Last week, Motorola unveiled the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, both of which are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 chipset. The Snapdragon 617 chipset is a successor to the Snapdragon 615 chipset that was found in many popular devices last year, including the Xiaomi Mi 4i and Moto X Play.
The upgraded Snapdragon 617 chipset is essentially the same as the Snapdragon 615 chipset, except that it comes with an upgraded ISP. You get the same octa-core Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 405 GPU. This also means that the chipset has the same issues as its predecessor i.e. overheating. All Snapdragon 615 chipset based devices released last year where plagued with heating issues and the same issue persists with Snapdragon 617.
So, Does the Moto G4 overheat?
Yes, both Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus do overheat. Motorola and other OEMs can try and improve the thermal dynamics of their chassis as much as they want to, but a fiery chipset will still run hot. However, this does not mean that you should dismiss the handset outright. Here’s why.
In day to day usage, you are unlikely to face any overheating issues on the Moto G4 and its Plus sibling. I have been using the phone as my daily driver for almost a week now, and I never encountered any heating issues. My daily usage involves using WhatsApp, Hangouts, Chrome, Twitter, taking a few photos, using Endomondo to track my run, checking emails, and lots of voice calls — pretty rudimentary, but what majority of us actually do on a daily basis.
It is only after receiving a lot of questions regarding the phone’s thermal performance, I decided to push it to its limit to see what happens. Irrespective of how good a chipset is and how good a phone’s thermal dynamics are, it is bound to throttle when pushed hard. It is the amount of time taken that matters — no one wants a phone that throttles almost instantly when pushed hard. With the Moto G4, this period is considerably less than what you would except from a smartphone. Playing Asphalt 8 on the phone for around 10 minutes was enough to make it hot and after a few minutes, the processor started throttling to keep the temperatures in check, which led to the game’s performance being affected.
The ambient temperature plays a key role here as well. When I was in a room with an ambient temperature of around 20C, the phone took slightly longer to throttle. The opposite is also true – when out in the direct sunlight, the Moto G4 hardly took a few minutes to start throttling when pushed hard. I was out clicking some photos on the handset and just testing its overall camera. Due to the high ambient temperature (43C+) and with the Snapdragon 617 chipset being pushed hard, the phone started throttling itself in only around 2-3 mins. At that point, the viewfinder in the camera app started lagging and the phone overall just became unusable.
There’s not much to add here. There is little denying the fact that the Snapdragon 617 chipset inside the Moto G4 and G4 Plus overheats. It is not going to bother you much if you are a regular user who primarily uses his phone for chatting and taking photos occasionally. However, if you are someone who plays a lot of games on their phone or clicks a lot of photos, avoid the Moto G4 Plus. Or any Snapdragon 61x based smartphone for that matter. Instead, have a look at the Redmi Note 3, which despite its limited availability, is a monster in the performance department. The Snapdragon 650 chipset inside the handset is not only almost twice as fast as the Snapdragon 617 chipset inside the Moto G4 Plus, it also does not suffer from any overheating issues.