Motorola Moto G Play (2023)

The Motorola Moto G Play (2023) is a 2023 system with a 2021 mentality. It hasn’t realized too many tips for the reason that final model, and the price range Android realm appears to be transferring on with out considered one of its oldest manufacturers. Whereas it is nonetheless some of the inexpensive Android telephones round, it is simple to get extra by a service deal.

If anybody is aware of the key to a profitable price range 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 gadgets. Nonetheless, the panorama of cheap smartphones isn’t the identical because it as soon as was. Premium specs are working their method 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) 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 you should know concerning 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 system is again after taking a yr off in 2022. Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) slots proper again into its outdated area above the Moto G Pure and proper behind the Moto G Power, and it doesn’t fall removed from the household tree. In actual fact, the Moto G Play (2023) takes fairly a couple of classes from its Energy-packed sibling however retains them at a cheaper price 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 rate, and HD+ decision with a punch gap digicam within the heart. The almost repeated design leaves you with a large chin bezel, however it means there are nonetheless a couple of creature comforts; Motorola’s Moto G Play (2023) nonetheless carries a headphone jack and room for microSD storage growth.

You’ll most likely wish to reap the benefits of 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 a minimum of offer 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 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 charge, 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 ordinary price range promise — however not far more.

Motorola launched plastic-free packaging with the Moto Edge (2022), and the pattern continues with the Moto G Play (2023). The field is created from 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 pattern of arriving within the US and Canada however skipping the remainder of the world. It’s a cut price — in the event you might name it that — at $169, and it’s accessible unlocked by Motorola, Finest Purchase, and Verizon. The service help is just about broad 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 price range section is its consistency. What’s good in a single model of a Moto G system will doubtless be simply pretty much 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, leads to a cellphone that lasts for days and days. It doesn’t matter what you do with the cellphone — whether or not gaming, streaming, or searching social media — you shouldn’t should cost greater than each different day in any case.

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. When you’re shopping for unlocked, the one bloat you face proper out of the field is the Fb app, and you may 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 would seem like undesirable bloat at first, however it’s extra just like the Pixel Suggestions app and a customization suite rolled into one. You may set your app grid, select a brand new font, after which be taught your method round your new cellphone from the identical app. It’s nice for newcomers and those who wish to customise their expertise with a couple of faucets.

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

Regardless of its price range limitations, the Moto G Play (2023) isn’t a bad-looking cellphone both. Positive, 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 seek out with out wanting. Motorola’s 90Hz show is eye-catching as properly. No, it received’t give a 120Hz OLED a run for its cash, however an upgraded refresh charge is a straightforward 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 one more time. It’s good to see a 3.5mm jack stick round for yet one more yr 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 crammed 10GB in just some weeks and an enormous chunk is occupied out of the field. The 2023 Moto G Play can be rated for primary splashproofing and restricted mud ingress, which isn’t at all times 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 system to the subsequent. Sadly, the Moto G Play (2023) leans closely into a few of its extra dated options.

For instance, we took difficulty 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 in the event you’re attempting to scroll by a protracted webpage or leap by settings too shortly. I’ve usually needed to cease and watch for 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 deliver 5G to its most inexpensive gadgets for a minimum of one other yr, whereas Samsung gives prime speeds on its upcoming Galaxy A14 5G for simply $20 extra.

Not solely is the Mediatek Helio G37 lengthy within the tooth and gradual on the draw, however 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, however it’s kneecapping an already restricted system.

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 whenever you’re multitasking, and it’s very straightforward to refill the 32GB of base storage with just some 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 forged.

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 should 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 charge, it hardly hits the mark. It spends extra time stuttering by menus than easily scrolling by, properly, something. The show isn’t significantly brilliant 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 possibly two-thirds of the time, which isn’t an awesome success charge.

Maybe the worst side 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 help 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 Nearby 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 at last, the Moto G Play (2023) packs a single down-firing speaker, which is able to good quantity however feels a bit off stability with out utilizing the earpiece as a stereo unit.

Motorola Moto G Play (2023) digicam evaluation

motorola moto g play 2023 camera app

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Extra isn’t at all times higher, it doesn’t matter what a cheap camera phone tells you. We’d moderately have two good lenses than one helpful lens and a few supporting choices, however Motorola is heading the opposite method. The Moto G Play (2023) picked up a further lens over its predecessor, a devoted 2MP macro. Positive, it leads to 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 primary digicam is okay in good lighting, however even then, I needed somewhat extra. Despite the fact that it picked up a further 3MP over the Moto G Play (2021), the pixels received smaller, costing some low-light efficiency. The outcomes aren’t unhealthy 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 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 towards the sky, and the bushes behind the three busts fall into the identical entice.

The Moto G Play’s single broad lens is just not at all times the simplest to zoom with. Motorola gives 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 shedding too many particulars, however it begins to fall off shortly after that. 8x zoom, which you’ll be able to see on the correct, is so far as the Moto G Play (2023) goes, and it will get progressively more durable to land a great shot. A number of of the perimeters of the bulb are noticeably comfortable, 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 night time toggle, so it’s a must to depend on the 16MP major sensor and somewhat post-processing luck to achieve 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 massive neon logos on Caesar’s Palace undergo an identical destiny, melting into brilliant pink blobs.

Motorola’s 5MP selfie digicam isn’t wonderful, although I used to be impressed with its edge detection. It solely trimmed a couple of of my wilder hairs and dealt with the world the place my hair met the rocks behind me fairly properly. The photographs under are somewhat comfortable 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 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 charge


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 ranking


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

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 most likely will get more durable as premium options attempt to work their method 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.

Positive, it nonetheless has a headphone jack, a battery that lasts and lasts, and the sunshine, clean 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 likely one of the most inexpensive Android gadgets 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 atmosphere.

Particularly, Samsung’s new Galaxy A14 5G gives key benefits throughout the board, including a Full HD decision, extra 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, however it’s shaping up properly with comparable lenses and a 50MP major shooter.

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

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 does not provide top-of-the-line specs to your cash, however 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

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 system on account of its Mediatek Helio G37 chipset.

Sure, and you may develop 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 rating for primary splashproofing and dirt ingress safety.

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 gives a sooner refresh charge and swaps the Snapdragon 460 chipset for a weaker Helio G37.

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