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Lenovo Moto G4 Plus Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 06/19/2016

Plus = better? The Moto G4 Plus is basically the regular Moto G4, but with a better camera, quick charging and fingerprint scanner. Should you get the slightly more expensive model?

For the original German review, see here.

The first trend was towards "Compact" models, now it is the other way around: Apple started it, and now we get "Plus" models from pretty much every manufacturer; Huawei P9 Plus, Honor 6 Plus and the Moto G4 Plus from Lenovo or Motorola, respectively. Those "Plus" models are usually bigger and faster, similar to the iPhone 6s. Lenovo, however, follows a different approach: The normal Moto G4 (review will follow soon) is not equipped with a fingerprint scanner, does not support quick-charge and has a 13 MP camera. The Moto G4 Plus comes with all these features and even a better 16 MP camera with laser autofocus and dual-flash. The size and the SoC are identical.

After the acquisition by Lenovo, Motorola is in a transition. The devices are officially manufactured by Lenovo and are only called Lenovo Moto. This is also the case for the fourth generation of the Moto G. There is no shortage of comparison devices: Mainstream smartphones with 5.5 inches are pretty popular right now. We use the OnePlus 2Honor 5XHuawei P9 Lite and Motorola's own Moto X Play for the comparison. 

Lenovo Moto G4 Plus (Moto Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 401 PPI, capacitive Touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 10.82 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset port, Card Reader: microSD up to 128GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, USB OTG
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GSM (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS (850/900/1900/2100), LTE (B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B19/B20/B28/B40); maximum bandwidth (Download/Upload): 150Mbps/50Mbps (LTE); SAR-value: 0.59 W/kg (head), 1.83 W/kg (body), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.8 x 153 x 76.6 ( = 0.39 x 6.02 x 3.02 in)
Battery
11.4 Wh, 3000 mAh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 24 h
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix f/2.0, Laser autofocus, phase-shift autofocus, Dual-LED flash, Videos @1080p/30fps
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: front speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, charging cable, Turbo Charger, 12 Months Warranty, water-repellent nano coating, fanless
Weight
155 g ( = 5.47 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 93 g ( = 3.28 oz / 0.21 pounds)
Price
300 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The design philosophy of the Lenovo Moto G4 is similar to its predecessor, but there are obviously some smaller updates. The G4 Plus is equipped with a fingerprint scanner, which replaces the lower speaker, and the camera module at the back is more subtle. We still get the round shape without real corners, so the device still feels good in the hands. The case is once again completely made of plastic, but it is not waterproof like the old one anymore, only spill-water resistant. Lenovo did surveys and found out that the waterproofness is just not an important feature.

The device is a bit thinner in return and the maximum height is 9.8 millimeters (~0.4 in). This is okay compared to other devices, but the Huawei P9 Lite is even considerably thinner. A weight of 155 grams (~5.5 oz) is comparatively low if you look at the other competitors.

You can remove the back panel, which will give you access to both SIM slots and the  MicroSD-slot, which are conveniently separated. Unfortunately, you can not remove the battery, but it is at least properly indicated this time.

One interesting topic is the customizability: Retail stores will only sell the rather boring black and white versions, but there is the MotoMaker on Motorola's website, where you can customize your device. You can decide between a white or black front, and there are eight different colors for the back, including red, black, white, green, pink and several shades of blue. You can also add golden, gray, silver, blue, or pink accents, around the camera lens, for example. Finally, you can add an individual engraving and a personal welcome message.

153 mm / 6.02 inch 76.6 mm / 3.02 inch 9.8 mm / 0.3858 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs151.8 mm / 5.98 inch 74.9 mm / 2.95 inch 9.85 mm / 0.3878 inch 178 g0.3924 lbs151.3 mm / 5.96 inch 76.3 mm / 3 inch 8.2 mm / 0.3228 inch 158 g0.3483 lbs148 mm / 5.83 inch 75 mm / 2.95 inch 10.9 mm / 0.4291 inch 169 g0.3726 lbs146.8 mm / 5.78 inch 72.6 mm / 2.86 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs142.1 mm / 5.59 inch 72.4 mm / 2.85 inch 11.6 mm / 0.4567 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs

Connectivity

Our review model of the Moto G4 Plus has 16 GB internal memory, and this model currently retails for 270-300 Euros (~$305-$338). More storage is only available in the Moto Maker on Motorola's website: 32 GB storage are available for 300 Euros and 344 Euros (~$338 and $388) are charged for 64 GB in combination with 4 GB RAM. The normal models of the Moto G4 Plus are equipped with 2 GB RAM.

MicroSD-cards with a capacity of up to 128 GB are supported by the smartphones, and apps can be transferred to the memory card. You can also format the  MicroSD-card as internal storage in Android 6. It will then only work with this particular device, but it can be used as internal storage without limitations. The Moto G4 Plus does support this feature.

Next to this slot at the back, you will find two  Micro-SIM slots, conveniently equipped with adapters for nano-SIMs. The Moto G4 Plus therefore supports dual-SIM cards, so you can use it for private and business calls, for example.

USB on-the-go, which describes the capability to attach storage devices directly to the smartphone, is available, but the Moto G4 Plus does not offer an NFC module.

Left side: No ports
Left side: No ports
Right side: Standby, volume rocker
Right side: Standby, volume rocker
Top: 3.5 mm audio
Top: 3.5 mm audio
Bottom: USB 2.0
Bottom: USB 2.0

Software

Motorola is a former Google company and continues to use Vanilla Android without launcher, which results in fast updates and also more performance. The Lenovo Moto G4 Plus is already shipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, while many other modern devices still use the previous version.

There is obviously once again the Moto App you can use to set up some extensions. This includes, for example, gestures to activate the camera or show notifications when the display is turned off. Some old features of Motorola's old apps are implemented into Android by now (like the data migration from other smartphones or the setup of rules based on location and time), so these features were waived. Except for the Moto App, there are no further additional apps.

Communication & GPS

The Lenovo Moto G4 Plus supports four GSM, four UMTS and nine LTE bands (maximum downstream/upstream: 150/50 Mbps). This should cover some places across the world, but there will probably be some blank spaces for frequent travelers. The LTE signal was good in the well-developed metropolitan Vodafone network and we usually still had 3 to 4 bars inside the building.

Included WLAN standards are 802.11 a/b/g/n, so the smartphone also supports the 5 GHz band and fast wireless networks with up to 300 Mbps. The signal quality is good: With a distance of ten meters (~33 ft) to the router (FritzBox 6490) and with three walls in between, only 2 out of 4 bars were indicated, but websites were opened just as quickly as directly next to the router. Another three meters (~10 ft) and another wall dropped the indicator to 1 bar; websites still opened quickly, but a bit slower.

GPS Test indoors
GPS Test indoors
GPS Test outdoors
GPS Test outdoors

The GPS module can find some satellites indoors, but the signal is too weak for a location. The smartphone will quickly find a sufficient number of satellites outdoors, and the location is accurate down to four meters (~13 ft).

We use a bicycle tour for detailed results and compare the performance of the Lenovo Moto G4 Plus with the professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500. The measured track length differs by 500 meters (~0.3 miles), which is a significant deviation. We can see that the Moto G4 Plus takes "shortcuts" quite often when it does not recognize sufficient waypoints and then just draws a straight line. It looks like we hover across the river or through a front yard. The professional navigation device had more waypoints, but is not always 100% accurate, either.

The Moto G4 Plus should be sufficient for some hobby navigation purposes, but you will have to get a more expensive smartphone if you need more accurate results.

Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: Overview
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: Overview
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: Crossing
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: Crossing
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: River
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus: River
Garmin Edge 500: Overview
Garmin Edge 500: Overview
Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
Garmin Edge 500: River
Garmin Edge 500: River

Telephone Functions & Voice Quality

The phone app was not changed by Lenovo/Motorola, either, and corresponds with the stock Android app. You can search for contacts via keyboard or voice directly on the first page, call favorites or use the number pad. There are also tabs for the call history and contacts. The handling should not be a problem for beginners – and you will know the app anyway if you have ever used Android before.

The voice quality is decent, but not overwhelming. The recipient understands us pretty well as long as we do not speak too quietly, but there is a slight noise most of the time. The ear piece is also decent, but the voice of the other person sounds a bit muffled. At least it is pretty loud if necessary. The hands-free function works better; both the speaker and microphone quality are good.

Cameras

Picture with the front camera
Picture with the front camera

We already mentioned that the camera of our review unit is upgraded compared to the regular Moto G4: The resolution got a bump to 16 MP, it is equipped with a dual-flash for outdoors and artificial light, and a laser autofocus, which works up to a distance of around 1.5 meters (~5 ft) to the object. The aperture is f/2.0, so it is pretty wide open – which improves low-light pictures, but you might be able to see some bloom in brighter environments.

Our first impression of the camera pictures was good. You can still see details in dark areas, and the sharpness is pretty decent even when you zoom in. Blurry peripheral areas, which can often be noticed with less expensive modules, are no general problem for the Moto G4 Plus.

The color reproduction on the other hand is a bit cool with a slight blue cast. You can quickly see blooming effects on bright surfaces. The smartphone also produces good results in low-light situations, but the camera of the Huawei P9 manages even sharper images in this case. All in all, we are pleased with the main camera of the Moto G4 Plus, and it can actually compete with the pictures from the iPhone 6s Plus.

The front camera uses a 5 MP sensor. This is sufficient for selfies and the picture quality is also decent. The trick is the wide-angle lens, which can capture a lot of information and hardly distorts at the same time.

Videos with the main camera are limited to the 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second. It is unfortunate that we do not get 4K recordings similar to the OnePlus 2, but the latter is pretty much the only device with 4K in this price range. The video quality is okay and the sensor once again leaves a good impression. Videos are not that smooth because of the 30 fps, which is particularly noticeable when you move the camera, but the sharpness is good in return. The colors once again have a blueish cast.

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

We take pictures of two reference charts to evaluate the sharpness and the color reproduction of the main camera even further. The camera of the Moto G4 Plus turns out to be very sharp, and we can only notice small artifacts at the edges in the enlarged picture, but all the details are still clearly visible. Colors are way too dark, and white has a brownish cast, but the colors look pretty rich in general.

Picture of the reference chart
Picture of the reference chart
Reference chart (detail)
Reference chart (detail)
Picture of the ColorChecker colors. The reference color is displayed in the bottom half of each patch.
Picture of the ColorChecker colors. The reference color is displayed in the bottom half of each patch.

Accessories & Warranty

Lenovo or Motorola, respectively, only grants a 12-month warranty for their smartphones. 

Included accessories for the Moto G4 Plus are a charging cable and a Turbo Charger. Lenovo currently does not offer dedicated accessories for the device on Motorola's website, but you can purchase an additional Turbo Charger online for around 30 Euros (~$34).

Input Devices & Handling

The virtual keyboard is also the standard Android model, which has a clear layout, is simple to use and offers many settings. If you prefer another keyboard layout, you can obviously install another model from the Play Store. You should, however, look for a trustworthy provider, since the keyboard app could transmit keyboard inputs to the app provider.

The touchscreen is responsive up into the peripheral areas and works very well. The three control elements for "App Overview", "Home", and "Back" are implemented as software buttons at the lower part of the display. The fingerprint scanner cannot be used as the home button, only to unlock the device. A somewhat strange decision, but Lenovo argues it wanted pure Android without hardware buttons.

You can easily find the buttons at the side and they provide a good pressure point; the standby button is ribbed and can easily be distinguished from the volume rocker.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

5.5 inches, 1920x1080 pixels, IPS technology – these are the specs for the display of the Lenovo Moto G4 Plus. The picture is pretty sharp at 401 PPI, and you can hardly spot any individual pixels with the naked eye. All the other smartphones in this price range are limited to Full HD as well, whereas the predecessor had a lower resolution on a smaller screen.

The brightness results of the Moto 4G Plus are very good: 588.6 cd/m² on average are very high, but the brightness distribution of 87 percent could be a bit better. Still, only the trained eye will notice color differences on large colored surfaces. The Moto X Play even manages a higher average luminance with better brightness distribution.

The maximum luminance is a bit lower with the activated brightness sensor, but 597 cd/m² are still quite a lot. The more practical APL50 test still determines a very good 579 cd/m².

566
cd/m²
601
cd/m²
604
cd/m²
537
cd/m²
609
cd/m²
605
cd/m²
561
cd/m²
619
cd/m²
595
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 619 cd/m² Average: 588.6 cd/m² Minimum: 24.93 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 609 cd/m²
Contrast: 967:1 (Black: 0.63 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.8 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 3.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.06
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
OnePlus 2
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Honor 5X
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Huawei P9 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Motorola Moto X Play
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Screen
4%
-8%
-15%
-2%
-10%
Brightness middle
609
451
-26%
535
-12%
505
-17%
641
5%
418
-31%
Brightness
589
446
-24%
521
-12%
468
-21%
620
5%
407
-31%
Brightness Distribution
87
90
3%
85
-2%
88
1%
93
7%
95
9%
Black Level *
0.63
0.3
52%
0.43
32%
0.74
-17%
0.4
37%
0.49
22%
Contrast
967
1503
55%
1244
29%
682
-29%
1603
66%
853
-12%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.8
3.84
-1%
4.88
-28%
4.1
-8%
5.37
-41%
3.92
-3%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.3
8.66
-4%
5.8
30%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.1
3.97
-28%
5.2
-68%
4.9
-58%
6.01
-94%
3.81
-23%
Gamma
2.06 107%
2.46 89%
2.26 97%
2.5 88%
2.44 90%
2.27 97%
CCT
6725 97%
7283 89%
7766 84%
7116 91%
7806 83%
7361 88%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
58.07
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90.14

* ... smaller is better

The contrast ratio of 967:1 is good, even this is not really a result of the black value, which is comparatively high at 0.63 cd/m², but mainly the high display luminance. The black value is even slightly higher at 0.65 cd/m² in the more realistic APL50 test. Other devices like the OnePlus 2Honor 5X or Moto X Play manage much higher contrasts. Subjectively, black surfaces appear pretty dark and rich at medium brightness settings, and colors are quite clear.

We use the software CalMAN and a spectrophotometer for a further analysis of the colors. We can fortunately see small deviations compared to the reference color space. The grayscale only shows a slight blue cast, but it is hardly visible with the naked eye.

The smartphone offers an "Intense" setting for the colors. It will slightly affect the color accuracy, but the colors are supposed to be richer in return. Subjectively, you can hardly see a difference, and the measurements do not show a big difference, either.

The response times of the display are comparatively slow compared to other devices. This is annoying for passionate gamers. We could not detect flickering caused by pulse-width modulation (the extremely short deactivation of the screen to reduce the brightness).

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Colorspace
Colorspace
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation
Saturation
ColorChecker "Intense"
ColorChecker "Intense"
Colorspace "Intense"
Colorspace "Intense"
Grayscale "Intense"
Grayscale "Intense"
Saturation "Intense"
Saturation "Intense"

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
35 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ ms rise
↘ 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. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
55 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ ms rise
↘ 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. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (40.7 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 9705 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Thanks to the very bright display, you can also see the display content outdoors on very bright days. Sure, direct sunlight will cause annoying reflections, but you can recognize the content very well when you slightly turn the device. The brightness sensor works pretty fast and adjusts the brightness according to the ambient lighting conditions.

The display is based on IPS technology, so there is not much to criticize in terms of viewing angles. The glossy screen can affect the visibility from very flat angles due to reflections in brighter environments, but this is the case for pretty much any smartphone. Otherwise, colors are stable for a long time and the contrast stays high.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952 is a pretty new SoC, which was released last September. The 64-bit mainstream processor consists of eight cores divided into two clusters, which run with 1.5 GHz and 1.2 GHz, respectively. The advantage is the weaker cluster can handle simple tasks and save power. If you need more performance, the faster cluster will be activated.

The Moto G4 Plus is actually a bit faster than the Moto X Play with the Snapdragon 615, but you will probably not notice the differences in practice. Compared to the predecessor, the Moto G (3rd generation), the gap is bigger. The navigation through the menus is very smooth on the Moto G4 Plus, and apps are quickly launched as well.

Graphics calculations are handled by the Adreno 405, which also supports DirectX 11.2. It is also used for the Snapdragon 615, but we can see much higher scores compared to the Moto X Play. The advantage in respect of GPU performance is almost a quantum leap over the Moto G (3rd generation).

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
45232 Points ∼17%
OnePlus 2
65936 Points ∼24% +46%
Honor 5X
37152 Points ∼14% -18%
Huawei P9 Lite
50366 Points ∼18% +11%
Motorola Moto X Play
36800 Points ∼13% -19%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3057 Points ∼8%
OnePlus 2
4804 Points ∼13% +57%
Honor 5X
3047 Points ∼8% 0%
Huawei P9 Lite
3768 Points ∼10% +23%
Motorola Moto X Play
2558 Points ∼7% -16%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1561 Points ∼4% -49%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
717 Points ∼15%
OnePlus 2
1140 Points ∼23% +59%
Honor 5X
698 Points ∼14% -3%
Huawei P9 Lite
883 Points ∼18% +23%
Motorola Moto X Play
717 Points ∼15% 0%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
526 Points ∼11% -27%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
1042 Points ∼25%
OnePlus 2
1414 Points ∼34% +36%
Honor 5X
1089 Points ∼26% +5%
Huawei P9 Lite
1373 Points ∼33% +32%
Motorola Moto X Play
974 Points ∼23% -7%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
758 Points ∼18% -27%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
605 Points ∼6%
OnePlus 2
1854 Points ∼17% +206%
Honor 5X
103 Points ∼1% -83%
Huawei P9 Lite
473 Points ∼4% -22%
Motorola Moto X Play
178 Points ∼2% -71%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
39 Points ∼0% -94%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
667 Points ∼9%
OnePlus 2
1734 Points ∼24% +160%
Honor 5X
129 Points ∼2% -81%
Huawei P9 Lite
554 Points ∼8% -17%
Motorola Moto X Play
218 Points ∼3% -67%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
49 Points ∼1% -93%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
9527 Points ∼11%
OnePlus 2
10985 Points ∼13% +15%
Honor 5X
8174 Points ∼9% -14%
Huawei P9 Lite
13676 Points ∼16% +44%
Motorola Moto X Play
6839 Points ∼8% -28%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
10148 Points ∼12% +7%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
9773 Points ∼2%
OnePlus 2
31858 Points ∼6% +226%
Honor 5X
7764 Points ∼1% -21%
Huawei P9 Lite
11318 Points ∼2% +16%
Motorola Moto X Play
7796 Points ∼1% -20%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3789 Points ∼1% -61%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
9717 Points ∼4%
OnePlus 2
22400 Points ∼10% +131%
Honor 5X
7852 Points ∼3% -19%
Huawei P9 Lite
11769 Points ∼5% +21%
Motorola Moto X Play
7561 Points ∼3% -22%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
4402 Points ∼2% -55%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
17 fps ∼0%
OnePlus 2
48 fps ∼0% +182%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼0% -18%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼0% +12%
Motorola Moto X Play
15 fps ∼0% -12%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.3 fps ∼0% -69%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
18 fps ∼1%
OnePlus 2
47 fps ∼1% +161%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼0% -22%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼1% +6%
Motorola Moto X Play
15 fps ∼0% -17%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
9.5 fps ∼0% -47%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
6.6 fps ∼1%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼4% +248%
Honor 5X
5.4 fps ∼1% -18%
Huawei P9 Lite
7.8 fps ∼1% +18%
Motorola Moto X Play
5.8 fps ∼1% -12%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1.7 fps ∼0% -74%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
7 fps ∼2%
OnePlus 2
23 fps ∼6% +229%
Honor 5X
5.9 fps ∼2% -16%
Huawei P9 Lite
8.4 fps ∼2% +20%
Motorola Moto X Play
6.2 fps ∼2% -11%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3.7 fps ∼1% -47%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
4.2 fps ∼0%
OnePlus 2
19 fps ∼0% +352%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.5 fps ∼0% +7%
Motorola Moto X Play
4.2 fps ∼0% 0%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
4.6 fps ∼0%
OnePlus 2
19 fps ∼1% +313%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.9 fps ∼0% +7%
Motorola Moto X Play
4.4 fps ∼0% -4%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
10 Points ∼0%
OnePlus 2
923 Points ∼45% +9130%
Honor 5X
9 Points ∼0% -10%
Huawei P9 Lite
765 Points ∼38% +7550%
Motorola Moto X Play
710 Points ∼35% +7000%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
484 Points ∼24% +4740%
Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
805 Points ∼3%
OnePlus 2
2631 Points ∼9% +227%
Honor 5X
763 Points ∼3% -5%
Huawei P9 Lite
818 Points ∼3% +2%
Motorola Moto X Play
785 Points ∼3% -2%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
315 Points ∼1% -61%
Memory (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
604 Points ∼10%
OnePlus 2
1297 Points ∼21% +115%
Honor 5X
787 Points ∼13% +30%
Huawei P9 Lite
1346 Points ∼21% +123%
Motorola Moto X Play
595 Points ∼9% -1%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
394 Points ∼6% -35%
System (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
1359 Points ∼8%
OnePlus 2
2536 Points ∼15% +87%
Honor 5X
1378 Points ∼8% +1%
Huawei P9 Lite
2438 Points ∼15% +79%
Motorola Moto X Play
1177 Points ∼7% -13%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1166 Points ∼7% -14%
Overall (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
283 Points ∼3%
OnePlus 2
1681 Points ∼20% +494%
Honor 5X
297 Points ∼4% +5%
Huawei P9 Lite
1197 Points ∼14% +323%
Motorola Moto X Play
701 Points ∼8% +148%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
515 Points ∼6% +82%

Legend

 
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 5X Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto X Play Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash

Web browsing is enjoyable on the Moto G4 Plus, but there are also much faster devices within the comparison group. The OnePlus 2, for example, is superior, but the predecessor is usually beaten. Subjectively, web sites open with a slight delay, but the overall performance is still satisfactory.

Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3656 Points ∼7%
OnePlus 2
6955 Points ∼14% +90%
Honor 5X
3595 Points ∼7% -2%
Huawei P9 Lite
4756 Points ∼10% +30%
Motorola Moto X Play
3764 Points ∼8% +3%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3296 Points ∼7% -10%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
11102 ms * ∼19%
OnePlus 2
6585.3 ms * ∼11% +41%
Honor 5X
12510 ms * ∼21% -13%
Huawei P9 Lite
9396.5 ms * ∼16% +15%
Motorola Moto X Play
11694 ms * ∼20% -5%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
11843 ms * ∼20% -7%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
61 Points ∼8%
OnePlus 2
80 Points ∼10% +31%
Honor 5X
65 Points ∼8% +7%
Huawei P9 Lite
67 Points ∼8% +10%
Motorola Moto X Play
56 Points ∼7% -8%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
52 Points ∼6% -15%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
22.8 Points ∼7%
OnePlus 2
44.286 Points ∼13% +94%
Honor 5X
21.92 Points ∼7% -4%
Huawei P9 Lite
29.03 Points ∼9% +27%
Motorola Moto X Play
24.51 Points ∼7% +8%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
20.832 Points ∼6% -9%

* ... smaller is better

The storage of our review unit is fast: The transfer rates for read operations and random write operations are high on the Moto G4 Plus. Only the Huawei P9 Lite and the OnePlus 2 can keep up with these results. The predecessor Moto G (3rd generation) is easily beaten.

We check the performance of read and write transfers to or from SD-cards, respectively, with our reference card from Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (up to 95 MB/s read, 80 MB/s write). We measured 74.4 MB/s read and 46.92 MB/s write in combination with the Moto G4 Plus. Those are very decent results, and we like the read performance in particular.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
46.92 MB/s ∼54%
Huawei P9 Lite
25.1 MB/s ∼29% -47%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
74.4 MB/s ∼77%
Huawei P9 Lite
60.81 MB/s ∼63% -18%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
35.79 MB/s ∼14%
OnePlus 2
13.94 MB/s ∼6% -61%
Honor 5X
10 MB/s ∼4% -72%
Huawei P9 Lite
15.35 MB/s ∼6% -57%
Motorola Moto X Play
16 MB/s ∼6% -55%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.11 MB/s ∼2% -86%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
36.32 MB/s ∼21%
OnePlus 2
21.87 MB/s ∼13% -40%
Honor 5X
17 MB/s ∼10% -53%
Huawei P9 Lite
38.22 MB/s ∼22% +5%
Motorola Moto X Play
16 MB/s ∼9% -56%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.79 MB/s ∼13% -37%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
43.48 MB/s ∼11%
OnePlus 2
125.51 MB/s ∼32% +189%
Honor 5X
78 MB/s ∼20% +79%
Huawei P9 Lite
46.24 MB/s ∼12% +6%
Motorola Moto X Play
75 MB/s ∼19% +72%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.33 MB/s ∼6% -49%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
271.38 MB/s ∼30%
OnePlus 2
234.21 MB/s ∼26% -14%
Honor 5X
144 MB/s ∼16% -47%
Huawei P9 Lite
283.55 MB/s ∼31% +4%
Motorola Moto X Play
139 MB/s ∼15% -49%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
131.42 MB/s ∼14% -52%

Games

The gaming performance is decent. 25 frames per second (on average) with high settings in the fast racing title Asphalt 8: Airborne is a good result. The loading times are a bit long, which is surprising considering the fast storage. When you play the game, however, everything is pretty smooth. The controls via touchscreen and position sensor also worked well.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high25 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Battery Test
GFXBench Battery Test

The Lenovo Moto G4 Plus keeps a cool head in idle scenarios without load: Up to 34.6 °C (94.3 °F) at the front and 33.6 °C (92.5 °F) at the back is perceptible, but it is no problem. We can measure up to 43 °C (109.4 °F) under load at the back left next to the camera. The warming is concentrated at this point and the temperatures will drop when you move away from this point, which is where the biggest part of the hand holds the phone.

The Moto G4 Plus stays comparatively cool compared to other devices. The Moto X Play, for example, gets a bit warmer and especially on a bigger area, and the OnePlus 2 is much warmer under load. The predecessor Moto G on the other hand was much cooler.

We use the GFXBench Battery Test to check if the smartphone can maintain its performance under sustained load. The test repeats the same sequence 30 times in a row and logs the frame rate. There are small variations, but the fps number is roughly consistent, so we do not expect performance drops over long periods of load.

Heat front
Heat front
Heat back
Heat back
Max. Load
 42.7 °C
109 F
41.2 °C
106 F
37.9 °C
100 F
 
 42.7 °C
109 F
38.3 °C
101 F
36.4 °C
98 F
 
 38.3 °C
101 F
37.9 °C
100 F
36.1 °C
97 F
 
Maximum: 42.7 °C = 109 F
Average: 39.1 °C = 102 F
34.7 °C
94 F
40.7 °C
105 F
43 °C
109 F
35.1 °C
95 F
38.4 °C
101 F
38.4 °C
101 F
35.1 °C
95 F
38.2 °C
101 F
37 °C
99 F
Maximum: 43 °C = 109 F
Average: 37.8 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  30.5 °C = 87 F | Room Temperature 21.9 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 39.1 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 42.7 °C / 109 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43 °C / 109 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 32.2 °C / 90 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

PinkNoise
PinkNoise

With more than 87 dB(A), the speaker of the Moto G4 Plus can be really loud. It is located at the upper front, and is therefore combined with the ear piece you use for calls. We like the sound in general; it does not put that much emphasis on the high tones as many other smartphones, and we can even notice some deep tones. The medium tones sound a bit dull. There are slight distortions at the maximum volume.

The smartphone is shipped without a headset, but both the stereo jack and Bluetooth create clear sound via headphone and speakers.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The consumption values of the Moto G4 Plus are also higher compared to the predecessor. It now consumes much more power while idling, and we can even measure up to 8.74 watts under load. The minimum idle consumption of 0.63 watts is okay, but the predecessor was once again better at just 0.4 watts.

The consumption is reasonable when the smartphone is turned off (0.16 watts) and in standby (0.2 watts), but could be even lower, which is shown by the comparison devices. The active notification display obviously plays a role for the standby value, because it will show the time and notifications when you lift the smartphone.

The quick-charge adapter only needs about half an hour to charge the battery from empty to 40%. A complete recharge takes about 1.5 hours.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.16 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.63 / 1.91 / 1.96 Watt
Load midlight 3.88 / 8.74 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3000 mAh
OnePlus 2
 mAh
Honor 5X
3000 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Motorola Moto X Play
 mAh
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
 mAh
Power Consumption
2%
-14%
0%
-5%
38%
Idle Minimum *
0.63
0.6
5%
0.87
-38%
0.73
-16%
0.9
-43%
0.4
37%
Idle Average *
1.91
1.7
11%
2.08
-9%
2.09
-9%
1.6
16%
1
48%
Idle Maximum *
1.96
1.8
8%
2.22
-13%
2.11
-8%
1.8
8%
1.2
39%
Load Average *
3.88
5.7
-47%
5.26
-36%
4.15
-7%
4.9
-26%
2.9
25%
Load Maximum *
8.74
6
31%
6.34
27%
5.05
42%
7.2
18%
5
43%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The battery has a capacity of 3,000 mAh, which corresponds with about 11.4 Wh. This means you can use the smartphone for 11.4 hours when it consumes 1 watt. The WLAN test even determines 12:15 hours, a very good result. The next best comparison device is the Moto X Play with a deficit of 8 percent. You can watch movies from the internal storage for almost 13 hours. The idle and load results are not that great, but still solid.

Based on our experiences during the review, the Moto G4 Plus can last about two days, and you might be able to squeeze out three days when you use it conservatively. The stamina is not that great when you really stress the device though.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
20h 26min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
12h 15min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 55min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 21min
Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
3000 mAh
Motorola Moto X Play
 mAh
Honor 5X
3000 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
OnePlus 2
 mAh
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
 mAh
Battery Runtime
-8%
-19%
1%
-12%
0%
Reader / Idle
1226
1145
-7%
1053
-14%
1404
15%
1393
14%
1364
11%
H.264
775
742
-4%
602
-22%
568
-27%
580
-25%
677
-13%
WiFi v1.3
735
674
-8%
643
-13%
604
-18%
356
-52%
526
-28%
Load
201
174
-13%
144
-28%
272
35%
229
14%
264
31%

Pros

+ very bright display
+ accurate colors on the display
+ sharp camera pictures
+ grippy case
+ customizability
+ long battery runtime
+ good performance with apps and games
+ Android 6.0.1

Cons

- fingerprint scanner only has one function
- GPS module sometimes inaccurate
- mediocre microphone quality
- battery not replaceable

Verdict

In review: Motorola Moto G4. Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.
In review: Motorola Moto G4. Test model courtesy of Lenovo Germany.

The 32 GB version of the Moto G4 Plus is currently 15 Euros (~$17) more expensive than the Moto G4 in the MotoMaker. In return, you get a very good camera, a fingerprint scanner, and the quick-charge feature in particular, which is really convenient with the corresponding power adapter. It is not supposed to harm the battery, either, so we would recommend investing the additional 15 Euros.

The Moto G4 Plus is a good investment in general when you want to buy a mainstream smartphone, because we cannot find any serious issues. Sure, it is strange that you cannot use the fingerprint scanner as a Home button. There are more connectivity options by now as well, so there is still room for improvements. The GPS module is not really accurate, either, and the voice quality could also be improved.

A really good mainstream smartphone, which can definitely justify the small additional charge over the base model.

In return, you get a very bright display with good colors, a pretty fast system, modern Android version, a decent speaker, dual-SIM support, complete charge in 1.5 hours and great practical runtimes.

Overall, the Moto G4 Plus clearly deserves a purchase recommendation, especially since you can customize your smartphone with the MotoMaker.

Lenovo Moto G4 Plus - 06/08/2016 v5.1
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
45 / 60 → 75%
Weight
92%
Battery
94%
Display
86%
Games Performance
25 / 63 → 39%
Application Performance
27 / 70 → 38%
Temperature
87%
Noise
100%
Audio
54 / 91 → 59%
Camera
77%
Average
72%
85%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Moto G4 Plus Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2016-06-19 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.