Now that it is done with the Moto G5 Plus launch, Lenovo has introduced its more affordable sibling, the Moto G5, in India. The Moto G series has managed to garner interest from consumers in India ever since the Motorola brand made a comeback in 2014. Moto G phones are well regarded as all-rounders with reasonable price tags.
Sudhin Mathur, Managing Director, Motorola Mobility India and Executive Director, Lenovo MBG India told us at the Moto G5 India launch on Tuesday that there are about six million Moto G consumers in India. He added that Moto G has been one of their most popular smartphone ranges in the country. Lenovo is eager to capitalise on that with its new Moto G5 series.
The Moto G5 has been launched in India within three weeks of the bigger Plus variant. The Moto G5 Plus, which launched on March 15, has so far seen tremendous response in India and was claimed to be the fastest selling smartphone on Flipkart in its price segment. However, the Moto G5 will be an Amazon India exclusive and will have preloaded Amazon apps as well as a deals widget which will refresh every day showing new offers. The company is marketing the new Moto G5 heavily as a media consumption device, as it will also have the Amazon Prime video app preloaded.
The Moto G5 is closely related to the Moto G5 Plus (Review), with a very similar design. One of its biggest highlights is its near-stock Android Nougat UI. The smartphone also packs some decent hardware, but will it be able to take on other popular smartphones in the same price bracket? We find out.
Moto G5 design
The Moto G5 looks practically identical to its sibling, but there are a few minor changes its design. It also ships in a very similar retail package, with only the “Plus” moniker missing. The G5 has a smaller screen, but its body isn’t much smaller. 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. To compare, the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime also has a 5-inch screen but is more compact.
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, but it isn’t as evident on the Moto G compared to its bigger sibling. The rear panel appears to be hardened plastic with a metallic colour. A lot of people might prefer Xiaomi’s Redmi 3S Prime and Lenovo’s K6 Power for their all-metal unibody designs.
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 only marginally heavier than the Redmi 3S Prime (144 grams). 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.
We however noticed heating when the phone was stressed with benchmarks, gaming or GPS navigation. A 20-minute session with a graphics-intensive game like Asphalt 8 makes the back panel quiet warm. The phone at times got so warm that we had to put it down for some time. Recording videos with the rear camera also caused some heat, but not to the same extent. We experienced this on the Moto G5 Plus as well but that was only when using GPS navigation.
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’s speaker is fairly loud but don’t expect it to entertain you in a crowded place as it distorts at high volumes. We have complained several times that the earphones bundled with Moto and Lenovo phones aren’t very good, and the Moto G5 isn’t any different. You get a basic headset which we recommend replacing.
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. In the real world, the battery disappointed us. With heavy usage, the Moto G5 lasted for only around 13-15 hours after which a notification would pop up asking us to plug it in to charge. With light to medium usage, the Moto G5 managed to just about survive a day. Our HD video loop battery test lasted for 10 hours and 15 minutes, which is pretty 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.
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 if you don’t have very demanding work to do. 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. However, heat management and lacklustre battery life make us a little less enthusiastic, and we hope that the company takes note of these issues for future models.
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. Those looking for alternatives should consider the Xiaomi Redmi 3S Prime which packs a lot of the same hardware. The Panasonic Eluga Ray Max (First impressions), which was recently unveiled, could also be a decent option at this price point. Users looking for more power can choose between the Lenovo K6 Power (Review) or the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Review).
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