Motorola has long had a stranglehold on the low-cost smartphone industry. It constantly figures out how to balance specs and cost in order to provide the maximum value to all types of users. The Moto G Play (2021) is the latest in a long line of fun-first phones, but how does it fare? Discover more on our Motorola Moto G Play review.
The Motorola Moto G Play (2021): Everything You Need to Know
The Moto G Play (2021) is Motorola’s second-cheapest smartphone. The Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus round up the G series trio, which sits just above the Moto E. However, this smartphone will not be available in the UK or the rest of Europe, as those markets received a Moto G9 Play variant that is more similar to the Moto G Power.
The Motorola Moto G Play comes pre-loaded with Android 10 and has yet to receive the Android 11 update. Motorola promised one major version upgrade and two years of security updates for the Moto G Play, which would keep it running until 2023.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor is at the heart of this device, together with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You may also add a microSD card to the mix if you need more storage. You won’t have to worry about battery life because Motorola crammed a 5,000mAh cell into its budget-friendly chassis. On top of it all, there’s a 6.5-inch HD+ display with a little v-shaped notch for the selfie camera.
In the packaging, Motorola also keeps things simple, just including a charging block and a USB-C cord. You’ll discover a SIM ejector tool to get you started, as well as some important papers to help you gain your bearings.
These days, finding a stock Android device is difficult. The Moto G Play isn’t completely stock, but Motorola has managed to bring its skin as near to possible. Everything is bright and airy, and almost every app onboard is a Google product.
Motorola not only nailed the software, but they also nailed the design. The Misty Blue surface is resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and it catches the light.
The Moto G Play’s general plastic build gives you some piece of mind that it won’t shatter if you drop it.
A mono speaker is buried away on the device’s bottom edge, and it’s capable of producing some impressive sound. The speaker can fill a room with ease, whether you’re listening to a podcast or watching your favorite Hulu series.
By no means is the Moto G Play a powerhouse, but the Snapdragon 460 is more than capable. The large 5,000mAh battery helped in this regard. Since there isn’t a 5G antenna, the battery can focus on keeping the lights on.
The not so good
Motorola didn’t cut too many corners while designing its low-cost phone, but it did compromise on the camera. In a market where many other phones are adding an ultra-wide camera, the Moto G Play provides a 13MP wide lens and a 2MP depth sensor. The primary lens, while providing good quality, is limited in terms of overall versatility.
On the Moto G Play, Motorola’s software interface looks and feels nice, but it’s outdated. The phone was released in early 2021, however it came with Android 10 and hasn’t yet been updated to Android 11.
While the plastic is appealing, it does not always feel sturdy and is quickly scratched.
There’s also no word on whether Motorola is using reinforced glass.
Should you buy it?
For the money, the Motorola Moto G Play is a good phone. You’ll have plenty of screen real estate for your favorite shows and a few light games, and the Snapdragon 460 keeps lag to a bare minimum when used properly. Even if the camera results don’t hold your attention for long, Motorola’s attractive design and Misty Blue finish are sure to catch your eye.
If the Moto G Play doesn’t appeal to you, consider the Nokia 3.4 ($179) or the Samsung Galaxy A12 ($179). On paper, they are nearly identical to the Moto G Play, and the only difference may be which version of Android you prefer. The Moto G Power ($249) is another Motorola option worth considering.