Moto G6 first impressions: the new benchmark for premium design under Rs 15,000

Moto G6 1

There is no doubt in my mind that Motorola is the first brand that raised the level of smartphones in the under Rs 15,000 price category in India. The original Moto G was exactly what consumers asked for. It was a no-nonsense, fuss free device running stock Android that just worked every time you woke the display. That said, a lot has changed since. We are in 2018 now and brands like Xiaomi, Asus, and Honor have introduced some stellar propositions in this price-range. From the indomitable Redmi Note 5 Pro to the surprisingly good Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, consumers are spoilt for choice. So, where does that leave Motorola with its new Moto G6? 

Well, I managed to catch a glimpse of the phone at the launch event in India and I have a slight clue of where the company is headed. 

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Moto G6: designed to impress

From the get go, you know that the Moto G6 is by far the most premium looking phone in its category. A layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 wraps around the phone and it is separated only by a metal railing for added sturdiness. The 3D curvature on the rear shimmers in any light and looks very attractive. It is unlike any phone I’ve held and used in this price range. In my limited time with the phone, I noticed that the phone is a smudge magnet and it slips easily. But, that was expected from a glass phone anyway.

What I like about the new design refresh is the Moto G6 now comes with a USB Type-C port at the bottom. And, the 3.5mm jack continues to exist as well. Oh, and let’s not forget that signature circular camera module that looks like the shocked smiley. 

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One of the interesting things to note is that, Moto has finally jumped on the 18:9 bandwagon. You now get a 5.7-inch full-HD+ IPS LCD panel with this tall aspect ratio that makes it easy to hold and use with one hand. I didn’t get enough time to gauge the quality of this panel but it didn’t wash out under the bright Delhi sun when I took it out to shoot.

Also read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro review: how the hell is it priced so low?

Below the display on the front, you get a multi-function fingerprint reader. I like this approach of navigating the OS and it is definitely a decent alternative to navigation gestures. Once you unlock the phone by registering your fingerprint, you can tap once to go Home, swipe left to go back one step, and swipe right to open the recents panel. It is all pretty intuitive.  

I will talk more in length about the design and the display the moment we get our hands on a review unit, which should be soon. 

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Moto G6: conservative specs but near-stock Android experience is a plus

Now, here’s the thing that might be a bit of a downer for many. The Moto G6 comes with a Snapdragon 450 SoC inside. The 450 is a watered down variant of the 625 and in this price range you have phones that come with far more powerful SoCs like the Snapdragon 636 and the Helio P60. Having said that, I’ve always maintained that specs do not maketh a smartphone. Therefore, I will urge you to wait for our full review for a verdict on the actual performance. Also, the Moto G6 comes in two variants: 3GB of RAM+32GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM+64GB of storage. 

But, the calling card for the G6 is the fact that it runs near-stock Android Oreo 8.0. It also includes a few Moto embellishments in the form of Moto Actions. Apart from the now-famous chop-chop gesture to open torch and twist twice to open the camera, you also get gestures like: swipe to shrink screen, pick up to stop ringing, and flip for do not disturb.  

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Coming to the cameras, in the Indian version of the Moto G6, has a bumped up 16MP camera. On the rear, you get 12MP+5MP rear camera unit with an f/1.8 aperture on the primary lens. The secondary 5MP camera is used for depth sensing in the Portrait Mode. 

Also read: Realme 1 first impressions: the Redmi Note 5 Pro has a crazy good competitor now!

The camera app has a few new tricks up its sleeve now. The Portait Mode allows for selective focus and you get a Snapchat-style stickers as well. Moreover, Motorola has also ported the Spot Colour mode from the Moto X4 to the new G6 as well. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no time to test the capability of the camera or capture a few samples. So, you will have to wait for a full review. 

Powering all these components is a comparatively small 3,000mAh battery. But fret not, since you get Moto’s Turbo Charging feature on the phone.

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Closing thoughts on the Moto G6

At Rs 13,999, the new Moto G6 finds itself in the tough spot no doubt. It is not going to be easy to recommend this phone over the Redmi Note 5 Pro or the Realme 1. But, Moto’s G series has always managed to surprise with its dependability. Will it manage to do it this time as well? Well, wait for the full review on Mr. Phone to find out. 

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Ershad Kaleebullah

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?