Moto G Play Review: Great Battery at Entry-Level Price

Confused with plenty of options on budget phones? Read this Moto G Play to get some insights on what to pick. This product has great battery life.

Moto G Play Review

The Moto G Play smartphone was released in January 2021. It’s yet another value-for-price phone coming from Motorola. The brand is known for providing the best bang on your buck for entry-level phones. With this model, the manufacturer tries to uphold the reputation.

Armed with a 6.5-inch display and big battery life, Moto G Play aims to market the phone as a spacious and long-lasting device. It has a dual camera while entertaining 3GB RAM.

Moto G Play uses a 1.8GHz Snapdragon processor at its core. It runs on vanilla Android 10, which is what Motorola always does. This device’s identity revolves around being a clean-looking phone for casual users.

As a budget phone, however, buyers may expect some compromises. One of the few drawbacks is the HD+ screen. It’s also not a 5G phone. There will be more revealed later in this Moto G Play review.

Key Specs

Moto G Play specifications:

  • Weight: 204g
  • Dimensions: 166.59 x 75.99 x 9.36mm
  • OS: Android 10
  • Screen size: 6.5-inch
  • Resolution: 1600 x 720
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Octa-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 460
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Battery: 5,000mAh, Non-removable
  • Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP
  • Front camera: 5MP


Moto G Play
Moto G Play

Weighing 204g, our first impression on Moto G Play’s build is that it’s relatively heavy. Especially considering it’s only made from plastic. This phone employs a long and slim design, specifically measuring 166.59 x 75.99 x 9.36mm.

Moto G Play’s design is not much different than many other Motorola phones. It still sports a teardrop notch and reasonably-sized bezels. Moto G Play does not go full infinite as the bottom edge is a bit thicker.

We think that there’s not much room for breakthrough anymore in terms of design. Especially for budget phones. The back cover has a fingerprint sensor which also hosts the brand’s logo. There’s also the camera.

The frame and the body come in a color called misty blue. In our opinion, it is more eye-catching than premium-looking. It definitely doesn’t look bland, but won’t give out the impression that it is more expensive than it looks.

Moto G Play is comfortable to use thanks to its slender build. By being a bit weighty, it actually helps avoid flimsiness when you’re holding the phone. The casing is also splash-resistant. In short, this phone has a decent design with a good balance between its look and usefulness.

Read also: Motorola Moto G Play User Manual


Moto G Play Display

At 6.5-inch, there’s no avoiding how this phone has a big size. But size is not everything when determining the quality of a phone’s screen. We also need to know its resolution. In this case, the IPS LCD screen on Moto G Play comes with a resolution of 1600 x 720.

This resolution translates to HD+ screen quality. Some may argue that it’s a decent quality for an entry-level phone. However, for a 2021 standard, we expect Moto G Play to offer more. We also don’t see any screen protection feature like Gorilla Glass listed among the specs.

Moto G Play’s display is not exceptionally bright and sharp as more expensive phones would present you. Photos look blander on the screen due to lack of color tuning. It is also not that reliable to be used under bright sunlight.

The pixel density is quite low at 270ppi. It also affects how icons appear on the screen. Although pixelations are hard to spot, you can easily notice how icons look less punchy than in, for example, a Full HD screen.

We’d rather have a smaller screen but more pixel density. But we guess the display size is the priority here. In that case, buyers should know what they intend to seek before purchasing. The display is indeed not the strong point of this phone.


Moto G Play Camera

The dual-camera setup on Moto G Play consists of a 13MP main lens with an assisting 2MP depth lens. The main camera has extra perks like PDAF, Full HD video recording, and LED flash. Meanwhile, the front-facing shooter has a resolution of 5MP.

It’s interesting how the phone opted for a depth lens instead of the more popular wide-angle. We think it’s a good decision. The depth lens is more useful than a wide-angle one, in our opinion. It means you can take aesthetic background-blurred photos without any help from software. It’s a more popular feature than zooming capabilities provided by a wide-angle lens.

As for picture quality, it’s pretty much on a budget level. The camera struggles at maintaining dynamic range when capturing objects rich in colors. The whites can look exaggerated and too bright, while dark objects end up not being punchy at all.

Good results come under good lighting. That’s your best shot to get the most color-accurate, noise-free images. When the lighting condition falters, the image quality also follows. The LED flash will help for portraits but is useless when taking night-time landscape pictures.

The front-facing camera, at 5MP, behaves similarly to the main camera. Only the picture quality is lower due to fewer pixels it produces. Overall it’s a decent camera if you use it for some fun selfies.

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Moto G Play Left Side

For saving files, Moto G Play provides 32GB of internal storage. Motorola stuck with the bare minimum in this area. At the current price retailers charge for you to get this phone, we think a 64GB storage is what’s fair. Furthermore, this is not the amount users will exactly get as around 10GB is reserved for the system files.

As a result, the subtracted amount is even lower than 32GB. You will need expandable storage. For this option, you can add an SD card with a maximum capacity of 512GB. Half a terabyte of storage will be more than enough for most people, but you need to eke out some more money to purchase an SD card by yourself.


Moto G Play Right Side

In the performance area, Moto G Play is equipped with a 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 and 3GB RAM. People consider the Snapdragon 460 to be at the lower end part among smartphones’ CPUs. Performance isn’t the speediest but we think it’s capable enough for an entry-level device.

On its raw performance, the octa-core processor proves to be trotting along just fine handling basic tasks. If you use the phone for social media, light internet browsing, and answering emails, there will be no significant performance lags that could irk you. The display is intuitive when registering inputs. Overall the performance is quite responsive.

However, on intense activities such as online shopping and some document editing, Moto G Play would start getting choppy. Lags can happen when typing using the Google Keyboard on heavy apps. The RAM at 3GB lacks during multitasking too. When switching apps, instead of storing the last state of the app, the phone would force to reload it again.

This phone runs on an integrated GPU Adreno 610. It’s by no means a powerful one but seems to be working well handling graphic rendering on apps and games. The range of performance lies between low and medium. Higher than that, this phone struggles to keep up. Frame-rates will start to drop and it influences the CPU performance too.

As for the software, Moto G Play relies on its minimal rendition of Android 10. We always loved the clean-looking Motorola UI with few distractions here and there. The usual Motorola apps are also present, such as Moto Play and Moto Action. With Moto G Play, the manufacturer promises a software upgrade once Android 11 comes out. A software update is our favorite thing about Motorola phones which we believe is appreciated by many customers as well.

There is a fingerprint sensor to add security to your phone. A 2D Face Unlock option is also available just in case a user prefers that more. There are not many sensors beside them and Accelerometer, on top of the display sensors (Ambient Light, etc). Apparently, Moto G Play keeps things minimal in this department. We found no fancier sensor like Gyroscope or compass.


Being a budget phone, we don’t expect Moto G Play to support 5G. Instead, it stays with the 4G with additional supports to older network bands. For most people, having a 4G connection is all they need to stay connected. In the case of Moto G Play, phone calls gave us no choppy sound, with added options such as VoLTE and HD voice. The speed of the internet download is also great with Moto G Play.

This phone also enables users with a WiFi network should they want to switch to wireless. To connect with external speakers and other accessories with the phone, Moto G Play is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0. This version is an upgraded one which allows connection to up to 10 meters.

Moto G Play’ GPS is useful enough and we don’t see any inaccuracy when finding a location. Meanwhile, this phone relies on its USB Type-C port to allow PC connection and charging. If you like using wired headphones, you will be delighted to find out this phone still supports a 3.5mm headphone jack. Overall, our Moto G Play review in terms of connectivity is largely positive.


The humongous 5,000mAh cells strapped on this device is the major selling point of Moto G Play. The phone may compromise many aspects of its specifications, but here it doesn’t hold anything back. The mission is to focus on a long-lasting battery. On paper, it claims 50 hours of talk time and 20 days of standby.

Although real-life performance is lower than that, Moto G Play’s battery does well covering a couple of days of casual usage. On top of that, the battery comes with a 10W fast charging capability. You can recharge the massive battery in under 2 hours.

Is the Moto G Play a good phone?

All in all, Moto G Play is an average budget model with several strong elements to consider. It’s a phone for big display fans, and for people who like a battery that goes on and on as long as possible. In this Moto G Play review, we also mentioned several extras like the fingerprint sensor, the fast charging, and the dual camera.

However, you need to accept the phone’s weaknesses if you want to get along well with it. Some drawbacks to consider including the low-resolution display and small internal storage space. Everything else like the performance is pretty decent although being on the lower side of the average. Currently, retailers offer this phone at $150.

Moto G Play Pros

  • Big display
  • Big battery capacity
  • Fast charging

Moto G Play Cons

  • Poor display quality
  • Passable camera