It’s an easy bet that most new phones announced in 2023 will come with 5G, but there’s going to be at least one LTE-only device on shelves next year: the $169 Motorola Moto G Play (2023). It’s the latest edition of Motorola’s budget-tier phone since the 2021 G Play, and it comes with an updated screen and camera array — but nary a 5G band on its spec sheet.
The 2023 Moto G Play sticks with a 6.5-inch LCD screen but increases the refresh rate to 90Hz. It’s still a low-res 720p panel, which is likely to have more of an impact on viewing experience than a slight boost in refresh rate. The main camera gets a meaningful boost to 16 megapixels (up from 13 megapixels) with a brighter f/1.22 lens (compared to f/2.0).
It comes with a MediaTek Helio G37 chipset (a switch from the Qualcomm processor in the last generation) with 3GB of RAM and ships with the outgoing Android 12 OS version. There’s not much storage included — just 32GB — but that can be expanded via a microSD. A massive 5,000mAh battery is included, and the whole thing is IP52 rated for dust resistance and limited splash protection, which is better than nothing.
While missing out on 5G is a bit of a bummer, it’s likely not a deal-breaker. T-Mobile’s 5G network is already strong, and Verizon and AT&T will continue to strengthen their mid-band 5G networks in 2023 to offer significantly faster speeds than LTE. But for those who are happy with 4G speeds and want an affordable new device, there will be at least one option on the table in 2023. The Moto G Play (2023) will be available unlocked starting on January 12th for $169.99.