“Motorola makes the very best cellphone beneath $200 — you simply have to set your expectations before you purchase.”

Trendy design

Nice battery life

Good show

Very inexpensive

Sub-par digital camera

Restricted software program help

Mediocre efficiency

The Moto G sequence is again for 2021, consisting of the Moto G Energy, Moto G Stylus, and Moto G Play. Whereas most will need to get the Moto G Energy, or save up for its competitor the Google Pixel 4a, the Moto G Play is aimed toward providing glorious worth for cash, and as such it comes it at solely $170.

The cellphone, on paper, appears to be like good. With an enormous 5,000mAh battery, a comparatively fashionable design, and extra, it could possibly be the go-to system for individuals who desire a first rate cellphone beneath $200. Is it although? I’ve been testing the 2021 Moto G Play for some time now to search out out.

Design and show

The Moto G Play is a cheap cellphone, and in consequence, you shouldn’t anticipate to get a very costly wanting design. That stated, Motorola does an excellent job at nonetheless making certain that the cellphone appears to be like fashionable sufficient in an period of edge-to-edge shows.

Gone is the hole-punch cutout discovered on the costlier Moto G fashions, in favor of a small teardrop notch on the prime. Frankly, the notch is about as intrusive because the hole-punch cutout anyway, and also you’ll overlook about it quickly after you begin utilizing the cellphone. The system additionally has a bigger chin than the opposite Moto G units, and that’s maybe extra noticeable. Neither of those are actual points, however they do contribute to the sensation that the system is rather less premium — which, you understand, it’s.

On the again of the system, you’ll get the dual-sensor digital camera bump, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which appeared quick and correct in our testing. In 2021, given telephones just like the Galaxy S21, the digital camera bump on this system is kind of small, and virtually flush to the again of the cellphone, which is a pleasant contact. It’s additionally centered, so there’s not a variety of wobble on a desk.

Across the edges of the cellphone, you’ll get the usual quantity rocker, energy button, and USB-C port. You’ll additionally get a headphone jack, which is particularly good to see on telephones on this worth vary.

The show on the Moto G Play is a 6.5-inch 720p LCD show, and it does the job, however that’s about it. Colours aren’t all of the vivid, and there’s clearly no excessive refresh charge right here, however for issues like scrolling Twitter and studying emails, it’s completely effective. It additionally will get fairly vivid, which is useful in direct daylight or brighter environments.

Efficiency and battery

The Moto G Play is supplied with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It’s a noticeable step down from the opposite units within the Moto G sequence, which include 6-series chips and at the least double the storage. 32GB of storage is a bit of weak in 2021, however considerably anticipated on a cellphone this low-cost. Fortunately, there’s a MicroSD card slot, so you may broaden upon the storage if you wish to.

Regardless of the marginally underpowered processor, the cellphone performs effective in day-to-day use. Throughout fundamental duties like emailing, shopping social media, and even some multitasking, there was little to complain about. Throw in additional intense duties, like cellular gaming on video games like Name of Obligation: Cellular, and it is best to anticipate some critical slow-downs, however regardless of the slower load occasions and the jittery menus, the cellphone nonetheless principally dealt with itself in-game, albeit with the occasional skip.

All of the units within the 2021 Moto G sequence supply good battery life, and the Moto G Play isn’t any exception. The system comes with a hefty 5,000mAh battery, and given the decrease decision show, it’s capable of final two days of even heavy use. For those who’re good at protecting your system charged up, you’ll by no means want to fret about battery life with this cellphone — and should you’re not, you’ll get loads of time to plug it in. You do must plug it in although — there’s no wi-fi charging, although that’s no shock.


On the again of the Moto G Play, there’s a twin digital camera system, with one 13-megapixel foremost digital camera with an f/2.zero aperture, and one 2MP depth sensor. Although nice cameras on smartphones are getting cheaper, you continue to received’t get the flexibility of an ultra-wide or telephoto digital camera on the Moto G Play.

Sadly, the digital camera on the Moto G Play is mediocre at finest. In good lighting, you may take photographs which can be … effective. They’re not particularly vibrant or detailed, however they’ll do the trick. Add a bit of complexity to the shot, nonetheless, and also you received’t get a lot. Low-light photographs are both overblown, tremendous blurry, or each, and backlit scenes have little to no dynamic vary.

For those who weren’t conscious that you simply had been utilizing a $170 cellphone, the digital camera on the Moto G Play will remind you — and it’ll remind you each time.

Software program and options

The 2021 Moto G Play comes with Motorola’s My UX constructed on Android 10, and it’s a fairly good expertise. Motorola is fairly good at delivering a scaled-back software program, and also you’ll get it on this system.  Every thing is just about the place you’d anticipate it to be, and the interface on the whole is simple to navigate.

Motorola has been fairly good at transport additional options in its software program, too. The cellphone comes with the Moto app, which permits some helpful gesture controls — like the flexibility to take a screenshot by touching the show with three fingers, or flipping the cellphone the other way up for Do Not Disturb. Different options, like Gametime, tweak issues like notification settings whilst you’re gaming. The wonderful thing about these options is you can allow them or disable them relying on which options you really like, they usually’re all contained throughout the Moto app — as an alternative of unfold out by the My UX interface.

Now for the downsides (past the digital camera). The cellphone ships with the dated Android 10, and whereas Motorola has stated that it’ll get Android 11, it nonetheless hasn’t stated when. And, given the truth that Motorola’s advertising says it’s going to get “at the least one software program replace,” Android 11 might be the top of the road for the 2021 Moto G Play. Fortunately, the system will get two years of software program updates, nevertheless it’s nonetheless actually disappointing to see such a scarcity of software program help — which spans all the Moto G units.

Worth and availability

Maybe the very best factor concerning the 2021 Moto G Play is how cheap it’s. You’re getting an entire lot of cellphone for under $170. You possibly can look previous many shortcomings at that worth, whenever you aren’t more likely to maintain onto the cellphone for very lengthy within the first place.

The Moto G Play is obtainable straight from the Motorola web site, in addition to some choose retailers, like Greatest Purchase. In actual fact, on the time of this writing, the system was out there from Greatest Purchase for under $120 should you activate with a provider, which is an unbelievable deal.

Our take

The Motorola Moto G Play (2021) isn’t excellent, nor would you anticipate it to be for the worth. The digital camera is admittedly fairly unhealthy, and whereas the system’s efficiency is okay for many day-to-day use, it’s going to decelerate in heavier multitasking and intense gaming. Due to that, should you can afford to spend extra, it is best to. You will get the higher-level Moto G Energy for $250. And the $350 Pixel 4a is greater than double the worth, nevertheless it’s additionally greater than twice nearly as good of a cellphone.

That stated, in case your finances maxes out at $200, then the 2021 Moto G Play is completely the way in which to go. Motorola continues to show you can get a stable cellphone at an excellent low worth. As long as your expectations are set correctly.

Is there a greater various?

On this worth vary, no. The Moto G Play is the very best cellphone beneath $200. For those who can afford to spend extra, nonetheless, you’re going to get the very same recipe, solely higher, with the new Moto G Energy for $250. For a cellphone that may last more, carry out higher, and take higher photographs alongside the way in which, you may step as much as the Google Pixel 4a.

How lengthy will it final?

The Moto G Play ought to get you thru two years of use, given the plastic construct. It’s not water-proof, so that you’ll have to maintain it dry, and it is best to anticipate it to be severely sluggish by the top of that two years.

Must you purchase it?

Sure, however provided that your finances maxes out at $200. $250 will get you a Moto G Energy, which can carry out higher in each means.

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