Motorola have come a surprisingly long way in a short time. They’ve gone the distance from third-place among Android vendors to one of the best the smartphone market has to offer. They’ve even succeeded where giants like LG and Google failed by bringing a modular smartphone ecosystem to the market.
For better or worse, their new budget-friendly G5 (and G5 Plus) doesn’t support MotoMods. Still, it’s a handy enough device – and one that stands out among an increasingly-crowded field of budget and mid-tier players.
Like the Moto G4 before it, the Moto G5 isn’t angling to provide a flagship experience at half the price. Instead, it’s content to provide a master-class in the mid-tier – and at a price that beats its competitors to boot.
Compared to the G4, the G5 feels a lot nicer to hold. In terms of the build-quality and the way the device fits in your hand, it does feel like Motorola have cribbed some ideas from Samsung. The design feels nice and consistent,even if it lacks in innovation. The G5 comes in two colors – grey and gold – but it’s the latter here that really stuck with us. It’s got a sharp flourish and didn’t seem to attract smudges as easily as a white or grey phone would.
Spec-wise, this doesn’t have the grunt you’d find in a flagship but it definitely feels like Motorola haven’t skimped on this aspect of the package. The 5-inch G5 brings a Snapdragon 430 processor and 3GB of RAM to bear. Meanwhile, the 5.2-inch G5 Plus bumps that up to a Snapdragon 625 and 4GB of internal memory.
In practice, we found the G5 Plus (the model sent to us by Motorola for review) performed admirably under most circumstances. It was snappy enough and capable of juggling all my usual social media and email apps without getting bogged down. It feels like the hardware here has been well-tuned to get the most out of the software sitting on top of it.
Speaking of which: the G5 and G5 Plus run on Nougat. If your current handset doesn’t, this feels like a stepping-off point. It adds some neat improvements. There’s multi-tasking, quick panels and a dedicated performance mode. While Nougat isn’t exactly brand new at this stage, it’s certainly something to note if you haven’t upgraded your phone for a while.
The last piece of the puzzle here is the camera. The G5 packs a 12-megapixel camera on the back, while the G5 Plus packs much the same and then some: adding in an extra megapixel of quality. Images we took using the G5 Plus didn’t exactly blow us away – but they came through clear enough.
At the end of the day, the Moto G5 shores up as pretty easy to recommend. There are nicer and more powerful phones out there, but that doesn’t negate the value here. If you’re looking for a solid, albeit humble, smartphone to fill the gap before your next flagship or just an affordable device that’ll “do everything you need to do in your day”, the Moto G5 is for you.