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Review: Moto G5 Plus

Lenovo, through its Motorola Mobility division, announced the big brother of the Moto G5 – the Moto G5 Plus – at MWC this year. The device was officially announced regionally in July this year. Coming in at a very affordable price point of AED 849, this device offers features by the boatload.

Apart from a raft of new and updated technologies onboard, a key feature this time is that the budget series of Motorola Mobility has been boosted with a premium-like metal build and high-end design. And the design and build quality boost shows on the Moto G5 Plus.

The overall look and feel is brilliant for a sub-AED 1000 smartphone. For some, the design may be a step backward, when you compare it to other mid-range devices available on the market. However, the larger display panel and Android Nougat adds to the overall value.

The Moto G5 Plus is available in two colours – fine gold and lunar grey. The review unit we received was the grey model. In terms of size, some people may find it a bit big when holding it in your hands. To keep it moderately less bulky, the G5 Plus ditches the 5.5-inch display in favour of the more manageable 5.2-inch Full HD version.

The screen also has a proper smudge resistant oleophobic coating on the top, which is a welcome addition. On the front you get a slim earpiece cutout on top of the display along with a  5-megapixel front camera with an f/2.2 aperture and display flash. At the bottom, you get a very snappy fingerprint sensor. The bezels on the Moto G5 Plus give off a glossy look and are complemented nicely by the metallic effect on the trim that surrounds the phone.

On the right edge, you’ll find a volume rocker placed above the notched power button. The nanoSIM and microSD card slot sits atop of the device, while the micro USB port and 3.5mm jack occupy its bottom. Yes, you read that right – the Moto G5 Plus still uses the micro USB port instead of the USB-C port. But that’s not a biggie.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 1

Turn the phone around and you will see a circular housing on the rear for the Moto G5 Plus 12-megapixel rear camera and dual-LED flash. This reminded me of the Moto Z. The iconic Moto logo is etched right below the bump. At 7.7mm thick, the Moto G5 Plus is certainly not slim, but it certainly helps gripping the phone better.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 2

Under the hood, the Moto G5 Plus runs on a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. At MWC 2017, three variants of the new smartphone were announced, with 2GB, 3GB, and 4GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB of inbuilt storage. The review unit we received came with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 3

The Moto G5 Plus comes with Android Nougat, complete with Google Assistant, stock apps and Pixel-like interface. So, instead of an app drawer button, you simply slide a finger up from the bottom to reveal all of your apps. You also get an app called “Moto” thrown into the mix.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 4

The Moto app lets you perform a wide range of functions through actions. These include “twist to open camera” and “chop twice for flashlight”. However, with the Moto G5 Plus, you also get an inventive one button navigation function.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 5

The fingerprint sensor also comes with a swipe-activated function, which is awesome. Once activated, the capacitive navigation buttons that you’re used to disappear and shifts those duties to the fingerprint sensor. To go home, quickly tap it once. To look at recent apps, tap and swipe right. Going back is a simple swipe left.

Moto G5 Plus – Sample 6

To assess the performance, we ran the AnTuTu benchmark on the device, where in we clocked 65545 point. Though this is not a blockbuster result, we can safely say that the Moto G5 Plus can be your primary smartphone. It was able to handle multi-tasking with ease, and apps launched quickly.

Coming to the performance of the camera, I have to say that I was impressed by the Moto G5 Plus’ overall imaging performance. The rear 12-megapixel camera comes with a feature called Dual Autofocus Pixels which lets you lock focus in a blink. The Moto G5 Plus camera has an f/1.7 aperture and dual LED flash.

Once you fire up the camera you will be surprised at how easy the camera app is to use. The camera app offers 8X digital zoom and an active viewfinder which can also recognise QR codes and barcodes. You also get mode selection controls, which are on the right. In addition, you can also capture slow-motion video and panoramas.

For those who like to play around with the camera settings, there’s a professional mode, too. You also get a beautification setting which can be adjusted in the settings. I was quite impressed at how fast the Moto G5 Plus was able to focus on objects.

Under good lighting conditions, the Moto G5 Plus was able to shoot some amazing pictures. In low light, though, we did find a bit of noise creeping into pictures. I used the Professional mode on the Moto G5 Plus extensively and was able to adjust settings such as the white balance, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, and manual focus.

The Moto G5 Plus also lets you shoot videos in 4K quality, which is never heard of in a mid-range device. The Moto G5 Plus is capable of recording 4K videos at 30fps, and you also get full-HD video recording at 30 and 60fps. The Moto G5 Plus comes with a 300mAh battery which lasted a little more than a day on a single charge.

Inside the box, you also get a TurboPower charger which lets you charge the phone to up to 50 percent capacity in about 20 minutes. The bundled earphones were of the cheap quality and we highly recommend you invest in a good third-party earphone to get the most out of the Moto G5 Plus.

So should you buy the Moto G5 Plus? Well, if you are on a budget and are looking for a trusted smartphone to carry around, you should consider the Moto G5 Plus. The phone offers a good camera, clean software and a day-long battery – all for just AED 849. The Moto G5 Plus thus wins the Review Central Editors’ Choice award for the best budget phone.

Price: AED 849

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