Moto G Play (2023) Review: Low Price, Low on Function
The essentials-only Motorola phone cuts to the bone in order to hit its $170 price.
The Moto G Play for 2023 costs $170 (or even less at Amazon), making it one of the cheapest new phones you can get right now, and without the bloatware or wireless carrier restrictions we sometimes see on lower-priced devices. With a decent set of specs for the price — including a triple camera system with a 16-megapixel main camera, a 6.5-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 5,000-mAh battery that provides nearly three days of battery life — this should have been an attractive option for anyone looking for a decent, no-frills phone.
However, this phone has a number of performance issues that make it frustrating to use. And on top of that, Motorola chose to drop one of its best Moto gestures: twisting the phone to quickly open its camera. While some might consider these gestures a gimmick, they have been a signature element of Motorola’s phones for nearly a decade. Other gestures like “chop to turn on flashlight” are still here, making the absence of the camera gesture even more glaring.
Despite these important drawbacks, the 2023 Moto G Play does have some positive attributes. The battery life is great, the software is a fairly clean version of Android 12 and you’ll find rare ports like a headphone jack and microSD card slot for storage expansion. But the phone will only get one major software update to Android 13, which is less than I’d like to see but typical for this price range, as well as three years of security updates.
Yet every perk I list comes with another problem, which is important to consider if you’re tempted by the Moto G Play because of its low price.