Moto G5 Review: Hello, Junior G5 Plus!

Minus some bits, minus some price too

by: - Last updated on: April 7th, 2017

After launching the Moto G5 Plus, Motorola has introduced the Moto G5 in India. The G5 is the one which is more affordable of the two devices, and not surprisingly, the company has cut back on a few numbers on the spec sheet and feature set of the device as well. But if there is one thing the Moto G series has been known for, it is the fact that the series comes with budget-friendly phones that do not really compromise on the quality which makes Motorola one of the most popular brands in the under Rs. 15,000 category. That torch has been passed to the newest member of the G family. Let’s see whether the phone lives up to the expectations that its predecessors have built.

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Look, ma, the G5 Plus with a removable back!

The build of the G series has been very plasticky from the very beginning but the G5 Plus and the G5 have changed the game with their metal body avatars. The metal body immediately makes the G5 feel more expensive than its predecessor, the G4, which had a plastic body. The two devices look like identical twins at first glance, but the differences are easily spotted if inspected closely. [pullquote]Unlike its elder brother, the G5 does not come with a metal unibody.[/pullquote] Unlike its elder brother, the G5 does not come with a metal unibody. It has the good old back panel which the users can remove to insert the battery and SIM card/ Micro SD inside the phone. The G5 comes with a 5-inch full HD display with a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. It is bright and colorful and can take on harsh sunlight – you will still not feel like it is producing washed out colors. The display covers most of the front side of the phone. Just above the display are the secondary camera, the earpiece-cum-speaker grille and the proximity sensor. The company has also placed the Moto logo just below the earpiece, which makes the bezels around the display very think. Although it is a 5.0-inch display, it actually looks much bigger.

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Just below the display, the company has placed the fingerprint scanner and the mic. Just like the G5 Plus, the G5 also does not have any capacitive buttons on its “chin,” but there are three on-screen buttons for navigation. And if you think the on-screen buttons eat up your screen size which is not that much, then you can simply use the fingerprint scanner to navigate by customizing it through the Moto app.

Although the G5 does not have a unibody like the G5 Plus, it is not any less good looking than the high-end version of the phone as they both actually look the same (pretty much, much pretty). The back has the circular camera unit which has the camera and the single LED flash. But unlike the G5 Plus, the camera unit on this one does not protrude, which makes the back smooth and even.

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The right side has got the volume rocker and the power button (both of which are plastic) while the left side has been left untouched as the SIM tray is on the back, underneath the back cover. The top holds the 3.5 mm audio jack and the micro USB port is present on the base. The handset measures 144.3 x 73 x 9.5 mm and weighs 145 grams. It is neither too heavy nor too light, neither too slim nor too fat (we do not see anyone body shaming it), but has a solid feel to it. The phone also curves around the edges which provide a firm grip and great hand feel.

Smooth and generally steady

The G5 and the G5 Plus may look like a pair of identical twins but the definitely have different DNAs running inside them. The G5 is powered by a 1.4 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor paired with 3 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 128 GB through MicroSD card.

moto g5 benchmarks

The G5 handled basic multitasking chores easily. We jumped from one app to another and did not really bother closing the apps running in the background and did not see any signs of sluggishness. The phone also breezed through the casual gaming world. [pullquote]The device took a fair bit of time to launch these heavy games and the games also crashed once or twice.[/pullquote] We played games like Subway Surfer, Temple Run, Fruit Ninja and Candy Crush on the device and did not face any lags or glitches. But the problems with budget phones generally surface in the high-end gaming zone. We put the G5 through games like NFS No Limits and Asphalt Xtreme and this where the phone began to lag. The device took a fair bit of time to launch these heavy games and the games also crashed once or twice. The phone did not really turn up a great score on the AnTuTu benchmark – 44663. But that said, it is a budget segment device, and works just fine for its price.

Camera: Scoring on color, missing on detail

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The G5 is equipped with a 13-megapixel primary camera with LED flash and there is a 5-megapixel selfie shooter on the front. Yes, the G5 Plus comes with a 12-megapixel primary camera but these cameras are case studies for those trying to prove that megapixels are not the only thing that matter.

When it comes to the camera performance, the Moto G5 is frankly not in the league of the G5 Plus – sorry to be blunt but there it is. It has missed some marks and has nailed some. The primary camera on the G5 produces colors that do not wander too far away from the actual colors. [pullquote]Moto G5 camera is frankly not in the league of the G5 Plus[/pullquote]It produced colors that were a tad brighter than the real scenario but it generated beautiful contrast between the light and the dark shades in the pictures. While the G5 scored on colors, it did miss out on detail. The smartphone could not capture much detail and produced grainy pictures, no matter how many times we focused or how steady we kept our hands.

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The camera was one of the USPs of the G5 Plus and one of the reasons behind it was its low light photography expertise (that f/1.7 aperture did wonders). While the elder brother pretty much aced in low light, we found this one to be struggling. The phone was inconsistent when it comes to glare and pictures turned out to be very noisy in low light. We faced the same issue with the front camera as well. While the color was close to decent, we think what the camera couple really misses out on is detailing.

The power and simplicity of stock Android

One of the highlights of Moto devices is the stock Android factor. The Moto G5 also runs on stock Android Nougat 7.0 but we found some third party apps on the device which were pre-installed like some Amazon apps and the Moto app. The interface screams stock Android – it is clean and clutter-free with next to no confusing toppings. There is the Moto App on the home screen which allows the user to add shortcuts on the phone using various gestures. For instance, making a chopping motion twice in the air will turn on the flashlight or lifting the phone will stop the phone from ringing and switch to vibration immediately. And as mentioned earlier, one can also use the fingerprint scanner as navigation button through this app. On the connectivity front, we sometimes found ourselves not being able to connect the phone to our Wi-Fi network, but call quality was pretty much on point and we did not face any call drop issues.

The Moto G5 is powered by a 2800 mAh battery and supports fast charging. The phone can comfortably last for a day for most users and can give you more than 16 hours of battery life under heavy usage. It takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes for the device to get completely charged from zero to hundred percent but as it supports fast charging and comes with a 10W Micro USB rapid charger, it can give you a few hours of battery life in just 15-20 minutes.

G5 Plus minus some bucks and features?

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The Moto G5 is not really an exceptional device for its price of Rs 11,999 and we did not find our jaws crawling on the ground while we reviewed it (something that happened when we were reviewing the Xiaomi Redmi 4A – the camera surprised us big time in particular) but considering the fact that it is a budget segment phone, the G5 has not done too poorly in any of the departments. [pullquote]It does not have the plus factor of its elder brother, but it does have a minus in the price.[/pullquote]Yes, there are devices that have bigger numbers on the spec sheets but the G5 comes with the Moto brand name and with the power of stock Android which pretty much are the two ace cards most of the Moto G family members in the market have used. It does not have the plus factor of its elder brother, but it does have a minus in the price. And that can make a difference.

In the end, it is just about playing your cards right and Moto definitely is a master at that. Which is why, spec sheet and price comparisons with other players notwithstanding, we can see a lot of people in the coming days saying: “Hello, Moto G5.”

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