Motorola adds a 90Hz display to its budget-friendly Moto G Play

But the 2023 version still has no NFC for mobile payments.


Motorola is churning out another budget Android phone today with the Moto G Play (2023). The $170 handset runs an eight-core MediaTek Helio G37 chipset, the same entry-level processor from the latest Moto G Power. Unfortunately, although the new Moto G Play offers decent-enough specs on a budget, it also underscores Motorola’s habit of churning out endless rehashes of cheap phones.

The Android 12 handset has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (expandable to up to 512GB with a microSD card). Its IPS TFT LCD 6.5-inch display has a mere 720p resolution but a fast 90Hz refresh rate, something you won’t always see in this price range.

The phone has three cameras on its back, a first for the Moto G Play series. A 16MP main lens gets help from 2MP macro and depth sensors to produce extreme closeups and portraits with blurred backgrounds. In addition, the rear camera and 5MP front sensor can each record full HD footage at 30 fps.

Moto G Play budget smartphone on a table with breakfast.

Motorola says the phone’s 5,000mAh battery lasts up to three days and supports 10W rapid charging via USB-C. It has IP52 water protection, so it should withstand light splashes and spills. Continuing a familiar cost-cutting measure, the Moto G Play lacks NFC and 5G.

The phone’s unlocked version launches on January 12 at Best Buy, Amazon and Motorola. UScellular and Canadian carriers will have it on the same day, with various US regional carriers following later.