Review: Motorola Moto G5
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:00AM
Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla in Canada, Events and Launches, Lenovo Moto G5, Motorola, Product launch, Reviews

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

The mid-range of the smartphone market may seem crowded, but there's been one clear winner in terms of features, affordability and battery life and that's the Moto G line. 

Lenovo’s Moto G line is growing up. What was once a fun, quirky and customizable middle child is now going upscale with a more serious look and feel, improved metal case back, better camera and more bespoke software and functionality from Moto. 

I reviewed the lesser of the Moto G5’s (the plus model, which has a stronger processor, slightly larger display and more RAM is limited to specific countries).

Moto G5 is available from Bell Mobility, MTS, SaskTel, Videotron and Virgin Mobile for about $250.

At first glance, the latest Moto G feels more Lenovo than Motorola. What I mean by this is that it adheres to a more stark, businesslike, and muted look. While this isn’t a negative thing, since the Moto G now appeals to more users looking for a more stylish affordable option, it removes the colorful and fun aspect that made the Moto Gs of generations past so accessible. 

 

Moto has added precision-crafted metal design, but this is really just a thin metal backplate, the front display is still swathed in cheap plastic.

I do like the Lunar Grey color which is similar to Apple’s Space Grey. With a 5.0’ display, the Moto G5 works great and fits very nicely in the hand. Its 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080) display with 441 pixels per inch does a laudable job of playing back video, but it does feel a bit dark at times and outdoor visibility isn’t very good. 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, with an octa-core CPU running at 1.4GHz has an Adreno 505 GPU that’s good for up to 450 MHz. This is a hardy and efficient processor which handily beats the Moto X Play which was the lesser of 2015’s flagships.

There’s 2 GB of onboard RAM, although some versions come with 3GB (which at this point should be standard since this would be a factor in extending the phone’s capabilities in the future). 

There’s also 16 GB of storage, which is really not enough for today's heavy content use,  but thankfully upgradeable via microSD card. I added a 64GB card on my review unit to have some more breathing room for music, photos, and videos. 

The specs of the Moto G5 are impressive, especially for the price. Knowing that there are other options that aren’t available to Canadians (such as a 3GB version, with 32GB of storage, or the even more powerful Moto G5 Plus) is a bit of a downer, specially if your plan on keeping your phone longer than two years.

Other Moto G qualities that have made the line Motorola’s best seller are also on tap. There’s big 2800 mAh battery that will easily last one to two days on a full charge. There’s quick charge functionality that adds hours of use in minutes and we get water protection thanks to the water-repellent nano-coating. Lenovo seems to have abandoned the Moto Maker ideal of customization and playfulness so what you see here is what you get.

Moto G5 runs nearly stock Android N, which is great for a budget device. Google Assistant is also present here which is great since this was previously only available on the Google Pixel and the LG G something. We also get a slew of Moto Actions, tricks like turning the phone quickly to enable the camera or double-chopping to turn on the flashlight.  

  

This is the first Moto G with a fingerprint reader, which makes accessing the phone a lot easier. The fingerprint reader also doubles as a trackpad and takes certain gestures that effectively try to replace Android’s Home, Back, and Recent buttons. There’s definitely a learning curve, and it is not for everyone but if you do master the One Button control, you do gain more screen real estate. Personally, I have grown fond of the gestures and use them to navigate more than I thought I would.

Cameras have been upgraded and the Moto G5 now has a 13MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and a wide angle 5MP front facing shooter with a f/2.2 aperture aren’t the fastest cameras but they do shoot great photos and decent 1080p HD video. Below are some unaltered sample shots.

The Moto G5 is a durable smartphone. My review unit was shoved off my kitchen counter and fell face down three feet into hard linoleum (ouch). This is the sort of mishap that would have shattered most smartphones, disabling them completely or at least guaranteeing a repair bill upwards of $200. 

The Moto G5’s backplate simply separated from the display. I connected both parts and looked it over, there wasn’t a scratch or a dent and the Moto G5 has been working just fine. This smartphone didn’t even have a protective case on. Durability of this level is by design and something Moto G’s have always featured.

  

I like th Moto G5, I enjoy using it. If it were up to me I'd pay $40 extra for more RAM and larger onboard storage.

The Moto G5 is a tremendous accomplishment, specially for the price. It is almost perfect as a midrange device and is really one NFC chip and USB Type-C port away from being a great choice. For users who don't see themselves using mobile payments or want the latest standard in connectivity, the Moto G5 will be sufficient for most of their needs.

 

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Article originally appeared on Reviews, News and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective (http://www.canadianreviewer.com/).
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