REVIEWS

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan

Sudio Regent Bluetooth headphones

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

VisionTek SoundTube PRO Bluetooth speaker

Fitbit Charge 2

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Apple AirPods

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

808

Game of Thrones Season Six Blu-Ray

Michelin Premier all-season tires

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio +

Google Daydream View VR headset

ASUS ZenBook 3

Jaybird X3

JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod

Moto Insta-Share Projector for Moto Z

Google Pixel XL

Apalon's My Alarm Clock app

Lenovo Moto Z

Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

iOS 10

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless vacuum

Tablo by Nuvyyo

Samsung Gear Fit 2 fitness wearable

Ulysses for macOS and iOS

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format inkjet printer

HBO's Vinyl Season 1

Apple MacBook (2016)

Papago! GoSafe 268 mirror mounted dash-cam

Piper all-in-one security

JayBird Freedom headphones

SF MoMA app

Fitbit Blaze fitness tracker

UA HealthBox

Dyson Pure Cool Link

Lola by Blue

HTC 10

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Dell XPS 12 with 4K Ultra HD display

RHA S500i Noise Isolation headphones for iOS

Samsung Galaxy S7

2015 Mazda CX-9

Moto 360 (2015)

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear headphones for Android

ASAP Dash Rapid Charger

Jaybird Reign Fitness Tracker

Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo

HTC One A9

21.5-inch iMac with 4K display

360Fly Action Camera

SanDisk Wireless Connect Stick

Geko E100 Full HD 1080P Dash Cam

Google Pixel C

SodaStream's New POWER Sparkling Water Machine

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Sunday
Jun052016

Review: Moto G Plus elevates the mid-range in specs and features

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Continuing the tradition of challenging the high-end of the smartphone market, the Moto G Plus Is an accomplished mid-range device that flirts with many features and capabilities we’ve come to expect from more expensive 5.5-inch devices like the iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy Note.

The fourth generation Moto G is indicative of what we can come to expect from Moto under Lenovo. A lot of the outlandish and exciting design and feature directions of Motorola have been tempered by Lenovo’s more practical and understated design ethos. What hasn’t changed is the value for money that the new Moto G Plus brings to market.

The Moto G is, historically, the most successful smartphone Motorola has ever sold and the Moto G Plus is a step up in almost every category. It is larger with a 5.5-inch 1080p HD display but weighs the same 155g as the Moto G 3rd generation. This is while offering a larger battery and improving everything about its predecessor save for the IP7 waterproof rating. In Canada, Motorola is also releasing the Moto G Play, which is a smaller, less powerful variant with a 5-inch display, a smaller 8 MP camera and 16GB of storage.

Coming to Canada this summer for $400 outright, Moto G Plus is coming to Virgin, Sasktel, TELUS, Koodo and Rogers.

 

The more impressive features this year are the 16-megapixel camera that’s comparable with many flagship smartphone cameras in terms of performance. Motorola has expanded camera features to include pro-level controls for more granular control as well as the inclusion of laser-focus and phase detection features. The end result is more accurate focusing no matter where you point on the display and generally grabs accurate and highly detailed photos. 

The Moto G Plus inherits various features from the more expensive Moto X line. Most notable is the Turbo Charging feature that can get the six hours of power capacity in a fifteen-minute charge with the included Turbo Charger. Moto Actions, which use gestures (i.e. shake to invoke the camera or wave to enable the flashlight) are also available as well as the Moto Display, which gives notifications as they come in without much impact to battery life.

 

New as well is a fingerprint sensor which Is used to unlock and access the device. This is a great security feature and one that is well implemented. Set-up is easy and engaging the reader is fast and accurate Moto has done a better job than many existing Touch ID and fingerprint reader devices in the market right now since It has fewer glitches and feels better integrated. Sadly, it doesn’t seem as if this feature can be used for mobile payments since the Moto G line does not feature NFC chips which are required for touchless payments. 

Specs of the Moto G Plus are respectable with a 1.5Ghz Octa-core processor with 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Running a generally pure version of Google Android M. Other markets get even better options, including 3 or 4 GB of RAM as well as up to 64 GB of storage.

 

My review unit came with the stock 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage which I augmented with a 64GB microSD card for music and for saving photos. Performance was good and on par with a device like the Nexus 6P. I didn’t do any gaming but did a fair bit of video editing and processing and the Moto G Plus zipped through these processes without a hitch.

Camera performance was surprisingly good. Not to knock Motorola, but their cameras have always been just okay but not stellar. This changes with the Moto G Plus which can take some bright, accurate and detailed photos.

 

While a bit slow to start up, the Moto G Plus’ 16-megapixel camera is generally reliable and can do a great job on auto mode. There’s some depth to the photographic controls here and certainly something we haven’t seen on a device that’s professed to me mid-tier.

Take the level of control, which extends to a pro-mode that is reminiscent of what some of the best Nokia cameraphones had to offer. I shot photos under varying light conditions and was generally satisfied and with the quality and detail the photos had. Even video, at 1080p HD, was very good and blur free thanks to digital image stabilization. Sound quality, usually atrocious when shooting with a phone, is way better than expected possibly because of the dual microphone array.

 

Cameras on review units are usually the one aspect of a phone that will make me switch back to my iPhone or another daily driver, I’ve been enjoying the Moto G Plus so much that it has become my go to phone and mostly because the camera is almost stellar.

 

See the slo-mo video above shot from the Moto G Plus.

1080p HD video sample shot from the Moto G Plus

Call quality is generally high on the TELUS network in and around the GTA. The built-in speaker is sufficiently loud and also clear, which makes the Moto G Plus a good phone for hands-free use as well as for playing back music from files, streaming services or the built-in FM radio.

 

Conclusion

 

The Moto G Plus has changed my mind about a lot of things. It brings forth the benefits of a larger 5.5-inch device without the heaviness and thickness even flagship phablets can’t seem to shed. It offers premium features like turbocharging, a fingerprint reader, an octa-core processor, microSD card expansion and general dust and splash resistance in a reliable although understated form factor that costs $400 without a contract.

 

What I realized is that the Moto G Plus can fill the spot of many of the flagship devices costing two or even three times more. It has a great display, a much improved camera and boasts enough power and battery life to get through a busy day of work and play while being rather rugged and not requiring an accessory case.

Continuing the tradition of challenging the high-end of the smartphone market, the Moto G Plus Is an accomplished mid-range device that flirts with many features and capabilities we’ve come to expect from more expensive 5.5-inch devices like the iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy Note while bringing features like Turbo Charging and a 16 Megapixel camera. If a larger smartphone is in your future, the Moto G Plus is a very sensible choice, not only is it the best Moto G smartphone yet, it elevates both the software and hardware components we’ve come to expect from a mid-tier device while maintaining a reasonable off-contract price.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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