Motorola has a complete portfolio of basic and intermediary devices for all types of audiences. The Moto G line, the brand’s darling, has been showing considerable evolution year after year and the new Motorola Moto G9 Play is proof of that. Launched in September 2020, next to the brother G9 Plus, this smartphone should arouse the interest of that consumer looking for an intermediate device with a generous price.
In the specs, say goodbye to the 6.2-inch panel, 2 GB of RAM and the previous generation MediaTek Helio P70, the Moto G8 Play, and say hello to a 6.5-inch screen, 4 GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 662 in addition, of course, to a new and beautiful design. Is it worth it? The Motorola Moto G9 Play has been my primary phone for the past few weeks and I share the whole experience in this review.
Video review of Motorola Moto G9 Play
THE Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. This unit of the Motorola Moto G9 Play was purchased by Tecnoblog in retail.
Moto G design was never eye-popping, but I can already say, now in 2020, that the Moto G9 Play is a beautiful phone and this is mainly due to the color options available which are turquoise green, sapphire blue and pink. I liked them all, however, for this review, we chose the first color because it is very different.
Despite this, the device is all worked in simple plastic that easily accumulates fingerprints. The good news is that a silicone case comes with the product.
At the rear, the cameras come out grouped in “i” in the upper left corner and a format in the Samsung style, but centralized. Let’s face it, it was time for this change to happen. Below, remains the fingerprint reader, which maintains a great unlock speed.
The dedicated Google Assistant button on the right side is very welcome, however its position does not favor usability. He is at the top of the device and reaching for it with one hand is not an easy task. Just like LG did with the K61, it could be on the left side.
But in this region, there is only the drawer for the chip and memory card. In fact, the Moto G9 Play only accepts two nano-SIM cards without MicroSD or one nano-SIM with a MicroSD. It is important to consider this first.
The year is 2020 and Motorola did very well to maintain a headphone jack, which is at the top of the smartphone, could be at the bottom of the phone to facilitate usability, but ok. Below you can see the USB-C input accompanied by the mono speaker.
Screen and sound
Up front, the drop-shaped notch and a prominent chin have been preserved. Does this mean that the Moto G9 Play does not have a good front end? No. We are talking about a cell phone with a 6.5 inch screen, HD resolution + 1600 x 720 pixels and 20: 9 aspect ratio.
Unfortunately, there is no OLED panel here, however the LCD of the Moto G9 Play does the job and I even liked it. The colors are intense, the viewing at different angles is good with the brightness above 50% and, under sunlight, the experience is average. I also enjoyed watching Netflix content, Prime Video and YouTube on the G9 Play thanks to the stretched screen, favoring immersion.
For a device like this, the screen configuration is good, but if you can afford to spend around R $ 200 or R $ 300 more, you can find the Galaxy M31 with AMOLED and other numbers that draw attention in the technical sheet. So, it’s worth analyzing.
The speaker, in turn, is loud and has a slight distortion when listening to songs on Spotify with the volume at maximum, nothing exaggerated. The experience when watching movies and series without the headset is excellent, given that the G9 Play can deliver a loud and clean sound.
Identical to Apple’s EarPods, the phone shipped in the G9 Play box has a simple rubberized finish. At least Motorola ships the accessory in the box. Its sound quality is questionable, but it is not horrible. For R $ 100 more, you can take a Bluetooth headset, which is a disappointing quality. I’ll tell you that.
As for the software, the Moto G9 Play leaves the factory with Android 10. Motorola guarantees Android 11 for this model, as well as security updates every three months for two years.
If you own a Moto G or have had a model in the recent past, you may have noticed that there have been no major changes to the G9 Play software. The interface is clean, fluid and easy to navigate. As usual, there is a huge list of Google apps with Drive, Google Photos, Google One, Maps and Google Pay. From Motorola itself, there are two: Hello You and Moto; none of them can be excluded.
Through the Moto app it is possible to edit the interface, modifying icons and fonts, in addition to changing the layout of the home screen. Adored by fans of the brand, Moto Actions is present and makes it possible to turn on the flashlight when shaking the device twice, or activate the camera by rotating the device, taking a print with the three fingers pressed on the screen, among other functions.
We can also not forget the night mode, which is around here and works efficiently with compatible applications.
The Moto G9 Play received three lenses at the rear. They are: the main has 48 megapixels, the secondary is the macro of only 2 megapixels and has a depth sensor of 2 megapixels. Well, Motorola could switch from macro to ultrawide, which I particularly find more interesting.
Recently, I talked to Thiago Masuchette, head of products for Motorola Brazil, and he told me that the brand’s strategy is to increasingly bring these 48 MP sensors to accessible cell phones. In addition, he believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) should dominate in the coming years.
This device has it all and it is worth remembering that the main camera of the predecessor is 13 megapixels, but does the G9 Play do its homework?
I really liked the result. The main one, with f / 1.7 aperture, delivers images with acceptable definition and level of detail. Even on a cloudy day in São Paulo, I managed to have great photographs and this is also thanks to quad pixel technology. Also note that there is a certain increase in saturation after the click, but this adjustment is not as exaggerated as in the Samsung models.
The depth sensor does a good job in well-lit environments. The blur worked very well, without showing those bizarre errors like “hiding” your shoulder or arm in the image. And if that happens, post-processing makes the correction. I really liked it.
Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the macro lens. It has 2 megapixels of resolution, it gives a poor definition and, in addition, the focus just doesn’t work well and is annoying.
For night photography, Motorola highlights Night Vision, whose function is to improve photos taken in dark environments, working on the details. In practice, I can say that the G9 Play works hard. With this mode, I got an interesting result as you can see in this photo (below), but noises are inevitable.
Finally, the front camera has 8 megapixels and is very good, producing very detailed images. Some more demanding consumers may notice dark graininess during selfies, which is not at all intense.
Hardware and battery
For the Moto G9 Play, Motorola chose Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662, octa-core, Kryo 260, up to 2 GHz with an Adreno 610 GPU. It is a mid-range processor with a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cameras up to 48 megapixels. The RAM is 4 GB, while the internal storage is 64 GB, but you can insert a MicroSD of up to 256 GB.
During my performance tests, Moto G9 Play worked satisfactorily, without choking even in more complex apps. Applications like Facebook, Netflix and Spotify open at a good speed. Asphalt 9 ran with the graphics at maximum, but it is possible to notice the impaired fluidity in specific moments; the experience is more positive with the graphics in the pattern.
In more intense conditions, with several applications open and others installing, it is possible to notice the performance slightly impaired, but nothing very serious.
As expected, the Moto G9 Play does not disappoint when it comes to battery, that’s because its capacity is 5,000 mAh. In practice, I had these results: 3 hours of Netflix made the percentage go from 100% and drop to 62%; then 1 hour of YouTube and 50% left, 10 minutes of Asphalt 9 and that number dropped to 48%. Finally, 10 minutes of social media and 46% remained.
This is an excellent result and shows that it can withstand two days of use with ease. It is important to note that the device was connected to Wi-Fi at all times and always with maximum brightness.
With a 15 watt TurboPower charger, fully discharged, the phone went from 0% and reached 50% in 47 minutes, a long time. In total, to reach 100%, the device took 2h32min.
Motorola Moto G9 Play is it worth it?
Evolution is the word that defines the Motorola Moto G9 Play. A 2020 cell phone with a beautiful design, excellent battery life and consistent performance, which should please many people, especially motolovers. It is difficult to find negative points in this intermediate device.
I think he just needed some occasional usability adjustments: the Google Assistant’s physical button should be on the left side and configuring it for other functions would be great.
The drawer had to allow the insertion of two nano-SIM cards accompanied by a microSD and, finally, the brand did not detach from the 2 megapixel macro lens that does not produce legal photos. Those are the main cons of G9 Play.
The model was launched for R $ 1,599, but it is already possible to find it in retail for R $ 1,300, which is very interesting. The Samsung Galaxy A21s, its main competitor, is found for R $ 1,200. This model is very reminiscent of the most powerful devices in the Galaxy A line. So, like the G9 Play, it has a 5,000 mAh battery, 4 GB of RAM, but its screen is smaller. Still, this fight is a good one.
Motorola Moto G9 Play – specs
- Screen: 6.5-inch IPS LCD, HD + resolution (1600 × 720 pixels)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 octa-core up to 2.0 GHz and Adreno 610 GPU
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB, expandable by microSD up to 256 GB
- Frontal camera: 8 megapixel (f / 2.2)
- Back camera
- Main: 48 megapixels (f / 1.7)
- Macro: 2 megapixel (f / 2.2)
- Depth: 2 megapixel (f / 2.4)
- Drums: 5,000 mAh
- Connectivity: 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5 mm headphone jack, FM radio, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac, GPS, Glonass, Galileo
- Extras: rear fingerprint reader and facial recognition
- Dimensions: 165.2 × 75.7 × 9.2 mm
- Weight: 200 grams
Motorola Moto G9 Play
- Beautiful design
- Battery for the whole day
- Excellent speaker
- Interesting performance
- Dedicated Google Assistant button is a differentiator
- Macro camera still sucks
- Drawer could accept two chips and a memory card together