Motorola Moto G Play (2023) Review: Don’t Buy This Android Phone

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In the previous week, I’ve borrowed my fiancée’s cellphone roughly 4 instances. The first few had been after we visited The Met Cloisters museum in New York City. I like taking images, so I borrowed her Pixel cellphone to snap some fairly scenes. The subsequent time was after we determined to order some scrumptious buffalo hen tenders in the course of a canine stroll. I do not carry my pockets once I stroll my canine and infrequently pay with my cellphone, and I could not do this with the $170 Moto G Play (that additionally meant she paid, heh). 

The final time was yesterday after we each went to a Joe Hisaishi Candlelight live performance and heard the great Highline String Quartet recreate stunning Studio Ghibli soundtracks (sure, even the basic “Merry Go Round of Life” from Howl’s Moving Castle). I nudged her to offer me her cellphone so I might report a brief clip of the final observe—the one one everybody was allowed to report.

It’s comprehensible {that a} sub-$200 smartphone will make compromises, particularly with its digicam. The Moto G Play is very gradual, but it surely’s not the worst possibility available on the market, and I used to be in any other case in a position to get by. But I do really feel obligated to say that after I switched to a different low-cost cellphone from Samsung, it is exhausting to suggest. 

Play It Safe

Photograph: Motorola

The Moto G Play is a plasticky cellphone that appears dreary, like most different price range handsets. At least plastic means the again will not shatter in the event you drop it. This cellphone doesn’t assist 5G networks, so that you’re relegated to 4G LTE, however it should work with each main US community. 

Motorola is powering the Play with MediaTek’s Helio G37 chipset with 3 gigabytes of RAM, which is similar processor it utilized in final 12 months’s Moto G Power 2022. I detested it once I tried it as a result of it was markedly slower than the prior mannequin, so it isn’t a lot of a shock to see the brand new Play performing in a equally irritating method. 

It has its moments the place it might run simply wonderful, however too usually, you’ll wait a number of seconds for the keyboard to seem once you need to kind one thing into the search bar. (It additionally likes to skip the primary phrase I swipe-type with the keyboard, prompting me to begin once more.) Switch apps and you will ponder whether the pause means the cellphone froze, so you will swipe once more, just for it to out of the blue register two separate swipes, and now you are in an app you did not need to open. 

In my benchmark check, it delivered one of many lowest scores I’ve ever seen in current reminiscence. Yes, I’ve been in a position to learn my emails, reply to messages, and browse Reddit in my downtime; simply add a dose of lag between most of these duties and that is the expertise.

If you possibly can stand that sluggishness, then you definitely may not discover an excessive amount of fault with the remainder of the {hardware}. The 6.5-inch 720p display doesn’t look too pixelated and has been wonderful to stare at for many duties, although it may be exhausting to learn when it’s vivid out. There’s a 90-Hz display refresh charge, however I’m not even going to hassle counting this as a optimistic—the cellphone is not actually highly effective sufficient to persistently ship the “smooth” expertise you’re presupposed to get with a excessive refresh charge.   

The 5,000-mAh battery is the standout function, as I’ve been in a position to get roughly two days on a single cost with common use (probably a bit extra in the event you’re much more conservative). It’s very nice not having to plug in each night time. There’s a dependable fingerprint sensor on the again and even a headphone jack. It solely comes with 32 GB of inner storage, so you will need to make the most of the microSD card slot—simply after one week of use I’m seeing “storage low” alerts, and that is with a bit over 100 apps (together with the preinstalled ones). 

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