Moto G5 Plus Review

The King of Budget Phones Returns

Motorola has found quite the niche in the budget smartphone market. The original Moto G was their best selling phone of all time. Over the last few years, the G series has continued to grow. From larger screens to multiple sizes, Motorola has invested in its lineup considerably, and that lineage continues with the new Moto G5 Plus.

Does the phone stand up to its forefathers? Let’s dig a little further into this phone with our official review.

Hardware

The budget market has become somewhat crowded since the arrival of the original Moto G. Other phone manufacturers has presented strong competition, but the Moto G5 may have reclaimed its title. The internals of the G5 borrows heavily from last year’s Moto Z Play. Moto updated the CPU to the Qualcomm 625 which is nice to see at this price point. The chip offers superb battery life without sacrificing overall performance. The 625 teams up with 4GB of RAM to offer a pretty decent power train for a budget phone. Storage weighs in at 64GB internal memory with microSD expansion.



 Design

The physical design of the G5 may be the starkest difference from the previous models. Motorola has always leaned towards plastics on the G series, but not in a bad way. The past devices were easily recognizable while still being of sturdy construction. You could spot the Moto “dimple” from across the room, but that is all gone with the new G5 Plus. Replacing the normal plastics is a nice smooth metal finish around the entire backplate of the G5 Plus. There are some plastics around the sides, but the phone is still well built and the size feels good in the hand.

The power button and volume keys are on the right side. On the bottom of the phone, Moto has gone with the headphone jack and a micro-USB connector for data and charging. With the other upgrades of the phone, I’d like to have seen USB-C here, but I also understand that Moto is aggressively making this a budget phone. I could easily see the decision makers taking the stand that everyone has a micro-USB and in this market, they don’t want to upgrade all their accessories and cables.

Software

I love what Moto does with the Android. They don’t try to pry-bar layers and layers of settings into the base OS. They also don’t mask the already beautiful stock experience with skins and bloatware. Instead, Moto offers the slightest tweaks to add some nice features for the end user. The old favorites of double-chop to launch the flashlight and double-twist to launch the camera are present, but we also have an addition worth mentioning.

The new, larger fingerprint sensor now supports gestures within the OS. You will find a new option in the Moto app to disable the on-screen navigation buttons and use the fingerprint gestures as an alternative. Tapping the button will take you to your Home screen and a long press will take you to Google Assistant. Swiping left now replaces your Back button and a right gesture launches the Overview multitasking cards. Many will see this as a gimmick, but the Palm fanboy found this very appealing take on how to interact without taking up screen real estate.

Screen and Camera

I will be lumping these two together because they are both serviceable to good for the price point of the Moto G5 Plus. The 5.2-inch screen is a 1920x1080p panel that gets you full HD on a budget but doesn’t expect it to blow you away. Viewing angles are decent but it can seem a little washed out while outdoors.

The 12MP camera invokes similar feelings. It will actually take surprisingly good photos of still objects in well-lit areas. Throw any shadows or low-light situations into the equation and you will see an immediate hit to photo quality. It does support HDR and will take 4K video at 30fps however. If you just take the occasional pic or video to share to your favorite social site, then this module should suit all your needs with little issues.

Battery Life

For those of you that don’t me, I’m a huge fan of the Qualcomm 625 chipset. I own a Moto Z Play and love the incredible battery life it gives me on a daily basis. I am happy to report that the same chip can be found in the G5 Play with similar results. You won’t find quite the same endurance due to a smaller 3,000MAh battery, the Moto G5 Plus will still last a full day of pretty heavy usage before you have to find a charger. I consistently saw around 5-6 hours of screen time in a 16 hour day of carrying the phone.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed my time with using the Moto G5 Plus. Motorola and Lenovo have done a great job of continuing to push the envelope of what a sub-$300 smartphone should look like. With a solid build quality, decent camera, and awesome battery life, the Moto G5 Plus should be at the top of the list of budget-minded consumers. You can grab a Moto G5 Plus direct from Motorola’s website, or if you’re an Amazon junkie, hit the link below.

Get the Moto G5 Plus