Motorola Moto G6 Play review: An affordable phone with a huge battery

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The Good The Moto G6 Play's battery is bigger than phones that cost much more money.

The Bad In everyday use, the speed is fine, but it got one of the lowest scores in our speed tests this year. The screen is difficult to see in bright sunlight and it lacks waterproofing.

The Bottom Line The Moto G6 Play has a long battery life for the cost, but smart buyers would uplevel to the Moto G6 for just a little bit more.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 9

Editor's Note, Dec. 13: Best Buy currently sells a 32GB unlocked Motorola Moto G6 Play for $144 if you activate it on a carrier at the time of purchase. Target sells a 16GB Verizon prepaid Moto G6 Play for $130. The original review, published on July 3, follows.

The Moto G6 Play ($130 at Boost Mobile) has a secret weapon that its pricier Moto G-siblings don't: A big ol' honking battery. For many people including myself, an affordable phone with a seemingly endless battery is the smartphone paradox. The iPhone X ($900 at Boost Mobile) and Pixel 2 ($80 at Amazon) cost much more than the Moto G6 Play but still get less battery life.

The Moto G6 Play -- without discounts -- costs $199, £169, AU$329. To put it another way, for the price of one iPhone X, I could buy five Moto G6 Play phones.

Motorola smartly planned its budget friendly, feature-rich G family. There's not one or two, but three different affordable models: The Moto G6 ($244 at Amazon)Moto G6 Plus and the Moto G6 Play.

Moto G family prices

Moto G6 Play Moto G6 Moto G6 Plus
US price $199 $249 not sold in US
UK price £169 £219 £269
Australia price AU$329 AU$399 AU$499

Moto G6 Play design

In terms of design, the Moto G6 Play gets all the hand-me-downs from the Moto G6 family and the Moto G5 family before it -- some fit better than others. The Moto G6 Play doesn't have the slick-looking Gorilla Glass 3 back of the Moto G6 and G6 Plus. It uses a micro-USB port instead of the more fashionable USB-C one and it lacks dual-cameras. Again, it's $50 less than the Moto G6, so I didn't exactly expect the works here.

In hand, the Moto G6 Play feels dense and solid. It's not water-resistant, but Motorola says that it's splash proof aka don't spill your coffee on it or at least no more than a few drops. On the back, is a fingerprint reader that's cleverly incorporated into the Motorola logo. Out of all the rear fingerprint readers I've used, the belly button-shaped reader on the Moto G6 Play is the absolute easiest to find and use without looking.

The Moto G6 Play's software isn't flashy. It runs a fairly stock version of Android 8.0 Oreo and has minimal extra apps. The tweaks Motorola does add are thoughtful and fun. I mean who doesn't love making a double karate chop motion to turn on the flashlight?

Like the Moto G6, the Moto G6 Play has a 5.7-inch 18x9 ratio display. However, the resolution is only 720 HD instead of the 1,080 HD displays found on the Moto G6 and G6 Plus. In use, this isn't as horrible as it sounds. Images, websites and videos look good on the display. The only time I ran into trouble was in direct sunlight trying to take photos. The display was nearly impossible to use as a viewfinder.

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