Moto G5 Plus and G5 Hands On

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 28 Feb 2017

Every year, Motorola launches a multitude of premium mid-range and flagship phones but its the Moto G series that earns the company its bread and butter. The original Moto G single handedly brought Motorola back from oblivion and into contention in the smartphone market. Last year though, Motorola stumbled with the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. 

Both handsets lagged in regards to build quality when compared to offerings from other Chinese OEMs, and the fiery hot Snapdragon 617 chipset inside the G4 Plus did not help things either. This year, Motorola has learned its lesson. The company unveiled the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus yesterday, its latest mid-range offerings that now sport a premium metallic design.

Moto G5 Plus

Moto G5 Plus

Right off the bat, its clear that the Moto G5 Plus looks nothing like previous Moto G devices except for perhaps the bezels on the front. The handset does come with a single front facing mono speaker which acts as a consolation for the hefty bezels. At the rear, the Moto G features a circular camera hump that is similar to what we have already seen on the likes of the Moto Z series last year. The new metal design does help give the Moto G5 Plus a very premium look and feel but its nothing that we have not already seen in other handsets offer in this price band before.

The specs of the handset are nothing to write home about as well. The G5 Plus comes with an octa-core Snapdragon 625 chipset that is devoid of any overheating issues, 3/4GB RAM, a 5.2-inch Full HD display, and a 3000mAh battery with TurboPower charging. Disappointingly, the G5 Plus continues to make use of a microUSB port for charging and data transfer.

In usual Moto style, the Moto G5 Plus runs on a near-stock build of Android Nougat and comes with Moto Display and Moto Actions. Along with the usual actions like the screwdriver gesture to open the camera app and chop-chop gesture to toggle flagship, Motorola has also introduced two new gestures this time around: One Nav Bar and a one-handed mode.

The One Button Nav feature makes use of the fingerprint sensor as a virtual navigation bar and hides the on-screen button to free up real screen estate. Once enabled, you need to swipe left to go back while a right swipe will bring up the Recent Apps list. The home button is capacitive in nature and can be used to wake up and unlock the device when its display is off. As for the one-handed mode, it can be activated by swiping up on the home button. It shrinks the UI of the G5 Plus down to make it easily usable with one hand.

While the design and build of the Moto G5 Plus are not going to impress anyone, its the camera that gives the handset a key advantage over its competition. On paper, the 12MP Dual AF Pixels f/1.7 shooter of the G5 Plus with 1.4um pixels is similar to what is found on the Galaxy S7. The ISP of the Snapdragon 625 chipset is obviously not as powerful or efficient as the one found on the Exynos 8890 chipset so a difference in image quality will remain between the two devices. Nonetheless, from my brief hands on time with the phone, I came away very impressed with the 12MP rear shooter. The Moto G5 Plus might just take the camera game in mid-range devices to a completely different level this time around.

In markets like India where there are plenty of other Chinese OEMs launching impressive budget handsets, the Moto G5 Plus will standout due to its excellent rear camera provided consumers are able to look beyond its design and battery capacity that is smaller than the competition.

Moto G5

There is not much to say about the Moto G5. In terms of design and build, the handset is very similar to the Moto G5 Plus albeit with a smaller display and more bezels at the front. The phone comes with the same set of features as its bigger and more powerful Plus sibling does. However, with a slower chipset, a smaller display and what seems like a mediocre camera, the Moto G5 does not make for as attractive a proposition as the Moto G5 Plus.

What do you think about the Moto G5 and G5 Plus? Do you think you will be buying the latter solely for its camera performance? Or will you look at something like the Honor 6X or Redmi Note 4 which have a more attractive design.