Nowadays it’s a given that you can scoop up a great smartphone for under RM1,500. Before the Moto G arrived in a grand flourish of affordable magic, that wasn’t such a guarantee.

Thankfully for bargain hunters, the era of great, cheap tech is well and truly upon us with the likes of Honor and Oppo having leapt upon this cut-price bandwagon. Can the pioneer of this new budget-friendly vanguard still cut it with the best of them?

Moto’s new G4 answers any doubters with the cocksure swagger of an old pro. It’s been in this inexpensive Android game for a while now and that crown still fits perfectly, thank you very much.

Here are our hands-on impressions with what looks like an inexpensive marvel.

Haven’t we seen you G4?

Technically there are two new Moto G4s: the Moto G4 (RM1,015) and Moto G4 Plus (about RM1,200). We’ll be dealing with the Moto G4 here, but it’s worth knowing that both phones are very similar.

The big differences between the two? The G4 Plus comes with a fingerprint scanner and 16-megapixel camera, complete with laser- and phase detect auto focusing. The standard Moto G4 has what looks like the same 13MP snapper as last year’s Moto G (3rd Gen), and skips out on a fingerprint scanner. That's a shame, but make no mistake: the Moto G4 still seems to offer great value for money.

Bigger than ever G4

That’s mostly down to its design, which steps away from the standard plastic-metal look that we’ve seen in so many affordable smartphones of late.

Instead, the Moto G4 rocks a grippy, plastic casing on its back that feels distinct and sleek to hold. We like it a lot, and it no doubt helps keep weight down to a svelte 155g.

Screen-wise, both new G4s have the same 5.5in, Full HD display with a thoroughly respectable 401ppi pixel density. Gorilla Glass 3 should protect against accidental drops and bumps too. That’s a big step up from last year’s 5in Moto G, giving you a lot of phone for your money without too much in the way of compromise.

You can’t really make out individual pixels, even with your nose pressed up against the screen, which is always a good sign.

As for that 13MP camera? We reckoned the 3rd gen Moto G had the best budget cam going in 2015, so your photos should be in safe hands with the G4 - given it’s got pretty much the same specs and all that.

Expect fast snaps, an impressive dynamic range and a very good hit rate, so you shouldn’t have to shoot twice all that often. Both Moto G4s share a 5MP front-facing camera too.

Scream if you want to G4-aster

As with Moto’s previous Android efforts, the G4 runs on an extremely stripped back version of Android. This year’s edition of the Pure OS dovetails with Google’s Marshmallow update and, like the excellent HTC 10, has stripped away as many apps as possible. That means the entry-level 16GB storage isn’t unnecessarily swamped with duplicate downloads.

Even Google Photos acts the native gallery app, giving users the added benefit of two years free cloud storage for their holiday shots and selfies. That’s a nice touch for frugal-minded folk.

Elsewhere, the G4 is powered by a Snapdragon 617 processor and a basic offering of 2GB RAM. This can be expanded up to 4GB RAM should you decided to shell out on a version of the phone with 32GB or 64GB storage.

For everyday use, you should get by just fine with 2GB RAM and, if you find your G4 stuffed full of apps and video, you can always add upto 128GB storage with a microSD card.

Whichever model you plump for, Android Marshmallow feels snappy and responsive, so should be a welcome upgrade over that years-old clunker you've been putting off upgrading.

Motorola Moto G4 early verdict

We didn’t have all that much time with the G4 before it was swept out of our hands, but on first impressions it looks like a very tempting handset. Especially if you’re not all that tempted by the flagship offerings from Samsung and LG.

Lay down your cash for the Moto G4 and you’ll bag yourself a thoroughly capable phone with a tremendous, distinct design for the price. Despite its myriad rivals, Moto still knows how to deliver an affordable phone with knockout panache.

Roll on June, when it officially goes on sale and we can bring you a full review.

Tech Specs 
153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8mm
5.5in LCD, 1080x1920 resolution (401ppi)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 w/ Adreno 405 GPU
options: 2/3/4GB
options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Primary camera
13MP on 4G, 16MP on 4G Plus
Selfie camera
MicroUSB, water-repellent