Moto G5 Plus Review: This All-Metal Phone Offers Balance And Style

Does the new Moto G5 Plus deliver on its promise, making it a reliable mid-range phone?

Updated
Tech News
5 min read
Moto G5 Plus. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/<a href="https://twitter.com/2shar">@2shar</a>)

If there’s one phone that made India go “Hello Moto”, it’s got to be Moto’s silent performer, the Moto G. For four generations, the mid-range darling of the Moto range did its job of pulling in the numbers while the pricier phones flaunted their modularity and unbreakable screens.

This year at MWC, the Lenovo-Moto combine unveiled the all-new all-metal Moto G5 Plus and followed it up barely two weeks later with the India launch. Moto has priced the G5 Plus starting from Rs 14,999.

Can the Moto G5 Plus take on competition from Xiaomi and Lenovo to be our sub-15,000 smartphone pick? Read on to find out.

Snapshot

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality for its segment
  • Near stock Android 7.0 with nifty Moto add-ons
  • Fast charging support
  • Dual-SIM plus microSD support
  • Water repellant nano-coating

Cons:

  • Poor screen visibility outdoors
  • Lacking the stellar battery of its peers
  • Low-light camera performance leaves a lot to be desired

What’s Good?

Moto Gs have never been renowned for their design, but this year, Moto’s turned a corner. Gone is the bland plastic of four generations past, and the G5 sports a premium metal design – chamfered edges, aluminium back and all.

The Moto G5 ships with the same core components as the Redmi Note 4 and the Lenovo P2 (and the pricier Z Play as well) – a 2GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 506 GPU and 4GB of RAM – and the clean, unencumbered Android 7.0 Nougat build helps keep things running along snappily. There’s a sub-15K variant with 3GB of memory well.

There’s a bit of the Moto Z design language around the rear with the raised round camera module, and while it gives the G5 Plus a distinctive look, it also exposes the camera lens to the possibility of scratches. Suggesting a case defeats the purpose of this slick new design, but I wouldn't use the G5 Plus for an extended period without one.

Premium, metal design treatment given to the Moto G5 Plus. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/@2shar)
Premium, metal design treatment given to the Moto G5 Plus. (Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

The big design wins are on two counts that are often ignored in this segment. One, the water-repellant nano-coating which was last seen in the Moto G3 is back, so you should be sorted if you’re out and the skies open up.

Second, and more interestingly, Moto’s bestowed the G5 Plus with proper dual SIM support along with a dedicated SD card slot – none of that hybrid SIM nonsense that we see in this segment. There’s no USB Type-C, and you have to make do with a microUSB 2.0 port, but at least there’s the included 15W TurboPower charger which gives you nearly 50 percent charge in about 20 minutes of charging.

Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch FHD display. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/@2shar)
Moto G5 Plus comes with a 5.2-inch FHD display. (Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

The G5 Plus isn’t bereft of any software customisations – the included Moto app lets you enable/disable gestures like the wrist twist to launch the camera, a double-karate-chop-like gesture to quickly turn on the flashlight and my favorite ‘One button nav’ feature which turns the fingerprint sensor into a swipe-friendly touchpad.

You can swipe left to go back, right to open recent apps, and free up some screen real-estate in the bargain. One downside – the phone is lacking Google Assistant at launch, and will be rolled out via a software update at a later date.

The camera is a big improvement from the G4 Plus, and while the 12-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture lens and Dual Autofocus Pixels for quick focusing sounds good on paper, the results are a mixed bag.

Also Read: Moto G5 Plus vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 4: Camera Shoot Comparison

The camera captures bags of detail in good light, offers great bokeh for macro shots and handles dynamic lighting conditions well, but dim and low light performance takes a big hit, with excessive levels of grain and colours going all over the place.

Moto G5 Plus packs a 12-megapixel camera offering f/1.7 aperture. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/@2shar)
Moto G5 Plus packs a 12-megapixel camera offering f/1.7 aperture. (Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

What’s Bad?

Display lacks sharpness. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/@2shar)
Display lacks sharpness. (Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

While the 5.2-inch full-HD display helps keep the phone dimensions down for one-handed use and is plenty sharp, screen brightness leaves much to be desired with the screen fading in bright sunlight, even on maximum brightness levels.

Since the G5 Plus lines up alongside the Redmi Note 4 and the Lenovo P2, folks looking for a monster battery will be disappointed with the 3,000 mAh battery. It pales in comparison to the competition, but on its own, it manages to last through a full day of heavy use, plus there’s the TurboPower charger I spoke of earlier.

When it comes to pricing, comparisons with the jaw-dropping pricing on the Redmi Note 4 are natural, and one can’t help but wish Moto had at least kitted the higher variant with 64GB of storage instead of 32.

Why Buy It?

Moto G5 Plus supports dual SIM and microSD card also. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/@2shar)
Moto G5 Plus supports dual SIM and microSD card also. (Photo: The Quint/@2shar)

You have to ask yourself – what’s driving your mid-ranger purchase? Biggest battery? Pick up the P2. Best bargain? The Redmi Note 4.

The Moto G5 Plus should be your pick if what you want is a sorted, balanced phone which has good build quality and a refined software experience, not to mention the big design differentiators I mentioned.

It’s also the phone that’s more likely to be in stock if you suddenly decide to buy, which may just convert a number of Redmi Note 4 hopefuls.

(Tushar Kanwar is a technology columnist and commentator and has been contributing for the past 15 years to India’s leading newspapers and magazines. He can be reached on Twitter: @2shar.)

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