Moto G4 review: Lenovated

Lenovated

GSMArena team, 01 July 2016.

User interface

The Moto G4 comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box, unlike previous-gen Motos (even some 2016 models), which launched with Lollipop before a quick upgrade to Marshmallow.

Moto G4 review

The software is some of the purest Android this side of the Nexus line and with remarkably little bloatware. Well, the camera app is a custom app, but it brings a few extra features on top of the usual Google Camera, so we don't mind the upgrade. The rest of the pre-installed apps include Google Play Music, Google Photos, Google Hangouts, you get the idea - all stock Android software.

There's also the Moto app, which is a simple configuration screen. It can set up the Active Display - turn it on or off, block select apps from spamming and disable it for a given time period (so you can turn it off at night).

It's not an always on display like Samsung and LG offer, but it comes on when a new notification arrives, when you pick the phone or when you double-tap the screen.

Moto Screen - Moto G4 review Tapping on a notification reveals more info - Moto G4 review The stock lockscreen - Moto G4 review
Moto Screen Tapping on a notification reveals more info The stock lockscreen

The app also enables the two usual Moto gestures - chop twice to turn on the flashlight (and again to turn it off) and twist your writs twice to quick launch the camera. There's no notification LED, though, so you do have to interact with the phone to see if there's anything new after the initial display.

There are also a couple of gestures for the ringer - flip for Do Not Disturb and pick up to stop ringing.

The Moto app lets you tweak the added Moto features - Moto G4 review The Moto app lets you tweak the added Moto features - Moto G4 review The Moto app lets you tweak the added Moto features - Moto G4 review
The Moto app lets you tweak the added Moto features

Other than the Moto Screen, the lockscreen is plain Android. This means time and date, notifications and two shortcuts - Camera and Voice search.

Behind the lockscreen is the Google Now launcher. The left pane is your Google Now view with all relevant info cards. To the right are standard homescreens.

Google Now launcher - Moto G4 review Google Now pane - Moto G4 review The app drawer - Moto G4 review
Google Now launcher Google Now pane The app drawer

The Notification area shows notifications on the first swipe and then Quick toggles upon a second swipe. You can also do a two-finger swipe to get straight to the Quick toggles. This is the vanilla Android setup and it is gaining popularity as many phones stick close to AOSP and even skinned ones like Xperias do not change it.

This includes the brightness slider that lacks an Auto toggle. You have to go into the settings menu if you want to enable/disable automatic brightness.

Notification area - Moto G4 review Quick toggles - Moto G4 review
Notification area Quick toggles

The app switcher is the usual 3D rolodex with a searchbar on top. Google has been considering adding split-screen multitasking for ages (since Lollipop), but it never gets past the beta stage of the latest Android (it's in the Android N preview, let's see if it survives this time).

App switcher - Moto G4 review
App switcher

Reader comments

  • Delboy 14

Can anyone help me,I cannot get my phone to start,I try to enter my pin,but,it will not put the querty keyboard up?. How can I rest my phone?. As I need to use it ASAP!

  • Chuksman

How can I get no go G4 touchpad I need it to replace my own

  • ashish

Worst phone motog4, heating problem, im using from last 1 year, i am faced many problems with phone, any tym voice problm , ringing problem. no front flash . battery backup very bad.