Lenovo and Motorola have found immense success their mid-range Moto G series, the G series has become the company’s best-selling smartphone. Since its inception, the Moto G line has more or less revolutionized the budget category by proving that the words affordable and good can be used to describe the same smartphone.
Look & Feel
The Moto G5 Plus features an all-new design this time around, complete with a metal back and plastic sides. This is certainly an upgrade when compared to the plastic builds of its predecessors, though that metal back plate means it’s no longer removable. Most OEMs seem to be moving away from removable back plates nowadays, so this shouldn’t really come as a surprise.
The presence of metal on the back does make the phone look and feel more premium, but on the other hand, the metal doesn’t provide as much grip as the plastic backs of previous Moto G devices, making the G5 Plus a touch more slippery than what you may be used to. The only thing that takes away from the high quality look of the phone is the fake chrome trim that surrounds the display and the metal back plate.
Fake chrome has been used numerous times in the past in an attempt to give smartphones a more high-end look, and considering that it didn’t really work back then, it’s no surprise that it really doesn’t work now. The fake chrome gets scratched very easily, and generally doesn’t fit in with what is an otherwise decent looking phone. Granted, looks haven’t been a big selling point of the Moto G series in the past, so it may not make as much of a difference this time either.
Just like the frame of the phone, the power button and volume rocker are also made of plastic. However, they do feel sturdy enough and offer a lot of tactile feedback. The power button also comes with a ridged texture to make it easy to differentiate from the volume rocker. Up top is the slot that holds the SIM card and the microSD card, and at the bottom is the microUSB port.
The bezels up front along the sides of the display really stand out, particularly as we get more and more used to near-bezel-less designs, but a relatively small 5.2-inch display means that the Moto G5 Plus remains easy to use with one hand. The build quality is quite good overall, and aspects like the fake chrome frame are more forgivable when considering the price point of this device.
Screen & Display
The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with a Full HD resolution. This is easily one of the strongest aspects of this smartphone.
The display gets bright enough for comfortable outdoor visibility and provides excellent viewing angles, color reproduction, and contrast. The screen won’t compare favorably when pit against AMOLED displays or those with Quad HD resolutions, but again, the display of the Moto G5 Plus is certainly very good when considering its price point.
Performance & Speed
Under the hood, the Moto G5 Plus comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, backed by the Adreno 506 GPU and either 2 or 4 GB of RAM. This processing package is certainly not going to set any benchmarking records, but when it comes to real world use, everything has been speedy and responsive.
Playing games on it has been as enjoyable as expected, and quickly switching between different applications has also been smooth. Of course, it is important to keep in mind that this particular review unit comes with 4 GB of RAM, and your multitasking experience may be different if you opt for the less expensive iteration with 2 GB of RAM.
The Moto G5 Plus comes with either 32 or 64 GB of built-in storage, which also dictates how much RAM you get with the device. If storage is a concern, the good news is that expandable storage is available via microSD card for up to an additional 256 GB of space.
The device comes with a microUSB port instead of a USB Type-C port, which is a move that has likely been made to keep down the cost. This isn’t going to be much of a big deal, particularly if you’re moving to this device from an older smartphone that probably had a microUSB port and the associated cables and chargers as well.
The U.S. version of the Moto G5 Plus does not come with NFC, which means that the ability to use features like Android Pay go out the window. However, the international version of the phone does feature NFC. All versions of the device do come with a headphone jack, which is good to see, considering that Lenovo did leave it out with the flagship Moto Z.
The phone comes with a single speaker unit that also doubles as the earpiece. The speaker is pretty average in regards to volume and audio quality, and the only real positive here is that it’s mounted on the front of the device. The phone doesn’t come with an IP rating for dust and water resistance, but it does have a nano coating on the inside that will keep it safe from the occasional spill.
Sitting below the display is the fingerprint reader which is quite fast and accurate when it comes to unlocking the phone, and can also be used to put the phone back to sleep with a long press. The interesting thing about this fingerprint scanner button is that you can replace the on-screen keys and perform all navigation using this one button.
The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 3,000 mAh battery, which is definitely a good size for such a phone and combined with the battery efficiency of the Snapdragon 625, what you end up with is pretty impressive battery life. Even with heavy usage, the device comfortably lasted for the entire day with close to six hours of screen-on time. With lighter usage, I ended up with around 30% battery still remaining at the end of the day. When you do have to plug it in, you get to take advantage of fast charging capabilities to be up and running in no time.
On the back is a circle camera module that looks similar to what is available with the high-end Moto Z, and protrudes the same way as well. However, while the camera protrusion served a purpose with the latter by working as an anchor point for the Moto Mods, in the case of the Moto G5 Plus, its presence seems to be just for the sake of continuity.
You get a 12 MP rear camera with a f/1. 7 aperture and 1.4 micron pixel size, which makes this camera sound really good on paper. Unfortunately, the quality of the photos is just about average. The large pixel size should have really helped with low light photography despite the device not having OIS, but low-light is the weakest point of this camera. The images really fall apart, with there being very little detail, and a lot of overexposure and blown out highlights.
You’ll get much better results with daytime shooting, and in the right lighting conditions, the camera is capable of taking some great looking photos. That said, this camera is not going to compete with any of the high-end flagships out there, despite boasting specifications that make it sound like it certainly could.