Lenovo gives cheap phone buyers a choice by splitting the Moto G in three

Motorola and new owner Lenovo have introduced a triplet of new phones in the extremely popular Moto G family — the Moto G4, the Moto G4 Plus, and the Moto G4 Play. Revealed in India, the devices represent a considerable advancement over the previous models, and show that mid-range, affordable phones are set to be way more desirable in 2016 than in other years.

The Moto G series is entering its fourth generation, and it’s the first time Motorola has created a slew of devices for the lineup. Typically, the name of the device has been “Moto G,” with references to which generation it is a part of or what year it came out, i.e., “Moto G 2015” or “Moto G 3rd Generation.” The new moniker of adding the generation number to the Moto G name may be confusing, as it now closely resembles LG’s lineup of devices, such as the LG G4 and the LG G5.

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Regardless, of the three the Moto G4 Plus is the more exciting, specification-wise, of the new phones. A U.K. price of £200 ($290) has been set for the G4 Plus, putting it up against hardware such as the OnePlus X and the Oppo F1 Plus, and the features are ready to compete. The screen measures 5.5-inches and is covered in Gorilla Glass 3, but the best news is a resolution increase to 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Moto G has traditionally had a 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution.

Under the screen is a fingerprint sensor inside the unusual square-shaped home button, although it’s not clear whether this is a physical key or not. Lenovo says it’s suitably fast to react, and should keep up with more expensive Android phones equipped with the same technology.

Around the back is a 16-megapixel camera with both laser and phase detection autofocus, an f/2.0 aperture, and a manual mode for plenty of control over your pictures. On the front is a 5-megapixel selfie camera that has a wide-angle lens for group shots. Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow is the phone’s operating system, which is the most current version available, and the 3,000mAh battery has a fast-charge mode that will provide six hours of use from 15 minutes of charging time.

There are three versions of the Moto G4 Plus, all of which come with an octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor, but a choice of 2GB, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, depending on whether you choose 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of internal storage space respectively.

The extra RAM will help future-proof the G4 Plus to a certain extent, but each model comes with a MicroSD card slot that can add an additional 128GB of extra storage, so the extra internal memory may not be a big concern.

Moto G4

Smack dab in the middle lies the Moto G4, which shares many of the same features as the Moto G4 Plus, including a 5.5-inch, 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 617 processor, and a fast-charging 3,000mAh battery. The operating system is the same, it also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with wide-angle lens, as well as a MicroSD card slot.

The changes begin with the lack of a fingerprint reader, which is a great shame, and continue with the camera, which has 13-megapixels on the rear. The Moto G4’s RAM is fixed at 2GB, but there’s a choice of either 16GB or 32GB internal storage.

That makes the Moto G4 a little cheaper, and a starting U.K. price of £170 ($245) has been attached to it.

Moto G4 Play

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The Moto G4 Play resembles the name of the lower-tier Moto X Style — and this one is the runt of the litter. Powered by a Snapdragon 410 processor, the Moto G4 Play comes with only 2GB of RAM, and only 16GB of internal storage. It’s lighter at 137 grams, as opposed to the the Moto G4 and the G4 Plus’ 155 grams.

It moves down in size to 5-inches with a resolution of 720p. The battery also is a little smaller at 2,800mAh. The rear camera has 8-megapixels and an aperture of f/2.2, and can capture 1080p video. The front-facing camera has the same 5-megapixels as the other two, except the G4 Play doesn’t use a wide-angle lens.

Moto Maker

According to Motorola, two of the three Moto G4 models can be purchased through Motorola’s Moto Maker, which lets you customize your handset when ordering through the company. However, it looks like you will have fewer customization options than you currently have with the Moto G 2015.

More specifically, you can choose from eight different back coloring options with the standard Moto G4 and Moto G4 Style, a small drop-off from the 10 options available for the Moto G 2015. In addition, the Moto G4 Play will be left out of the Moto Maker fun, as there is no back coloring option for the handset. This puts the Moto G4 Play more in line with the Moto E, which also can’t be customized through Moto Maker.

All the devices in the new Moto G family have a release date of mid-summer, sometime in June. Judging by the quality of previous Moto G phones, we have high hopes for these new models with improved specs.

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