It’s been a long time coming, with the G5S arriving last year, but the Motorola Moto G6 is finally here. We’ve been all the way to Sao Paolo, Brazil, to see it and here’s our initial thoughts in our hands-on review.
Not to be confused with the LG G6, this is the Moto G6, the latest generation of Mororola’s affordable phones. Now owned by Lenovo, the new G6 might not be a budget phone any longer but the handset can take-on the popular and hard fought mid-range.
It will have to outpace recent successes such as the OnePlus 5T and the Honor 9 to reach the top spot.
Price and availability
The Moto G6 itself will cost a very reasonable £219 or 249 Euros. So it sits right at the bottom of the mid-range and can almost be considered a budget handset.
The Moto G6 Play sits in the budget range at under £200 while the other G6 phones are very affordable, undercutting mid-rand rivals such as the Honor 9 which now costs just £299.
Design and build
The new Moto G6 has a similar, somewhat quintessential Motorola design seen on previous generations.
However, it’s quite clear that this is the new model in the overall style. Largely as it has the now familiar tall 18:9 aspect ratio for the screen. But there’s more to it than that.
We particularly like the 3D rear glass on offer here that’s reminiscent of the Galaxy S7 and also the Honor 9. The Moto G6 looks great and feels nice to hold, too. If you want to keep your Moto G6 looking good for longer, check out our round up of the best cases for the Moto G6 (and G6 Plus).
We’ve been testing out a particularly sleek blue model and we like the segmented detail around the cameras which dances as it reflects light.
The Moto logo on the back isn’t dimpled anymore but the camera module remains circular, even if it does still stick out a little way.
For the Moto G6, the firm has kept the fingerprint scanner on the front despite the tall screen, and even the Motorola logo too. The Plus model is the same but the Play has a rear fingerprint scanner.
Bezels around the screen are reasonable but nothing that can really be complained about at this price. At 8.3mm thick and 167g the Moto G6 feels like the phones you’d expect.
It’s good news that Motorola has kept the headphone jack and the G6 is also water repellent thanks to a p2i coating. It’s also worth noting that the firm supplies a transparent case in the box (we’ve rounded up some alternatives, too).
Specs and features
As mentioned the screen has moved to an 18:9 aspect ratio and combined with smaller bezels, the Moto G6 offers a much larger display compared to its predecessors.
The G5 was just 5in and the G5S was 5.2, but the Moto G6 is a seemingly whopping 5.7in. It sounds like a big jump but it’s pretty normal for 2018 and even if you’re not used to it yet, you’ll quickly get on-board.
Motorola has opted for a Full HD+ resolution so that accounts for the extra tall display and maintains the 424ppi pixel density. The technology also sticks with IPS LCD.
Even without considering the price point, we’re very impressed with the screen. It’s very bright, suitably crisp and offers decent colours.
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One of our main gripes with the Moto G5S was the same Snapdragon 430 processor but things have moved on here to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450. It’s a 1.8GHz octa-core processor.
You’ll get 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage unless you opt for the Amazon exclusive model which has 4/64GB for just £20 extra. Well worth it if you ask us.
That’s not to say performance is bad. Generally it seems pretty good during our hands-on time but the upgrade is a bargain.
It’s also worth noting that the G6 Plus model has a more powerful Snapdragon 630 processor and all the G6 phones have a microSD card slot so you can add 128GB more if needed.
Motorola has moved onto USB-C which is good to see and there’s still a headphones jack which we’re over the moon about. There’s reasonably good connectivity here with dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooh 4.2 and GPS.
In terms of battery life there’s a typical 3000mAh battery and the phone has lasted very well during testing but we’ll update you once we’ve had more time with it.
The G6 does include Turbo Charge with the appropriate charger so you can get a number of hours usage from at 15 minute minute charge.
Moving onto cameras, and the Moto G6 is ones of the cheapest mid-range phones to come with a dual camera setup. The resolution might have dropped from 16- to 12Mp but there’s now a secondary 5Mp cameras.
While most dual camera phones use the second lens for telephoto or perhaps a monochrome sensor, Motorola uses it for various tricks. It enables a portrait mode with bokeh blurring but also other things like being able to make a photo black and white apart from a colour you choose.
So far the camera seems pretty decent and capable of taking some really nice shots, especially for a phone this cheap. It is, so far, a little slow though, especially when using the more advanced modes.
The rear camera can shoot video in up to 1080p at 60fps. The front camera is 8Mp and we’ll test this out properly in due time.
Software and apps
The Moto G6, as you might expect, comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.
As usual, Motorola doesn’t mess around with the stock Android interface much at all. You won’t find loads of annoying pre-loaded apps or other major tweaks here.
Instead, the minimal software keeps the storage free and there’s only a couple of additions that are genuinely useful.
What in bygone days would be multiple apps is now just one called Moto. And this contains various things you’ll find useful including Moto Voice for voice commands, Moto Display to control notifications and things like attentive display (keeping the screen on while you look at it).
There’s also Moto Actions for various gestures including twisting the G6 twice quickly to launch the camera. A new feature is Moto Key which allows you to manage passwords and log ins with the fingerprint scanner. It sounds great but we haven’t had time to test it properly yet.