Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) is a 2023 machine with a 2021 mentality. It hasn’t discovered too many methods because the final model, and the price range Android realm appears to be transferring on with out one in all its oldest manufacturers. Whereas it is nonetheless some of the inexpensive Android telephones round, it is easy to get extra by a provider deal.

If anybody is aware of the key to a profitable price range cellphone, it’s Motorola. The Chicago-based big has lasted longer within the inexpensive Android phase than simply about anybody else, refining its craft over numerous generations of Moto G units. Nonetheless, the panorama of low-cost smartphones isn’t the identical because it as soon as was. Premium specs are working their approach down, whereas once-low costs are on the up. Can Motorola proceed to succeed with its traditional “Play” formulation? Discover out in our Motorola Moto G Play (2023) evaluation.

About this Motorola Moto G Play (2023) evaluation: I examined the Motorola Moto G Play (2023) for 2 weeks. It was operating Android 12 on the October 1, 2022 safety patch. The unit was supplied by Motorola for this evaluation.

What it’s essential to know concerning the Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

  • Motorola Moto G Play (2023) (3GB/32GB): $169.99

The second most inexpensive Moto G machine is again after taking a 12 months off in 2022. Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) slots proper again into its previous area above the Moto G Pure and proper behind the Moto G Energy, and it doesn’t fall removed from the household tree. In truth, the Moto G Play (2023) takes fairly just a few classes from its Energy-packed sibling however retains them at a lower cost level.

The Moto G Play and Moto G Energy share similar footprints — proper all the way down to the millimeter. You get the identical 6.5-inch LCD, 90Hz refresh fee, and HD+ decision with a punch gap digicam within the heart. The almost repeated design leaves you with a large chin bezel, nevertheless it means there are nonetheless just a few creature comforts; Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) nonetheless carries a headphone jack and room for microSD storage growth.

You’ll most likely need to benefit from that growth, too, given the only configuration of 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. They’re accompanied by a Mediatek Helio G37 chipset to maintain the lights on and a hefty 5,000mAh battery for good measure. It’s not a quick refill at simply 10W peak wired charging, however Motorola does not less than give you a charger within the field.

As for the remainder of the design, the Moto G Play (2023) has a plastic body and plastic rear panel. It is available in a single Navy Blue end, and the again plastic is damaged up solely by the traditional fingerprint reader baked into the brand and the corner-mounted digicam bump. The Moto G Play (2023) now has three cameras — a rise over the earlier mannequin — with the 16MP primary sensor because the spotlight. It’s backed by a 2MP devoted macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor for further processing knowledge.

Most of those specs are the identical as they had been on the earlier Moto G Play (2021). The show measurement and backbone are the identical, solely differing in refresh fee, and the bottom RAM and storage are similar, too. Maybe the one main shifts are the adoption of a Mediatek Helio G37 rather than the Snapdragon 460 (extra on that later) and a few further megapixels on the first digicam.

Our Motorola Moto G Play (2023) arrived with Android 12 out of the field and has not obtained Android 13. We’re anticipating one full Android model and three years of safety patches — Motorola’s common price range promise — however not rather more.

Motorola launched plastic-free packaging with the Moto Edge (2022), and the development continues with the Moto G Play (2023). The field is made out of 60% post-consumer materials and contains the 10W charger talked about above, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and important paperwork.

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) additionally sticks to a well-recognized development of arriving within the US and Canada however skipping the remainder of the world. It’s a cut price — for those who may name it that — at $169, and it’s obtainable unlocked by Motorola, Finest Purchase, and Verizon. The provider assist is just about broad open, protecting AT&T, T-Cell, and Verizon, in addition to most of their MVNOs.

What’s good?

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Motorola’s energy within the price range phase is its consistency. What’s good in a single model of a Moto G machine will possible be simply pretty much as good within the subsequent. With the Moto G Play (2023), that concept isn’t extra current than when speaking about battery life. The 5,000mAh cell, mixed with the power-sipping 4G/LTE processor, ends in a cellphone that lasts for days and days. It doesn’t matter what you do with the cellphone — whether or not gaming, streaming, or shopping social media — you shouldn’t must cost greater than each different day at least.

The Moto G Play (2023) additionally sticks to Motorola’s mild and breezy My UX. We’ve lengthy praised it as one of many lightest Android skins, and it’s no totally different right here. Should you’re shopping for unlocked, the one bloat you face proper out of the field is the Fb app, and you’ll simply uninstall it. Motorola doesn’t load you with its model of apps, as an alternative preferring Google’s variations. One of many unsung heroes of the My UX expertise is the devoted Moto app. It would seem like undesirable bloat at first, nevertheless it’s extra just like the Pixel Suggestions app and a customization suite rolled into one. You possibly can set your app grid, select a brand new font, after which be taught your approach round your new cellphone from the identical app. It’s nice for newcomers and those who need to customise their expertise with just a few faucets.

Motorola’s My UX software program is mild, constant, and one in all our favorites — particularly the Moto app.

Regardless of its price range limitations, the Moto G Play (2023) isn’t a bad-looking cellphone both. Certain, it’s plastic which doesn’t really feel all that nice within the hand, however the Navy Blue end and matte texture give it a barely extra premium look. I didn’t have any points with fingerprints, and the slight texture on the facility button makes it straightforward to search out with out trying. Motorola’s 90Hz show is eye-catching as nicely. No, it received’t give a 120Hz OLED a run for its cash, however an upgraded refresh fee is a simple technique to improve a easy panel, even when the weak efficiency hampers its fluidity (extra on that later).

I’ll additionally reward Motorola’s continued use of traditional options another time. It’s good to see a 3.5mm jack stick round for another 12 months for these unwilling to spend cash on Bluetooth headphones. Expandable storage is nice, too, as 32GB is never sufficient out of the field — I’ve already stuffed 10GB in just some weeks and an enormous chunk is occupied out of the field. The 2023 Moto G Play can also be rated for fundamental splashproofing and restricted mud ingress, which isn’t at all times a given at this worth tier.

What’s not so good?

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The opposite facet of consistency is that we don’t are likely to see main enhancements from one Moto G machine to the following. Sadly, the Moto G Play (2023) leans closely into a few of its extra dated options.

For instance, we took concern with the underpowered Helio G37 chipset when it got here to the Moto G Energy in 2022, and the now two-year-old chipset hasn’t picked up velocity in 2023. It’s straightforward to maneuver too shortly for the Moto G Play, particularly for those who’re making an attempt to scroll by an extended webpage or soar by settings too shortly. I’ve repeatedly needed to cease and anticipate the cellphone to catch up, even when only for a second or two. The 4G-locked Helio G37 additionally signifies that we received’t see Motorola convey 5G to its most inexpensive units for not less than one other 12 months, whereas Samsung affords prime speeds on its upcoming Galaxy A14 5G for simply $20 extra.

Not solely is the Mediatek Helio G37 lengthy within the tooth and sluggish on the draw, nevertheless it’s truly slower than the chipset within the earlier Moto G Play. That mannequin had Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 460 beneath the hood, which outperforms the Helio G37 in nearly each context. Perhaps the change is a results of the worldwide chip scarcity, nevertheless it’s kneecapping an already restricted machine.

The Moto G Play’s restricted RAM and storage most likely additionally contribute to the occasional lag. We’re on the level the place 3GB isn’t sufficient once you’re multitasking, and it’s very straightforward to replenish the 32GB of base storage with just some giant video games. You’ll nearly actually need a microSD card.

The Moto G Play’s Helio G37 lacks punch, and 3GB of RAM and 32GB of base storage aren’t an incredible supporting solid.

Underpowered is a theme all through the Moto G Play, and it continues once you lastly drain the battery. The cellphone solely helps 10W wired speeds, so that you’ll must plant your self at an outlet for some time. Just like the Moto G Energy (2022) — which has the identical battery and charging velocity — the Moto G Play (2023) takes about two hours to cost again to 100%.

Whereas the big 6.5-inch show has a 90Hz refresh fee, it infrequently hits the mark. It spends extra time stuttering by menus than easily scrolling by, nicely, something. The show isn’t notably brilliant in direct daylight, even when set to most brightness. I’m additionally often a fan of rear-mounted fingerprint readers, however the Moto G Play (2023) often struggles right here, too. It acknowledges my fingerprint possibly two-thirds of the time, which isn’t an incredible success fee.

Maybe the worst facet of Motorola’s consistency is the software program dedication for price range telephones. The Moto G Play (2023) arrived with Android 12 out of the field, however we’re not anticipating it to see an excessive amount of assist past an eventual Android 13 replace. Motorola tends to restrict its most inexpensive lineup to a single Android refresh and three years of safety patches, which is an enchancment however isn’t nice when customers hold their telephones longer.

Rounding out the unlucky limitations: there’s no NFC chip within the Moto G Play (2023). Meaning wi-fi funds or Close by Share file swapping are off the desk. It additionally eliminates digital resort keys and digital driver’s licenses, although these makes use of are much less commonplace. And at last, the Moto G Play (2023) packs a single down-firing speaker, which is able to good quantity however feels a bit off steadiness with out utilizing the earpiece as a stereo unit.

Motorola Moto G Play (2023) digicam evaluation

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Extra isn’t at all times higher, it doesn’t matter what an inexpensive digicam cellphone tells you. We’d quite have two good lenses than one helpful lens and a few supporting choices, however Motorola is heading the opposite approach. The Moto G Play (2023) picked up a further lens over its predecessor, a devoted 2MP macro. Certain, it ends in a bump that matches most of Motorola’s different telephones, however you’ll spend most — if not all — of your time utilizing the 16MP main sensor whereas the depth and macro choices fill in once you need them.

Motorola’s 16MP primary digicam is ok in good lighting, however even then, I needed just a little extra. Although it picked up a further 3MP over the Moto G Play (2021), the pixels bought smaller, costing some low-light efficiency. The outcomes aren’t dangerous within the picture of information in a milk crate or the Rolex clock, however the colours aren’t very punchy, and the small print are likely to fall off as quickly as you’re out of excellent lighting. For instance, the leaves within the nook of the prism picture are considerably blurry towards the sky, and the timber behind the three busts fall into the identical lure.


The Moto G Play’s single broad lens shouldn’t be at all times the best to zoom with. Motorola affords fast faucets for macro mode and 1x zoom within the digicam app, however anything requires pinching and squeezing to get proper. I felt comfy zooming in to about 3x with out dropping too many particulars, nevertheless it begins to fall off shortly after that. 8x zoom, which you’ll be able to see on the appropriate, is so far as the Moto G Play (2023) goes, and it will get progressively more durable to land shot. A couple of of the sides of the bulb are noticeably smooth, and the colour profile has additionally shifted.

Whereas the Moto G Play’s zoom could be hit and miss, its low-light efficiency is sort of at all times a miss. There’s no devoted evening toggle, so you need to depend on the 16MP main sensor and just a little post-processing luck to achieve the end line. Meaning the small print get even softer, as seen within the timber flanking the statue, and the lights contained in the on line casino are likely to bleed. The massive neon logos on Caesar’s Palace endure an analogous destiny, melting into brilliant purple blobs.

Motorola’s 5MP selfie digicam isn’t wonderful, although I used to be impressed with its edge detection. It solely trimmed just a few of my wilder hairs and dealt with the world the place my hair met the rocks behind me fairly nicely. The pictures beneath are just a little smooth on my face, and the sky is blown out behind the on line casino, however I discover that the colour profile is nearer to actual life than what the first digicam achieved.

The Moto G Play (2023) additionally sticks near its predecessor for video, providing simply Full HD recording at 30fps. You possibly can shoot as much as HD footage at 30fps with the macro digicam, and the selfie digicam is consistent with the first sensor’s Full HD functionality. That is all pretty normal for entry-tier telephones.

Motorola Moto G Play (2023) specs

Motorola Moto G Play (2023)


6.5-inch IPS LCD
HD+ decision
90Hz refresh fee


Mediatek Helio G37




Expandable as much as 512GB


5,000mAh battery
10W wired charging


– 16MP broad, 1.0 μm, f/2.22
– 2MP macro, 1.75μm, f/2.4
– 2MP depth, 1.75μm, f/2.4

– 5MP, 1.12μm, f/2.4


Single bottom-mounted speaker
3.5mm headphone port


Single Nano SIM


IP52 score


Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner

Software program

Android 12

Dimensions and weight

– 167.2 x 76.5 x 9.3mm

– 203 grams


Navy Blue

Motorola Moto G Play (2023) evaluation: The decision

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

No person ever stated that making an incredible budget-friendly Android cellphone could be straightforward. Actually, it most likely will get more durable as premium options attempt to work their approach down and types attempt to nail particular worth factors. Sadly, the Motorola Moto G Play (2023) is caught in that squeeze. Lots of its options labored nicely in 2021 with the final G Play mannequin, however they don’t all sustain in 2023.

Certain, it nonetheless has a headphone jack, a battery that lasts and lasts, and the sunshine, easy My UX pores and skin, however that doesn’t really feel like sufficient. The Mediatek Helio G37 lacks any punch, the charging leaves you tethered to the wall for hours, and there’s no signal of NFC or 5G on the horizon. In fact, we’ve got to keep in mind that this is without doubt one of the most inexpensive Android units available on the market at simply $170, however the tide is rising round Motorola.

The Moto G Play has a 2021 mentality that does not fairly land in a 2023 setting.

Particularly, Samsung’s new Galaxy A14 5G affords key benefits throughout the board, including a Full HD decision, further RAM and storage, and 5G speeds for simply $30 extra. It shifts to 15W wired charging and a dependable side-mounted fingerprint reader that doubles as the facility button. It’ll even be supported with Android model updates for 2 years and safety patches for 4 years, making it a safer funding. We’ll have to attend and see how Samsung’s up to date digicam array performs once we get our arms on one, nevertheless it’s shaping up properly with comparable lenses and a 50MP main shooter.

The OnePlus Nord N300 ($228 at T-Cell) is one other affordable competitor in an analogous worth phase. It has flaws of its personal, nevertheless it brings extra RAM and storage proper out of the field and affords a lot sooner 33W wired charging. Add just a little further punch — and 5G assist — from the Dimensity 810 chipset, and it’s straightforward to see the place spending just a little more money will get you, although for now it solely helps T-Cell.

Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

5,000mAh battery • Easy software program expertise • Rock-bottom worth

Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) hangs onto classics like a headphone jack and expandable storage.

Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) is hard to beat on worth. It would not provide top-of-the-line specs on your cash, nevertheless it’s a dependable, easy cellphone that brings near-stock Android and an up to date design that is comfy within the hand. Better of all, it nonetheless has a headphone jack in 2023.

High Motorola Moto G Play (2023) questions and solutions

How lengthy will the Moto G Play (2023) be supported?

Motorola has promised one Android replace and three years of bi-monthly safety updates.

Does the Moto G Play (2023) have 5G?

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) remains to be a 4G-only machine attributable to its Mediatek Helio G37 chipset.

Does the Moto G Play (2023) have a microSD slot?

Sure, and you’ll develop the Moto G Play’s storage by as much as 512GB.

Does the Motorola Moto G Play (2023) have quick charging?

No, the Moto G Play (2023) is proscribed to 10W wired charging.

Is the Motorola Moto G Play (2023) waterproof?

The Moto G Play (2023) has an IP52 score for fundamental splashproofing and mud ingress safety.

What’s the distinction between the Moto G Play (2021) and the Moto G Play (2023)?

The Moto G Play (2023) and Moto G Play (2021) share the identical show measurement and base RAM and storage. Nonetheless, the newer Moto G Play affords a sooner refresh fee and swaps the Snapdragon 460 chipset for a weaker Helio G37.


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