Moto G9 review: A decent option for budget buyers
The Moto G9 checks all the right boxes. It performs well, it offers a long battery life, the user interface is smooth and the camera isn’t too shabby either.
Product: Moto G9
Key specs: 6.5-inch LCD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC, 5000mAh battery, 48MP primary camera
The budget smartphone segment in India is flooded with smartphones from companies like Realme, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo. Amid these giants, Motorola has carved out a niche space for itself with its G-series. The latest edition of Motorola's G-series smartphones in India is the Moto G9.
The Moto G9, theoretically, succeeds the Moto G8, but that phone was never launched in India (so you can cross that one off your list). In India, it succeeds the Moto G8 Plus that was launched in India back in 2019 for ₹12,499.
The Moto G9 costs ₹10,999 and it is available in Sapphire Blue and Forest Green colour variants. At first glance, it looks quite similar to its predecessor. It has the same front design and a glossy gradient back that was there in the company's G8 Plus smartphone. But if you take a closer look, a lot of things have changed. For instance, the camera design. Motorola has completely redesigned the camera module in its latest G-series smartphone.
Changes and similarities aside, the real question remains: is the Moto G9 worth buying? Let's find out…
Let's talk about the design first. The Moto G9 measures 165.21x75.73x9.18mm and it weighs 200 grams. It is slightly bigger than the Moto G8 Plus that measures 158.35x75.83x9.09mm and weighs 188 grams. Dimensions aside, the Moto G9 comes with a plastic body that features a glossy black with a gradient finish, which is similar to what we have seen in the case of the Moto G8 Plus.
It has got a square-shaped camera module that sits in the middle of the phone's back right above the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner with the signature Motorola symbol in the middle. The phone has got a 3.5mm jack on top and a USB Type-C port along with speakers at the bottom. On the left, it has the SIM card tray and on the right, it has a special button for invoking the Google Assistant. This button sits on top of the volume rockers, which in turn, are placed on top of the power button.
Coming to the overall experience, while the Moto G9 is comfortable to work with, it is also extremely heavy. In fact, it is so heavy that it gets tiring to hold during a long long call, which for me is a regular affair. Long calls aren't the only issue, it droops down the back pocket of my denim when I move around with it. And the silicon cover that ships inside the box, just adds to the weight.
That aside, the phone is a fingerprint magnet and its glossy back doesn't make it easy to hide those greasy spots. Thankfully, it ships with a silicon cover that takes care of all the cleanliness issues that you might have, however, like we said, it makes it heavier.
Overall, I am not a fan of the design. It's big and bulky and the colour isn't that great either.
Next is the display. The Motorola G9 comes with a 6.5-inch Max Vision IPS LCD display. It comes with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and an HD+ resolution of 1600x720 pixels. It has thin bezels on the sides and a thick chin at the bottom. On the top, it has a narrow bezel that protrudes into a dew-drop notch, which houses the phone's selfie camera.
Interestingly, the Moto G8 Plus, which is almost a predecessor to the Moto G9, comes with a smaller 6.3-inch display but with a better resolution of 2280x1080 pixels.
Details aside, the Moto G9 features a decent display if not a good or a great one. While the colours are all vibrant in indoor light, it takes the phone quite some time to light up while stepping out in the sun and most of the time, it's not enough. Outside, the display is clear but not comfortable enough for the eyes. Indoors, it's definitely better.
Coming to clarity, it isn't impressive outside or inside. I tried watching a bunch of videos on YouTube and on Facebook (those addictive food videos, I tell ya!) and I must say that I have definitely seen better displays. Overall, the Moto G9 comes with just about an “okay” display and it surely fails to impress.
Now comes the camera. The Moto G9 comes with a triple rear camera setup that is housed inside a Blue coloured camera module (because I am using the Sapphire Blue colour variant). This rear camera module consists of a 48MP primary shooter, a 2MP depth sensor, a 2MP MP macro sensor and an LED flash. The Moto G8 Plus, on the other hand, comes with a 48MP primary shooter, a 5MP depth shooter and a 16MP action camera.
The Moto G9 comes with a camera setup that captures sharp images without overtly brightening them. During the day time, the 48MP shooter captures images with amazing clarity and depth. There is no shred of noise even on zooming the image and the colours are preserved nicely, though on the more subtle side of things. The macro camera captures the images with amazing clarity. Overall, the rear camera setup is a smashing hit.
Things, however, change during the night time. While the camera does capture some noise in the general mode, things improve, both in terms of brightness and clarity, with the night mode. However, it isn't able to maintain the same depth as it did in the case of the images in bright daylight.
Coming to the front camera, the Moto G9 comes with an 8MP front camera. The Moto G8 Plus, on the other hand, comes with a bigger (and better) 25MP camera. The front camera of the Moto G9 is a decent performer, kind of a let down after the phone's amazing back camera. While it smoothens the selfies clicked via the generic and portrait mode, the ones clicked sans the portrait mode has some noise in it. They also lack clarity. And let's not even talk about the selfies clicked in low light conditions. They're a total mess.
All in all, cameras get a mixed reaction from my side. While the rear cameras are a hit, the front cameras could definitely could use some work.
Speaking about performance, the Moto G9 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor that is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. This storage space can be expanded further using a microSD card of up to 512GB storage space. It is the same chip that powers phones like the Redmi 9 Power and the Redmi Note 9 Pro among others. The Moto G8 Plus, on the other hand, is powered by the Snapdragon 665 SoC.
The Moto G9 is a decent performer. During my time with it, was able to handle the daily workload with ease. This included endless calls, messages and emails along with two to three hours of social media time. Even as I fiddled through various social media apps and transitioned in between apps, the overall experience remained smoothed and fuss-free.
What I liked about this phone apart from a smooth experience is its equally fuss-free interface. The Moto G9 runs on Android 10 with the company's My UX on top. Overall, the phone UI is clean and you hardly spot any bloatware except for the occasional ads. But that is something you can easily look past. The overall interface is a bit laggy though, but then you have to remember that the phone costs a little over 10 grand.
Coming to biometrics, the Moto G9 comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a face recognition system and admittedly both these features are adept at doing their jobs. They unlock the phone in less than a second. It almost seems instantaneous, which makes it one of the many things I like about this phone.
Lastly, the battery. The Moto G9 comes with a 5,000mAh battery with support for 20W TurboPower charger. The phone charged almost 30% in 30 minutes and it took me almost two hours to charge the phone completely. What I particularly liked about this phone is its battery life. Motorola claims that this phone can last for almost two days and in my usage, which involved 9-10 hours of messaging time, two-three of calling and social media time, endless emails and three to four hours of video time, it lasted for a day and a half. Like I said, impressive. All in all, the Moto G9 is a decent performer.
Now, the most important question: should you buy the Moto G9 or not?
Well, the answer is - you could consider this.
The Moto G9 checks all the right boxes. It performs well, it offers a long battery life, the user interface is smooth and the camera isn't too shabby either. Sure the night mode and selfie camera could use some changes and the display could use a slight upgrade, but most phones offer similar details at the price of 11K. All in all, the Moto G9 is a decent option for budget buyers.