Moto G9 Play Review: The Best Budget Non-Chinese Android Phone To Date

Aadhya Khatri - Jan 20, 2021


Moto G9 Play Review: The Best Budget Non-Chinese Android Phone To Date

If you want to ignore Chinese phones altogether but still want an affordable handset, Moto G9 Play is right up your alley

If you want to ignore Chinese phones altogether but still want an affordable handset, Moto G9 Play is right up your alley. What you can expect with this phone is a decent performance, a large screen, and a camera setup that can yield relatively nice photos when the lighting is good.

Motorola Moto G9 Play Review
If you want to ignore Chinese phones altogether but still want an affordable handset, Moto G9 Play is right up your alley

Moto G9 Play Price And Availability

Moto G9 Play is priced at $220 and Rs 14,890 in India, making it the most affordable handset of the G9 lineup.

Moto G9 Play launch date in India is February 12, 2021.

Moto G9 Play Design

The phone is an affordable handset but fortunately, it looks like something that may cost you at least $400.

It features a large screen disrupted by a teardrop notch – the design choices of many pricier phones. However, the plastic front and back sides will definitely give the price tag away.

Moto G9 Review Display
It features a large screen disrupted by a teardrop notch – the design choices of many pricier phones

Moto G9 Play sports USB-C charging, a headphone jack, and a fingerprint scanner on the rear. Users will have to wait for about half a second for the phone to unlock, but that is to be expected from a handset of this price.

The square camera module on the back doesn’t appear as refined as the one on the iPhone 12 lineup, but it does trick a lot of people into thinking that they are looking at much more expensive phones.

Moto G9 Play Display

The front of Moto G9 Play is dominated by a 6.5-inch LCD screen and while there is nothing high-end about the display, the real experience with it is close enough with what you have with a more expensive phone.

The color range is decent but don’t expect the same level of saturation as higher-end phones. The phone’s display holds up quite well even at extreme angles except for some brightness loss, evident of a solid screen.

Moto G9 Play Home Screen
The color range is decent but don’t expect the same level of saturation as higher-end phones

The brightness is only a third of what you have with phones like Galaxy Note 20 Ultra but it is still legible outdoor.

Moto G9 Play features a 60Hz refresh rate – not exactly a problem but it takes some time to get used to if you are using a 120Hz or 90Hz display.

Moto G9 Play Camera

Moto G9 Play features three cameras on the back but most of the time, it feels like you are using a single-snapper phone as it has only one field of view.

For the portrait mode, it has a 2MP depth and 2MP macro lens for the job. The two cameras serve as reminders that you are having a budget phone on hand. The low-resolution macro snapper won’t do much whatsoever and the depth one is basically useless when it comes to challenging scenes.

Motorola Moto G9 Play cameras
For the portrait mode, it has a 2MP depth and 2MP macro lens for the job

If stat is important to you, here are some Moto G9 Play specs. The phone’s primary camera is a 48MP and f/1.7 Samsung GM1 while the two others feature f/2.4 OmniVision OV02B sensors.

In the majority of situations, the Moto G9 Play uses HDR to keep highlight details and lift the shadows. In reality, when we tested the cameras for this Moto G9 Play review, the photos we took have good colors, especially in daylight.

It might come as a surprise that while lower-end phones in the Moto G family don’t have Motorola’s Night Vision, the G9 Play does. So shooting in low light with a budget phone like this is a real pleasure. But bear in mind that this is a cheap phone after all so don’t expect too much. Our advice is to use Night Vision when you are indoor shooting still subjects.

While you may have fun with taking pictures, videos are very limited though. The best you can have is 1080p and 60FPS. We recommend always going for these maximum settings as this is the only choice if you want electronic image stabilization.

The teardrop notch on the front houses an 8-megapixel f/2.2 sensor that can only yield decent selfies in good lighting. However, for the price, this is acceptable. Plus, Moto G9 Play also offers Portrait mode for the selfie camera, which is a nice addition.

Moto G9 Play Specs And Performance

Under the hood, the phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of inbuilt storage.

In real life, it takes the phone a bit longer to load apps than phones of the $400 price bracket. And when you jump from one place of the interface to another, you might experience fractional pause. However, the phone doesn’t show the kind of lag that makes you think you are too fast for the Moto G9 Play to catch up.

Moto G9 Play review
In real life, it takes the phone a bit longer to load apps than phones of the $400 price bracket

The handset can handle gaming but not at the level you will expect from phones with more capable processors. Fortnite is playable at 20 to 30FPS and PUBG also plays well.

The software of Moto G9 Play is quintessential Motorola – not exactly vanilla Android but so simple and clean that you may think it is.

Moto G9 Play Battery Life

The handset draws power from a 5,000mAh battery that will leave you with around 40% of juice at the end of a light day.

The charging speed of Moto G9 Play is solid too with the 20W charger. Wireless charging is non-existent – not a surprise given the price.

>>> Motorola Moto G Stylus Price, Specifications, Review: Should You Buy It?

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