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Since last year, the Motorola's releases have been getting harder to anticipate and often come out of the blue even for us, too. The company has also developed a knack for launching new models of the same family separately, so we saw the announcement of the Moto G9 Play at the end of August, but the Moto G9 Plus was not revealed until a few weeks later.
Curiously, Motorola is still using the Moto branding for the G Series and E Series of phones whereas all of their other phone families are sold under the full Motorola name. SO it's Moto G and Moto E but Motorola Edge, Motorola Razr, and Motorola One. Yeah, we like phone name conventions nice and simple, and 2020 has not been the best year for that across different brands. But we digress.
What might have end-users confused, however, is that the Motorola G9 Play, which we are reviewing today, is sold under a different name in the Indian market – it's called just Moto G9 over there. So keep in mind our review findings should apply to both models.
No matter what it's called, this handset is still the most affordable from the G family, selling for about €170 in the EU and INR 11,499 (~€130) in India.
Compared to the Moto G8 Play from last year, the Moto G9 (Play) comes with a handful of improvements. The chipset is better jumping from the Helio P70M to the Snapdragon 662 and the battery capacity has been bumped up to 5,000 from 4,000 mAh. The memory and storage have doubled and the main camera has been swapped for a 48MP one. However, the ultra-wide camera has been replaced with a macro camera that no one asked for but hey, something's got to give at this price point.
Moto G9 (Play) at a glance:
- Body: 165.2×75.7×9.2mm, 200g; Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame; Water-repellent coating.
- Display: 6.50" IPS LCD, 720x1600px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 270ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM6115 Snapdragon 662 (11 nm): Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Kryo 260 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260 Silver); Adreno 610.
- Memory: 64GB 4GB RAM; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
- OS/Software: Android 10.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.7, (wide), 1/2.0", 0.8µm, PDAF; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4, (macro); Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth); LED flash, HDR, panorama.
- Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm; HDR.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30/60fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 20W.
- Misc: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), NFC.
Despite its low price, the Moto G9 Play will surely face some fierce competition from its Chinese rivals, mostly from Realme and Xiaomi. The Moto's biggest advantage remains the squeaky clean Android software with some added features on top. So anyone looking for an affordable, vanilla Android handset, the Moto G series should be one of the first to look for.
But is it really worth it over the competition? We try to find out in this review.