The new Moto G5 and G5 Plus are quite different from their predecessors. As Moto’s budget-friendly series – it still is, of course – the company’s G series devices have always featured…more desirable build quality. Well, that’s exactly what the G5 and G5 Plus pack now: metal designs. Aside from that, both devices also boast other interesting features.
It’s too bad Malaysians may not be able to get their hands on these budget-friendly smartphones. Surprise surprise: the Moto G5 Plus is now available in Malaysia. More information can be found here.
Anyway, let’s kick things off with a list of specifications. The Moto G5 – the slightly smaller device of the two – features a 5-inch 1080p IPS display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor paired with up to 3GB of RAM, two choices of expandable storage (16GB or 32GB), 13MP rear and 5MP front-facing cameras, as well as a 2,800mAh battery.
As the bigger device of the two, the Moto G5 Plus is also better-equipped. It has a marginally larger 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display, a more capable Snapdragon 625 processor paired with 3GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, a 12MP f/1.7 rear camera, a 5MP front-facing shooter, and a 3,000mAh battery. Naturally, both the G5 and G5 Plus also run on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
Thanks to the metal chassis of the Moto G5 and G5 Plus, these two devices feel pretty solid in my hands. Now, they don’t exactly strike me as premium-tier devices (they’re not), but for a pair of affordable devices…they’re certainly built very well. It’s good to see that Moto – or rather, Lenovo – did not compromise in this aspect.
I also rather like the new – and fast – fingerprint sensors of the Moto G5 and G5 Plus. Much like the Huawei P10 and the Mate 9 Pro, the on-screen Android navigation keys can be switched off on the Moto G5 devices. Users can then opt to use only the fingerprint sensors of the two devices for navigation: a single tap brings up the home screen, a left swipe acts as the back button, and a right swipe summons the Recent Apps page.
Although this gesture-based navigation method doesn’t sound very intuitive at first, it is a rather interesting idea. I also love the fact that the fingerprint sensor can accurately detect a left – or right – swiping motion. Given time, I’m positive I can get used to it; heck, I might even prefer it over Android’s three-button navigation method. Moto’s implementation of the one-button user interface definitely feels more intuitive (and responsive) than Huawei’s.
One of my main concerns before getting my hands on the Moto G5 and G5 Plus is whether or not these devices would feel responsive enough to not be a nuisance. Thankfully, they offer a pleasant user experience: the near-stock version of Android running on the G5 and G5 Plus is optimised very well. Also, it’s worth noting that Google Assistant will be available on these two devices too, although the demo units I’ve tested do not have the feature implemented yet.
If there’s one thing mid-range devices compromise on, it’s in the camera department, and I’m happy to report that the Moto G5 devices are decent performers in this area. The camera interface feels responsive enough on both the G5 and G5 Plus, and the autofocus speeds of these phones are surprisingly good too. As for image quality, the G5 Plus certainly takes better pictures than the G5 – thanks to its larger f/1.7 aperture.
Lenovo has certainly delivered two very capable mid-range smartphones in the Moto G5 and G5 Plus. For sub-RM1,000 devices – when converted from their retail prices in Europe and US – they definitely look, feel and perform above their class.
I’d argue the design of the Moto G5 and G5 Plus are quite dated, but hey, they’re quite an improvement over their predecessors. Hopefully, Moto Malaysia won’t take too long to bring these devices into our local market – it’s always great to have more affordable devices available on our shores.
Update (29 May 11.30PM): Article has been updated to reflect the Malaysian availability of the Moto G5 Plus. Unfortunately, we were told that there’s no plan to bring in the smaller Moto G5 at the moment.