Motorola Moto G Play (2023) assessment: Restricted attain

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) is a 2023 machine with a 2021 mentality. It hasn’t realized too many tips for the reason that final model, and the funds Android realm appears to be shifting on with out one in all its oldest manufacturers. Whereas it is nonetheless one of the crucial inexpensive Android telephones round, it is simple to get extra via a service deal.

If anybody is aware of the key to a profitable funds cellphone, it’s Motorola. The Chicago-based large has lasted longer within the inexpensive Android section 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 means down, whereas once-low costs are on the up. Can Motorola proceed to succeed with its basic “Play” method? Discover out in our Motorola Moto G Play (2023) assessment.

About this Motorola Moto G Play (2023) assessment: 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 assessment.

What you want to know in regards to the Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

motorola moto g play 2023 home screen

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  • 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 house above the Moto G Pure and proper behind the Moto G Energy, and it doesn’t fall removed from the household tree. In reality, the Moto G Play (2023) takes fairly a number of 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 right down to the millimeter. You get the identical 6.5-inch LCD, 90Hz refresh price, and HD+ decision with a punch gap digicam within the heart. The practically repeated design leaves you with a large chin bezel, nevertheless it means there are nonetheless a number of creature comforts; Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) nonetheless carries a headphone jack and room for microSD storage enlargement.

You’ll in all probability need to benefit from that enlargement, too, given the one 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 basic 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 important sensor because the spotlight. It’s backed by a 2MP devoted macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor for further processing information.

Most of those specs are the identical as they have been on the earlier Moto G Play (2021). The show dimension and backbone are the identical, solely differing in refresh price, 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 acquired Android 13. We’re anticipating one full Android model and three years of safety patches — Motorola’s ordinary funds promise — however not way more.

Motorola launched plastic-free packaging with the Moto Edge (2022), and the development continues with the Moto G Play (2023). The field is comprised 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-known development of arriving within the US and Canada however skipping the remainder of the world. It’s a cut price — should you may name it that — at $169, and it’s out there unlocked via Motorola, Greatest Purchase, and Verizon. The service assist is just about large open, overlaying AT&T, T-Cellular, and Verizon, in addition to most of their MVNOs.

What’s good?

motorola moto g play 2023 moto app

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Motorola’s energy within the funds section is its consistency. What’s good in a single model of a Moto G machine will possible be simply nearly as good within the subsequent. With the Moto G Play (2023), that concept is rarely 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 as a minimum.

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 completely different right here. In the event 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 a substitute preferring Google’s variations. One of many unsung heroes of the My UX expertise is the devoted Moto app. It’d appear to be undesirable bloat at first, nevertheless it’s extra just like the Pixel Ideas app and a customization suite rolled into one. You may set your app grid, select a brand new font, after which be taught your means round your new cellphone from the identical app. It’s nice for newcomers and those who need to customise their expertise with a number of faucets.

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

Regardless of its funds 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 properly. No, it gained’t give a 120Hz OLED a run for its cash, however an upgraded refresh price is a simple solution 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 basic options yet another time. It’s good to see a 3.5mm jack stick round for yet another 12 months for these unwilling to spend cash on Bluetooth headphones. Expandable storage is sweet, too, as 32GB isn’t sufficient out of the field — I’ve already stuffed 10GB in only a few 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 all the time a given at this worth tier.

What’s not so good?

motorola moto g play 2023 rear view showing cameras and buttons

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

For instance, we took problem 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 pace in 2023. It’s straightforward to maneuver too shortly for the Moto G Play, particularly should you’re attempting to scroll via an extended webpage or bounce via settings too shortly. I’ve commonly needed to cease and look ahead to the cellphone to catch up, even when only for a second or two. The 4G-locked Helio G37 additionally implies that we gained’t see Motorola carry 5G to its most inexpensive units for not less than one other 12 months, whereas Samsung provides 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 underneath the hood, which outperforms the Helio G37 in nearly each context. Possibly 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 in all probability additionally contribute to the occasional lag. We’re on the level the place 3GB isn’t sufficient whenever you’re multitasking, and it’s very straightforward to refill the 32GB of base storage with only a few giant video games. You’ll virtually actually desire a microSD card.

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

Underpowered is a theme all through the Moto G Play, and it continues whenever 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 pace — 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 price, it rarely hits the mark. It spends extra time stuttering via menus than easily scrolling via, properly, something. The show isn’t notably vivid in direct daylight, even when set to most brightness. I’m additionally normally a fan of rear-mounted fingerprint readers, however the Moto G Play (2023) sometimes struggles right here, too. It acknowledges my fingerprint perhaps two-thirds of the time, which isn’t an awesome success price.

Maybe the worst facet of Motorola’s consistency is the software program dedication for funds 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). Which means wi-fi funds or Close by Share file swapping are off the desk. It additionally eliminates digital lodge keys and digital driver’s licenses, although these makes use of are much less commonplace. And eventually, 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 assessment

motorola moto g play 2023 camera app

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Extra isn’t all the time higher, it doesn’t matter what an inexpensive digicam cellphone tells you. We’d moderately have two good lenses than one helpful lens and a few supporting choices, however Motorola is heading the opposite means. The Moto G Play (2023) picked up an extra 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 major sensor whereas the depth and macro choices fill in whenever you need them.

Motorola’s 16MP important digicam is ok in good lighting, however even then, I wished somewhat extra. Regardless that it picked up an extra 3MP over the Moto G Play (2021), the pixels bought smaller, costing some low-light efficiency. The outcomes aren’t unhealthy within the picture of data in a milk crate or the Rolex clock, however the colours aren’t very punchy, and the small print are inclined to fall off as quickly as you’re out of fine lighting. For instance, the leaves within the nook of the prism picture are considerably blurry in opposition to the sky, and the bushes behind the three busts fall into the identical entice.

The Moto G Play’s single large lens just isn’t all the time the best to zoom with. Motorola provides fast faucets for macro mode and 1x zoom within the digicam app, however anything requires pinching and squeezing to get proper. I felt snug zooming in to about 3x with out shedding too many particulars, nevertheless it begins to fall off shortly after that. 8x zoom, which you’ll be able to see on the precise, is so far as the Moto G Play (2023) goes, and it will get progressively harder to land a great shot. Just a few of the perimeters of the bulb are noticeably mushy, and the colour profile has additionally shifted.

Whereas the Moto G Play’s zoom might be hit and miss, its low-light efficiency is sort of all the time a miss. There’s no devoted evening toggle, so you need to depend on the 16MP major sensor and somewhat post-processing luck to succeed in the end line. Which means the small print get even softer, as seen within the bushes flanking the statue, and the lights contained in the on line casino are inclined to bleed. The big neon logos on Caesar’s Palace undergo an analogous destiny, melting into vivid purple blobs.

Motorola’s 5MP selfie digicam isn’t glorious, although I used to be impressed with its edge detection. It solely trimmed a number of of my wilder hairs and dealt with the realm the place my hair met the rocks behind me fairly properly. The photographs beneath are somewhat mushy 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 may shoot as much as HD footage at 30fps with the macro digicam, and the selfie digicam is in step with the first sensor’s Full HD functionality. That is all pretty customary for entry-tier telephones.

Motorola Moto G Play (2023) specs

Motorola Moto G Play (2023)


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


Mediatek Helio G37




Expandable as much as 512GB


5,000mAh battery
10W wired charging


– 16MP large, 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) assessment: The decision

motorola moto g play 2023 home screen

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

No person ever stated that making an awesome budget-friendly Android cellphone could be straightforward. Actually, it in all probability will get harder as premium options attempt to work their means down and types attempt to nail particular worth factors. Sadly, the Motorola Moto G Play (2023) is caught in that squeeze. A lot of its options labored properly 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. After all, we now have to do not forget that this is among the most inexpensive Android units in the marketplace 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 surroundings.

Particularly, Samsung’s new Galaxy A14 5G provides 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 after we get our palms on one, nevertheless it’s shaping up properly with related lenses and a 50MP major shooter.

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

Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

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 supply top-of-the-line specs in your cash, nevertheless it’s a dependable, easy cellphone that brings near-stock Android and an up to date design that is snug within the hand. Better of all, it nonetheless has a headphone jack in 2023.

High Motorola Moto G Play (2023) questions and solutions

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

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) continues to be a 4G-only machine on account of its Mediatek Helio G37 chipset.

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

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

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

The Moto G Play (2023) and Moto G Play (2021) share the identical show dimension and base RAM and storage. Nonetheless, the newer Moto G Play provides a quicker refresh price and swaps the Snapdragon 460 chipset for a weaker Helio G37.