Review: Motorola Moto G6 brings the look of a flagship phone at a quarter of the price

Review: Motorola Moto G6 brings the look of a flagship phone at a quarter of the price

Some people are happy driving a Honda Accord or Kia Soul, while others are willing to pay more to drive a BMW or Mercedes.

The same concept goes for cellphones.

Some people will pay $1,000 or more for the latest Apple iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9, while some wouldn't dream of spending that much for a that will last three or four years before it needs replacing.

This week I'm not reviewing a flagship phone. I've been using the Amazon Prime Exclusive version of the Motorola Moto G6, which will set you back only $249.99.

Yep, it's the cellphone equivalent of a Honda, but I drive a Honda Fit, so I've been pretty impressed with the G6.

If you like the full-screen, small-front bezel looks of the Galaxy S9 or the iPhone X, the Moto G6 will look very familiar—in a good way.

I've come to appreciate the combination of large screen and smaller phone body that my iPhone 8 Plus is lacking.

The Moto G6 is a smaller handset with a bigger screen.

When I bought my iPhone 8 Plus, I was convinced that I wanted a fingerprint reader that the iPhone X lacked. I do use that fingerprint reader every day, but Motorola has shrunk the fingerprint reader by about two-thirds to make room for the G6's 5.7-inch display that has an 18:9 aspect ratio.

The G6 is a slippery phone. The front and back are make of Corning Gorilla glass, and the back curves up on the sides, which makes it easier to pick up but also very slick in the hand. I'd have to keep it in a case just so it wouldn't slip off my desk or the arm of my chair at home.

I have a standing desk at work and apparently it's not exactly level, because when I put the G6 down on my desk, it started sliding.

The main cameras (dual sensors) are mounted in a quarter-sized round bump on the back of the G6.

The only buttons are for volume up and down and for sleep/power. They are all located on the phone's right edge for easy one-handed operation.

The G6 looks as sleek and refined as any flagship phone.

What you get

As you might expect, the G6's specs are a step down from more expensive flagship phones.

It has a 5.7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2,160 by 1,080 pixels for a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch.

It runs Android 8.0 (Oreo) on a 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with three gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of onboard storage with the ability to add up to 128 gb with a microSD card.

The G6 has a "water-repellent" coating that can protect it from accidental splashes or light rain, according to Motorola's website. It is not designed to be submerged in water, and it is not waterproof.

The battery capacity is 3,000 milliamp-hours, which was big enough to last all day for me.

The small, capsule-shaped fingerprint reader is below the screen on the front bezel. It can also use your face to unlock the phone.

The charge/sync connector is USB-C and the included charger can provide Turbo Charge, which means you can get a pretty decent charge rate. In my nonscientific testing, Turbo Charging gave me a charge rate of about 1 percent per minute.

Even though the back of the G6 is glass, it cannot be charged wirelessly.

It measures 6.06 by 2.85 by 0.33 inches and weighs 5.9 ounces.

The G6 has a dual-camera system that's normally found on higher-end phones.

The main camera sensors are 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel and both have an f/1.8 lens. They work together to allow the G6 to take photos in portrait mode, which blurs the background for a nice effect.

The main camera can capture 1080p video at 60 frames per second.

The front-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with its own LED flash and can capture 1080p video at 30 fps.


The Moto G6 I reviewed was the Amazon Prime Exclusive version, which means the phone is a bit cheaper for Prime subscribers ($234.99 from Amazon) and comes with a handful of Amazon apps preinstalled. During the phone's initial setup, you're asked for your Amazon ID and password, which is used to log you in to all the Amazon apps, including Amazon shopping, Prime Video, Kindle, Amazon Music, Prime Photos, Prime Now and a few more.

The G6 can also work as an Alexa device. Double pressing the power/sleep button brings up an Alexa prompt for you to give your orders.

Pricing and availability

Well, I suppose it's obvious that this is a phone aimed at Amazon Prime subscribers, so if that's you, you can save money by buying it from Amazon with the preloaded Amazon apps. The phone is unlocked to use with any carrier, and you don't have to be a Prime subscriber to buy it from Amazon. If you'd like to be free of the Amazon apps, you can buy it directly from Motorola for $249.99.

There are plenty of reasons to avoid spending a lot for a smartphone. My Honda moves down the road the same as a BMW. I think the G6 is a great phone, but you have to realize that it's not meant to compete with the iPhone X or Galaxy S9.

The G6 is designed to live alongside those flagship phones as a handset that is quite capable and even shares some of the same desirable features as those expensive phones but at a quarter of the price.

Pros: Inexpensive, unlocked, edge-to-edge screen, good cameras, Alexa.

Cons: Specs are a step or two below flagship phones.

Bottom line: Good phone, great price and a nice balance of features vs. value.

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