Another year, another Motorola upgrade cycle. With so many upgrades, Motorola’s lineup can get a little confusing, even for those of us who live and breathe in the mobile world. With Moto models ranging from E to G to Z, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d dropped into an episode of Sesame Street, rather than a list of Motorola’s latest and greatest.
But fear not, we’re here to help. We’ve delved deep into the details of each of Motorola’s latest phones to make sure that you know exactly what you’re getting in terms of budget, design, or needs. We’ll be going from the cheapest budget device, the Moto E5 Play, all the way to the assumed Motorola flagship, the Moto Z3.
If you’re looking for a Motorola phone from 2017, check out our guide on Motorola’s 2017 phones.
Pricing: Around $130
Who it’s for: Someone who needs a basic, cheap smartphone.
The Moto E Series has always been Motorola’s bargain budget tier of smartphones, but don’t let that put you off. The specs are modest, as you’d expect: A Snapdragon 425 or 427 processor (depending on the carrier you buy it from), as well as 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, with an optional MicroSD slot for more storage. The draw here is the upgraded looks and display — slim bezels and a 5.2-inch screen with a 1280 x 720-pixel resolution — and though it does have a plastic back panel, it’s removable so you can replace the sizable 2,800mAh battery if needed. It ran decently during our limited time with it, and the 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera proved capable.
Unfortunately, Motorola has ruled out an Android P upgrade for this phone, so that’s something to keep in mind if you like to be up-to-date.
Pricing: Around $180
Who it’s for:Someone who needs a lot of battery life, but isn’t bothered about processing power.
We loved the Moto E4 Plus, and it seems that the follow-up will include that phone’s greatest asset — the fantastic battery life. The Moto E5 Plus is packing an enormous 5,000mAh battery that will likely be able to last upwards of two days thanks to the energy-sipping Snapdragon 435, while still providing plenty of power and storage with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (with the option of MicroSD card expansion). Like the Play version, the looks have been upgraded, with slim bezels and a cool polymer glass back panel. It also has a huge 6-inch display with a 1440 x 720-pixel resolution, as well as a capable camera suite — a 12-megapixel lens on the back and an 8-megapixel on the front.
Unfortunately, like the E5 Play, this phone will definitely not be receiving an Android P upgrade — which may be a deal-breaker for some.
Pricing: Starts at $200
Who it’s for: Someone who wants a good-looking and cheap midrange device that covers all the bases.
The Moto G6 range comes to the U.S. in two flavors this year, and the Moto G6 Play is the cheapest of those models. You might not realize that at first glance since Motorola has finally gotten around to fully embracing the bezel-less trend we’ve seen slowly taking over the entire mobile industry. Slim bezels surround a huge 5.7-inch LCD screen running a 720p HD resolution. It’s not the sharpest around, but it’s good enough for this price. The whole phone is clad in a polymer glass, which throws some really nice reflections when the light hits it. You’ll also find the fingerprint sensor around the back of the phone, which we definitely prefer to the front-mounted design Motorola has gone with before.
Moving inside the phone, there’s a Snapdragon 427 along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, but there will also be a model with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. You can also expand that storage on either model of the G6 Play with a MicroSD card. Performance is fast, but don’t expect the G6 Play to keep up with you if you need power in your phone. Camera-wise, the G6 Play has the only single-lens setup in the G-range this year, and the single 13-megapixel lens held up well, though we suspect it may still suffer from shutter lag. Still, we’re expecting good things from this $200 phone.
Pricing: Starts at $250
Who it’s for: Someone who wants a great all-round midrange phone for under $300.
The Moto G6 is the next rung up on the midrange ladder, and it’s one heck of a rung. For $250, you get a phone that’s close to being bezel-less, a 5.7-inch screen running a full HD 1080p resolution, and some decent specs on the inside. The Moto G6 is wrapped in glass (Gorilla Glass 3), and it sits nicely in the hand. The performance is smooth, thanks to the Snapdragon 450 and 3GB of RAM. There’s 32GB of storage, but that’s upgradable by MicroSD card, and if that’s still not enough, there’s a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
The fingerprint scanner is back underneath the display, like the previous Moto G models, which is good if you like that placement. There’s a dual-lens camera on the back — a 12-megapixel lens and a 5-megapixel lens — and these are primarily used to give a blurred “bokeh” effect to images. It did a pretty good job in testing, but there’s still a hint of that shutter lag that always seems to plague Motorola phones. In a first for the G-range, there’s also a USB-C port at the bottom of the phone.
Note: There is also aMoto G6 Plus with the faster Snapdragon 630, a bigger battery, and a slightly larger 5.9-inch display — but it won’t be coming to the U.S.
Pricing: Under $400
Who it’s for: Someone who’s after an upper-midrange phone and likes a notched display.
It used to be that the Moto X was Motorola’s flagship range — but it’s since been supplanted by the Moto Z range. That doesn’t mean that a Moto X doesn’t deserve to be your daily driver though, as there’s historically been a lot to love in a Moto X. The Moto X5 has yet to be officially announced, but the rumors surrounding its existence point to an iPhone X-style notch at the top of the screen. There are precious little details on the Moto X5 at this stage though, save a possible 5.9-inch screen.
We’ll let you know as soon as there are more details available on this device.
Who it’s for: Someone who wants access to Moto Mods, but in a cheaper package.
The Moto Z Play range has always been the best route for anyone who wants a great phone at a low price, but also can’t resist the allure of Motorola’s Moto Mods. 2018’s Moto Z3 Play comes with the improved Snapdragon 636, 4GB of RAM for easy multitasking, and Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s all powered by a 3,000mAh battery, and while that seems small, the Moto Z2 Play provided two-day battery life on that same capacity — so we can’t wait to see what the Moto Z3 Play can manage. There’s an upgraded camera and a new bezel-less design too, with Motorola bring the best of 2018’s trends to the table. So far, the Moto Z3 Play seems like a great choice for a Moto Mod enthusiast on a budget.
Pricing: Around $600 to $700
Who it’s for: Someone who wants the best flagship performance with their Moto Mods.
The existence of the Moto Z3 is currently the stuff of rumor and whisper, but based on what we’ve heard about this device so far, you can expect the Moto Z3 (or Z3 Force — the name is up for speculation) will likely be Motorola’s next big flagship phone, with performance and specs to match. Current whispers say it’ll come with at least a 6-inch screen, but Motorola has been remarkably tight-lipped on specs. We suspect that the powerful Snapdragon 845 will be involved, and it’ll be packing at least 6GB of RAM. As with the Z3 Play, we expect the full range of Moto Mods to work with the Moto Z3.
Information on the Moto Z3 is like dust in the wind — elusive and hard to catch. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.