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Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play Hands-On

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Motorola’s G series of budget-friendly $200-range Android smartphones has been very well-received. They’ve often been considered the best bang for your buck with great performance and capabilities for a great price. The original Moto G was the best selling smartphone ever back when it was first released in 2013. For this 6th generation Moto G, we’re seeing some nice upgrades that have previously been reserved for more expensive phones. First of all, both the G6 and G6 Play have larger 5.7″ displays with the popular 2:1 screen aspect ratio (that’s 18:9 if you multiply that by 9.) We’ve also got more RAM, better processors, Android 8.0, and better cameras.

Both of these devices have new cameras and the G6 has dual camera depth detection. This is for use with those fake-background blur filters that everyone else is adding to new phones but nobody ever actually uses because it looks extremely fake. The camera software also adds a lot of chintzy face tracking filters that Snapchat made popular. This way you don’t need another app to do these effects, but if you have any self-respect, you’ll only use each one once.

The Moto G6 also brings some new gestures and special hidden features more commonly found on more expensive phones. For example, you can pick up, nudge, or wave your hand over the proximity sensor while the phone is in sleep mode in order to activate the glance mode that shows useful information like battery life, date, time, and certain notfications. This low-power glance mode will also show music player controls if you’re listening to music and those can be nicely activated with some tap & hold gestures. Speaking of difficult-to-discover hidden gestures, you can also swipe the fingerprint scanner to do certain Android navigation functions such as activating the back button or switching to the task view. These are great for helping with one-handed-usability, but you still have to stretch your thumb to the top of the screen (like a sucker) in order to pull down the notifications drawer.

The unlocked Moto G6 will retail for $249, while the slightly less capable Motorola G6 Play will be about $199 unlocked. Carrier prices may vary of course. Check out the full specs and some more photos of these new smartphones below, and then let us know what you think in the comments.

Moto G6

Technical specs for Moto G6
Operating SystemAndroid™ 8.0, Oreo™
System Architecture/ ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 450 processor with a 1.8 GHz octa-core CPU and 600 MHz Adreno 506 GPU
Memory (RAM)3GB / 4GB
Storage32 GB / 64 GB; expandable micro SD card support up to 128GB
Dimensions153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3 mm
Weight167 g
Display5.7” IPS LCD
1080 Full HD+
18:9 Max Vision
Battery3000 mAh
Charging15W TurboPower Charging, USB-C connector
Rear Camera12 MP & 5 MP dual rear cameras
f/1.8 aperture
Landmark recognition, object recognition, text scanner, portrait mode, spot color, face filters, panorama, manual mode
Up to 1080p (60 fps)
Timelapse video, slow motion video
Front Camera8 MP
Group selfie mode, beautification mode, manual mode, face filters Up to 1080p (30 fps)
Timelapse video, slow motion video
SpeakersFront port loud speaker with Dolby Audio
Water RepellentWater repellent coating (p2i)
Network BandsLTE: B1, 2 (1900), 3 (1800), 4 (1700/2100), 5 (850), 7 (2600), 8, 12
(lower 700 abc), 13 (upper 700), 17 (lower 700 bc), 20 (roaming), 25
(1900+), 26 (850+), 28 (700 APT), 29, 30, 38, 41(Full), 66 (AWS 3+4)
UMTS: B1, 2, 4, 5, 8 CDMA: BC0,1,10 GSM: B2, 3, 5, 8
SIM CardNano
Bluetooth® Technology4.2 EDR & BLE
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz
Location ServicesGPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU
SensorsFingerprint reader, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, magnetometer (e-Compass), ultrasonic

Moto G6 Play

Technical specs for Moto G6 Play
Operating systemAndroid™ 8.0, Oreo™
System Architecture/ ProcessorQualcomm® Snapdragon™ 427 processor with a 1.4 GHz quad-core CPU and Adreno 308 GPU††
Memory (RAM)2GB / 3GB RAM
Storage16 GB/ 32 GB, expandable micro SD card support up to 128GB
Dimensions154.4 x 72.2 x 9 mm
Weight175 g
Display5.7″ IPS LCD
720p HD+
18:9 Max Vision
Battery4000 mAh
Charging10W Fast Charging, micro-USB connector
Rear camera13 MP with phase detection autofocus (PDAF)
f/2.0 aperture
Panorama mode, manual mode Up to 1080p (30 fps)
Slow motion video
Front camera8 MP
Beautification mode, manual mode Up to 1080p (30 fps)
Slow motion video Front facing flash
SpeakersFront port loud speaker
Water RepellentWater repellent coating (p2i)
Network BandsGSM/GPRS/EDGE: (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+: (B1, 2, 4, 5, 8) TDD LTE: B38/41 (Full with HPUE)
FDD LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/14/17/25/26/29/30/66 CDMA: BC0/BC1/BC10†
SIM cardNano
Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz
Bluetooth® Technology4.2 EDR & BLE
Location ServicesGPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
SensorsFingerprint reader, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, magnetometer (e-Compass)
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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!