Moto G5

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS - Dom­inc Pre­ston

‘Premium for All’ is Len­ovo’s new motto for its G5 phones, the Moto G5 and G5 Plus, which aim to of­fer the build qual­ity and feel of a flag­ship de­vice at de­cid­edly non-flag­ship prices. That’s es­pe­cially true of the G5, which of­fers a metal body, rapid charg­ing, and fin­ger­print sen­sor con­trols – all at a sub-£200 price.

De­sign

De­sign is where the G5 has seen the big­gest over­haul from its pre­de­ces­sor. The phone fea­tures an alu­minium body – in­stead of the G4’s plas­tic – which means it im­me­di­ately feels like a more ex­pen­sive phone than it is. The 5in dis­play stretches most of the way to the sides of the body, though there’s still plenty of bezel at the top and bot­tom – it’s not quite Galaxy S8 (page 44) premium.

The rear of the phone is dom­i­nated by the large cam­era aper­ture that sits above a brushed metal Mo­torola ‘M’. At 144.5g, it’s a com­fort­able weight and has that re­as­sur­ing heft of any metal-bod­ied de­vice, while it mea­sures 144.3x73x9.5mm, which is small enough to use in one hand. It’s avail­able in Lu­nar Grey, Sap­phire Blue or Fine Gold – our re­view unit was the grey model (pic­tured), which is at­trac­tively un­der­stated.

The G5 doesn’t of­fer the sort of strik­ing de­sign that’s likely to turn heads – at least not un­til you tell some­one how lit­tle you paid for it. It’s mostly straight­for­ward, unas­sum­ing stuff, but it’s the feel of the phone and its build qual­ity, that re­ally sells it. This is a hand­set that feels and looks well-made – ‘cheap’ never once sprang to mind. It’s sim­ple, it’s el­e­gant and there aren’t many bet­ter-look­ing phones that will cost you this lit­tle.

Fea­tures

Of­fer­ing that sort of de­sign and build qual­ity at less than £200 comes at a price, of course, and the Moto G5’s in­ter­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tions are where it lives down to its price.

It’s pow­ered by a Snap­dragon 430 with a 1.4GHz eight-core CPU and 450MHz Adreno 505 GPU. Our re­view unit came with 3GB RAM, though you can also get it with 2GB. With only a £10 price dif­fer­ence, we’d find it hard not to rec­om­mend opt­ing for the higher-spec model.

To be blunt, the bench­mark re­sults aren’t great (see op­po­site). We were sur­prised to see slightly worse scores than from 2016’s G4, likely be­cause it runs the more re­cent – but less pow­er­ful – Snap­dragon 430, com­pared to the G4’s Snap­dragon 617. Even a bet­ter GPU and more RAM weren’t enough to make up for the CPU gap.

Even so, in day-to-day use the G5 never feels slug­gish or slow, and it should be more than enough for av­er­age usage, in­clud­ing streaming video and light gam­ing. The G5 never feels like it’s un­der­per­form­ing, de­spite the bench­mark re­sults.

The 5in dis­play is full 1080p and 441ppi, with crisp, bright colours, though it has no Go­rilla Glass pro­tec­tion. Be­low that you’ll find the fin­ger­print sen­sor, which dou­bles up as a re­place­ment for An­droid’s on-screen but­tons, through some nifty swipe con­trols.

The Moto G5 comes with a dis­ap­point­ingly small 16GB of on­board stor­age, but there’s sup­port for mi­croSD cards up to 128GB.

The rear cam­era is 13Mp with LED flash and phase de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus, while the front cam­era is 5Mp. Tak­ing pho­tos with the aut­o­fo­cus was al­most in­stan­ta­neous, and for the most part we were able to cap­ture crisp, clear pho­tos even in chal­leng­ing light­ing.

There’s a 2800mAh bat­tery, which should pro­vide a full day’s use pretty com­fort­ably. The most we man­aged to wear it down to was 20 per­cent af­ter 16 hours of usage, in­clud­ing some heavy cam­era and in­ter­net use – you can trust the G5 to last the day, but you will want to charge it each night.

It comes pack­aged with a 10W Mi­cro-USB rapid charger, which is able to pro­vide a few hours of bat­tery life af­ter just 15 min­utes or so of charg­ing – as long as the bat­tery is low to start with. It also sup­ports Tur­boPower charg­ing, which can of­fer six hours of bat­tery in the same time, though you’ll have to buy the charger sep­a­rately.

There’s also 2.4- and 5GHz Wi-Fi, GPS, Blue­tooth 4.2 and a wa­ter­re­pel­lent coat­ing. One big omis­sion is NFC, so you won’t be able to use An­droid Pay or its equiv­a­lents. Don’t worry though – you do get a 3.5mm head­phone jack.

Soft­ware

The G5 comes loaded with An­droid 7.0 Nougat, and runs a ver­sion that’s close to stock, with a few ‘Moto ex­pe­ri­ences’ added on (more on those in a mo­ment). What this means is that if you’re look­ing for some­thing not far from the pure An­droid ex­pe­ri­ence, but don’t want to splash out on the Google Pixel, the Moto G5 could be a good op­tion.

It’s also one of the first phones in­cluded in the search giant’s new ex­pan­sion of its Google As­sis­tant ser­vices, pre­vi­ously lim­ited to only a hand­ful of hand­sets, though it wasn’t on the G5 at launch. Even­tu­ally, you can prob­a­bly ex­pect the new AI as­sis­tant to be ubiq­ui­tous across An­droid, but for now this will be one of the cheap­est ways to get your hands on it.

The big dif­fer­ence from stock An­droid is the in­clu­sion of the ges­ture-based ‘Moto Ac­tions’, some

of which may be fa­mil­iar from other Mo­torola phones, while oth­ers are en­tirely new. They’re all op­tional, and are ac­ti­vated or de­ac­ti­vated from the in­cluded Moto app.

You can do a dou­ble ‘karate chop’ mo­tion to turn on the torch, and quickly twist the phone back­wards and for­wards twice to ac­ti­vate the cam­era. Plac­ing the phone face down on a ta­ble sets it do ‘Do Not Dis­turb’, while pick­ing it up when it’s ring­ing will si­lence the ring­tone.

You can also swipe up from the bot­tom of the screen to shrink the dis­play for easy one-handed use.

The most wel­come ad­di­tion is the use of the fin­ger­print sen­sor as a one-but­ton re­place­ment for An­droid’s nor­mal on-screen con­trols. You can now swipe left across the sen­sor to go back, tap it for home, and swipe right to open the list of re­cent apps.

It’s an in­tu­itive sys­tem and within sec­onds we were com­fort­ably swip­ing away – it re­ally speeds up loads of ba­sic tasks, and is a fea­ture not many other An­droid phones have yet. Oc­ca­sion­ally, it can be a bit fid­dly – reg­is­ter­ing your swipe as a press, or vice versa – but for the most part it works well, and it feels slug­gish switch­ing back to on-screen but­tons. It’s es­pe­cially help­ful here given the G5’s rel­a­tively petite 5in screen – the ex­tra screen real es­tate gained by re­mov­ing the on-screen but­tons makes the dis­play feel more ex­pan­sive than it re­ally is.

Ver­dict

There’s fierce com­pe­ti­tion in An­droid’s mid-range mar­ket, but the Moto G5 is a strong con­tender. The build qual­ity alone feels like it be­longs on a much more ex­pen­sive phone, while the fin­ger­print ges­ture con­trols gen­uinely im­prove the An­droid ex­pe­ri­ence. The bench­marks and bat­tery hold it back, but they’re not un­rea­son­able given the price – and you won’t find a much bet­ter-look­ing phone at £169. You might want to spend the ex­tra to get the Moto G5 Plus with more stor­age, a bet­ter cam­era and more.

The G5 takes clear and crisp pho­tos

GFXBench T-Rex

Geek­bench 4

GFXBench Man­hat­tan

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