We've got used to seeing a budget Moto G phone from Lenovo (and before that Motorola) every year, and the Chinese company has just unveiled its 2016 Moto G model, together with a premium Plus version and a stripped-down Play edition. Once again, the Moto G is aiming squarely for the low cost end of the Android market, but there are upgrades from last year.

The 2016 fourth-generation Moto G is slightly bigger and slightly more expensive than its predecessor. It features a 5.5-inch 1080p display (up from 5 inches and 720p), a mid-range octa-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon 617 processor and 2 GB of RAM. 16 GB or 32 GB models are available, and a 3,000 mAh battery is packed inside the phone.

So far so Moto G, but the Moto G Plus and Moto G Play are new this year – the two key differences from the standard phone on the Plus are a fingerprint sensor (behind a new physical home button on the front) and an upgraded 16 MP camera (the plain Moto G model has a 13 MP one). The Moto G Plus also adds laser focus and phase-detect autofocus for sharper photos and better background blur effects.

That's the first time we've seen a fingerprint sensor on a Moto G phone and the 2016 version of the Moto X is rumored to follow suit when it appears. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is on board both the Moto G and the Moto G Plus and they both come with a 5 MP front-facing camera for those social media selfie shots. As usual, the Moto Maker service will be available so you can customize the phone's looks to suit yourself.

The more expensive handset can be configured with 2 GB, 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM and there's a 64 GB storage option too. Speaking of storage, both the Moto G and the Moto G Plus have microSD card support.

As for the Moto G Play, it has a slower quad-core Snapdragon 810 processor, a smaller 2,800 mAh battery, an inferior 8 MP camera and only 8 GB and 16 GB options in terms of internal storage. The RAM is limited to 2 GB.

The Moto G4 launches today in Brazil and the Moto G4 Plus launches today in India, with availability extending to Europe, North America and Asia "soon" according to Lenovo. Meanwhile the Moto G Play will be available globally later this year.

The only official pricing we have so far is INR 13,499 for the 2 GB RAM/16 GB storage G Plus, which works out at roughly US$200 – presumably it's the most expensive of the three, with the Moto G and Moto G Play coming somewhere below that.

Last year both the Moto G and the premium Moto X models were unveiled in July, but it's not yet clear what Lenovo is planning for the 2016 Moto-branded flagship. The rumors are that the Moto X branding will be ditched and an announcement is imminent, but we'll have to wait for something official for Lenovo.

In the meantime the Moto G4, G4 Plus and G4 Play look like solid options for those after good value from their Android phones rather than high-end specs. Google's I/O conference kicks off tomorrow, where we should hear much more about the upcoming Android N.

You can check out some demos of the new phones in the video below.

View gallery - 6 images