Our Verdict

Is a blisteringly fast gaming experience on a 2K resolution screen important to you? If it's not, the Moto G4 Play may very well have everything you're looking for in a phone for next to nothing unlocked.

For

  • Android Marshmallow-powered
  • Excellent value
  • Simple, appealing design

Against

  • Only supports 2.4GHz band
  • No gyroscope
  • Doesn't handle multitasking too well

Update: Just because the Moto G4 Play is affordable, don't count it out for an update to Android Nougat.

Motorola has confirmed that, along with its Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus friends, the latest version of Android is coming to the budget phone.

There's not a whole lot to be excited about, unlike the jump to Android Lollipop, but it's still welcome. We haven't seen much manufacturer support for Nougat as of yet, and it's a really good sign to see it coming to not just flagships, but budget phones like this one as well.

Original review follows below.

The Moto G4 Play just wants to have some fun. It isn't necessarily the most skilled at any one thing, but it's hard to look away from a deal this good.

Sitting at the bottom of the G4 totem pole in terms of specs, the G4 Play is generally lacking in marquee features found in the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, like the water-repellant coating and fingerprint sensor, respectively.

But does that make it a bad phone? Nope, just one that's definitely not for everyone. Still, going for as low as $99 price point, everyone can afford this unlocked smartphone. Even if you love flagship phones, it's hard not to be impressed with the G4 Play, the new budget-priced ruler of Android smartphones.

Moto G4 Play price and release date

Months after the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus hit shelves across the globe, it's now time for the G4 Play.

This budget smartphone is available online at Best Buy, B&H, and on Motorola's own site for $149 (£129, AU$249.) It can also be purchased through Amazon for the same price, or a discounted rate of $99 in the US, which will come pre-loaded with ads on the lockscreen. That's just insanely cheap for a phone with no strings attached.

Verizon will be offering the Moto G4 Play on a prepaid plan, but regardless of where you buy it, it will work with all major US carriers.

Design

  • Moto has crafted an attractive design for a low price
  • Isn't built to last, as it lacks water resistance and Gorilla Glass

Although this phone is targeted towards those on a budget, you wouldn't guess it just by looks alone. The Moto G4 Play looks a lot like the Moto G4, even down to the ruggedized plastic back and rounded edges. But it also takes design cues from high-end phones in the Moto family. A few noticeable borrowed examples are its silver-trimmed speaker, the deep grey trim and textured power button that are found on higher-end models like the Moto Z line, including the Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play. Obviously, cheaper build materials are used here, but the effect carries over in full-force.

Moto G4 Play

In terms of features, you'll find your usual suspects on the G4 Play, like a 5-inch display, volume rocker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, front and rear-facing cameras, and a microUSB port for charging. What you won't find are some slightly more big ticket inclusions, like Gorilla Glass, a fingerprint reader, or a micro USB port with any sort of quick-charging technology built-in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron is the US mobile editor at TechRadar, covering the tech that's in your pocket, wrapped around your wrist, and strapped to your face. He's based in New York City.

Find him on Steam, or listen to some of his favorite tunes on Google Play Music.