I love premium, high-end smartphones, but I don’t like their massive price tags.
So when the $US250 Moto G6 came across my desk, I thought I’d give it a shot to see whether or not it could replace the expensive smartphones that usually populate my hands and pockets.
I was surprised with my experience with the Moto G6. I barely noticed a difference during my day-to-day usage, and I began to question whether high-end smartphones were worth the $US450-plus premium they demand for slightly better performance and looks.
Check out the $US250 ($AU340) Moto G6 and how it fared in the hands of someone who’s used to $US800-plus ($AU1,084-plus) smartphones:
Design-wise, the Moto G6 is a surprisingly nice phone for $US250.
This thing has a nice, curved glass back, and it doesn’t feel much different than a lot of the expensive high-end smartphones out there. It’s light, too, which I like. But light weight can sometimes lead to a cheaper feel.
It has large bezels, but they didn’t really bother me, despite having used phones with ultra-narrow bezels ever since they came out.
I truly barely noticed the bezels on the Moto G6. Plus, having a comparatively large bottom bezel meant that Motorola could give the Moto G6 a front-facing fingerprint scanner. The front is still the best place to have a fingerprint scanner, in my opinion. Here’s to hoping that more of next year’s crop of premium devices come with invisible fingerprint scanners embedded underneath their displays.
The Moto G6 was handling everything I was throwing at it surprisingly well.
I looked around the subway one day and noticed people with expensive smartphones, like the $US1,000 iPhone X and $US800-plus Galaxy S9, and I questioned whether those people getting more out of their expensive smartphones for their day-to-day apps than I was with this $US250 device.
I was streaming my music via Bluetooth, streaming videos, browsing the internet and social media, sending emails and messages, video calling with family abroad, and using all the apps I usually use without a hitch on the Moto G6.
Sure, the Moto G6’s Snapdragon 450 chip wasn’t quite as snappy as the Google Pixel 2, Samsung Galaxy S9, or LG G7 with high-end chips like the Snapdragon 835 and 845. But it wasn’t slow, either. I was rarely, if ever, frustrated by the Moto G6’s performance when comparing it to my experience with expensive high-end devices.
One thing that surprised me about the Moto G6 is how well it handled a minimized YouTube video while I was running another app, as shown in the photo above.
The Moto G6 also has a nice, sharp display that I didn’t really notice was much worse than the expensive high-end phones.
The sharp 1440p and OLED panels with rich colours and amazing contrast on smartphones like the Galaxy S9 sure are nice, but the 5.7-inch 1080p LCD display on the Moto G6 didn’t make anything worse. I never once wished I was watching a YouTube video on the Galaxy S9 or iPhone X instead of the Moto G6.
I did notice that the Moto G6’s display doesn’t handle bright sunlight as well as the higher-end phones out there, but I could still use the phone just fine.
It also has great battery life, and even fast charging.
The Moto G6 has a relatively standard 3,000mAh battery, which you’d find on a lot of high-end smartphones, too. But the power-efficient chip running the Moto G6 and its lower resolution display means it doesn’t suck up as much batter power as the fancy stuff. And the Moto G6 comfortably lasted me all day as a result.
The camera is actually pretty good in well-lit situations.
The Moto G6 has a dual-lens 12-megapixel camera with HDR (high dynamic range), and it’s actually not bad. It takes a nice, bright photos that anyone would be happy with. With that said, some of the flower’s petals are overly bright, and are void of detail and colour as a result.
Here’s the same flower taken with the Pixel 2 XL, the smartphone with the best camera:
The Pixel 2 XL’s photo contains all the detail with no overblowing.
Once the lighting around you starts to get dim, that’s when the Moto G6’s camera struggles.
Unfortunately, the Moto G6’s camera isn’t great in dimly-lit situations, as show by the blurry photo above. Had I been standing perfectly still and had more time to compose the shot, perhaps the shot would have been better. But that’s not something you need to worry about with high-end smartphones, which usually take great low-light shots even if you’re not perfectly still.
It turns out that camera quality is a good chunk of what you’re paying for when you get the expensive premium devices.
So, who’s the Moto G6 for?
To begin with, the $US250 Moto G6 is for those who don’t want to – or can’t – spend $US700 or more on a smartphone.
Beyond that, the Moto G6 is pretty much for anyone, just as long as they don’t really care so much about camera quality. You can compare the camera quality to cheap headphones versus expensive headphones. The cheap headphones will still deliver your music, just not as well as the expensive headphones. The same goes for the Moto G6’s camera: It will capture a photo just fine, just not as well as the expensive smartphones.
I can safely say that I could have kept using the Moto G6 without looking back at the high-end smartphones had it not been for the lacking camera in low light.
If you want it all — including amazing design, performance, and camera — for an astounding value, the $US530 OnePlus 6 should be at the top of your list.
The OnePlus 6 is a phenomenon in performance and design. And while it doesn’t have the absolute best camera on any smartphone, it’s high up there with other premium smartphones. For $US530, the OnePlus 6 is a no brainer.