The Moto G range is perhaps the world’s most famous bargain smartphone brand, and now its next generation is here. Motorola has unveiled the fifth generation Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus and a lot has been upgraded, including the price.
So what’s the difference between these two new models and which is the better bargain? Let’s take a look…
Displays – ‘Plus’ But Not By Much
The most obvious differentiator between these two phones is their screen size but, unlike most ‘Plus’ smartphone variants, there isn’t a big step up to the larger model:
Moto G5 Plus – 5.2-inch IPS LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi), 67.1% screen-to-body ratio, Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Yes you’ve got the same screen type, resolution and panel durability on both the Moto G5 and the Moto G5 Plus. The latter does have fractionally smaller top and bottom bezels so you get a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio but – like the tiny difference in resolution density – there’s there’s no obvious winner here other than the 0.2-inches.
Design – Premium Materials On A Budget
The Moto G line may have started off with plastic chassis, but now even Motorola’s budget phones have switched to aluminium. This makes them a little heavier, but they are still compact devices:
Moto G5 – 144.3 x 73 x 9.5 mm (5.68 x 2.87 x 0.37 in) and 145 g (5.11 oz)
Moto G5 Plus – 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm (5.91 x 2.91 x 0.30 in) and 155 g (5.47 oz)
Visually there’s little to separate the two devices, though the Moto G5 Plus is notably thinner which means its camera protrudes while the Moto G5 is flush. More curiously you’ll also find the Moto G5 has the headphone jack on the top of the device, while the Moto G5 Plus has it on the bottom – I prefer the latter orientation but this tends to polarise opinion and may help you make a decision.
The proliferation of fingerprint sensors these days means both these phones also have one and it’s conveniently located underneath the display (unlike some recent examples), while power buttons and volume rockers are on the same side.
Cameras – Step Up Is A Step Down
It is arguably here, rather than it is size, that the Moto G5 Plus earns its ‘Plus’ branding:
Moto G5 – Rear: 13MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, auto-HDR, 1080p video recording. Front: 5MP, f/2.2 aperture
Moto G5 Plus – Rear: 12MP, f/1.7, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, auto-HDR, 4K video recording. Front: 5MP, f/2.2 aperture
Despite a slight reduction in megapixels, the Moto G5 Plus has a significantly higher aperture than the Moto G5 which gives it an advantage in both high speed and low light photography. You’ll also get native 4K video recording, though both phones have the same standard front facing camera and the slower aperture does betray the models’ budget roots.
Performance – Generational Clash
But perhaps the biggest reason to opt for the Moto G5 Plus over the Moto G5 is it contains a chipset which is one generation newer than the 2015-launched 430 and greater RAM and internal storage options:
In short: the Moto G5 Plus will deliver faster, more efficient performance than the Moto G5 and it has options for up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Combine this with the microSD storage and the Moto G5 Plus can be pimped out into a pretty premium performer.
On the software-side Motorola also continues to deliver its near-stock Android experience, which looks clean and works very smoothly (take note Samsung). That said Motorola’s record on delivering the latest Android updates as far as possible has dropped off significantly since the both the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus only ship with Android 7.0 when Android 7.1 is already six months old.
Given its slightly larger display and chassis, Motorola has equipped the Moto G5 Plus with a 3,000 mAh battery while the Moto G has to make do with 2,800 mAh battery. This again works in favour of the Moto G5 Plus as, despite its bigger screen, it has a more efficient processor and you should get around five hours of screen-on time – the same as many premium smartphones.
Price And Availability
The first thing to say here is Motorola has decided (at least for now) not to release the Moto G5 in the US. That said US-pricing for the Moto G5 Plus is close enough (UK price include tax) to make it a no brainer:
Moto G Plus – $229 / £180 (32GB, 2GB RAM) or $299 / £240 (64GB, 4GB RAM)
And this rule applies even where both phones are available. Unless you are very tight for cash, the small premium for the Moto G5 Plus is worth paying as you’ll get a phone with a bigger display, better camera and bigger battery.
Both phones will be released in a choice of fine gold and lunar gray colours.
There are two ways to look at the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus. Firstly in isolation, both are extremely impressive at their respective price points. They leave enough gap between ‘budget flagships’ like the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T to stand on their own and while cheap Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi can promise more hardware for less, their software is a mess compared to the relatively stock Android you’ll find from Motorola.
Still it is the Moto G5 Plus which has the edge, offering a lot more for little more outlay. Now in its fifth incarnation, the Moto G range may no longer be game changers they were originally but they are still arguably the best value phones you can get.