Moto G5 and G5 Plus hands-on: Mid-rangers pushing towards premium
This year's Mobile World Congress hasn't disappointed in terms of new handsets, and Lenovo-owned Motorola has used the occasion to launch the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus. New Atlas called in at the Lenovo booth in Barcelona to see what all the fuss was about.
If you've read our earlier coverage you'll know that these phones continue the Motorola tradition of offering decently-specced Android handsets for an appealing price – they're the solid mid-rangers to go for if you have better things to spend $700 on than a smartphone, but at the same time want something capable.
That still applies to the G5 and the G5 Plus, but there are signs these phones are edging closer to the premium end, while staying very affordable.
The first thing you notice about the handsets is how they follow a similar sort of style template, following on from the lead of the Moto Z – there aren't that many cosmetic differences to talk about, and Motorola is starting to get itself a distinctive, consistent style in the same way as Sony's smartphones have.
That added aluminum backing makes the phones feel more premium in the hand, though there's still no mistaking them for anything like an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy device thanks to all the lightweight plastic that's still hanging around.
You'd also be hard-pushed to tell the difference between these phones going from touch and feel alone – it's really in the specs where the differences are, though the G5 Plus has a 5.2-inch display compared to the G5's 5-incher.
Screen-wise the phones were respectably bright and clear, and responsive to the touch. Again you're not going to get these confused with an AMOLED screen attached to a Samsung device, but the 1080p displays do the job and are more than satisfactory for the price you'll be paying.
We also gave the one-button navigation on the G5 Plus a go – you swipe left to go back, right to bring up the recent apps screen, and tap to go home. It succeeded in baffling us once or twice during our demo (blame muscle memory) but it does work as advertised, so presumably it's something you get used to with time. What it does is remove the need for the soft Android keys so you get more screen real estate for whatever you're looking at.
The G5 Plus camera is worth a mention, which was impressively fast in taking shots. Whatever software and hardware magic Motorola has applied, it lets you rattle off pictures very quickly indeed. The results looked good too, though you can't test phone cameras all that extensively inside a trade show hall. The G5 camera wasn't as lightning fast, but still performed well.
Meanwhile the software, near-stock Android Nougat, was speedy and responsive, though again we didn't have time to put it to any kind of real test. The G5, despite being the low-powered sibling of the pair, didn't have any noticeable lag or issues as we skipped around the OS.
An early hands-on look at a phone can only tell you so much, but from our first impressions we'd say the G5 and G5 Plus continue the Moto tradition of mid-range value as well as bringing some welcome extras to the table. The phones go on sale next month, costing US$299 for the G5 Plus. US pricing and availability for the G5 has not been confirmed.
Product pages: Motorola