Motorola Moto G6 review: A budget phone shouldn't be this good

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The Good The Motorola Moto G6 has a near-stock version of Android Oreo, good dual-rear cameras, fast charging and a sleek design. And it's amazingly affordable.

The Bad The battery life is not as long as last year's Moto G5 or G5 Plus.

The Bottom Line The Moto G6 is a sublime value, despite its minimal drawbacks.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Camera 8
  • Battery 6

Editors' note, April 3: The Motorola Moto G7 is now out and improves on the Moto G6 in a few ways with an increased battery life, a faster processor and larger display. It costs $300 which is $50 more than last year's Moto G6. While it is a significant increase, we think all the improvements are worth it. In fact, the G7 earned a CNET's Editor's Choice award. Check out our in-depth Moto G7 review here.

How do you follow up last year's wonderful budget-friendly Moto G5 Plus? Well, you could start with the outside. Add a second rear camera for portrait mode photos. Trade that Micro-USB port for a USB-C. Get rid of the 16:9 screen ratio and go tall with a trendy 18:9 display that shows more vertically. Say bye to the metallic back side and hello to a glass back with curved edges, specifically Gorilla Glass 3.

The overall result would be a phone that looks decidedly 2018, but with pretty much everything we loved about last year's Moto G5 Plus. And that's exactly what the Moto G6 is.

Last year's Moto G5 Plus hit a sweet spot between features, design, performance and price. The Moto G6 hits most of those, but just misses with a shorter battery life than last year's Motos.

The Moto G6 looks sleek and modern. It has a groomed slicked-back hair vibe that makes it seem anything but affordable. But at $249, £219 or AU$399 it's crazy affordable compared to the $1,000 iPhone X.

Roughly the same size as the Moto G5 Plus, the Moto G6 has thinner bezels and a glass back that curves at the edge for a comfortable grip. Like nearly every phone with a glass back, it collects more fingerprints than the stars of CSI.

But the Moto G6 isn't the only affordable Motorola phone to consider. If you're outside the US and your budget has some wiggle room, the Moto G6 Plus deserves a serious look. If you're okay with last year's styling, check out the Moto G5S Plus ($161 at Amazon) which is still being sold.


On the left is the Moto G6 and on the right the Moto G6 Play. The dual-camera unit on the Moto G6 looks like a shocked face emoji.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Moto G6, G6 Plus, G6 Play: What's the difference?

I tested the Moto G6 with 32GB of storage, 3GB of RAM and no NFC. I bring this up because there are three new G-series phones for 2018. To confound things further, each model is tweaked a bit depending on where you live.

  • Moto G6 Play: This is the most affordable of the three phones. In the US, it costs $50 less than the Moto G6. The Moto G6 Play has a lower resolution display and only a single rear camera, but it also has the biggest battery of the three -- a 4,000-mAh whopper more capacious than the one found in the Galaxy S9. Read CNET's full Moto G6 Play review.
  • Moto G6: Though it's roughly the same size as the Moto G6 Play ($130 at Boost Mobile), the Moto G6 has a higher resolution display, dual rear cameras and a more powerful processor. In the UK and Australia, the Moto G6 comes with NFC, and there's a "step up" UK version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
  • Moto G6 Plus: Despite not being available in the US, the Moto G6 Plus is the highest-end option in the Moto G family. It has a 5.9-inch display instead of the 5.7-inch ones found on the G6 and G6 Play. Its battery is slightly larger than the one in the G6. The UK model has NFC and an optional 6GB of RAM.

Moto G6, G6 Plus, G6 Play top features and prices

Key features of the Moto G phone family

Moto G6 (US, UK, Australia) Moto G6 (UK) Moto G6 Plus (UK, Australia) Moto G6 Play (US, UK, Australia)
Price (without discounts) $249, £219, AU$399 £239 £269, AU$499 $199, £169, AU$329
Screen 5.7-inch 5.7-inch 5.9-inch 5.7-inch
Processor 1.8 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 1.8 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 427
Storage 32GB 64GB 64GB 16GB (US only), 32GB
RAM 3GB 4GB 4GB, 6GB (UK only) 2GB (US only), 3GB
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,000 mAh 3,200 mAh 4,000 mAh
Rear camera(s) 12-megapixel & 5-megapixel 12-megapixel & 5-megapixel 12-megapixel & 5-megapixel 13-megapixel
NFC Yes (UK, Australia), No (US) Yes Yes Yes (UK), No (Australia)

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