Republic Wireless MOTO G4 smartphone review
comparing the new 2016 Moto G4 to the original groundbreaking 2014 Moto G

vs.

my original 2014 Moto G
(1st generation)
 

 

new 2016 Moto G4
(4th generation)
 

Motorola MOTO G4 smartphone from Republic Wireless
Rating: 5/5 by Steve
Last Updated: January 16, 2017

 

CURRENT REPUBLIC WIRELESS DEALS
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(updated Feb 19, 2017)

In 2014, Motorola released the first Moto G (1st generation) smartphone, which received rave reviews for redefining "budget" smartphones. Basically, the 2014 Moto G gave the average smartphone user a decent, usable mid-range smartphone at a previously unheard of low price of $149. We ended up buying three Moto G phones from Republic Wireless, and two years later, we are still using all three phones. They get the job done, and continue to work without any problems after 2 years. Even the batteries seem to hold the same charge as when they were new. We couldn't be happier with our three original 2014 Moto G (1st gen) phones.

After the acclaimed original Moto G, Motorola followed up by releasing the Moto G 2nd Generation and Moto G 3rd Generation smartphones. Both continued the tradition of providing a good midrange smartphone at an easy-on-the-wallet price, but neither version seemed to get quite the level of enthusiastic reviews as the original. So how does the new Motorola 4th Generation 2016 Moto G4 smartphone stand up? In a nutshell, it is getting the same great reviews as the original, and is again setting the standard for providing state-of-the-art specs at affordable entry-level budget prices. I think the best way to review the new Moto G4 is to compare it to the original Moto G, and see how much Motorola has improved on an already great phone.

price

$149 (8GB) / $179 (16GB) $199 ($16GB) / $229 (32GB)
original 2014 Moto G (1st Gen) new 2016 Moto G4 (4th Gen)

available

April 2014 to July 2015 (discontinued) introduced July 28, 2016 (available now)
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

display size / type

4.5" diagonal / HD 5.5" diagonal 1080p Full HD
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

resolution (pixels)

720x1280 pixels (~326 ppi) 1920x1080 pixels (~401 ppi)
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

screen

Corning Gorilla Glass 3 Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

phone width / height / weight

5.11" x 2.59" x 0.43", 5.04oz 6.02″ x 3.01″ x 0.31-0.39″, 5.47oz
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

memory (ROM)

8GB or 16GB internal
no removable (no MicroSD slot)
16GB or 32GB internal
plus add up to 128GB removable via MicroSD slot
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

battery

2070mAh lithium-ion 3000mAh lithium-ion
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

processor / RAM

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor with 550 MHz Adreno 405 GPU, 2GB RAM
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

main camera

5MP 13MP
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

camera flash

LED flash Color balancing dual LED flash
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

"selfie"  front-facing camera

1.3MP 5MP with wide angle lens & flash
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

OS

Android KitKat 4.4.4 (upgraded to Lollipop) Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

data speed

WiFi (2.4GHz), 3G WiFi (2.4GHz + 5GHz), 3G, 4G LTE
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

water protection

water repellent nano coating water repellent nano coating
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

cellular carriers supported

Republic Wireless only (via Sprint CDMA) unlocked, GSM and CDMA, works with all US carriers!
Moto G (1st Gen) Moto G4 (4th Gen)

Moto G4 improvements:
Compared to the original Moto G, the new Moto G4 is bigger (about an inch taller and 1/4 inch wider), but not much heavier (it only weighs a 1/2 ounce more). It has a bigger screen (5.5" instead of 4.5") that is higher resolution (full 1080 HD). It has a much faster processor, twice as much RAM (processor memory), twice as much ROM (storage memory), and you can now add even more removable storage memory via the MicroSD slot. The battery is bigger (3000mAh vs 2070mAh) and has a TurboPower feature that allows you to quick charge and add up to 6 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging. The main camera is much better (though the original Moto G camera was already pretty nice), and the Moto G4 also has a very good front-facing "selfie" camera. The new Moto G4 sold by Republic Wireless is unlocked and supports both GSM and CDMA, meaning if you leave Republic Wireless, the phone will work with all the US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint), as well as all of their MVNO providers. The Moto G4 also comes with Marshmallow, the latest version of the Android operation system. Motorola phones, and this phone in particular, are also pleasantly and surprisingly free of bloatware (unlike some other phone manufacturers and service providers).

The Price:
The best thing about the new Moto G4 smartphone is its price, only $199. I personally like having only about $200 bucks tied up in my phone. I don't like to spend more than I have to, and I also don't like worrying too much about what might happen to my phone. If you have a smartphone, some people will say it's only a matter of time before you drop it and break it, or lose it, or have it stolen. I'd rather not have to replace my phone, but if I have to, I'd rather pay $200 instead of $500 to $800! Expensive smartphones may be nice, but they make me nervous!

The Size (it's bigger):
Keep in mind that new smartphones keep getting bigger, and the new Moto G4 is no exception. It's bigger than the original Moto G by an inch in height and a 1/4" in width. I personally like the increase in size, as the bigger screen makes the phone easier to use. I like a bigger screen, and don't mind that the Moto G4 is a little bigger in my pocket. But people who are used to a smaller phone should be aware that the new Moto G4 is bigger, like most other new smartphones.

What About The $299 Moto G4 PLUS?
The Moto G4 PLUS from Republic Wireless is $299, or $100 more that the regular Moto G4. The phones are the same size. For $100, you get more memory (4GB RAM and 64GB ROM), though you can add up to 128GB of memory to the regular G4 with a MicroSim. You also get a cool fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone, though neither phone has NFC, so neither phone will support using Android Pay so you can pay with the phone instead of a credit card. Finally, the G4 PLUS does have a better 16MP main camera. Is paying $100 more to get more RAM and ROM memory, a fingerprint scanner, and a better camera worth it? It's up to you. I don't think it would be worth the extra $100 to me, but if you think these features are worth the extra price, the Moto G4 Plus may be the better choice for you.

What About The $149 Moto G4 PLAY? (introduced January 2017)
The new $149 Moto G4 PLAY is a smaller version of $199 regular Moto G4, and is definitely worth considering. It is smaller (5.0" instead of 5.5"), and doesn't have Gorilla glass. The camera is 8MP instead of 13MP. At $149, the Moto G4 PLAY is the cheapest phone that Republic Wireless offers, and frankly probably provides the best bang-for-the-buck and should be quite sufficient for most people. If I was getting a phone for a kid, I'd go with the Moto G4 PLAY. But I also think the Moto G4 PLAY would be fine for many adults. For more information on the new Moto G4 PLAY, please see my new Moto G4 PLAY review.

What You Don't Get With The Moto G4...
 * You don't get a fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone (you do with the more expensive Moto G4 Plus)
 * The Moto G (and Moto G4 Plus) do not support NFC, which means you can't use Android Pay to pay with your phone instead of a credit card
 * You don't get the best camera available today, but you do get a very respectable 13MP high quality camera. For the things that most people do with their smartphone pictures, I really can't see the need for a better camera. If you really do want to take the best pictures you possibly can, I would suggest getting a real camera (a digital SLR).
 * You don't get the best, fastest smart phone available today, but you also are only spending $200 instead of $800 or more! If you use your phone for intense gaming, or to run a dozen apps simultaneously, you might want a better (and much more expensive) smartphone. But in my opinion, the Moto G4 will more than meet the needs of most smartphone users.

What Other Reviewers Are Saying...
Don't just take my word for it. Here is what other reviewers are saying...

"The Bottom Line is that with its big, bold screen, water-resistant design and rock-bottom price, the new Moto G4 is a dazzling deal." [CNet, July 2016]

"Still the best budget phone you can buy... The new Moto G4 continues to offer an excellent value at $200." [Android Police, July 2016]

"The Moto G line continues to push the boundaries of what we should expect in a budget Android smartphone... The bottom line is there’s nothing better available at this price right now." [Digital Trends, July 2016]

"The Moto G4 is an impressive improvement on older generations of Motorola's most popular handset and it may well be the best phone you can buy on a budget." [Tech Radar, June 2016]

"The Moto G4 offers plenty of power and versatility without breaking the bank. It shows, once again, that nobody does budget phones better than Motorola." [Engadet, July 2016]

CONCLUSION
I think Motorola hit it out of the ballpark again with their new Moto G4 smartphone. It is a worthy heir and successor to the original Moto G, and should more that meet the needs of the majority of smartphone users, at an incredibly affordable price. I don't think you can get more bang-for-your-buck than the new Motorola Moto G4 smartphone.

MAKE SURE REPUBLIC WIRELESS IS RIGHT FOR YOU...
Republic Wireless has a 14 day money-back guarantee for new phone purchases. That said, if you are new to Republic, I recommend making sure their coverage will work for you. You can use the Republic Wireless Coverage Checker and enter your zip code to make sure they have good coverage in your area. Republic Wireless utilizes both Sprint (with voice/text roaming on Verizon) and T-Mobile (with voice/text roaming on AT&T) , and the coverage checker will determine which one will work best for you and show you the available phones with that service (i.e. the Ascend 5W is GSM-capable only and would not be available for customers who would be better served by Sprint Service). If neither service will provide good coverage in your area, the coverage check will let you know.

check your Cellular Coverage under Republic Wireless

check if your existing number will port into Republic Wireless

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CURRENT REPUBLIC WIRELESS DEALS
* click here for current Republic Wireless redemption codes, coupon codes, & special deals *
(updated Feb 19, 2017)

 

Comments / Questions / Feedback:

Comment by Shivram on Thursday, January 12, 2017
Thanks your review made it easier for me to understand what cellphone to buy although I am a republic wireless customer already, with the original Moto G. I am leaning toward the new Motorola G4 that you have recommended. Regards, Shivram

Reply by Steve (Cranial Borborygmus)
Hi Shivram, Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to hear that my review helped you. My wife, daughter, and son are still using our three original Republic Wireless 2014 Moto G (1st gen) smartphones, which all are still working fine. If and when I need to replace one of them, I would most likely go with the Moto G4. Keep in mind though that Republic Wireless just announced that starting next week (January 18, 2017), they will also offer the Moto G4 PLAY, which is a little smaller (5.0" instead of 5.5") and also less expensive ($149 vs $199). It also would be a good choice, and would also be a nice upgrade from the original Moto G. If I had to replace one of my kids' Moto G phones, I'd get them a Moto G4 PLAY, along with a good phone case!

 

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