Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Moto's mid-range Android smartphone does everything well. Why pay more?
- Good at everything
- Impressive battery life
There are no weak points with this $400 Android smartphone. So why pay more?
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
2017 Has seen some impressive phone launches at the high end. However, the most revolutionary stuff might be appearing at the lower end. The gap between expensive phones and cheap phones has started narrowing at a dramatic pace. Whereas last year we were impressed with cheap phones that only exhibited a few compromises, we’re struggling to find any weak points in the new generation. Moto’s G5 Plus is in this category.
5.2in, 1920 x 1080 LCD screen, 3GB/16GB or 4GB/32GB RAM, 2GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 625 CPU, Adreno 506 GPU, 12MP rear and 5MP front cameras, microSD, dual SIM, Micro USB, Android 7, 3000mAh battery, 150 x 74 x 10mm, 155g. Full specs here.
Design and Handling
We’ve seen some impressive claims from manufacturers with regards to build-quality and materials in the past year, but they’ve been in regards to high-end phones like the HTC U Ultra and Play plus the glossy black iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Now Moto is regaling us with tales of it’s 'diamond-cut Aluminium chassis' which has been blasted with microbeads – you don’t see that on too many $400 phones.
Indeed, this year’s Moto mid-range marvel is much classier in look and feel than last year’s plastic G4 Plus. It’s still not nearly as flashy as HTC’s U phones – it’s limited in colour from grey to gold – but it does feel stronger and less likely to catastrophically shatter if dropped onto something hard.
The 5.2-inch, Full HD LCD screen is topped with Gorilla Glass 3 – not the latest, greatest and strongest version, so buying a case might ramp up protection as well as the aesthetics. The screen itself is bright and colourful when it’s turned on, though. Few will complain about not having Ultra High Definition AMOLED unit – especially those who value function and battery life over slightly-better image quality.
Under the hood is a 2GHz Snapdragon-based processor and Adreno GPU. It was hard to detect any lag under general usage. All general-purpose apps opened almost instantly and we also didn’t suffer from any real lag when playing games. The Operating System feels like standard Android 7 although Google Assistant isn’t present.
As before, there’s a fingerprint reader beneath the screen but it doesn’t act as a button – the three main Android buttons are displayed on the screen itself. This feels a bit like a waste of space. However, it is fast at unlocking the phone, if not quite instant.
We’re big fans of Moto’s haptic feedback which provides a soft-yet-meaty dull thud whenever you touch the screen. It makes the whole phone feel solid. It’s a little thing, but it doesn’t get old and provides a sense of quality that no other phones match.
The speaker (which is the same one used when listening to phone calls) provides distinct audio for conference calls and even music, but doesn’t get very loud. There’s certainly no punch for multimedia playback – but then there rarely is these days.
The only gripe we have is Moto’s appalling, “Hello Moto” ringtones which were derided by surrounding people whenever and wherever they heard them. Mercifully you can turn them off.
The Moto G5 Plus camera
Many phones live or die by their cameras these days. Last year’s G4 operated well in good light but could struggle thereafter. The G5’s cameras felt like an improvement although they weren’t perfect. The rear camera is 12-megapixels while the front camera is only 5-megapixels which can be a bit too low these days.
Nonetheless, in good lighting, pictures were mostly sharp and well exposed with very little focus reaching or shutter lag. The only minor annoyance is of the quick animation of each photo taking, zooming off into the ether. It doesn't last long, but in the world of photography, any delay in shooting can feel like an age.Read more: LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
As light decreases, performance was a bit more challenged but still above average. Low-to-modest light shots were still very usable and it had to get dusk-like before grain started appearing. Even then shots could be usable so long as there was minimal motion. All in all it punched well above its weight and didn’t feel like it had a weak point.
When it came to video, we found that it was most comfortable taking 60fps Full HD. While the lack of optical image stabilisation meant that wobbles were often prevalent, the smooth frame-rate playback made up for this. The main gripe we had here was that in areas where there was even the slightest background noise, the G5 made everything sound very noisy - even though speech was still distinct. We’d like to see future updates improve that audio filtering.
Focusing was generally impressive although once you've touched the screen to correct it, you have to keep touching it. It's not a big issue but it's there.Read more: Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Next: Battery Life, Other Features and Conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Apple iPhone X
Toys for Boys
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Bose SoundLink Micro
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft is selling the excellent Dell XPS 13 and Dell Inspiron 15 for hundreds off, today
- The Game Awards 2017: Every new game trailer
- Titan V revealed: Nvidia's monstrous Volta GPU finally comes to PCs
- Best Buy is selling an 8TB external hard drive for $140
- Hands-on: HP's Envy x2 is a Surface clone boasting 20 hours of battery life
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPBusiness and Test Analyst | Student Management SystemQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCRecords AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Office 365QLD
- TPSAP Migration Module LeadNSW
- TPChange ManagerVIC
- FTJunior-Mid Level Java DeveloperQLD
- FTTechnology Project CoordinatorOther
- FTMicrofocus Cobol DeveloperOther
- FTInfra Deployment Lead/- Windows 10 SOE rollout projectOther
- FTFinance Applications SpecialistOther
- FTSAP SD ConsultantNSW
- CCDynamics AX Functional Consultant ? Finance | Supply ChainQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst - Public Sector Health ProgramQLD
- CCSenior Data governance consultantVIC
- FTICT Procurement ManagerOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCSystems Administrator - not for profit organisationQLD
- CCSenior MySQL Database AdministratorNSW
- FTMultiple SOC Analyst RolesOther
- FTData Centre Support Engineer -| 6mth ContractOther
- FT.Net DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Finance AnalystOther
- CCTechnical Lead - DigitalNSW
- CCProject ManagerQLD