Thursday, September 22


Moto G4 Play Plus Or Minus

My new phone arrived today - the Moto G4 Play.  It's not quite as physically impressive as the Xperia Z3 Tablet that showed up Tuesday.  The tablet is a premium device, and feels like it; it's just a premium device that came out in 2014.  The G4 Play is a 2016 release, but a budget model.

The back is removable to access the battery (replaceable), the two SIM cards, and the microSD card.  That's very practical, but makes the phone feel slightly cheap; there's just a little bit of give to the rubberised plastic rear cover.  (On the other hand, it's unlikely to slide off surfaces the way the glass-backed Nexus 4 does.)

In an expensive phone the plastic construction might be an issue, but at A$199 (US$149) I'm not about to complain.

As for use, so far: The screen is fine; only 720p, but that's enough for anything but VR, which doesn't really interest me.  It's IPS, but a cheapish one; there's a bit of a yellowish tint when viewed at a sharp angle, but it looks just fine when viewed at something approaching normal positions.  At one point I wondered why the screen was blurry, then I blinked a few times and that fixed it.

It uses a Mediatek chip with a 1.2GHz quad core A53 CPU.  This is perfectly zippy for basic functions - surprisingly so, about 60% faster than the Nexus 4, around the same as my late Nexus 5.  A high-end phone like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7 would three times faster than that, but that mainly matters if you're doing stuff I don't do on my phone - photo processing, videos, stuff like that.  If your phone is your main computer, it likely matters, but I have three desktop computers, two laptops, and four tablets to handle any serious computing.

The camera and speakers work - neither great nor awful.  Audio from the headphone jack is perfectly fine, and has a lot more volume than the Nexus 4 or 5 I used previously.  Maximum volume is far too loud on my Sennheiser PX-100s, instead of being the normal setting I use when I'm out and about.

It comes with Android 6.01 and about 11GB free of 16GB storage.  On a phone, that's plenty; the SD card will hold all the audio files I could want; a 128GB card equals about 2000 hours of MP3 audio.  (Okay, so I have about 2TB of MP3s piled up, mostly podcasts, but I don't need them all on my phone at once.)

Setup was dead easy.  I put in my WiFi and Gmail passwords, and it offered to import all my apps and settings from my Nexus 7.  I just needed to un-check Final Fantasy 1 through 6 and off it went.  That will take a while - it's about 100 apps - but that's a big improvement over selecting them all one by one in the Play Store.

Android itself is pretty much stock, with no layered cruft that I've noticed. I installed Nova Launcher - or rather, it installed automatically since it's on my Nexus 7 - and Paperland Pro, so it's set up just the way I like it.

I'm sure an iPhone feels nicer to user, more refined, but the current model starts at A$1079 and has only barely a higher-resolution display (1334x750 vs 1280x720), only supports one SIM card, doesn't believe that SD cards exist at all, and lacks even a headphone socket. (And don't even think about replacing the battery.)  So at more than five times the price it has inferior specs in several ways.

The only problem, if you want to call it that, is that now I've run out of microSD cards.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:13 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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