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Low-cost, high-spec Moto G4 and G4 Plus want to win you over, wallet-first

Motorola's latest Moto G4 and G4 Plus phones offer full HD displays -- and the Plus rocks a laser-enabled 16-megapixel camera.

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I've called Motorola's previous Moto G the "best budget phone around". That's a big accolade to live up to, but by taking its already great phone and giving almost every spec a healthy boost, Motorola makes sure the two new Moto Gs might well keep their lofty title.

The new Moto G4

First, let's talk that name. While the previous three Moto Gs were never given a number to separate them, Motorola explained to us that it wants to more easily differentiate its new baby from the crowd. Hence, it's been given the G4 moniker. How LG, with its own G4 phone, feels about that remains to be seen.

The revamped Moto G4 has a 5.5-inch screen, making it rather large: half an inch larger than the previous model and a full inch larger than the original Moto G. It's comfortable to hold, but whether it fits into your pocket depends on how tight you like your jeans.

As before, it'll be available in a wide variety of colours, using Motorola's online Moto Maker tool. The plain black model I saw doesn't look too exciting, so I'll be looking for a brighter shell to clip on.

motorola-moto-g-plus-2016.jpg
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Moto G4 Plus

While the standard model has a 13-megapixel camera, the Plus bumps that up to 16-megapixels, and pairs that with a laser-enabled autofocus for faster focusing for speedy snaps.

Motorola's new phones both run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Motorola typically does little to customise Android, meaning it's fast and easy to use. Thankfully it seems that Motorola has taken a similarly hands-off approach on the new models.

motorola-moto-g-plus-2016-5.jpg
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Moto G4 and G4 Plus key specs:

  • 5.5-inch display, full HD resolution (1,920x1,080-pixels)
  • 3,000mAh battery (up to 24 hours of "mixed use")
  • Octa-core processor
  • 16, 32 or 64GB storage (selectable using Moto Maker tool)
  • 2, 3 or 4GB RAM (selectable using Moto Maker tool)

The Moto G4 will cost a mere £169 when it goes on sale in the UK in early June. The Plus will be available shortly after from Amazon and will cost £199. I'd argue that an additional £30 is a small price to pay for the higher-performance camera.

In the US, the G4 starts at $199, with the Plus coming in at $249. The unlocked phones will work with all major US carriers and start selling through Motorola, Amazon and BestBuy on July 12. Read more details here.

Motorola hasn't said how much the phones will cost in Australia, but the Moto G4's price converts to about AU$335, while the Plus' price converts to about AU$395.

Cameras aside, both phones appear to offer a really solid set of specs for an extremely reasonable price. I'm looking forward to giving these new guys the full review treatment.

Update 6:14 p.m. UK: A previous version of this story called these phones the Moto G and Moto G Plus.

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