Introduction


With the first quarter of the year wrapping up, we're finally able to start really appreciating what 2017 means for new smartphones, as some of the most anticipated high-profile flagships launch. But more than just being dazzled by a convention-breaking crop of extra-wide-display, insane screen-to-body-ratio hero phones, we've also seen the launch of some really compelling budget-priced phones, bringing users decent performance and attractive designs while costing less than half as much as top-shelf flagships.

Year after year, we look to Lenovo's Motorola brand to bring us some of the best examples of well-done budget phones, as we did late last spring with the introduction of the Moto G4 series. For 2017, Motorola's pushing up its timetable a little, and last month at MWC we were first introduced to the next generation of the Moto G, with the launch of the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus.

While the former of those phones is sticking to international markets, the Moto G5 Plus has got its sights set on US shoppers, and our early impressions with the handsets sure had us optimistic that they'd respond favorably – with this hardware representing some intelligent upgrades over last year's models, and pricing remaining extremely competitive, the Moto G5 phones sure look like they've got a lot going for them.

Sales of the Moto G5 Plus are now open in the US, and we've been spending the past couple weeks taking an early look at the handset. Is this affordable smartphone one you'll want to pick up? Take a gander at what we've learned.

In the box:

  • Moto G5 Plus
  • Turbo charger
  • Micro-USB to standard-A cable
  • Intro booklet
  • Safety notice

Design

What a difference a year makes


The Moto G series is one that's not afraid to reinvent itself, and recent years have brought a nice mix of variety to the phones' hardware. With the Moto G5, that evolution continues, now taking maybe one of the biggest steps forward yet.

While the Moto G4 phones risked feeling a little “cheap,” with snap-off removable plastic back panels, the Moto G5 Plus overhauls its construction with some much more premium-feeling materials. For starters, the back is no longer removable, and that plastic is ditched in favor of metal. In other phones that might represent a bit of a functionality trade-off, but it's not like the G4 had a removable battery – the only difference here is that instead of the SIM and microSD slots living under that back panel, they're now inserted via a 2-in-1 tray along the phone's top edge.

The Moto G5 Plus isn't all metal – there's still a plastic edge all around the handset – but it both looks good, with a well-done chromed-out shiny metallic finish, and feels quite nice in the hand. Really, it takes a bit of thinking to even realize that the phone's not all-metal in the first place.

Around front, the phone's glass is ever-so-slightly sunken from the surrounding frame, helping to protect the screen when placed face-down. And to the bottom we find the handset's fingerprint scanner. The scanner's also sunken, recessed beneath the model's screen glass, and while that feels a little unusual at first, we quickly got used to it. Unlike the square scanner of the G4 Plus, Motorola goes with an oval scanner on the G5 Plus, and that shape helps with some interesting gesture controls – which we'll talk more about a little later on.

There's another pretty significant design departure on the phone's back, as the linear camera arrangement of the G3 and G4 is replaced by a circular puck-style camera. There's a noticeable camera bump, to the tune of a couple millimeters, but it's not particularly severe and didn't have us second-guessing the phone's design decisions.

Overall, the design of the Moto G5 Plus is a marked improvement from the G4. There are a few areas where we wish Lenovo paid a little more attention to detail – like how the SIM/microSD tray doesn't quite sit flush with the phone's body when inserted – but overall the phone both looks and feels fancier than its price point would otherwise suggest.

On the downside, there's no Moto Maker customization options available with this generation, nor has Motorola upgraded its waterproofing; the G5 offers the same kind of water-resistant nano-coating as the G4 – enough to protect against fleeting contact with moisture, but less than a full IPX8 rating.


Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.91 x 0.38 inches

150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto Z Play Droid

Motorola Moto Z Play Droid

Dimensions

6.16 x 3.01 x 0.28 inches

156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

Honor 6x

Honor 6x

Dimensions

5.94 x 3 x 0.32 inches

150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.91 x 0.38 inches

150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Dimensions

6.02 x 3.02 x 0.39 inches

153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto Z Play Droid

Motorola Moto Z Play Droid

Dimensions

6.16 x 3.01 x 0.28 inches

156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

Honor 6x

Honor 6x

Dimensions

5.94 x 3 x 0.32 inches

150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

A more compact display than the G4 delivers a bright, sharp screen


During our initial hands-on, we were quite impressed with the display on the Moto G5 Plus, and after spending quite a bit more time with the phone, we're not about to change our mind.

The first thing to know about the screen on this handset is that for a “Plus” branded phone, it's not particularly huge – the display is a modest 5.2-inch component. Its 1080 x 1920 resolution is nothing to write home about, but it's also more than sufficient for a screen this size.

Display brightness is decent – at least under manual control. Set things to auto, and it's capable of output up there close to some of the brightest phones we've seen in recent memory, though it's just a tad annoying that you can't set the phone to such brightness levels deliberately.

Color accuracy is also alright, though we noticed some non-linear output at varying levels of saturation. It's nothing that ruins image quality, though you may want to switch from the phone's standard to “vibrant” color mode if you find hues coming across a bit subdued.

The Moto Display system makes a welcome return, using motion-detection to give you convenient access to notifications when the phone is otherwise sleeping. You can further interact with those notifications by dragging them up, down, left, or right, as well as choose apps with sensitive content to withhold their notifications from this screen. It all works very well, and adds a welcome productivity-focused boost to the phone's software.



FEATURED VIDEO

60 Comments

1. fyah_king unregistered

How is the speaker tinny when it's louder than your iPhone 7?lol

3. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Do you ask stupid questions as a hobby or for serious inquiry?

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Hobby for me. :)

10. fyah_king unregistered

There's no such thing as a stupid question. So, get off your tiny horse and tell me why my question is stupid?

26. Rydsmith unregistered

No, there are such things as stupid questions and this was one of them. The iPhone is louder if you had added it to the chart.

27. sgodsell

Posts: 7594; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

And added 3 times the price for the iPhone 7. For what it is the Moto G5 is, this time around it is giving a lot of bang for your buck. Also this time around the Moto G5 has NFC, and a gyroscope, and compass as well.

36. fyah_king unregistered

I am talking about the 7plus. The G6 is louder.lol

44. fyah_king unregistered

"G5 plus"

53. chancooluk

Posts: 20; Member since: Sep 13, 2015

It's not a stupid question, you are just misunderstanding the word 'tinny'. 'Tinny' does not mean quiet, or lacking volume, it means that the sound lacks depth and bass.

59. duplaye

Posts: 1; Member since: May 28, 2017

Checking these comments for phone sound quality. I find the G5 plus to be tinny. As you said, a lack of depth and base. Is it just me, or did I get a bad phone. Is there any way to regulate this? It means a lot to me, as I use the phone a lot. Thanks

60. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

For phones around this budget, Wait for J5 2017/J7 2017/Couple of those HTC desire phones (or) If you don't mind considering those Chinese ones, consider Honor 6c, Redmi Note 4 (or) If you have more budget A5 2017/A7 2017 even Mi 6/finally even more budget, upcoming 1+5. Go to store and check out all these by hand and decide.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

iPhone7 is louder actually Motorola Moto G5 Plus 77.6 dB Apple iPhone 7 78.1 dB

12. fyah_king unregistered

My bad, I forgot to add the plus after the 7.

13. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

See.....that was stupid!

24. fyah_king unregistered

I think you are think dumb one. overstand?

25. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Overstand?

34. fyah_king unregistered

Yes, overstand.

35. fyah_king unregistered

Yes, i am over you and not under you.:)

40. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

....You have communication issues.

45. fyah_king unregistered

I don't communicate with people under me. :)

57. DronGupta

Posts: 42; Member since: Sep 09, 2015

kiko007 is not dumb. He is isheep. And isheeps are dumb.

28. sgodsell

Posts: 7594; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Fyah_king It doesn't matter if it's the iPhone 7 or 7 plus. Your looking a 3-4 times the price of the iPhone 7's compared to a Moto G5. So for $230 the Moto G5 has NFC, and a full HD display like the iPhone 7 plus. But the G5 is only $230 outright. It even has expandable storage for that price.

58. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

It becomes stupid when you criticize iPhone, that is what kiko is all about, he should stop that or people start ignoring him.

20. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Good score good score

29. TerryTerius unregistered

Sheer loudness is not the same as the quality of the sound.

41. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

the amount of DB only give one variable. to be tinny you need to lack bass...

2. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

that cons.. microUSB and water-resistance is a must for every smartphone now? great.. and I guess 8/10 is upper limit for low-end smartphone score in PA right now..

5. Creep

Posts: 193; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

The Cons do not justify the 8/10 rating. This phone should be a 9/10.

11. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I don't know... I'm actually really disappointed by Motorola's choice to go with Micro USB. Like, seriously.

14. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Me too. Thought about buying this phone sometime this year but stopped because of Micro-usb, and a few other nitty gritties.
Moto G5 Plus
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh

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