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Spec showdown: Moto G6, G6 Plus, G6 Play vs Moto G5 series

The new Moto G6 and G6 Plus make for some solid upgrades over the 2017 models. But what about the G6 Play?
Features
By
April 23, 2018
Moto G6 Plus

It feels like an eternity since the Moto G6 series was first leaked, but we finally saw the full lineup officially revealed yesterday. But how do the specs differ from the G5 range?

For starters, the Moto G6 and G6 Plus both feature an 18:9 Full HD+ display, as opposed to the G5 duo’s 16:9 Full HD screens. The new phones offer more screen real estate in a similar form factor, owing to the 18:9 screen ratio.

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The 2018 pairing also feature dual cameras, in the form of a 12MP+5MP combo. Last year’s devices offer single cameras: a 13MP shooter for the G5 and a 12MP snapper for the G5 Plus, so those wanting portrait mode will want to check out the new phones. Both Plus models deliver 4K recording, but the G6 has to make do with 1080p/60fps video recording — still smoother than the G5’s 1080p/30fps video.

What kind of horsepower to expect?

Moto G6

The power department sees each variant take a step above its predecessor. The Moto G6 packs a Snapdragon 450 chipset (eight Cortex A53 cores), featuring a smaller 14nm manufacturing process that should result in better battery life compared to the G5’s Snapdragon 430.

Meanwhile, the G6 Plus offers a Snapdragon 630. You can reasonably expect a slight bump in speed, loading times, and responsiveness as the SoC is a direct successor to the power-sipping Snapdragon 625 seen in the G5 Plus.

Moving to the RAM and storage fields, we see the G6 equipped with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage. Last year’s model delivered 2GB/3GB RAM and 16GB of storage. This means the cheapest G6 will have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, as opposed to last year’s 2GB/16GB entry-level option.

The G6 Plus model comes in with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, while storage is available in 64GB or 128GB flavors. These stats are more in line with flagship phones, if anything. By comparison, the G5 Plus offers 2GB to 4GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of expandable storage. The entry-level 2018 model (4GB/64GB) certainly makes for a more capable proposition than the entry-level 2017 variant (2GB/32GB).

Moto G6Moto G5
Display
Moto G6:
5.7-inch IPS LCD
2160 x 1080 (18:9)
Moto G5:
5.0-inch IPS LCD
1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Processor
Moto G6:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 450
Adreno 506 GPU
Moto G5:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Adreno 505 GPU
RAM
Moto G6:
3GB/4GB
Moto G5:
2GB/3GB
Storage
Moto G6:
32GB/64GB
expandable up to 128GB
Moto G5:
16GB
expandable up to 128GB
Rear camera
Moto G6:
Main: 12MP f/1.8
Secondary: 5MP
Moto G5:
13MP f/2.0
Front camera
Moto G6:
8MP
Moto G5:
5MP
Fingerprint scanner
Moto G6:
Yes
Moto G5:
Yes
Battery
Moto G6:
3,000mAh
Moto G5:
2,800mAh
Software
Moto G6:
Android 8.0 Oreo
Moto G5:
Android 7.0 Nougat
Dimensions
Moto G6:
153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3 mm
167 g
Moto G5:
150.2 x 74 x 7.7 to 9.7mm
144.5 g

In terms of endurance, the G6 offers a 200mAh increase over the G5’s 2800mAh battery, and the more efficient chipset should also make for longer battery life. The new Plus model serves up a 3200mAh battery, compared to 3000mAh in the G5 Plus. The 2017 phone stood out in this department anyway, so you probably won’t need to worry about all-day stamina.

When your battery runs down and it’s time to charge, you’ll be grabbing USB Type-C cables for the 2018 duo and Micro-USB for last year’s devices. Your feelings toward this will probably depend on whether you have more Micro-USB or Type-C accessories.

Moto G6 PlusMoto G5 Plus
Display
Moto G6 Plus:
5.9-inch IPS LCD
2160 x 1080 (18:9)
Moto G5 Plus:
5.2-inch IPS LCD
1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Processor
Moto G6 Plus:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Adreno 508 GPU
Moto G5 Plus:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Adreno 506 GPU
RAM
Moto G6 Plus:
4GB/6GB
Moto G5 Plus:
2GB/3GB/4GB
Storage
Moto G6 Plus:
64GB/128GB
expandable up to 128GB
Moto G5 Plus:
32GB/64GB
expandable up to 128GB
Rear camera
Moto G6 Plus:
Main: 12MP f/1.7
Secondary: 5MP f/2.2
Moto G5 Plus:
12MP f/1.7
Front camera
Moto G6 Plus:
8MP
Moto G5 Plus:
5MP
Fingerprint scanner
Moto G6 Plus:
Yes
Moto G5 Plus:
Yes
Battery
Moto G6 Plus:
3,200mAh
Moto G5 Plus:
3,000mAh
Software
Moto G6 Plus:
Android 8.0 Oreo
Moto G5 Plus:
Android 7.0 Nougat
Dimensions
Moto G6 Plus:
160 x 75.5 x 8.0 mm
167 g
Moto G5 Plus:
150.2 mm x 74.0 mm x 7.7 mm to 9.7 mm
155 g

As for security features, all four phones feature a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. All four phones let you use the scanner for gesture-based navigation, such as a leftward swipe to go back or a tap to go home.

The four handsets also share two other features, in the form of a headphone jack and water-repellent nanocoating. As a result, you won’t need a dongle for your old headphones, but definitely don’t go swimming with one of these devices in hand.

What about the Moto G6 Play?

Moto G6 Play
Moto G6 Play

There is one addition to the G series this year in the form of the Moto G6 Play, and it seems like a sideways move rather than a clear-cut upgrade over the Moto G5. For one, it features either a Snapdragon 427 quad-core processor (in the U.S.) or an octa-core Snapdragon 430. The latter chip is the same one seen in the Moto G5.

The phones also match each other for RAM and storage, offering 2GB/3GB RAM and 16GB/32GB variants. But the Moto G5 has a sharper 5-inch 1080p display (16:9), as opposed to the 6-inch 1440 x 720 screen (18:9) on the Play.

Moto G6 PlayMoto G5
Display
Moto G6 Play:
5.7-inch IPS LCD
1440 x 720 (18:9)
Moto G5:
5.0-inch IPS LCD
1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Processor
Moto G6 Play:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 427
Adreno 308 (USA)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Adreno 505 GPU
Moto G5:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Adreno 505 GPU
RAM
Moto G6 Play:
2GB/3GB
Moto G5:
2GB/3GB
Storage
Moto G6 Play:
16GB/32GB
expandable up to 128GB
Moto G5:
16GB/32GB
expandable up to 128GB
Rear camera
Moto G6 Play:
13MP
Moto G5:
13MP f/2.0
Front camera
Moto G6 Play:
8MP
5MP (USA)
Moto G5:
5MP
Fingerprint scanner
Moto G6 Play:
Yes
Moto G5:
Yes
Battery
Moto G6 Play:
4,000mAh
Moto G5:
2,800mAh
Software
Moto G6 Play:
Android 8.0 Oreo
Moto G5:
Upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo
Dimensions
Moto G6 Play:
155.4 x 72.2 x 9.1 mm
180 g
Moto G5:
144.3 x 73 x 9.5 mm
144.5 g

The G6 Play’s biggest strength is its battery life, serving up a 4000mAh cell that should yield two days of moderate usage. The Moto G5 comes in at 2800mAh, which makes for a massive difference on paper. In fact, the manufacturer claims up to 36 hours of juice for the Play, as opposed to the G5’s “all day battery.” If battery life is important to you above all else, you’ll want the Play over the G5.

Value photography over battery life? There’s really not much to choose between the two devices in this regard, as they both deliver 13MP f/2.0 single cameras on the rear. The G6 Play differs from the G5 for selfies though, featuring an 8MP shooter compared to the G5’s 5MP.

Price

Of course, who cares about a phone with budget specs if it lacks a budget price. Last year saw the Moto G5 Plus come to the U.S. for $229, but the buyers missed out on the G5. The smaller model had a €199 starting price in Europe. This time around, the standard G6 is coming to the U.S. with a $249 starting price, while the Plus model will miss the States —  it will have a €299 price tag in Europe.

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The G6 Play is the cheapest of the new lot at $199, making it part of a growing number of budget phones that pack a pocket-friendly 18:9 screen ratio. But unless you value a large battery above all else, it seems like you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck with the G6 for just $50 extra.