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Moto G5 Plus – Hello Moto! Hello Stability! – Review

Lenovo’s Motorola is back with a refreshing Moto G mobile, the Moto G5 Plus. Mid-segment mobiles are hot selling cakes in India and Lenovo would never miss a chance to take a lead in that segment. Without any delay, the Moto G5 Plus has been made available in India, after its launch in MWC earlier this year. The Moto G5 Plus is available exclusively from Flipkart for a price starting at Rs 14999. I have been using the mobile for a couple of weeks and here is my review.

Design

Moto G5 plus is the first mobile in the G series to have a full metal body. The mobile has a matte finished metal back with its rims made of good quality plastic. The mobile is light in weight with a slim profile. It is very comfortable to hold in the hand and its design looks good as well. I have the Lunar Gray variant and it looks better than the Gold.

The back has a 12 MP sensor mounted on a circular hump along with dual tone LED flash and dual laser autofocus sensors. The circular hump is looking good, but it makes the mobile wobble, when operated from a flat surface. The glass on the back is placed in such a way that it would not get scratched, when placed on hard surface. The front has an earpiece, which also acts as a speaker. There is no notification LED. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the front. There are mo physical navigation keys. The fingerprint sensor can act as navigation keys and also users can choose to have it on-screen.

The 5.2 inch display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device does not come with any sort of dust or water ingress protection, but it does have nano coating to protect from accidental spills or splashes of water. The top has the dual SIM card slot, which can also hold a dedicated SD card. The bottom has the 3.5 mm jack, mic and micro USB port.

The design may not be a head-turner, but it definitely looks neat. For a Moto G mobile, the G5 Plus has a great design identity.

Display

G5 Plus has a full HD 5.2 inch IPS LCD panel. The display has decent brightness as most light conditions. Under direct sunlight, the display is not bright enough, but text is visible. Text is crisp and images are not sharp. The Gamma corrections test give it an average 1.8 score, which means poor contrast. The UI has option to change the color mode between standard and vibrant modes, under display settings. This does not give any major difference. There is no night or reading mode. Until I saw the images shot by the G5 Plus in my PC, I was thinking that the camera is not good. The below average display quality, does not do justice to its own camera. If you are like playing gaming titles which has dark graphics or watch dark movies, you will not enjoy the display on the G5 Plus. But for regular usage, this display would suffice.

Camera

The Moto G5 Plus has a good camera arrangement. Focus is fast and accurate. The camera UI is slick and usable. It is fast between shots. When it comes to color reproduction, reds are inconsistent, but yellows, blues and greens are perfect. The highlights are shadows are not perfect, resulting in shots which are either dark or suffering from contrast differentiation. At any light condition, the edges are not sharp and details are not great. This is good for casual shots, but don’t expect to click eye-popping shots with the G5 Plus. Low light shots suffer from color reproduction, soft edges and uneven exposure. Manual mode can come to your rescue, if you know what are doing.

Camera Samples (Good and Ample light conditions)

Camera Samples (low light conditions)

The mobile can shoot 4K videos, but I prefer to shoot at 1080p. Electronic image stabilization can work magic for smoother shots. But again color quality is not great. Focus adjustment is slow and the footage has poor dynamic range. Audio is clear and crisp.

The front camera can click impressive shots under ample light conditions. Skin tones, warmth and details are good. But under low light, the edges are pixellated. The front camera has manual mode as well and the screen can double as flash. Video footage from the front camera is impressive. The audio is clear as well.

Overall, the camera on the G5 plus is average. Don’t get me wrong here. The G5 Plus has a decent camera, but there was too much hype around it. Some said it to be as good as the Samsung S7, as they both have the same sensor. But it is not the case. It is an average camera and there are better performing camera mobiles in this price range. The Redmi Note 4’s camera did not impress me, but it is definitely better than G5 Plus. But the Nubia Z11 Mini S has better camera, way better than these two mobiles.

Hardware and Performance

The Moto G5 Plus is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor with Adreno 506 GPU. It comes with 3/16 GB or 4/32 GB variant. The 16 Gig variant is pointless and just like Apple, Android must also do away with 16 Gig mobiles. I wish there was a 4/64 GB variant. However my review unit is the 3/16 GB variant and I had no issues with the 3 GB RAM. Infact in my speed test, I found to be faster than the 4 GB variant of Redmi Note 4. The UI is fast and the mobile can handle any resource intensive apps, if you manage to install a few in the 16 GB limited storage. The mobile does not heat up, but it gets warm after continuous gaming, charging battery or camera usage.

The dedicated SD card slot is a huge a welcome feature and fortunately, it can be formatted as internal storage. I would still prefer a beefy internal storage, as it is much more dependable than any SD card. The loudspeakers are a big disappointment. It is front firing, but not fit for gaming or movie watching. The fingerprint sensor is fast and can detect for a valid fingerprint from all angles, even if the fingers are wet or oily. It is multi functional. It can be used as back, multitasking window button, lock mobile, home screen jump button or to bring up the Google assistant… ufff!

The FM radio in it can be used without headphones. Speaking of headphones, Moto must really stop giving worthless headsets with mobiles. I did not even unpack it, but just by its looks, it is the cheapest gesture I have seen in recent times. “Why does the G5 Plus not have a Magnetometer”, is an equally puzzling question like, “Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?”. That is a  huge show stopper for me. I cannot imagine a Google map navigation not turning directions along with my orientation.

Software

Moto G5 Plus runs on one of the cleanest and unadulterated form of Android Nougat out of the box. It has very less customization, which some might find boring. I personally like it plain and simple. The one application that has been added by Moto is the Moto app, which has Moto Display to control notifications on lock screen and Moto Actions to control the different gestures on the mobile.

Battery

It has a Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery. The battery life is impressive. On intensive usage, it gives me 8 hours of screen on time. On regular usage, I get over 1 day and 18 hours on a single charge. The mobile comes with Moto Turbo charger, which is a fast charger. It charges the mobile to 50% in 35 minutes. But the rest of the battery takes about 1 hr 30 minutes to charge. In total, it takes 2 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. It also get a bit warm while charging.

Competition

Coolpad Cool 1, Honor 6X, Redmi Note 4 and Nubia Z11 Mini S are its prime competitors. I would recommend the Z11 Mini S, over G5 Plus for it better camera, 64 gig internal storage, display. Battery life and Display is better on the Redmi Note 4 compared to G5 Plus. Honor 6x has a better camera, but the G5 Plus is definitely better than the Cool 1. I think I have confused you enough. To put it in simple terms : Nubia Z11 Mini S > Redmi Note 4 > Moto G5 Plus > Honor 6X > Coolpad Cool 1.

Verdict

I would recommend Moto G5 Plus to you, if you are concerned about reliable brand and latest Android update and reliable. If you are looking for a killer mobile in this price range, go for the lesser known brand Nubia Z11 Mini S, and you will not regret a bit. When you pay Rs 14999 or Rs 16999 for the G5 Plus, you get a premium looking design, average display, good hardware, latest OS version, decent camera and a good battery life. So why not?

p.s: The review was done on a personal device and not a review unit. 

About Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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