The 8-megapixel front camera has gained some new (if familiar) tricks, too. Most notably, you can now gussy up your face with a set of Live Photo effects in case you want to strap on a set of virtual rabbit ears or wail into a microphone — complete with concert lighting — without jumping into Snapchat or Instagram. You’ll also be able to use that camera to unlock the phone with your face, but it’s a purely 2D solution — that is, it checks your face against stored image data, which makes for super-fast (albeit less secure) authentication.
As usual, Motorola didn’t stray too far from stock Android 8.0 Oreo here, and I’m still perfectly pleased by that. That light touch with software combined with an octa-core Snapdragon 450 keep everything moving at a respectable pace — just don’t expect to do any heavy gaming on this thing. Depending on the model, you’ll also get either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or a slightly snappier 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage. Don’t fret about free space too much, though: you can add microSD cards as large as 128GB. There’s also a 10W fast charging USB-C adapter in the box, for rapid refills.
The dual camera and the AI frills won’t appeal to everyone, which is why Motorola put together a more practical option: the Moto G6 Play. At $200/£169, it’s a less expensive option than the standard G6, but you’ll get a much bigger, 4,000mAh battery for your trouble. Combine that with a 5.7-inch Max Vision screen running at 720p and a less powerful Snapdragon 427 CPU and you’ve got a device that, while not tremendously speedy, should get you through your daily routine with plenty of battery life left over. (If performance is a concern, you could shell out a few extra bucks for an improved version with 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB, and 32GB of storage rather than 16GB.) Motorola claims the G6 Play can squeeze 36 hours of use out of a single charge, but we’ll have to see about that.
Considering how well the regular G6’s dual camera seemed during our hands-on time, it’s a shame Motorola couldn’t squeeze it into the less expensive G6 Play. Instead, there’s a more traditional 13-megapixel rear camera (phase detection autofocus) with an LED flash sitting next to it. To Motorola’s credit, however, the G6 Play definitely doesn’t feel like a $200 phone — it’s wrapped in a glossy non-Gorilla glass and has a reassuring heft to it.
Between these strong mid-range options and the more modest Moto Es the company also announced, it seems clear Motorola is trying to sew up the low-cost smartphone market for itself. The competition is only going to get more fierce as the year rolls on, but Motorola has proven itself to be one of the world’s best — if not /the/ best outright — at crafting quality, inexpensive devices. Based off what I’ve seen so far, Moto just might hold onto that crown for another year.