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Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus - what's the difference?

Katharine Byrne
10 Jun 2016
Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus
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Confused by Motorola's latest Moto G family? We put both phones head to head to see what's new and how they differ

The Moto G4 is finally here and it's far and away the best budget smartphone ever made. With its mid-range specs and budget price, it's even more of a bargain than last year's incredible 3rd Gen model. This year, however, it's also being joined by the Moto G4 Plus, giving you more choice than ever before.

However, unlike every other phone that has the word 'Plus' in the title, the Moto G4 Plus isn't simply a bigger version of the regular G4. In fact, it's not bigger at all, as both phones are exactly the same size. That might sound counter-intuitive, but to help you understand the differences between each smartphone, we've put both of them head to head to give you a complete rundown of what's different and which one you should be thinking about buying. 

Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus rear

Dimensions and screen size

You'd expect a 'Plus' phone to be bigger than the regular version, but this isn't the case with the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. Instead, they both measure 153x77x7.9mm and weigh 155g. They also have exactly the same 5.5in screen and 1,920x1,080 resolution. That's a huge step up from the previous Moto G, as this only had a 5in, 1,280x720 display.

As you'd expect, the quality of each screen is also identical. With the Moto G4 covering 90% of the sRGB colour gamut and the Moto G4 Plus covering 90.6%, each screen looks just as rich and vibrant as the other. Likewise, both have contrast ratios of around 1,600:1, and their peak brightness levels hover around 500cd/m2, making them really easy to see in direct sunlight. 

Processor, RAM and storage

The Moto G and Moto G Plus also have the same processor – an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chip, so their speed and day-to-day performance is exactly the same. Indeed, in our Geekbench 3 benchmarks, the Moto G4 scored 717 in the single core test and 3,107 in the multicore, while the Moto G4 Plus scored 718 and 3101, so they both feel equally slick and responsive even when you've got multiple apps running. 

The only key difference is that you can configure the Moto G4 Plus to have 4GB of RAM instead of the usual 2GB through Motorola's Moto Maker service. The regular Moto G4 doesn't have this option, so the G4 Plus might be a better pick if you use lots of demanding apps.

Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus display

However, the 4GB version of the Moto G4 Plus comes at a cost, as you'll have to pay an extra £35 on top of its base price of £229 in order to get it, taking the total to £264. You do also get 64GB of storage with the 4GB model, but when both phones come with a microSD card slot that takes cards up to 128GB, it seems a bit of a waste to pay for more built-in storage when you could use what you save to buy a higher capacity microSD card. 

Still, the base configurations of each phone come with 16GB of storage, but you can change this to 32GB by buying through Moto Maker. You'll have to pay another £30 for 32GB of storage on the Moto G4, taking the total to £199. 

Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus fingerprint sensor

^ The Moto G4 Plus (left) has a fingerprint sensor, while the regular Moto G4 (right) does not

Battery

The Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus have the same 3,000mAh battery as well, giving them equal amounts of stamina. In our tests, they both lasted just over 13 and a half hours in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to our standard brightness measurement of 170cd/m2, so they should more than capable of getting you through a day's usage. 

They both support Motorola's TurboPower quick charge technology as well, but only the Moto G4 Plus will come with one of Motorola's TurboPower chargers in the box, unfortunately, so you'll have to buy a TurboPower charger separately if you opt for the regular Moto G4.

It's a worthwhile purchase, though, as Motorola claims you'll be able to get 6 hours of use in just 15 minutes of charge, which is incredibly handy for those moments you're due to go out the door and haven't remembered to charge your smartphone beforehand.

Moto G4 vs Moto G4 Plus camera

Camera

Instead, the main difference comes in the phones' cameras. The Moto G4 has a 13-megapixel sensor, but the G4 Plus has a 16-megapixel sensor. The G4 Plus also has laser and phase detect autofocus, which isn't available on the regular G4. 

However, despite producing higher resolution photos, the difference in quality between each camera isn't quite as pronounced as you might think. As you can see from our test shots below, there's not a huge difference at first glance. Instead, it's only when you get up close and look at photos at their full resolution that you can begin to make out the differences. 

Moto G4 camera test

^ The Moto G4 (above) produces slightly warmer, richer colours than the Moto G4 Plus (below), but the G4 Plus can capture more fine detail

Moto G4 Plus camera test

The Moto G4 Plus definitely has the superior camera, as despite capturing rather cool-looking shots outdoors, detail levels are higher overall and there's more contrast. It also produces crisper photos indoors as well. However, I'm not sure it's worth paying an extra £60 for. 

Moto G4 camera test indoors

^ In low light, the Moto G4 (above) isn't quite as sharp as the Moto G4 Plus (below), but at first glance, you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference

Moto G4 Plus camera test indoors

Security

Another unique feature on the Moto G4 Plus is its front-facing fingerprint sensor. This adds an extra layer of security to the phone, but sadly it can't be used to authorise Android Pay payments as Motorola hasn't included any NFC support. 

Price and verdict

The last key difference between each phone is its price. The regular Moto G4 costs £169, while the Moto G4 Plus costs £229. However, when both phones have so much in common, the regular Moto G4 is by far the better value phone. Yes, the Moto G4 Plus has a better camera, but now that I've put both sensors through our labs, I don't think the boost in quality offered by the Moto G4 Plus is quite enough to warrant paying another £60.

Buy the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus now from Motorola

At £229, you'd be better off spending a bit more and buying the £249 OnePlus 2, as this has just as good a camera as the Moto G4 Plus but is even faster. If you'd rather save some money, though, then the regular Moto G4 is definitely the way to go.  

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