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GadgetsSmartphonesMoto G9 Plus review: A Decent Budget Phone with a Big Screen

Moto G9 Plus review: A Decent Budget Phone with a Big Screen

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If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive smartphone and are not afraid of huge screens, you should pay attention to last year’s Motorola Moto G9 Plus. This future-proof smartphone has a great screen, a powerful processor and surprisingly good cameras. In the review, we will take a closer look at the device.

Motorola G9 Plus

Positioning and price

The Moto G9 series consists of three models, all released in the second half of 2020. G9 Power is a model with a powerful 6000 mAh battery. The G9 Play is simpler, with a smaller TFT screen with a teardrop notch and the same Snapdragon 662 chipset. And the G9 Plus is the main device of the lineup with Full HD display and a Snapdragon 730G processor. The smartphone costs about $240. What do we get for this kind of money?

Moto G9 Plus Full Specifications

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2020, September 07
Status Available. Released 2020, September 07
BODY Dimensions 170 x 78.1 x 9.7 mm (6.69 x 3.07 x 0.38 in)
Weight 223 g (7.87 oz)
Build Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAY Type LTPS IPS LCD, HDR10
Size 6.81 inches, 112.0 cm2 (~84.3% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~386 ppi density)
PLATFORM OS Android 10
Chipset Qualcomm SDM730 Snapdragon 730G (8 nm)
CPU Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
GPU Adreno 618
MEMORY Card slot microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot)
Internal 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM
MAIN CAMERA Quad 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
2 MP, f/2.2, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.2, (depth)
Features LED flash, HDR, panorama
Video [email protected], [email protected]/60/120fps, gyro-EIS
SELFIE CAMERA Single 16 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (standard)
Features HDR
Video [email protected]
SOUND Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
NFC Yes
Radio FM radio
USB USB Type-C 2.0
FEATURES Sensors Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity
BATTERY Type Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable
Charging Fast charging 30W
MISC Colors Rose Gold, Indigo Blue
Models XT2087-1

 

What’s in the box

In the box with the Moto G9 Plus you will find a 30-watt charger, a USB Type-C cable, a SIM eject tool, a quick guide and, a high-quality silicone case that fits the device perfectly, almost without increasing its dimensions.

Design and the layout, fingerprint scanner

Okay, I’ll say right away that the smartphone is large. However, this is normal for the 6.8-inch model. In general, the dimensions are fine: the phone is not too wide, but rather tall.

Moto G9 Plus

Of course, in most cases it is more convenient to use the G9 Plus with two hands, but if something happens, you can cope with one. Again, given the dimensions, the smartphone is not very heavy, it fits well in the hand. As much as I disliked the huge and heavy iPhone 11 Pro Max, the Moto seemed more comfortable in comparison.

The screen has minimal bezels, slightly wider at the bottom. The notch is modern – an elegant hole in the left side, slightly noticeable.

Motorola G9 Plus

Motorola G9 Plus

The case is entirely made of plastic, which is not surprising for a budget device, although I wouldn’t say no to metal. There are two colors available – blue and gold, the second one looks rather peculiar. Both shimmer in the light.

Motorola G9 Plus

In general, the material of the rear panel is pleasant to the touch, not slippery, not very susceptible to scratches. However, like any glossy plastic, it is covered with fingerprints. This is not so critical when using a case.

The camera unit looks solid for an affordable phone and is located on a slightly protruding module.

Motorola G9 Plus

On the right side of the Moto G9 Plus there is a paired volume button, just below the power/lock key, which has a built-in fingerprint scanner.

Motorola G9 Plus

The location of the sensor is convenient. This price category does not allow using the in-screen one, the rear panel is not always convenient, and the power button is always in use anyway.

One caveat: the button is somewhat recessed, but this is a matter of habit. The fingerprint scanner itself works perfectly, with no errors during my testing. It also has useful features. For example, double-tapping (without pressing!) brings up a menu of frequently used apps or a menu of a specific app.

Motorola G9 Plus

On the left side of the smartphone there is a SIM card tray (two Nano-SIM or one SIM and a microSD memory card) and a separate key for calling the Google Assistant. You cannot reassign it to another app, but you can disable it in the settings.

Motorola G9 Plus Motorola G9 Plus

Moto G9 Plus screen

As already mentioned, the LTPS display is large (6.81 inches) and with a compact notch for the front-facing camera in the corner. What’s LTPS? Let’s just say it’s a variation of IPS with a higher level of response.

In general, the screen is excellent for a budget phone, although I would not refuse AMOLED either. Still, there is sufficient black depth, excellent viewing angles, great color reproduction thanks to HDR10 support, and decent brightness. Thanks to Full HD resolution, the picture is very clear.

Hardware and performance

Moto G9 Plus is interesting not only for its large screen and affordable price, but also for a good-level 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor. This is definitely a powerful device, especially for this price. The speed of work is good for all basic tasks, there are no lags or slowdowns. There are no problems with games either, all popular titles run fine, and the smartphone does not even heat up. Of course, it is not as nimble as the flagships, but if you do not use the flagships, you will be completely satisfied.

4 GB of RAM is fine for a budget model. But more is better, of course.

The 128 GB storage will suit the vast majority of users. If needed, there is a slot for SD cards. RAM and ROM are fast, which also affects the overall speed of the device.

NFC is also there. And a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is rather rare nowadays. The sound quality will seem good to most users. Music aficionados will surely find something to complain about, but I’m not one of them.

Read also: Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Basic Flagship with Design Refresh

Moto G9 Plus cameras

Motorola G9 Plus

Now even inexpensive models have more than one camera. The G9 Plus has four of them:

64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.73″, 0.8µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
2 MP, f/2.2, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.2, (depth)

Taking into account the price category, the quality of photos is excellent! Most users will be more than satisfied. Of course, these are not flagships from Samsung and not a fresh iPhone, but the pictures are clear even when shooting in motion, and the colors are juicy  in any situation. Both the optics are decent, and the post-processing is not stupid. Unless in very low light.

And even the night mode copes very well, which I did not expect at all from a budget phone.

A wide-angle lens, of course, leads to a loss of clarity and quality (especially if the lighting is far from ideal), but you can use it if necessary.

The macro camera is more of a joke, especially with a meager 2-megapixel resolution. In my opinion, the main module makes better, sharper photos with good color reproduction. Left photo is from the main module, right from the macro:

The video quality is not perfect, the picture twitches in places. But taking into account the price category it is acceptable.

VIEW ALL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS IN ORIGINAL SIZE

The camera interface is standard for Moto. It looks simple, but it’s convenient.

Moto G9 Plus camera

There is an option to automatically detect the captured object. It decided that my cat was “food”! ALF was definitely among the engineers.

Moto G9 Plus camera

The selfie camera has a resolution of 16 megapixels. It’s nothing special, but it will do for social networks. Women might like it, as it turns on “beautification” by default and makes every face shiny and smooth. It can be disabled in the settings, of course.

Software

And again, Moto’s traditional advantage is a nimble “pure” Android without any shells.

Among the interesting features we have Moto Functions, which can be configured in a separate app. It consists of gesture control and other features (for example, for gamers or an active display). Some of these functions, as for me, are useless, some may be useful to someone.

Take a look at preinstalled live wallpapers:

The Android version on the Moto G9 Plus is 10. Most likely, an update to 11 will be coming soon.

Battery life

Another important advantage of the model is the 5000 mAh battery. This phone will survive a whole day with no problems. During the test, I charged the device once every couple of days, although I used it actively.

The device supports 30-watt fast charging. It takes 1 hour 20 minutes to fully charge, half an hour is enough for 50-55%.

Overall, the Moto G9 Plus allows for 13 to 18 hours of screen time, depending on the task. And this is at maximum brightness! You can play a 3D game for 7-8 hours without a break. Nice.

Verdict

Lenovo/Motorola has a good budget phone. Its advantages are a large excellent screen, a powerful Snapdragon 730G processor, a 5000 mAh battery, stock Android with Moto features, as well as good cameras. What is missing? More RAM.

Moto G9 Plus

There are, of course, a lot of competitors for this price (about $240). First of all, devices from China, made by Xiaomi and Realme. For example, Redmi Note 9 Pro and Poco X3 NFC each have 6 GB of RAM and equally good screens-batteries-processors. Although a shell with built-in advertising is not to everyone’s liking. And realme 6S or 7 has 6-8 GB of RAM and powerful chipsets from the MediaTek Helio series, though not as energy efficient as Snapdragon. What is better everyone decides for himself. In any case, such a respected brand as Motorola has a lot of fans.

Read also:

 

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
9
Materials
6
Build quality
10
Ergonomics
9
Screen
9
Performance
9
Cameras
9
Software
10
Battery life
10
Lenovo/Motorola has a good budget phone. Its advantages are a large excellent screen, a powerful Snapdragon 730G processor, a 5000 mAh battery, stock Android with Moto features, as well as good cameras. What is missing? More RAM.
Olga Akukinahttp://olyapka.ru
IT-journalist and editor with over 15 years of experience. I am especially interested in the topic of smartphones and other gadgets, I test all the latest innovations, I like to try new things and share my experience.
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