Moto G5 & Moto G5 Plus Hands On

01 March 2017

What are they?

The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus are the latest smartphones in Motorola's (or Moto's technically, but it feels weird not writing Motorola) commercially and critically successful G series of midrange smartphones. Other than beefier internals, the big new change is that Motorola has ditched plastic, and kitted out both the G5 and G5 Plus with a metal back. 

Notably, the pair ship with Google Assistant, Google's replacement for Google Now, and run a user interface very similar to that found on the Google Pixel phones. 

Key specifications for the Moto G5 include a 5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 430 processor, 16GB of expandable storage, 2GB of RAM, a 2,800mAh battery, and a 13MP rear-facing camera.

Key specifications for the Moto G5 Plus include a 5.2-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 625 processor, 16GB or 32GB of expandable storage, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery, and a 12MP dual-pixel rear-facing camera.  

What did we think?

The Moto G5 Plus and Moto G5 Plus pair the series' value driven lineage with a metal body. The devices feel nice and light, but a touch flimsier than the metal that you'd get in a more expensive phone. That's not to say the quality isn't there - there's no flex - but the phones doesn't have the reassuring heft of something like an iPhone or a higher-end Huawei. 

Other than screen-size, there's only minor physical differences between the two phones - such as headphone jack position, and the fact the Moto G5 has a removable back (and as such battery), while the Moto G5 Plus doesn't. 

Personally, I'm thrilled that the Moto G5 Plus now has a 5.2-inch screen, down from that 5.5-inch display in the G4 Plus. I found 5.5-inch to be a touch too large - especially given the healthy amount of bezel - where as the G5 Plus is a lot easier to use in one hand. 

In terms of performance, both phones seemed zippy and continue Motorola's tradition of using a mostly unfettered version of Android. The phones ship with Android Nougat, Google Assistant, and appear to use a launcher very similar to what you'd find on the Google Pixel. I'd did get a chance to test cameras in any meaningful way, but Motorola's had a history of consistently improving its midrange cameras year on year. 

While the fingerprint reader doesn't work as a home button by default, the Moto app lets you turn it into one - thankfully. Another nice improvement from the G4 Plus. 

Historically, the Moto G series has offered some of the best bang for buck smartphones around, and from my time with the G5 and G5 Plus, it looks like that's going to continue to be the case.      

When can I buy them?

Global availability for both phones is March, but it looks like neither the Moto G5 or Moto G5 Plus will be available in Australia until April. 

How much will they cost me?

Local pricing has yet to be confirmed, but internationally the Moto G5 starts at €199 , and the Moto G5 Plus at €279. These convert to about $275 and $385, respectively. Last year, the G4 Plus launched at $399.

Motorola Australia contributed funding toward WhistleOut's trip to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress


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