Motorola Moto G5 Review

Motorola Moto G5

Posted: , by Victor Hristov Victor Hristov



Interface and Functionality

Android 7.0 Nougat with some cool features added by Moto, but we never got fully used to the optional ‘one button nav’.

The Moto G5 comes with Android 7.0 Nougat on board with a very light Moto skin on top. The extent of the Moto skin is mostly limited to the custom gestures: things like the double chop action to start the flashlight or the dual flick wrist gesture to start the camera. Those are nice things to have. We also like the new swipe up app drawer: it’s quick and intuitive, and we’re happy to see it on the G5.

You also have a couple of cool widgets: a big 3-in-1 (weather, time and calendar) widget on both the home panel and the lock screen, which is nice. You also have peek notifications from the lockscreen, so you don’t have to unlock your phone to take a quick look at what’s new. The phone also recognizes when you raise it and automatically lights up the time on the lockscreen.

The biggest question mark that we have around the experience is about the new ‘one button nav’. It’s not enabled by default, but it’s cool, so we decided to try it out. You toggle it on or off via the Moto app and not the settings, so keep that in mind. So what does it do? It uses the fingerprint scanner on the front as a navigation button: tap it once to go home, swipe right for recents, left - for back. Sounds cool on paper and allows you to disable the space-consuming on-screen navigation keys, but we just could not get used to it perfectly.

The back action in particular that we use so often, the phone would mistake for something else or not register properly the first time. After some time, we just switched to using on-screen nav keys that we are sure we will hit right every time.

The Moto G5 comes with the Google Assistant on board. You bring it up by long holding the home key in on-screen navigation and it’s a fast and reliable voice assistant.

Processor, Performance and Memory

A bit of a stutter here and there does not ruin the show in the daily grind. The phone runs casual games fine, but more demanding ones drop frames.

The Moto G5 ships with the entry-level Snapdragon 430 system chip by Qualcomm. The chip is built on the quite dated 28nm technology, and it features an octa-core setup with 8 Cortex A53 cores running at up to 1.4GHz. The phone has also got 2 gigs of RAM.

The actual performance is mostly fine in your daily grind. We saw no disturbing lag to compromise the experience, but you see that slight stutter here and there.

This is obviously not a gamers’ phone: the 1080p screen resolution is a bit of a challenge for the Snapdragon 430 in games, where you will see dropped frames more often than you’d like. Of course, you will still be able to play most game: we actually ran Asphalt 8 with a few dropped frames, while less demanding titles like the cool Dan The Man ran much smoother.

The built-in 16GB of storage is definitely a limitation on the Moto G5. Out of those 16 gigs, only around 7GB are actually left for the end user. All phones in this price class come with 16 gigs of storage, but nonetheless, one should understand that this is a big limitation for most people.

Luckily, the phone also supports microSD card expansion, so that you can add up to 128GB card to its storage capacity. Keep in mind that both the microSD and SIM card slots are located under the phone’s back cover: you have to remove the back cover, shut down the phone and remove the battery to be able to insert or switch a SIM or microSD card.

Internet and Connectivity

The Moto G5 is not sold in the US and does not support US LTE bands, but it is perfectly compatible with 4G LTE in Europe.

The Moto G5 is not and most likely will not be officially sold in the United States, so it’s no surprise that it lacks 4G LTE bands for the U.S. market.

In Europe and other global markets where it is sold, it does, however, have proper 4G LTE connectivity. The full list of 4G LTE frequencies includes bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 19, 20, 28.

The actual browsing experience is somewhat hampered by the slower processor as we noticed the default Chrome browser slowing down here and there, but not too much for this to be an issue.

In terms of additional connectivity options, the only major thing that is missing is NFC and support for mobile payments. The Moto G5, however, has dual-channel Wi-Fi, which is a nice touch for an affordable phone, it has Bluetooth 4.2, as well as GPS and Glonass. The microUSB port on the bottom only supports USB 2.0 speeds.


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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) LCD
Camera13 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa-core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.68 x 2.87 x 0.37 inches
(144.3 x 73. x 9.5 mm)
5.13 oz  (146 g)

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