[First Cut] Moto G5S Plus: Hello yet again, Moto G
The S is for 'Special'
It has been a busy time for Lenovo-Moto. Barely had we finished absorbing the K8 Note that the company has now sprung the Moto G5S Plus on us. And just that particular phone was slugging it out on its camera muscle (the whole f/1.7 aperture fuss, remember?), so we suspect does this one.
For make no mistake about it, the first thing that is going to attract your attention about the new Moto G5S Plus is the dual camera set up on the back – this becomes the first Motorola phone in the county to come with dual cameras, and continues the Moto G’s recent trend of boosting its photography skills. The dual camera set up is also going to catch your eye because, well, it looks good. It is on a slightly elevated sphere from the back with polished edges and reminds us of the Z series, which is not a bad thing at all. Yes, it does protrude from the back, but hey, it looks good and is very Moto (just like on the G5 Plus). Speaking of the back, it is smooth, metallic and curve-y (we got the Lunar Grey model) with a finish that will not pick stains and fingerprints, and just below that camera protuberance is the Moto logo in a slightly recessed “dimple.” Oh yes, you are SO not going to be confusing this phone with any other, notwithstanding the presence of those antennae bands.
The sides are relatively plain in best Moto tradition – the right has the volume rocker, just below which is the slightly textured display/power key, the top has the 3.5 mm audio jack and the base the micro USB port and a speaker grille. The left side is totally plain, barring the dual SIM card tray, and this time, rather oddly, unlike the G5 Plus which let you use two SIMs and a memory card, the G5S Plus goes with a hybrid SIM card option, meaning you will have to sacrifice one of your connections on the altar of expandable memory. The front is vintage Moto G: curved corners and dominated by the display, which is a 5.5 inch one and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, with the ear piece and front facing camera and flash above it, and a fingerprint scanner below – Moto has not gone with the current trend of shaving bezels and while this does make the phone a trifle wider, we think it still looks good. There are no hardware buttons on the front – the Android navigation trio of home, recent apps and back are onscreen (you can navigate using the fingerprint scanner too, though). The phone comes with a water-repellent nanocoating, which should keep it safe from the odd splash and rain encounter ( do NOT take it swimming or dunk it in the pool!).
At 9.5 mm at its thickest point (thank you, protruding cameras) and 8.0 mm at its thinnest, the Moto G5S Plus is not exactly pencil then, and neither is it featherweight at 168 grams, but it feels comfortable to hold and rock solid. The metal unibody gives it a very premium feel and frankly in terms of appearance, we would say it is one of the most distinct phones out there in its price segment – very handsome, even though at 153.5 mm in length and 76.2 mm in width, it is not the most compact device out there (still much smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, though).
Not quite as distinct is the hardware that lies inside that frame. Powering the Moto G5S Plus is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which has earned a reputation for being a terrific battery manager – it has a 3000 mAh battery to manage this time around with support for TurboPower, which is pretty much what we saw on the Moto G5 Plus too. The display is a full HD one of course, and aiding the processor in its tasks is 4 GB of RAM. Storage stands at 64 GB, which is expandable if you give up one of those SIM card slots and add up to 128 GB via a micro SD card. Connectivity options include 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS.
Then there are those cameras – the dual cameras at the back are both 13.0-megapixel ones and come with a f/2.0 aperture, and support for recording 4K video. One of the sensors is a monochrome and the other a color one – on offer are the better depth of field and “pure” black and white photography when you switch to the monochrome sensor. There is also a “depth editor”, allowing you to fiddle with the background, including making it black and white and even replacing it altogether, and also bokeh levels. No, there is no optical image stabilization, but at this price point, that is not a deal breaker really. The front facing camera is an 8.0-megapixel affair and comes with a flash and beauty mode. And of course, knitting all this together is stock Android with some Moto enhancements (like twist your wrist to launch the camera and a few camera tweaks).
All this for Rs 15,999, which does seem very reasonable when you consider that the 4 GB/32 GB variant of the Moto G5 Plus launched earlier this year had been priced at Rs 16,999. Which puts the Moto G5S Plus not only in direct competition with its brother from another mother, the Lenovo K8 Note but also the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and some would even say the massive Xiaomi Mi Max 2. As always, the Moto G5S Plus will, however, be fighting on the Moto brand name and sheer simplicity in terms of ease of use. Will they prove to be enough in a very competitive price segment and justify that ’s’ for special on the name tag? Stay tuned for our detailed review.