Looking at the design, the first thing you notice is the size. Over the years, the Moto G has put on some weight and the latest one would dwarf the first generation model in comparison. Its size however is okay for a 5.5-incher and it actually has a smaller footprint than the iPhone 6s Plus (not that these two are direct competitors, of course).
The design is unmistakably Motorola and you don't even need to see the logo on the back to recognize it.
The front of the phone has a glass panel spanning the entire surface. Above the display sits the earpiece, the front-facing camera, and all the sensors. The earpiece is also the loudspeaker on the phone.
Below the display is the new fingerprint sensor. It's amusing that it took Motorola five years to bring back the fingerprint sensor to its phones, after being the first Android manufacturer to have it back in 2011 on the Motorola ATRIX.
The fingerprint sensor on the phone works very reliably and is also one of the fastest we have seen. Unfortunately, the small size makes it a harder target to hit at times, especially as you are just pulling the phone out of your pocket, and that leads to some misreads. Also, we missed having an app lock feature, something some of the other brands offer out of the box (yet there are other majors that don't).
Flanking the fingerprint sensor on the left-hand side there is a microphone, which is used for calls. Hidden on the right-hand side is a small white LED, which surprisingly, is not used as a status light and only lights up briefly while the phone is booting up.
The frame of the phone is made out of metal. On the right are the power and volume buttons. The power button is placed above the volume buttons, which is not as comfortable as having it below as it is used far more often, but it has been finished with a ridged texture to make it easy to identify. There is nothing in particular on the left side of the phone.
On the top is the headphone jack, while on the bottom is the microUSB port. The phone lacks NFC support.
The back side has the slightly raised camera module, secondary microphone, and the Motorola logo. The back cover has a matte, fabric-like texture and is a bit of a smudge magnet on the black colored version.
The back cover can be removed, and underneath are the two micro SIM card slots and the microSD card slot. Motorola provides adapters for you to use your nano SIMs with the phone. The battery, however, is non-removable.
The overall build quality of the phone is impressive, despite the large removable panel on the back. Unfortunately, the new model is not waterproof like last year's. However, the phone does have a water-repellent coating, so it can survive a quick rain or spill but not a dip in the pool. That's a bit of a bummer but it's still more than what most phones in this price range offer.
The size is a concern, however. While some people won't have a problem, those who want a more compact phone, especially those upgrading from previous versions of Moto G will have to look elsewhere. Although not particularly huge, the new Moto G is no longer the compact device it once used to be.
Lenovo does have the Moto G4 Play as a more compact alternative - the lowest-tier device of the G4 trio, however, this model will not be available on all markets.
The Moto G4 Plus has a 5.5-inch IPS LCD. The display has two color modes; by default it is set to 'Vibrant' mode that saturates color, although you could also set it to 'Normal' mode. The colors in the 'Normal' mode look good enough and close to accurate to our eyes. The color temperature of the display is also quite close to the accurate white point, and not overly blue or yellow.
The display in general looks very good, with good contrast, brightness, and viewing angles. It's legible enough under bright sunlight but we wish the lowest brightness was even lower, as even at the lowest setting the display can be a bit too bright when looking at it at night in a completely dark room.