ZenFone Max ZC550KLSamsung Galaxy J5 2016Sony Xperia XA
Lenovo Moto G4 Play audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (67.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.6% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 30% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 60% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 58% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.57 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 40.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 6.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (12.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.8% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (30.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 82% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 11% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 89% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 7% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.09 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 32.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 7.6% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.1% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (6.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (30.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 81% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 88% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 8% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XA audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.02 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (28.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 72% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 19% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 83% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram for comparison (checkboxes can be selected!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

While idle, the device consumes a max 1.61 W and 3.91 W at load. This means that the test model is one of the most power-conservative phones. Only the Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 needs less power, whereas the Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL has the highest consumption.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.08 / 0.22 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.68 / 1.58 / 1.61 Watt
Load midlight 3.36 / 3.91 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
2800 mAh
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
5000 mAh
HTC One A9
 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3100 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
 mAh
Power Consumption
-50%
-12%
14%
-11%
18%
Idle Minimum *
0.68
1.15
-69%
0.9
-32%
0.61
10%
0.72
-6%
0.4
41%
Idle Average *
1.58
2.09
-32%
1.2
24%
1.41
11%
1.5
5%
1
37%
Idle Maximum *
1.61
2.17
-35%
1.4
13%
1.51
6%
1.57
2%
1.2
25%
Load Average *
3.36
5.38
-60%
3.8
-13%
2.56
24%
3.48
-4%
2.9
14%
Load Maximum *
3.91
6.08
-55%
5.9
-51%
3.1
21%
6.04
-54%
5
-28%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Moto G4 Play has a 2,800 mAh battery, which is average, but the battery life is quite good. The realistic WLAN test can deplete the battery in 10 hours and 30 minutes. This is a great runtime which puts our test model next to the Samsung Galaxy J5 2016. The Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL takes the crown with a runtime of 16 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
33h 18min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
10h 30min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
11h 23min
Load (maximum brightness)
5h 06min
Lenovo Moto G4 Play
2800 mAh
Asus ZenFone Max ZC550KL
5000 mAh
HTC One A9
 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3100 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
 mAh
Battery Runtime
52%
-40%
2%
-46%
-16%
Reader / Idle
1998
1154
-42%
1599
-20%
775
-61%
1364
-32%
H.264
683
465
-32%
658
-4%
460
-33%
677
-1%
WiFi v1.3
630
959
52%
368
-42%
643
2%
353
-44%
526
-17%
Load
306
176
-42%
402
31%
170
-44%
264
-14%

Pros

+ good HD display
+ Android 6.0 Marshmallow
+ LTE
+ stays cool
+ no throttling at full load
+ long battery life

Cons

- quiet speakers
- average cameras
- no NFC
- few accessories

Verdict

In review: Lenovo Moto G4 Play. Test model provided by Lenovo Germany.
In review: Lenovo Moto G4 Play. Test model provided by Lenovo Germany.

"Motorola delivers a middle-class smartphone in the Moto G, with impressive, special features." This sentence was the verdict of the Moto G of the 3rd generation. We can apply it directly to the Moto G4. The test model combines good hardware and solid performance, without any glaring flaws. In comparison to the predecessor, the Moto G4 has a faster SoC, more storage space, a similar display but lower price. If you want a cheap, yet good smartphone, we recommend paying 159 Euros (~$174) for the Moto G4 Play.

The Lenovo Moto G4 Play is a well-rounded package, which includes a middle-class smartphone with specific strengths for a relatively low price.

The phone has a few flaws: the speaker is relatively quiet and the cameras will not impress the user. There is no NFC support and display content can only be transferred to a TV using Chromecast. We also miss the separate Micro-USB cable.

Lenovo Moto G4 Play - 11/01/2016 v5.1
Manuel Masiero

Chassis
83%
Keyboard
69 / 75 → 92%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
38 / 60 → 63%
Weight
93%
Battery
93%
Display
83%
Games Performance
5 / 63 → 8%
Application Performance
36 / 70 → 51%
Temperature
90%
Noise
100%
Audio
63 / 91 → 69%
Camera
60%
Average
70%
82%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Moto G4 Play Smartphone Review
Manuel Masiero, 2016-10-14 (Update: 2018-05-15)