Moto G5 is value for money but there are niggling issues

Moto G5
Amid stiff competition in the mid range from Chinese and Indian brands like Oppo, Vivo, Asus, Xiaomi, Micromax and Lava, the new Moto G5, a smaller but feature-rich sibling of the Moto G5 Plus, seems to offer a great value for money.

When Motorola, then owned by Google, had launched the first Moto G series in 2013, the phones, especially for the Moto G model, had become an instant hit in the mid-tier Android ecosystem.

A year later, as the company made a comeback into the Indian market with the Moto G smartphones, the ultra-affordable feature-rich devices drew a lot of interest from the discerning Indian consumer, known to seek a bang for every buck.

In 2017, the fifth-generation Moto G series of Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, continues the legacy of its predecessors. But, surely, the competition now is much higher than ever before. Is the Lenovo-made Moto G5 as attractive today as the older generation of the Moto G were? Let’s take a look:

The smartphone

The Moto G, a trimmed-down version of the Moto G5 Plus, went on sale in India on April 4, exclusively on Amazon. Built on the blueprint of the Moto G5 Plus, the Moto G5 carries the same body design, minus a few hardware and software features. The smartphone offers 3GB RAM and 16 GB storage at a price tag of Rs 11,999.

Display

Coming fresh off the review of the G5 Plus, it is clear that Moto has made some cuts to the G5. The Moto G5 has a smaller screen, but its body is not much smaller. At the global launch, Lenovo had said that the design of the Moto G5 series would be inspired by the premium Moto Z family, and you could see that influence in the smartphone. But, the smartphone still looks a bit bulky when compared with competitors like the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime, which also has a 5-inch screen.

Operations

The Moto G5 is powered by the Snapdragon 430 processor, which is an octa-core SoC launched back in 2015. The processor is one of the most popular budget-range chipsets currently ticking most budget-oriented smartphones – even the Nokia 6. The processor is complemented by a 3 GB RAM, adequate for normal day-to-day use with most Android operations running smoothly.

More than the hardware, the credit for the Moto G5’s flawless performance goes to the Android version that boots the Moto G5. The smartphone uses stock Android 7.0 Nougat, with some minor additions that improve the user experience.

In addition, with Google opening up its artificial intelligence (AI) -powered Google Assistant for all Android devices, the Moto G5’s abilities will be further enhanced.

Camera

For a smartphone priced at Rs 11,999, the Moto G5’s 13-megapixel rear camera is quite a performer. It cannot compete with higher-end devices but does the job fairly well, considering that the smartphone targets the budget range. The smartphone uses the stock Google camera app, which also offers QR scanning and HDR photos. In addition, the camera comes with a pro-mode, panorama mode, slow-mo video and the ability to take 1080p videos at 30fps.

Battery

The smartphone comes with a removable 2,800mAh battery that keeps the device going for one day straight, irrespective of usage trends. The Moto G5 supports Quick Charge 3.0 and comes with a 10W charger that can replenish the battery juices within 2 hours. What caught our attention, however, was how the phone heated up while on charge. It felt as if it could explode any moment, so users are advised not to keep the phone on charge overnight.

The negatives

One serious limitation of the Moto G5 is that it offers no protection on the display. The company claims the display glass is scratch-resistant, but the resistance only seems to offer protection from minor nicks and scratches. The display is also a fingerprint magnet. While the metal body feels durable, the lack of protective glass at the front demands caution while in use.

The Moto G5 smartphone sports a single speaker mounted in the earpiece. Although the sound is quite rich as it echoes against the metal chassis, the maximum volume somehow failed to impress and it could have been improved.

The Moto G5 smartphone’s severe heating issues also surface while playing games and listening to music. During our review, we found the smartphone heating up significantly, with the back panel becoming warmer than usual.

With selfies and Snapchat-like filters ruling the roost these days, the Moto G5 offers neither a decent front camera nor extra features like filters and stickers. Such features have become very basic in rival devices, so Motorola should also consider offering those to attract selfie lovers. Shots taken from the front camera have colour washed out and at times overexposed.

Verdict

At Rs 11,999, the biggest thing going for the Moto G5 is its near-stock Android experience, a rarity for this price segment. An almost unaltered Nougat keeps the smartphone functional and usable, and will probably help the Moto G5 do better than its peers. 

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