Motorola Moto G9 Plus: great, but not perfect


The Motorola Moto G9 Plus is an affordable smartphone with a large screen and complete specifications. Is that enough to choose it over competing budget devices? Computer! Total figured it out and catch up in this Motorola Moto G9 Plus review.

Motorola Moto G9 Plus

MSRP € 269, –
Colors Copper, blue
OS Android 10
Screen 6.8 inch LCD (2400 x 1080, 60 Hz)
Processor 2.2 Ghz octacore (Snapdragon 730G)
RAM 4 GB
Storage 128 GB (expandable)
Battery 5,000 mAh
Camera 64, 8, 2 and 2 megapixels (rear), 16 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC
Format 17 x 7.8 x 0.97 cm
Weight 223 grams
Other 3.5mm headphone port, splash proof
Website www.motorola.com 7.5 Score 75 Score: 75

  • Pros
  • Beautiful design with a large screen
  • Complete hardware
  • Long battery life and fast charging
  • Android without fuss
  • Negatives
  • Competitors have a better screen
  • Bad update policy
  • Disappointing cameras

Motorola has been successful for years with its Moto G line, which consists of affordable smartphones with a competitive price-quality ratio. The latest model is the Moto G9 Plus, available for 269 euros. I tested the phone after previously using the Moto G 5G Plus and Moto G8 Plus among others.

Design

The Moto G9 Plus is made of plastic and has a blue or copper back. The material sounds cheap when you tap it, but it feels solid. In any case, the smartphone comes across as well designed and looks modern. It is nice that it can withstand a little rain. It is also complete, with a nice fingerprint scanner in the on and off button (on the right side), a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You will also find the volume buttons on the right side. The left side houses a special button to start the Google Assistant. That button is forced, because there are also other ways to call up the Assistant – just as quickly.

What is striking are the dimensions and weight of the smartphone. The Moto G9 Plus has a large screen – more about that in a moment – and a large battery, more about that later. The result is one of the largest and heaviest (223 grams) smartphones you can buy right now. I therefore strongly recommend that you first try out the Moto G9 Plus in a store to see if you like the size.

Big screen, but not big

The screen of the Moto G9 Plus is therefore huge at 6.8 inches and cannot be operated with one hand. Not useful if you think that is important. The large size makes the smartphone ideal for gaming, typing with two hands and watching movies and series. Thanks to the full-HD resolution, the image looks sharp and the LCD panel shows nice colors. The contrast is on the low side, which makes black appear more like dark gray. Competitive Samsung smartphones have a nicer OLED display. Other alternative devices, including the Poco X3 NFC, have a 120 Hz screen for a significantly smoother picture. The Moto G9 Plus has a standard 60 Hz screen. You will not notice that if your current smartphone also has a 60 Hz display, but once you are used to higher it is difficult to go back to 60 Hz. The maximum brightness of the screen of the Moto G9 Plus is lower than the competition, making the display less visible under bright (sun) light.

Hardware

The Motorola Moto G9 Plus runs on a Snapdragon 730G processor, which we know from competing Google Pixel and Samsung smartphones. It’s a great processor, but not the fastest in this price segment. Motorola puts 4 GB of RAM in the Moto G9 Plus, which is average to below average today. There are plenty of comparable smartphones for sale with 6 GB of RAM. They have an advantage on paper with multitasking and are more future-proof. The Moto G9 Plus is fast enough but does not stand out in this segment in terms of performance.

That does apply when we look at the battery life and charging. The Moto G9 Plus has a large 5000 mAh battery and can last for a day and a half on one battery charge. Two days is possible if you take it easier. It is nice that Motorola includes a powerful 30 Watt charger, which charges the smartphone in ninety minutes. Do you want to refuel quickly because you go out the door? Charging for 15 minutes lifts the battery from five to thirty-five percent. Wireless charging is not possible and that is a cutback that applies to all affordable smartphones.

The large storage memory of 128 GB is pleasant, which can be enlarged with a micro SD card.

Cameras are disappointing

The Moto G9 Plus has four cameras on the back. That looks very impressive, but says nothing about the quality. And it shows, because the camera performance simply disappoints me. Photos from the 64-megapixel main camera quickly look gray and dark, even when the sun is shining and the sky is predominantly blue. At other times, the camera does better, but the results remain significantly less than those of the competition. The wide angle lens is also mediocre. It does shoot a wide photo, but it often looks washed out and contains little detail. Better is the depth sensor, which helps to blur the background to make the person or object in the front of the frame stand out better. Finally, there is a 2 megapixel macro camera available to shoot photos up close. That works properly, but due to the low resolution, the images look much less sharp than a normal photo. It is not possible to print a nice macro plate on canvas size.

Normal photo
Wide angle camera

The selfie camera of the smartphone sits in a hole in the screen and works properly, without being noticed positively or negatively. Motorola’s Moto G 5G Plus has two selfie cameras, including a wide-angle lens for group photos.

Software

I have been writing the same about the Android software on Motorola smartphones for years. Motorola adjusts little, so you almost use stock Android and do not suffer from unnecessary apps or functions. The handful of functions that Motorola adds, let you operate the phone faster with gestures, among other things. Nothing wrong with that. With the update policy, yes. Motorola has only guaranteed one version update for years and that is not enough. Competitive brands such as Samsung and Nokia offer updates for two or three years. Many manufacturers also make security updates available for three years, something that Motorola only does for two years.

In the case of the Moto G9 Plus, it means that you can expect an update from Android 10 to Android 11. There it ends and that is extra sad when you consider that Android 11 was already out when the smartphone was launched. The update therefore feels only logical, and I would have liked to see at least an update to Android 12.

Conclusion: buy Motorola Moto G9 Plus?

The Motorola Moto G9 Plus is a smartphone that does a lot of good, but certainly has points of interest. Because of its size, it is not the best buy for everyone, the cameras are disappointing and Motorola’s update policy is moderate. If you can live with these points, the Moto G9 Plus is a great buy. Still, I think most interested parties are better off with the Poco X3 NFC, especially because this smartphone has better specifications and updates for longer. Other interesting alternatives are the Xiaomi Mi 10 (T) Lite, Motorola Moto G Pro and Samsung Galaxy M31.

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