To our surprise, there aren't many competitors in close proximity to the Moto G9 Play. Most of the phones that are worth considering are a bit more expensive. Still, it's a shame that the phone isn't available in the US, where we believe Motorola is doing pretty okay in the low-end to mid-range markets. So how's competition in Europe and India then?
Costing around €160, the handset is a direct competitor to Samsung's Galaxy A21s. Both devices offer similar performance, battery life, and screen quality. However, the Galaxy A21s proves to be the better shooter and the more versatile, too, as it also features an ultra-wide camera too. But some may prefer Motorola's clean Android experience over Samsung's heavily customized One UI. Keep in mind that in India, the Moto G9 (Play) has the price advantage.
Hovering around the same price tag in India is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9. It edges out with a slightly better battery endurance score in our tests, but when it comes to performance and camera capabilities, both are pretty similar. Perhaps the Redmi Note 9 takes an extra point for having an ultra-wide camera. The Redmi also impresses with Gorilla Glass 5 and a more premium feel. Not that the G9 Play is built poorly, it just falls behind a little. And again, it boils down to personal preference over the OS - it's either vanilla Android or Xiaomi's MIUI.
Another competitor from China is the Realme 6i. Which at this point is an old phone with the Realme 7i already available in Indonesia. But it's clear that they are both the better options mostly because of the insane battery life the 6i offers and the much better camera performance. Whereas the Realme 7i tops that with a 90Hz display, while having with the same HD+ resolution. It's also easy to assume that the battery life of the 7i would be roughly the same as on the Realme 6i since the Snapdragon 662 will theoretically do better than the Helio G80 (11nm vs 12nm) in terms of energy consumption. It's really hard to recommend one device over another as we've reviewed just one of them so if you have the time, we suggest you hold off until the Realme 7i pops up in your area. And there's a good chance it will come to Europe and India as well.
The Motorola G9 (Play) is a low-end phone, and it's unrealistic to expect game-changing performance from it. Still, the handset is equipped well enough to stand its ground against most of its competitors mainly because of its price advantage. We think it would fare much better in the US where competition is even more limited.
In any case, if you are in the market for a modest phone with killer battery life and usable camera during the day, the Moto G9 Play should be included on your list of considerations. But if you have the luxury of waiting a bit longer, we suggest waiting for the Realme 7i to launch in your area, which will probably happen with Realme's recent global expansion efforts.
We weren't exactly happy with the camera capabilities and the overall performance. And by performance we don't mean benchmarks, but the general feel when navigating through menus and using the device for everyday tasks. Besides, the key selling point of Motorola phones is the snappy, clean Android. We didn't see much of the snappy part in this model, unfortunately.