Moto G5 Review

| Published Date
04 - Apr - 2017
| Last Updated
24 - Sep - 2017
 
10999

Where to buy

70
Moto G5
The Moto G5 sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, has a 5-inch 1080p display and a 13MP rear camera

Moto G5 Rating 70100100

Our Verdict

Overall, the Moto G5 is a good overall smartphone, and has something to offer for everyone. It isn’t the most well-built smartphone, but is definitely one of the most ergonomic. It doesn't have the most vibrant display to consume content, but isn't bad either. The display is visible in the sun, and everyday performance is acceptable. The buit-in speaker and limited 16GB storage are the only drawbacks. We do not recommend anyone to buy a phone with 16GB storage, unless all you need is calling, basic messaging apps and internet access.

If extra long battery life is a priority, you can consider the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 or even the Redmi 3s. If a good camera is what you are looking for, the Honor 6X is your pick, while the Redmi Note 4 is the one for those who demand performance. The Moto G5, meanwhile, is for those looking for an ergonomic smartphone that is dependable on everyday basis. It’s compact, has decent battery stamina, offers stock-like Android interface and has an aura of assurance. It isn’t the best smartphone at around 10k, but is one that you can depend on as per need.

PROS

  • Very ergonomic
  • Smooth overall performance

CONS

  • Display lacks vibrancy
  • Lacklustre speaker
  • Unimpressive camera

Moto G5: Detailed Review

If you are in the market to pick up a budget smartphone at around Rs. 12,000, chances are that you'll consider the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Redmi 3s Prime, Honor 6X and Coolpad Cool1. In this rather competitive segment, Lenovo's Moto G5 Plus was one of the latest launches, and now, we have the Moto G5. The smaller sibling has a 5-inch 1080p display, making it quite compact. It runs on the tried-and-tested Snapdragon 430 SoC, has 16GB built-in storage, which is the only, but a big downer, and has a 13MP rear camera. Does it have what it takes to take on the current kings of budget smartphones? Also, is it a worthwhile alternative to the commendable Moto G5 Plus? Here's what we found.

Design and Build

The Moto G5 looks like the smaller sibling of the Moto G5 Plus, in the truest sense. Even though its design is quite similar, it’s evident that some elements have been reworked to reduce cost. The Moto G5 has a removable back and battery, unlike the Moto G5 Plus. This gives you access to the battery and two SIM slots. It also makes way for a dedicated microSD card slot, which many will appreciate. 

The rear panel feels plasticky, but is actually aluminium. To put things into perspective, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Honor 6X have better build quality when it comes to the rear panel, but the tradeoff is that they don’t have removable backs or removable batteries. The rear also has the signature Moto logo along with the 13MP camera.

We have a 5-inch IPS Scratch-resistant 1080p display. Above it is the earpiece that doubles up as the mono speaker. The front facing camera is to the left of this, while the ambient light sensor lies to the right. There’s a fingerprint sensor below the display, next to which rests a microphone. The phone isn’t waterproof or water resistant, which could have been a good addition here. The display has relatively thick bezels, which is an eyesore.

The Moto G5 is 9.5mm thick and weighs 145 grams. It is extremely comfortable to hold and is great for single handed operations. If you are looking for a good ergonomic smartphone for writing long emails and texts, then the Moto G5 has a very convenient form factor.

You can choose from three different colours - Lunar Grey, Fine Gold and Sapphire Blue. We got the Fine Gold variant for review. Although 5.5-inch is the norm these day, personally I’m happy to see such a compact smartphone. It is ideal for those looking for a device similar to the Nexus 5 in form factor. It also fits well in jeans pockets without any inconvenience.

Display and UI

At 5 inches with 1080p screen resolution, the pixel density comes out as 441ppi, which is more than enough for a display of this size. It is also more than that on the Honor 6X and Redmi Note 4, thanks to the smaller panel. It gets the job done, for the most part. The maximum luminance of 540 lux isn’t the highest, but works for most. The display is easily readable with auto brightness, both indoors and outdoors. It feels dim, but sunlight visibility isn’t really affected. 

The colour reproduction is good overall, though. Colours are decently saturated, but not vibrant. Colour accuracy is decent, but the display does lack good contrast and vibrancy. This is noticeable when placed side-by-side with competing devices. We wish the display was punchier overall.

Motorola’s near stock UI has been much appreciated by consumers. There are a few preloaded apps, but nothing that hampers the user experience. The pre-installed Moto app gives you access to Actions, which are essentially gestures and shortcuts, along with customisations for the Always On display. 

Moto G5 Screenshots

Click to see all the screenshots

As with every Motorola phone today, you can twist to launch the camera, pick up to stop ringing, so on and so forth. Some of these, like silencing the ringer are useful, whereas others like shaking your wrist to launch the camera app feels gimmicky.

The One-button navigation feature is interesting. You essentially swipe left on the fingerprint sensor to go back, swipe right to launch multitasking, tap it to go home and long press to lock the screen. It eliminates on-screen buttons, giving you more display real estate. However, in our experience, it may hamper some functionality. For example, we tried running the PCMark battery test when the One-button nav was active, and got an error. We switched back to the traditional navigation (seriously, that’s all we changed) and the test yielded a conclusive result. So yes, although very small, it looks like this may affect some functionality.

In the storage option on the Moto G5, you get a breakup of how much storage is being used by the OS, which in this case is 5.97GB. It’s a small thing but it's nice to know exactly how much space the OS takes up. Considering this is a 16GB smartphone, you will be hard pressed for space in a matter of days if you are a power user and like downloading large apps. 

Performance

The biggest problem we have with performance is that the smartphone has 16GB of built-in storage, which I think needs to be extinct now. With that off my chest, here is a look at the benchmark scores against the Redmi Note 4, Honor 6X and Coolpad Cool1.

As you can see from the benchmark scores above, the Moto G5 doesn’t outperform its competitors, but isn’t far behind either. Translating this to real world usage, we didn't notice any big lags or stutters with day-to-day use cases. The smartphone does take a long time to boot, owing to the boot animation. It takes about 35 seconds to reach the security PIN option, and another 35 seconds to reach the home screen. We did select the 'request pin while starting up' option when setting up the smartphone.

The device also ran every game we threw at it with reasonable ease. Frame rates were below 30, but at no level was the game unplayable. Average frame rates remained at 26fps, which is lower than that on the G5 Plus. The phone also didn’t get too hot during a half-an-hour gaming session.

On everyday performance, the phone is quite smooth. There were no hiccups when making calls, accessing social networking websites, multitasking between messaging and Google Maps, so on and so forth.

As mentioned earlier, the earpiece on the Moto G5 doubles up as the mono speaker. While this position is prefered when compared to the bottom (near the USB port), the speaker itself isn’t the best. Audio isn’t particularly clear, lacks bass and volume. It’s not the ideal speaker if you want to show someone a movie trailer, with the audio sounding very low profile.

Battery life

When it comes to the battery life, the Moto G5 is above average. Sure, it’s no Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, but in our PCMark battery test, the device lasted for about 9 hours, which is good. In real world usage, the smartphone can last a 9-to-5 day with ease. If you leave the house in the morning with 100 percent charge, make a few calls, some light to medium social networking and about 20 minutes of gaming, you should make it through the day fairly easily. Shift to GPS on Google Maps and some heavy sessions of gaming later, you will be reaching for your charger by the second half.

Overall, the battery life is not ideal, but if you are not a heavy user it should last you for the day.

Camera

The rear of the Moto G5 has a 13MP shooter. For well lit situations, the camera clicks good photos producing decent colours and overall details. Having said that, there are times when the colour accuracy is off, with warm colours looking undersaturated. Click on the gallery below and see the image which has the red, green and yellow knobs. The greens don’t look as accurate as they are in real life, and contrast levels are low. Fine details are also lacking, and image noise is noticeable. Low light photography isn’t great but has its exceptions. The image of the Batman wall hanging and the cars render noise and poor overall composition, but the photograph with houses on the table is surprisingly decent in terms of white balance and colours. There is a lot of noise in these images and loss of details. In the image of the house on the table, however, it looks acceptable. There is noticeable loss of details when you enlarge to its fullest size. Look at the Confucius Says poster - enlarging the image to its fullest size and trying to read the text is significantly difficult.

Moto G5 Camera Samples

Click to see all the camera samples

In well lit to semi-well lit conditions, the camera can do a decent job. Reduce the light, and you won’t get the best images. As the light goes down, so do the level of details.

Bottomline

Overall, the Moto G5 is a good overall smartphone, and has something to offer for everyone. It isn’t the most well-built smartphone, but is definitely one of the most ergonomic. It doesn't have the most vibrant display to consume content, but isn't bad either. The display is visible in the sun, and everyday performance is acceptable. The buit-in speaker and limited 16GB storage are the only drawbacks. We do not recommend anyone to buy a phone with 16GB storage, unless all you need is calling, basic messaging apps and internet access.

If extra long battery life is a priority, you can consider the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 or even the Redmi 3s. If a good camera is what you are looking for, the Honor 6X is your pick, while the Redmi Note 4 is the one for those who demand performance. The Moto G5, meanwhile, is for those looking for an ergonomic smartphone that is dependable on everyday basis. It’s compact, has decent battery stamina, offers stock-like Android interface and has an aura of assurance. It isn’t the best smartphone at around 10k, but is one that you can depend on as per need.