Hands on: Moto G6 Plus review

Does the Plus really add more to the Moto G6?

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

With a larger screen, more powerful internals and extra battery, it seems like the Moto G6 Plus is a no-brainer over the newly launched Moto G6. If you've liked Moto G phones in the past, but want one packed full of impressive specs, you'll like the look and spec of the G6 Plus.

For

  • Large screen for affordable price
  • Powerful internals

Against

  • Not waterproof
  • Not as comfortable to hold as Moto G6

The new Moto G6 Plus isn’t just a Moto G6 with a larger screen - instead the company has packed in a few important spec improvements too.

On paper, the specs are actually vastly different but in the hand it’s a similar experience to the normal Moto G6.

Our hands on Moto G6 review is a touch longer than this as we’ve spent more time with that phone, but we’ve used the Moto G6 Plus for a short amount of time too so you can get a flavor of how we feel about the new phone.

Below you can learn all about the Moto G6, Moto G6 Plus and Moto G6 Play with our video explainer.

Moto G6 Plus release date and price

Motorola has confirmed the G6 Plus won't be coming to the US, but we know it's launching in the UK at some point at the start of May. It's set to cost £269 in the UK (about $380, AU$490) and we don't currently know if the phone will be launching in Australia.

Moto G6 Plus design and display

The Moto G6 Plus feels large in the hand, but not as big as previous Moto G Plus devices because of the new 18:9 aspect ratio display.

It means Motorola has been able to pack in a 5.9-inch display into a similar size body to on previous phones and although you do get that almighty almost 6-inch screen we didn't find it as uncomfortable to hold as the Moto G5S Plus.

That display is an IPS LCD at a Full HD+ resolution, which looks bright and sharp as well as having strong viewing angles. It's not as high resolution as a lot of top-end phones with 18:9 displays, but it does the job.

The back of the phone is made of 3D glass that again feels premium when you pick it up and it has curved edges so it more comfortably sits in the palm of your hand.

The standard Moto G6 is a more comfortable device to hold overall because of its smaller size, but the Moto G6 Plus isn't far behind and it looks high-end when you twirl it in your fingers.

Unlike some mid-range and above phones, Motorola hasn't made the G6 Plus waterproof. It is splash resistant, but it's not going to survive a proper dunk if you drop this in the sink and that's one flagship feature we'd have loved to see trickle down to the G series.

Other things you'll likely want to know about are the fingerprint scanner just below the screen and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge of the device that means you can use wired headsets for listening to music.

Moto G6 Plus specs and performance

The Moto G6 Plus has the most powerful chipset of the three new devices launched in the G6 series. It's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset paired with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM.

Either should be capable of doing most tasks you'd expect, but don't expect this to be as fast as high-end phones you've used in the past. This is still a low-end to mid-range device despite having quite solid specs inside.

There's only one storage option for the Moto G6 Plus and that's 64GB, so there's lots of room in here to put your apps and media, plus there's microSD support of up to 256GB if you need more room.

Moto G6 Plus battery and OS

We haven't yet been able to test out the battery life of the Moto G6 Plus but it's a 3,200mAh cell which is a touch bigger than the 3,000mAh one inside last year's Moto G5S Plus.

That phone had satisfactory battery life, but given the larger screen here we wouldn't be surprised if this only lasts around a day or even a little bit less.

As for the software, it's the latest Android 8 Oreo software on the phone and there are minimal changes from how Google intended it to look, with the phone sporting a stock style.

There are a few extra tweaks from Motorola here, including Moto Actions, which allows you to do nifty things like boot up the camera by turning the phone quickly, but this is all non-invasive and it makes for an easy to navigate UI.

Moto G6 Plus camera

We've yet to have any extensive time with the Moto G6 Plus camera, but we have used the Moto G6's rear shooter a lot and it seems to be around the same if not a touch worse than what's on the back of the Plus.

The Moto G6's camera has been good for detail so far with a few innovative modes including some fun features in the Portrait mode to play around with, but it is a little slow to shoot.

We hope the slightly improved computing power inside the Moto G6 Plus will help speed that process up on this phone though. There's a 12MP sensor working in tandem with a 5MP shooter on the rear, while the front has an 8MP selfie shooter.

The rear camera has an aperture of f/1.7, which is good for a device at this level and there are lots of other features such as 4K video recording packed in here too. We look forward to trying out the rear camera further for our upcoming full review.

Early verdict

If you're willing to pay that bit of extra money, the Moto G6 Plus looks to be a good alternative to the Moto G6 and sports some of the best specs we've seen on a low-end to mid-range device in quite some time.

There's little to dislike on the Moto G6 Plus and while it's annoying that there isn't a waterproof design, that's a minor thing when overall the phone seems to be a great package.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.