Moto G5 Plus Review: Premium but Affordable

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Itechguides' Take on Moto G5 Plus


The Moto G5 Plus is an affordable smartphone that doesn’t look the part thanks to its metallic build. Its one-button navigation is intuitive and easy to use. Moreover, it has a decent camera and battery performance.



  • Metallic build, doesn’t look cheap
  • Innovative one-button navigation
  • Great camera
  • Outstanding battery life


  • Battery is not removable
  • Average performance

This review is a long and detailed breakdown of the Moto G5 Plus specs and features. Specifically, I will discuss its design, display, camera, storage, sensors, and battery life.

Additionally, I will include a rating of one to ten after each section review. With this, you will be able to discover how the Moto G5 Plus fared in each section even at a glance.

Lastly, because knowledge is power, the information you will gather from this review might help influence your purchasing decision.

My Initial Thoughts

Moto G5 Plus Review: My Initial Thoughts

Motorola in its lineup of budget smartphones has continued to deliver user’s choice features at affordable prices. In 2017, it released the Moto G5 Plus as a refresh of its predecessor – the Moto G4 Plus.

The Moto G5 Plus takes a completely different but improved path from its predecessor in terms of looks and internals. However, it costs even a cheaper price compared to its predecessor.

Speaking of its price, when we published this article in September 2021, the Moto G5 Plus starts at $145. The price definitely sounds interesting but I am sure you want to know about its specs and features.

Therefore, let’s get right into the discussion of its spec and features.

Moto G5 Plus Design, Dimension & Weight Review

Moto G5 Plus Design, Dimension & Weight Review

Like I hinted above, the Moto G5 Plus has taken a complete design turnaround from its predecessor. It has ditched the entire plastic chassis on the Moto G4 Plus and now features a combination of plastic and metal.

Specifically, the frame is made of plastic while the back casing is metal. Consequently, the Moto G5 Plus looks more attractive and with a better build quality than its predecessor.

Furthermore, the Moto G5 Plus is a tad smaller than its predecessor. However, this is a good thing because it makes it easier to hold with one hand.

In specifics, the Moto G5 Plus measures 150.2 x 74 x 9.8 mm. Meanwhile, the Moto G4 Plus measures 153 x 76.6 x 9.8 mm.

Clearly, the Moto G5 Plus is not as wide or tall as its predecessor but it maintains the same thickness.

Similarly, the Moto G5 Plus weighs 155 g just like its predecessor. With its sleek dimension and weight, it can be easily slid into your pocket or your side pouch.

The Moto G5 Plus is available in two color options – lunar gray and fine gold.

The front view of the Moto G5 Plus is an aesthetic image of its 5.2-inch screen with glossy bezels. The bezels complement it nicely.

However, the top and bottom bezels are quite thick. The only nitpick is that at a time where bezel-less screens were a norm, Motorola decided to go for thick bezels.

The top bezel houses the earpiece opening and a proximity sensor (more about this in the sensor review section). There is also a Motorola branding and the front camera.

On the other hand, the bottom bezel houses a fingerprint sensor that works similarly to the touch home buttons on iPhones. However, the Moto G5 Plus fingerprint sensor does a lot more.

More about the features of the fingerprint sensor in the sensor review section.

Despite having a bottom bezel, the Home, Recent, and Back navigations of the Moto G5 Plus are on-screen.

Turning the Moto G5 Plus to its back, you will be amazed by how sophisticated it looks despite its affordability. It is made of a simple brushed-metal back casing that is easy to grip.

Thankfully, unlike other metallic phones, it is surprisingly not prone to fingerprints.

In contrast to the angled edges of the Moto G4 plus back view,  the Moto G5 Plus has more roundness to it. Also, the predecessor – Moto G4 Plus – houses a vertical camera arrangement.

However, the Moto G5 Plus houses a large round camera setup instead. In addition to that, there is a Motorola logo below the camera.

Moving on to the sides of the Moto G5 Plus, the right side houses the volume control buttons. Below the volume button, there is a power button that you can press to turn on or off the screen.

Additionally, when you press and hold the power button, it either turns on the device or turns it off.

The Moto G5 Plus top houses the card tray for SIM cards and MicroSD cards. Meanwhile, the bottom houses a USB charging slot, a microphone, and a headphone jack.

In summary, the Moto G5 Plus impresses with its premium look. This is an uncommon feat for budget phones.

Also, despite its metal body it still manages to maintain the same lightweight as its predecessor. Its lightweight makes it easy to hold and carry around.

Most impressively, the Moto G5 Plus is a splash-resistant device which means that it can survive splashes of water. However, it should not be immersed in water.

Therefore, I will rate the Moto G5 Plus a nine in this design and dimension review section.

Moto G5 Plus Display Features Review

Moto G5 Plus Display Features Review

The Moto G5 Plus ships with an IPS display with a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. IPS ( In-plane switching) is an LCD (liquid-crystal display) technology that produces wider viewing angles and a sharper touch.

However, there are limitations to the screen performance of the Moto G5 Plus. For Instance, the display brightness is not so impressive even when set to maximum.

Also, the colors are dull and not as vibrant as you will see on more expensive smartphones. Testing the display with a colorimeter shows that it produces only 73.4% of the sRGB color gamut.

This is less impressive than the 100% recommended color reproduction. However, considering the price of the Moto G5 Plus, we consider this a fair trade-off.

Additionally, the display has a respectable amount of contrast; although it does not match the perfect contrast of AMOLED screens. With its 424 PPI (pixels per inch) screen, games will look just fine on the Moto G5 plus.

When it comes to playing videos, the Full HD 1080p video resolution of the Moto G5 Plus does not disappoint. Consequently, you will be able to watch crisp-looking videos.

Moreover, with an aspect ratio of 16:9, the Moto G5 Plus produces a widescreen for watching videos. Giving your movies time a fair touch of cinematic experience.

In conclusion, the Full HD resolution display of the Moto G5 Plus is far from the better quality 4K resolution screens. However, its performance is better than that of its predecessor and most other budget smartphones.

Furthermore, the Moto G5 Plus display is coated with Corning Gorilla glass. This means that the screen is strong and less prone to cracks and scratches.

Therefore, I will rate the Moto G5 Plus an eight in this display review section.

Moto G5 Plus Camera Features Review

In order to determine the quality of a camera, few features have to be considered. These include the camera’s megapixel, aperture size, pixel size, sensors, and lens quality.

The Moto G5 plus front camera has a 5-megapixel front camera with an ƒ/2.2 aperture. This implies that the G5 plus has a wide aperture suitable for taking great photos even in poor lighting conditions.

Additionally, the front camera has a wide-angle lens for taking detailed selfies. It features a beauty mode that smoothens the face and reduces blemishes.

On the other hand, the rear camera is 12 megapixels. Meanwhile, the predecessor has a 16 megapixel back camera.

However, to make up for the reduction in numbers, the Moto G5 plus camera now has some improved features.

For instance, the aperture size of the back camera has been improved too from ƒ/2.2 on its predecessor to ƒ/1.7. This translates to taking sharper images and that pictures taken in low light will be less plagued by noise.

The back camera uses a dual-pixel sensor that makes autofocusing seamless and accurate, especially in good lighting conditions. However, in poor lighting conditions, the autofocus is not so reliable.

Furthermore, the back camera has a pixel size of 1.4 μm. This means that the camera captures 1.4-micron pixels in each picture.

In a simpler term, the camera provides the lens with adequate lighting. Moreover, the greater the amount of light a lens receives, the less the noise, and the better the quality of the picture produced.

Hence, even with limited external lights, the Moto G5 plus lens will still take nice pictures.

Taking videos with the Moto G5 Plus is also an interesting experience. There is an option to either shoot in HD resolution or a better 4K resolution based on your setting.

The default is HD.

Also, the Moto G5 Plus has several modes such as slow-motion and panorama modes. There is also a Pro mode that allows you to change specific camera settings, such as white balance.

Additionally, you can set the shutter speed and the ISO setting.

In conclusion, low-light photography has always been a challenge for most budget phones. However, the Moto G5 Plus manages to deliver a respectable performance in this department.

Overall, the camera performance of the Moto G5 Plus is not the best. However, the image quality is still very good compared to its predecessor or other budget smartphones in the market.

Therefore, I will rate the Moto G5 Plus a seven in this camera review section.

Moto G5 Plus Battery Life and Talk Time Review

Moto G5 Plus Battery Life And Talk Time Review

The Moto G5 Plus is powered by a 3000 mAh battery which is in agreement with a phone of this size. The battery is unremovable unlike that of the Moto G4 Plus.

Motorola has claimed an average of 12 hours of 3G battery talk time. Impressively, my video-playback battery test produced a better battery performance than was claimed.

The battery test involved playing an HD video repeatedly until the battery drains. Meanwhile, the phone was set to flight mode and the screen brightness was set to 170 nits.

Consequently, the Moto G5 Plus lasted 13 hours 13 minutes. Comparatively, the battery performance of the Moto G5 Plus is just 2 minutes longer than its predecessor.

Specifically, the Moto G4 Plus lasted 13 hours 11 minutes in the same test.

The battery life of the Moto G5 Plus depends on how much work you put it through. This explains how the phone performed better in the test than what Motorola got from their 3G talk time test.

Additionally, the Moto G5 Plus features the Moto TurboPower technology. The TurboPower is a fast charging technology that ensures faster charge time.

In specifics, the Moto G5 plus will charge from 0 to 20 % in about 15 minutes. Moreover, in about 85 minutes the battery should be completely charged.

In conclusion, the battery performance of the Moto G5 plus is similar to that of its processor. This is a good thing since this performance surpasses that of most other smartphones in the same budget category.

Finally, I will rate the Moto G5 plus an eight in this battery review section.

Moto G5 Plus Storage Options & Performance Review

The Moto G5 Plus is available in two storage configurations. There is a model with 32 GB internal storage and there is another with 64 GB.

However, you won’t have access to the entire 32 GB or 64 GB for storing your data. This is because part of the internal storage is occupied by the operating system and preinstalled apps.

There is also an option of expanding the storage capacity via the microSD card. The MicroSD card can take up to 128 GB.  

Therefore, you can get up to a maximum of 192 GB of storage space if you use the available storage options judiciously.

Specifically, you can access 192 GB of storage space by buying the 64 GB storage model. In addition to that, add a 128 GB SD card and you have sufficient space for storing your photos and videos.

Finally, I will rate the Moto G5 Plus a seven in this storage review section.

Moto G5 Plus Security Features & Sensors Review

Moto G5 Plus Security Features & Sensors Review

For a budget phone, the Moto G5 Plus is loaded with a lot of useful security features and powerful sensors. It ships with a fingerprint reader that allows you to unlock your phone with your finger. 

In addition to scanning fingers, the fingerprint sensor features more interesting functionality that Motorola termed as One Button Navigation. To make this work, you need to turn the One Button Nav on in the Moto App.

This will in turn deactivate the on-screen navigation buttons on the Moto G5 Plus. Thereby enabling the interaction via the fingerprint sensor.

Once the One Button Nav feature is enabled, when you tap on the fingerprint sensor, it takes you to the home screen. When you swipe left on the sensor, it shows your recent apps.

Also, if you swipe right, it goes back. You can also lock the phone with a long press of the fingerprint sensor.

Additionally, if you tap and hold on to the fingerprint sensor, Google Assistant pops up.

The Moto G5 Plus also has other sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, and proximity. The Accelerometer and Gyroscope work together to automatically detect your phone’s orientation and rotate it accordingly. 

The Ambient Light sensor is used to detect the amount of ambient light present. In response to the amount of light detected, accordingly, the processor dims the phone’s screen to match the light.

In smartphones, the ambient light sensor is useful in two ways. Firstly, it ensures that the phone’s screen is not too bright therefore protecting the eyes.

Secondly, by automatically dimming the screen of the phone, the battery lasts longer.

Meanwhile, the proximity sensor detects how close objects are to the phone without making contact. When you lift your phone while the screen backlight is on towards your ear, as it moves closer the backlight goes off.

This effect is beneficial in two ways. Firstly, when the backlight goes off, the touchscreen is disabled thereby preventing your ears from making unwanted touch actions.

Secondly, turning off the backlight will also conserve battery power.

Finally, the Moto G5 Plus has several useful sensors that help the phone with its intuition. Hence, I will rate the Moto G5 Plus a nine in this security and sensors section.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Moto G5 Plus Waterproof?

Yes, the Moto G5 Plus will survive water splashes and even rain. However, it should not be submerged in water.

2. How Long Does The Moto G5 Plus Battery Last?

The battery life of the Moto G5 Plus is dependent on how you use it. However, Motorola advertised the Moto G5 Plus to last up to 12 hours. Meanwhile, in my video playback test, I got a more impressive 13 hours 13 minutes.

3. Is Moto G5 Plus A Good Phone?

The Moto G5 Plus is an affordable smartphone that doesn’t look the part thanks to its metallic build. Also, the One Button Navigation is intuitive and easy to use. Moreover, it has a respectable camera and battery performance. Hence, it is safe to say that the Moto G5 Plus is a good phone.

4. How Much Time Does It Take The Moto G5 Plus To Charge?

The Moto G5 Plus is equipped with Moto TurboPower technology. The Moto TurboPower is a fast charging technology. Due to this fast charging technology, the Moto G5 Plus charges from 0 to 20 % in about 15 minutes. Moreover, in about 85 minutes the battery should be completely charged.

5. How Much Does The Moto G5 Plus Cost?

In September 2021 when we published this article, the Moto G5 Plus starts at a price of $145.

My Final Thoughts

Moto G5 Plus Review My Final Thoughts

The Moto G5 Plus strikes a balance between affordability and every other thing one might need in a smartphone. It has a sleek and solidly built metal chassis.

Furthermore, the fingerprint sensor doubles as a navigation control that is intuitive and easy to use. The battery life is enough to last you long hours without the need to charge

The camera is also impressive, it produces well-detailed pictures in good light. Additionally, it offers options to shoot videos in HD or 4K resolution.

Finally, the Moto G5 is undoubtedly offering a lot for just a budget. Hence, buy this if you are not looking for a top-of-the-line performance but a respectable one.

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References and Further Reading

  1. Moto G5 Plus Review – Cnet
  2. IPS Panel – Wikipedia
  3. Moto G5 Plus Review – Techradar
  4. sRGB – Wikipedia
  5. Mobile Sensors – Jayillu
  6. Moto G5 Plus Review – Tom’s guide
  7. Itechguides Community

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