Moto G5: easy on the pocketbook and do justice to family’s reputation

Telecom is eventually growing emulous and the manufacturers are putting their best foot forward to introduce high end smart devices. But not every one can invest in the smartphone with breakneck prices. For them, the mid range market extends a variety of devices and smartphones that appeals to some but fail to meet the standards set by rival devices.

The latest in the mid range market is Moto G5 that looks practically identical to its sibling, but there are a few minor changes in its design. It also ships in a very similar retail package, with only the “Plus” moniker missing. The G5 has a smaller screen and a broader body. At the global launch, Lenovo had stated that the design of the Moto G5 series is inspired by the premium Moto Z family, and you can see that influence.

The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus both have a distinctive look which helps them stand out. At their unveiling at the MWC 2017 trade show, Lenovo claimed that both phones are built using Aluminium 6000. The rear panel appears to be hardened plastic with a metallic colour. The Moto G5 fit well in our hands, and the chrome lining across its front looks good. The Micro-USB port is on the bottom, while the 3.5mm audio port is on top. The power and volume buttons are on the right. Unlike the Moto G5 Plus, the Moto G5 has a removable battery. While a lot of people will like this, our biggest gripe is that the SIM slots as well as the microSD card slot are adjacent to the battery compartment, which means you have to turn off the device every time you want to switch SIMs or swap a microSD card. The front panel features a fingerprint sensor right below the display, and a Moto logo on top. The earpiece doubles as the loudspeaker. On the rear, the primary camera is flush with the surface, which we prefer to the Moto G5 Plus’s protruding one. The iconic Moto batwing logo is embossed in the middle of the back.

At roughly 145 grams, the Moto G5 is lighter in weight as compared to other smartphones. The low weight meant that we had no issues using the phone with one hand. While the Moto G5 is quite thick at 9.5mm, its rounded edges make it comfortable. Like some previous Moto G models, the Moto G5 has a liquid-repellent nano-coating which can help protect it from water spills or rain.

Inside the retail box you’ll find the standard documentation, a SIM ejector tool, a 10W charger, a Micro-USB cable, and earphones, apart from the phone itself. The Moto G5 will be going on sale in Lunar Grey, which we received for review, and Fine Gold.

Moto G5 specifications and software

The Moto G5 features a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080×1920 pixels, for a density of 441ppi (pixels per inch). Under the hood, it is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor clocked at 1.4GHz, with Adreno 505 graphics. There’s also 3GB of RAM and 16GB of inbuilt storage, plus support for microSD cards of up to 128GB. Moto G5 users will also get to save photos online in their original size using Google’s Photos app, for a period of two years, which in our opinion is a neat addition.

The handset measures 144.3x73x9.5mm and packs a removable 2800mAh battery. It supports two Nano-SIMs and also supports 4G with VoLTE (voice over LTE). There’s Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS/ A-GPS, GLONASS, and even FM radio.

Like its bigger sibling, the Moto G5 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and is one of the first in its price segment to offer a stock UI. The Moto G5 also has some neat software and gesture shortcuts. The Moto Display feature shows preview of notifications while the phone is asleep, with just a nudge. Lenovo says this is better than an LED indicator which cannot filter different apps and notifications.

The Moto app preinstalled on the Moto G5 offers option for users to enable or disable these gesture shortcuts and more. The popular “karate chop” to toggle the torch, arm twist to launch the camera app, and flip for ‘Do not disturb’ are all supported. There’s also a One-button Nav feature which lets users tap or swipe the fingerprint sensor instead of reaching for the on-screen Android navigation buttons.

Several Nougat features are present on the Moto G5 including the ability to drag and drop text and images when working in multi-window mode, bundled notifications, and a new data saver feature among others. Google Assistant is also present on the Moto G5 and can be activated simply by long-pressing the home button. Users can work on two apps simultaneously using split-screen mode.

Moto G5 performance

In day-to-day use, the Moto G5 didn’t give us any problems and handled multitasking with ease. The Moto G5 can be your daily driver and will not disappoint even if you play games and stream videos. Apps launch quickly and the device responds well to touches. The fingerprint scanner is also quick. The 3GB of memory appears adequate for most jobs, though we wish that the company had launched the variant with 32GB of storage. With 16GB, only around 10GB of space is free to users, which can be expected to fill up fast.

Call quality was decent and we never experienced any call drops due to the handset. The 5-inch full-HD display is good for watching videos, though many will prefer a bigger screen if they want to watch videos a lot. The IPS LCD panel is crisp and manages to produce accurate colours. Sunlight legibility is adequate, and viewing angles are fine. Text and images appear sharp. You can choose between Standard and Vibrant colour modes in the display settings. Vibrant mode is the default, and you can change this if you prefer less saturation. The front of the phone is however fingerprint magnet.

The Moto G5 scored 44,062 in AnTuTu; 5,633 in 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme; and 14fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex test. In Quadrant, the Moto G5 fared below average with a score of 12,495. The Redmi 3S Prime has a lower resolution screen and thus fared better in GFXBench and we found the two phones to be comparable. The Lenovo K6 Power is also powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor and gave us roughly equivalent scores as well, apart from the unusual Quadrant result.

Moto G5 camera

The Moto G5 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF), an f/2.0 aperture, and an LED flash. The camera supports up to 8X digital zoom for photos and can also recognise QR codes and barcodes. There’s a 5-megapixel front camera as well, which has an f/2.2 aperture.

The primary camera is a really fast shooter and was able to focus in very little time. We were impressed with shots in good lighting conditions and the ability of the camera to capture good details. Sample shots taken in broad daylight showed proper colours with minimal noise and distortion. The camera didn’t disappoint in low-light situations either, and was able to adjust in contrasting lighting conditions. The Moto G5’s HDR mode does help in improving dynamic range though we found that we most often got the best results in auto mode.

The Moto G5 rear camera surprised us with its speed and flexibility. The camera app is easy to use and offers professional, slow motion and panorama modes. We liked the professional mode which allowed us to set exposure, white balance, and ISO manually. The rear camera can record videos at up to 1080p and the quality is decent. The 5-megapixel front camera captured some very good selfies which can work for social media.

Moto G5 battery

The Moto G5 has a removable 2800mAh battery which Lenovo claims can deliver full day of life with mixed usage With light to medium usage, the Moto G5 managed to survive a day. Our HD video loop battery test lasted for 10 hours and 15 minutes, which is average.

The phone supports rapid charging and you get a 10W charger in the box, which came in handy for us. The phone reached around 50 percent from zero in just 30 minutes of charging. This gives it an edge over competitors in the same price segment.

Verdict

We appreciate the number of improvements Lenovo has made to its all-new Moto G5 compared to last year’s model, and it won’t disappoint you in daily use . We also like the fact that the company has paid attention to design, and the Moto G can stand proud next to its competition. The latest version of Android and the camera improvements are also always welcome.

At Rs. 11,999, the Moto G5’s biggest attraction is its near-stock Android Nougat experience, and the Google Assistant feature which is hard to find on any other device in this price segment.

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