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Moto G6, Moto E5 revive the greatness of budget-friendly phones

by Justin Herrick | April 19, 2018April 19, 2018 7:00 am PDT

Just announced by Motorola are the 2018 models for the Moto G and Moto E series. While the wait continues for a new flagship, the company is launching fresh hardware that’s very affordable but doesn’t seem inexpensive. The company is using metal and glass, two materials normally left to phones that cost $500 or more. Their specifications, too, are impressive considering the prices. Kudos to Motorola for showing how far the mid-range and low-end segments have come in recent years.

Both series have two new models each for you to consider, unless you’re a spec-hungry person who wants cutting-edge technology. The Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play are the standard middle-of-the-road phones, and the Moto E5 Plus and Moto E5 Play are the low-cost alternatives.

Something tells us these will be among the best budget-friendly phones of the year.

Moto G6 & Moto G6 Play

Gone are the days of plastic and even all-metal bodies. Motorola wants its mid-range standout to look and feel premium, so it essentially copied the Moto X4 to create the Moto G6. Both the front and back of this phone are made of glass with a metal frame holding everything in place. There’s no doubt this is the best-looking phone for less than $300.

The phone features a 5.7-inch Full HD+ display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450, 3GB or 4GB of memory, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 12MP and 5MP rear cameras, an 8MP front camera, a 3000mAh battery, a USB-C port, a fingerprint scanner, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

Motorola includes its own software, too. The always-on display will activate when you approach or pick up the Moto G6, launch the camera if you do a chopping motion, and allow you to ditch on-screen navigation buttons in favor gesture-based controls. Most of what Motorola puts on high-end phones has made its way over to the Moto G series, which is fantastic for consumers.

One new thing we haven’t seen before is the ability for the camera to pick up on motion and automatically record a clip. It’s similar to Apple’s Live Photos, meaning you can take a picture with the Moto G6 and also create a motion-based clip for sharing.

The Moto G series’ latest changes are more about design than anything, and that’s fine. Motorola has already proven its software is clean and fast. Now it just needs to work on software updates.

With the Moto G6 Play, you’re trading off some things to bring the price down. It has a similar 5.7-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio, but the resolution is knocked to HD+. Motorola also changed the processor to a Snapdragon 427 in addition to reducing memory and storage. You lose the dual-camera setup and have a single 13MP lens, too.

You do, however, get a bigger 4000mAh battery with fast-charging capabilities. The Moto G6 Play is similar to the Moto G6 from the outside, and its insides are where you’ll pick up on differences in terms of performance.

Sticking with its affordable history, the Moto G6 starts at $249. And it might be available through several carriers beginning this spring and summer. The same is true for the Moto G6 Play, which hits the market at $199. Both should be available through traditional retailers like Amazon and Best Buy as well, but Motorola isn’t sharing too much about availability just yet.

Moto E5 Plus & Moto E5 Play

Motorola doesn’t go any cheaper than the Moto E series.

The Moto E5 Plus will be an exclusive in the United States, but the Moto E5 Play will reach various regions this year. And they’re not bad phones despite being on incredibly inexpensive. Since there’s still wide appeal for ultra-affordable hardware, Motorola is doing its best to bring premium qualities to the Moto E series.

With the larger model, you’re getting a 6-inch HD+ display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 435, 3GB of memory, a 12MP rear camera, an 8MP front camera, a 5000mAh battery, a fingerprint scanner, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

The Moto E5 Play shares many of the same qualities, but the display is a tighter 5.2 inches and doesn’t have thin bezels at the top and bottom. Motorola also has the processor set at the Snapdragon 425 or 427, depending on the country. Even the battery is much smaller at 2800mAh, and the cameras have been lowered to 8MP and 5MP.

The Moto E5 Plus and Moto E5 Play arrive by the end of next month; however, pricing is a little vague. That’s because Motorola is directing us to look to carriers for answers. In the past, Verizon’s put the Moto E series on its prepaid lineup so we assume that will happen again. When carriers do step forward with details on either phone, we’ll pass along that information to you.

We’ve been told by Motorola to expect review units in May, so it won’t be long before you have our full take on the Moto G and Moto E series’ latest.


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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