Our Verdict

The Moto G4 is an impressive improvement upon older generations of Motorola's most popular handset and it may well be the best phone you can buy on a budget.

For

  • Low price
  • Bright Full HD display
  • Impressively powerful

Against

  • No NFC
  • No fingerprint scanner
  • Lack of Moto Maker options

Update: Our Moto G4 review now includes the official US price and release date information.

In addition, we've inserted comparisons to its family lineup of smartphones, including the more premium Moto G4 Plus and its more affordable next of kin, the Moto G4 Play.

Lastly, Motorola has confirmed that Android Nougat is coming to the Moto G4, and many other of its recent phones.

Original review follows below.

Motorola's Moto G brand has earned a reputation for offering high-end spec at a budget price. Even with stiff competition from the likes of OnePlus and other cheaper Chinese alternatives, the Moto G has continued to impress.

The Moto G4 – the fourth iteration of the line – is no different, and once again offers a decent level of features and performance for a low price.

Moto G4 price

In the UK the Moto G4 is out now and it'll cost you £169 (US$199, around AU$330). Oddly, this device isn't available in Australia, yet both the Moto G4 Play and Moto G4 Plus are available in that region.

If you take a look at the Moto G4 specs on paper you'll see that you're getting a lot of phone for your money. Specs aside, the device comes unlocked, so you can link it up with the GSM or CDMA carrier of your choosing.

Moto G4

However, I was concerned when Motorola announced three versions of the Moto G this year. There's also the Moto G4 Plus, and the Moto G4 Play. When the phones were announced I thought perhaps Motorola would be holding back some headline features for the slightly more expensive Plus model.

That's not the case though – while some features that I'd hoped would have made it to the Moto G4 aren't to be seen here, the near simultaneous arrival of the G4 Plus hasn't impacted on the specs of the Moto G much.

Moto G

So is the Moto G4 worth upgrading to from other Motorola phones? Let's take a closer look at one of the best budget phones money can buy.

Design

It feels like Motorola has taken the Moto G back a few steps in terms of design, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The design of the Moto G4 is simple, and I think it benefits from the slightly tweaked look.

It's not as chunky as the Moto G (2015), but it's still not a particularly slim phone, coming in at 9.8mm rather than the G3's 11.6mm.

Moto G

On the front of the phone there's now just one front-facing speaker, at the top, rather than the two, at the top and bottom, that we saw last year. It looks clean and simple, and there's not much wasted space here, with slim bezels surrounding the screen.

From the front I think this is one of the best looking-Motorola phones you can buy right now.

Moto G

I'm not as keen on the design around the back. The back panel is plastic once again, and you can remove it easily by pulling it up at the bottom.

The textured back of the Moto G (2015) has been dropped for a much simpler plastic finish. In my book it doesn't feel as good to the touch as before, although it may be more to your taste if you didn't care for the textured feel.

The indented Motorola logo is back and I found myself sitting my finger there quite a bit too.

Moto G

The edges of the phone are rounded off, allowing it to sit comfortably in the hand and offering plenty of grip compared to previous Motorola phones.

The 3.5mm headphone jack is still present – unlike on the Moto Z – and sits on the top of the handset, in the centre. I always find this a strange placing for such an integral port and I'd rather it was moved to one side, but maybe that's just me.

Moto G

The Moto G4 is water-resistant, but that doesn't mean you can go dunking it in the bath or taking it for a swim – it just means that if you splash liquid on your phone, or get caught in shower with it, it shouldn't break down.

It's a shame the Moto G4 isn't fully waterproof like the Moto X Force, but it's good to see the G series taking one step closer to durability. A Motorola executive told me earlier this year that the plan is to make all Motorola phones more durable, so maybe the Moto G5 will get the full waterproof treatment.

All in all the Moto G4's design doesn't offend. It looks better than its predecessor, but no one is going to stop you in the street and ask you where you got your beautiful phone from – and given the price of the Moto G4, that's understandable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.