Motorola Moto G9 Play: happy medium?


The Motorola Moto G9 Play is a competitively priced smartphone with – on paper – excellent specifications. But is it worth your money? After all, Motorola also offers similarly priced models and also faces competition from brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Samsung. In this Motorola Moto G9 Play review you can read whether the device is recommended.

Motorola Moto G9 Play

MSRP € 170, –
Colors Blue and green
OS Android 10
Screen 6.5 inch LCD (1600 x 720, 60 Hz)
Processor 2 GHz octacore (Snapdragon 662)
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB (expandable)
Battery 5,000 mAh
Camera 48, 2 and 2 megapixels (rear), 8 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS,
Format 16.5 x 7.6 x 0.92 cm
Weight 200 grams
Other Headphone port, splash proof
Website www.motorola.com/en 7 Score 70 Score: 70

  • Pros
  • Battery life
  • Fast charger included
  • Complete specifications
  • Negatives
  • Feels a bit slow
  • Update Policy
  • Size is a concern

Motorola sells the Moto G9 Play in the colors blue and green for about 169 euros. I tested the green variant.

Design and screen

The smartphone is made of plastic and you can feel that especially at the back. It comes across as a bit cheap, also because it attracts fingerprints and dust. I would have preferred a matte finish. Motorola deserves a compliment by including a (simple) transparent cover – this is not common in this price range. The Moto G9 Play has a USB-C port, a headphone jack and a good speaker. A fingerprint scanner is placed on the back and it works properly and fast enough.

The screen measures 6.5 inches and is therefore difficult to operate with one hand. Due to the HD resolution, the image looks reasonably sharp, although you can see a difference with devices that have a full-HD screen. The screen looks fine and has a notch for the selfie camera. One point of attention is that the Moto G9 Play is a large smartphone that does not fit in all tight pockets. At 200 grams, it is also heavier than the average phone, which can be partly explained by the large battery.

Hardware

The specifications of the Moto G9 Play are nice and complete. The device has sufficient RAM (4 GB) to quickly switch between recent apps and the RAM is also large enough with 64 GB. Mobile payments in shops are possible thanks to the NFC chip and there is also support for WiFi 802.11ac (WiFi 5) on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies.

The Moto G9 Play runs on a Snapdragon 662 processor and it does its job properly. Popular apps are easy to use, although I clearly notice that the device is not the fastest. The startup of apps takes a bit longer and small delays are visible with various actions. It belongs in this price range and is not very disturbing now. The big question is how fast the Moto G9 Play is after two or three years of use, when the memory is almost full with your data.

Battery life

I am more positive about the battery life. Thanks to the energy-efficient screen and the large 5000 mAh battery, the smartphone can last for one and a half to two days on one battery charge. That is longer than usual. Motorola supplies a 20 Watt USB-C plug, which is also slightly more powerful than usual for this type of device. Because the battery is so large, it takes a few hours before it is full again.

Cameras

The Moto G9 Play has three cameras on the back, but that sounds more impressive than practice shows. In addition to the primary 48 megapixel camera, there is a depth sensor (which only blurs the background) and a 2 megapixel macro camera. It shoots photos from very close, but does so in an unrealistic way and in such a low resolution that you can only use the photos for social media. With the primary camera you can shoot nice pictures as long as there is enough (day) light. Don’t expect miracles, though: the Moto G9 Play doesn’t outperform competing smartphones.

Software

Motorola delivers the Moto G9 Play with Android 10 and hardly adjusts the software. I like that because stock Android works well and I don’t feel the need for visual changes or extra apps. Nice is that you can personalize the device in terms of colors, gestures and quick actions.

Motorola’s update policy is unfortunately moderate. I’ve been writing that for years and I’m curious if it will ever change. The Moto G9 Play only gets an update to Android 11, which came out almost simultaneously with the smartphone. The update therefore feels like nothing more than logical. Competitive smartphones will also receive Android 12 in 2021. Motorola promises security updates until the summer of 2022, so two years. That is on average to slightly below average, because some brands guarantee updates for three years.

Conclusion: buy Motorola Moto G9 Play?

The Motorola Moto G9 Play is an affordable smartphone with a great screen, complete specifications and a long battery life. The software is easy to use, but Motorola’s update policy doesn’t match most of the competition. Good to know is that the device feels a bit slow. If you want to spend about 170 euros on a new smartphone, the Moto G9 Play is worth considering. If you can and want to spend a little more, I would because smartphones from 199 euros are better on all points. Motorola’s Moto G9 Power has more storage memory and an even longer battery life, the Samsung Galaxy M21 has a nicer screen and will receive longer updates and the Poco X3 NFC is considerably faster and has a beautiful display.

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