Lenovo Moto G4 review: in its sibling’s shadow

Expert Rating
  • Great display
  • Smooth performance
  • Long battery life
  • Camera is a mixed bag
  • No fingerprint reader
  • Heating issue

“Should you buy the slightly leaner version of the best-selling Moto G4 Plus? Find out in this quick read” 

Our Take

The Moto G4 is a solid smartphone in itself. Solid build, good display, surprisingly smooth performance, vanilla OS, and good battery life. But, it does not sport a fingerprint scanner, which most phones in this price segment do. Despite offering a great pair of shooters, G4’s own sibling, the G4 Plus beats it in that department. Talking of which, the biggest competitor for the G4 is the G4 Plus. While all other phones might seem like better options considering specifications only, Moto devices are in their own league because of the reliability they offer as daily drivers. Hence, we will just compare the G4 with the G4 Plus. The price difference of around a grand does not really make sense, when you can get a fingerprint reader, and a far better camera in the G4 Plus. Spend a bit more, and you can get your hands on the 3GB RAM variant of the Moto G4 Plus, which offers more built-in storage as well. We reviewed the G4 Plus and found it to be a promising daily driver, that you won’t regret buying. And taking account of all these things we recommend buying the Moto G4 only if you have a serious budget constraint, and you don’t mind unlocking your smartphone the good old way.


For an in-depth take on the smartphone, read on as we discuss every aspect individually.

Design and Display


The Moto G4 is basically the G4 Plus, minus the fingerprint scanner. You get a plastic build, and while that may sound unlikely, it is pretty solid. The phone has rounded corners and edges, and a finely textured rear panel… all the components working together to offer good grip.


The back panel can be snapped off to reveal the battery and the microSD and SIM card slots. However, the battery is not user replaceable. Putting on the cover back, you’ll find the primary camera module sitting in the centre, towards the top surrounded by an oblong silver trim. Just below, there’s the signature Moto dimple, and on the side you’d see a secondary microphone.

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The port and button placement remains standard, and same as the Moto G4 Plus, however, in lieu of the fingerprint scanner, there’s a primary microphone. The loudspeaker on the G4, much like the G4 Plus comes concealed within the earpiece grille.


The display, spanning 5.5-inches, comes protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It’s a full HD IPS LCD display, same as the one you’d find on the G4 Plus. With the pixel density of 401 ppi, Moto G4’s a sharp and vivid display.

Software and Performance


In these departments, the Moto G4 shares everything with the 2GB RAM variant of the Moto G4 Plus. Powered by a Snapdragon 617 chip, which is an octa-core chip ticking at 1.5GHz, the G4 (obviously) has 2GB of RAM, and gets an integrated Adreno 405GPU. Having loved the performance on the 3GB RAM model of the G4 Plus, we thought we’d lower our expectations from the G4, but we didn’t really need to. The phone handles everyday use easily, and there were negligible stutters during heavy usage. Multitasking was smooth as well. The phone does have a small heating issue, though. After long gaming sessions we felt the device heating up to levels we couldn’t really ignore.


Being almost a twin to the 16GB storage variant of the G4 Plus, the G4 gets the same amount of storage as well. Out of that, you get about 10GB for your personal use, which is actually not a lot. Thankfully, the storage is expandable up to 128GB via microSD card, and the phone supports USB OTG as well.

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The Moto G4 runs the latest Android… well, it’s a Moto. The company calls the vanilla OS, Moto Pure. Everything about the interface on the G4, just like every other Moto device, is completely stock. While everything stays minimal, understated and old school, apps like Moto, Moto Display give you a little more control over how you wish to customise the actions and features on your device. The G4 uses more Google-built apps, contributing to a cleaner experience. You can check out review of the G4 Plus for an in-depth look at the UI.

Camera, Battery, and Connectivity


Breaking the streak of what’s common between the G4 and the G4 Plus is the camera configuration. The G4 has a slightly toned-down camera, and uses a 13MP autofocus primary shooter with a dual-LED flash, and a 5MP front-facing snapper. The G4 Plus has a fancier 16MP phase-detection autofocus primary camera. While the camera performance of the G4 Plus is outright brilliant, the G4’s camera is not half bad. While it’s not the best in terms of capturing details, the images look sharp enough for you to be able to share them on various platforms, and not be questioned about what phone you’re using, or maybe be questioned, since they look pretty decent. The phone captures beautiful colours, but at times, the images turn out slightly oversaturated. In some cases, we felt that the colours looked slightly warm as well. The G4 struggles a little while focussing on objects that are close by, and it depends on the ambient lighting and your luck as to how long it takes for you to click a nice macro shot. However, if you do get the focus locked, the macro images turn out great. Night shots look flooded with grain, but the selfies were decent, and overall, the camera should please an average user. The default camera app is clean, and user-friendly. Below are a few pictures clicked with the primary camera of the Moto G4.

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The G4 is backed by a 3,000mAh battery, and supports fast charging. It delivered similar results as the G4 Plus, and gave a little over nine and a half hours on our standard battery test. You also get a power saving which works well to prolong battery life, and basically the G4 should not die on you in the middle of the day if you step out with the phone fully charged.

It’s a real dual-SIM device, with a separate microSD card slot, and offers other standard connectivity options like Bluetooth v4.1, and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n.


As we mentioned earlier, the Moto G4 is a good proposition, but it doesn’t make much sense to buy it unless you have a serious budget constraint, since its own sibling, the G4 Plus betters it in almost all departments, and can be grabbed for a price difference of either Rs 1,000, or Rs 2,500, depending upon which variant you wish to go for.

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An engineer by qualification and a writer by interest, Deeksha has been working on blending technology and words together ever since she completed her graduation. A crazy fashion enthusiast, you’ll find her creating the most curious analogies between the world of tech, and say…an haute couture shoe. You might want to look up a fashion glossary before reading her work. Personally a fan of Windows smartphones, Deeksha has developed a knack for Android-powered devices over her time here at 91mobiles, and is just starting to delve into the Macintosh world, while iOS remains on the list. When not writing reviews or features, she likes to read fiction novels, browse through the catalogues of all the brands that exist, shop enough to clothe a small town, discover a new food outlet at least twice a day, crib about being fat…and think of ways to take over the world while doing these things.