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Moto G (2017) review

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Awards

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Moto G5 5
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Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • So much tech for your cash

  • Good performance
  • Jazzed-up design

Cons

  • A Moto G4 downgrade in some ways

Key Features

  • 5-inch 1080p display
  • 1.4 GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • 2800 mAh battery
  • 13MP camera
  • Android 7
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £169.00

What is the Moto G5?

The Moto G5 is, like every model in this series, a great budget Android phone. It’s the near-perfect solution for people who want a phone they can buy outright or on a cheap contract.

It also makes the least impact of just about any Moto G to date, though, so if you find a Moto G4 at a bargain price you should consider that too. There’s little progress here, and a few minor downgrades.

Don’t feel the need to hesitate if you just want a good phone you can pick up on the high street and can’t find the Moto G4 anymore, though.

This is our review of the 2017 Moto G5, for the Moto G4 review skip to the final page.

Related: Best budget phones

Moto G5 – Design

If you’re new to the Moto G series, the Moto G5 is a perfectly inoffensive, pleasant looking phone with some elements that give it a touch of class. For those already familiar with this phone family, there are some important changes.

The Moto G5 is a much smaller phone than the Moto G4, because it has a 5-inch screen rather than a 5.5-inch one. It’s much closer to the size of the old Moto G3. I had a chance to compare the two directly, and the Moto G5 is actually a bit wider, but slightly slimmer.

That extra width is what stops the Moto G5 from seeming like a phone radically more expensive than its price: bulk means 'budget'. Those bits of screen surround are rather chunky, and highlighted by the chromed outline.

Moto G5 11

These chrome bits characterise what Lenovo has tried to do with the series, to glam it up a bit. To date all Moto G phones have been almost relentlessly practical, mostly-plastic and wallflower-like, but the Moto G5 has a lot more metal on show.

The main panel on the back is aluminium, but this is not a metal unibody phone. Pull off the removable back to investigate and you’ll find the metal is actually just a sliver of aluminium locked into a plastic frame. Realising this is slightly disappointing when companies like Honor and Huawei make affordable phones where metal dominates more.

That said, Lenovo has styled-out the design well. The curves between the metal and plastic parts look good, as does the contrast between the black camera circle and the silver or gold back. It may not really be the radical build upgrade it seems, but the style is much more deliberate. Older Moto Gs look plain in comparison, although like many I have a lot of affection for the no-nonsense style of the first three Moto G generations.

Moto G5 7

I’d recommend getting a case for the Moto G5 as after a few weeks of use I’ve managed to put a few scratches in the aluminium and a couple of nicks in the chrome screen border. The parts likely to wear the best are the glass on the front and the plastic on the sides. You’ve been warned.

Beneath the screen is a very good fingerprint scanner. As standard it’s not used as a Home button, but dig into the Moto app and you can make it replace all the home keys. Swipe left for ‘back’, right for ‘recent apps’ and a tap for Home: it works well. It's also much prettier than the Moto G4 Plus's ugly scanner, too.

Moto G5 29

There’s no NFC, so you can’t use Android Pay, which lets you use a phone like a contactless debit card. The Moto G5 also uses a microUSB rather than the newer USB-C, which over the last six months has become the norm for new phones. It dates the G5 a little, but for most people it ultimately doesn’t matter.

Fast charging doesn’t rely on USB-C (this phone has fast-ish charging) and USB-C doesn’t even guarantee super-fast file transfers. The main benefit in budget phones is being able to jam the plug in either way. Hardly a life-changer.

The Moto G5 has 16GB of internal storage, which is as much as you could expect at the price, and has a microSD slot. You can also remove the battery, a rarity these days. I tend to recommend investing in an external battery rather than spares for your phone, but many of our readers love the idea of being able to replace the cell when it starts losing capacity two years down the line.

Moto G5 25

Moto G5 – Screen

The Moto G5 has a 5-inch screen. That’s a good size for just about anything, from reading articles to playing games and watching Netflix, without the pocket bulge of a 5.5-inch display like the Moto G4’s.

Its specs are perfect for the money, with 1080p resolution where the older Moto G generations with this size of screen used 720p panels. It’s sharper than an iPhone 7, with the same number of pixels as the iPhone 7 Plus. No complaints there.

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Moto G5

On first turning the Moto G5 on, I could tell it doesn’t quite have the depth of colour as, say, a £500 phone. However, the undersaturation is very, very slight and I stopped noticing it within a few hours.

There are actually two different colour modes, Standard and Vibrant, and if you use the latter the Moto G5 doesn’t look too far off a phone twice the price or more. 'Standard' is an sRGB-like mode, giving a relaxed look, but I think most people prefer the punchier mode.

Moto G5 3

The IPS LCD doesn’t have contrast or black level of an OLED, but only display obsessives and those that regularly watch Netflix in bed with the lights off will notice much. I’d be happy to live with this display, even if I had a top-end phone lying around waiting to be used.

Viewing angles are great, with only minor brightness drop-off at an angle and brightness is good enough to cope with outdoors use. Is it a downgrade from the Moto G4? It's smaller and slightly less bright, but I'd put them in the same class. It's also on-par with some phones well over £200.

diggie

June 1, 2016, 2:23 am

Nope. Just another boring run-of-the-mill bandwagon phablet that will be soon forgotten.

dourscot

June 16, 2016, 11:06 am

The G4 Plus comes with a fast charger in the box.

Mike

July 2, 2016, 6:45 pm

Honestly, I'd been waiting and waiting but was really put off by the 5.5 size, Tmobile had a great buy one get one free and I ended up switching to an iPhone SE (my first apple phone) which is 4.0 (from my 1st gen 4.5 inch Moto G) rather than go 4.5 to 5.5 and after the rebate it's still cheaper than what I'd end up paying for the G4.

norcal1953

July 7, 2016, 10:54 pm

My upcoming portable media player....

Tony

July 10, 2016, 3:14 pm

Had mine about a month now. Still have a 5s, but it rarely gets used now, simply because of the size of the moto. Once you get used to the large screen it's a chore to go back to 4".
The display is fantastic, the sound is fine, and the o/s is great. If only it had nfc.

Dinanath

August 21, 2016, 10:50 am

Please don't buy MOTO G Any generation mobile because they are having inserted very low quality motherboard and after few days usage of your mobile, you start getting hanging phone more frequently and one day it will cost 80% of your mobile due to mother board issue and need to replacement completely which would be too much costlier better if you purchase new one. I am having bad experience with my moto g 3rd gen which need to throw in dust bean after one year merely usage with very careful.

caroline eadie

August 29, 2016, 3:22 pm

I have used every gen of Moto g now on g4 plus never had any problems my grandson has my 2nd and 3rd gen both working perfectly

OnyX OnyX

September 2, 2016, 3:18 pm

the above response is complete garbage

My daughter has had a moto g 1st gen for 2 years never had an issue with it and her phone is literally superglued to her hand 24/7

Son had a G2 for a year and only just replaced as he dropped it and it was run over by a car, asked him what phone he wanted and he wanted the G3 over the G4

For the cost of the phone the spec is amazing in the Moto G lineup and imo the G3 looks a feels better than the G4, but the G4 has the bigger screen so I guess it is what suits your taste

Personally I use an LG G3 and still haven't really felt the need to update to a newer phone as mine does everything I want with no issues whatsoever

imo when you buy tech, always look at reviews ( preferably independent) and what is under the hood/shell rather than looking at the badge on the back/front :)

Shubham Mittal

September 4, 2016, 8:12 am

Thank you Motorola for your exceedingly CUSTOMER UNFRIENDLY services. This was possibly the best and one of a kind service that I wouldn’t even wish for my enemy. Mobiles phones were made to make life easier, but I guess the Motorola Company had different plans for its customers by giving them the ultimate experience of hell because of their one unforgivable mistake: Buying a Motorola phone.
The trauma began for me when my phone’s screen broke in June 2016. I went to the Moto service station to get it repaired. Little did I know then that this is just the beginning. After the screen was repaired, there were problems in the jack, display, sensor, to name a few. This time when I went to complain at the service station, it took me around 7 to 8 trips to get my phone back from them. Even after that, there are still issues with the screen. I again gave my phone at the service centre for repairing on 12th August, 2016. 10 to 15 calls to the main service centre (1800-102-2344), and all I was told was that I would be given an update about the same. More than 20 days passed and there was NO ‘UPDATE’. On enquiring from the service centre where I had given my phone, I was told that they did not receive any notification from the main service centre.
Just to inform you, because of all this hassle, I had to miss my lectures, got delayed in submitting my assignment, which resulted in low marks. Not to forget all the time and energy I wasted on your EXCELLENT AND UNIQUE services. I believe that your company has found a very creative way to harass your customers and drive them away from making any future transactions with you.
Yours sincerely
Totally fed up customer
Shubham Mittal

Job No. ABH/MG/16/01239
Model: Moto G (3rd Generation)
IMEI1 No. 355490064569613
IMEI2 No. 355490064569621
Case handled by Shrinath
Customer Reference Number: 160812-016253

oldmuso

September 6, 2016, 9:25 am

I'm with OnyX and caroline below. My various Moto Gs have been great, and when I have upgraded to a newer generation and handed on the older model, that has kept going just fine.

JimScreechy

September 6, 2016, 4:13 pm

Total rubbish, my first Moto G is still going after I gave it to a friend in Africa (and he works on a farm so it has a truly hard life). My second is a G4 and has never missed a step.

Garnettoi

September 8, 2016, 12:25 pm

I've had my Moto G phone now since 2013 and it works better than most iPhones after a year.

Radhicka Chakraborty

September 30, 2016, 3:26 pm

I'm planning to buy Moto G4 Plus, but i'm a bit hesitant about the whole hybrid sim slot where you can either have 2 sims and no microSD or 1 sim and 1 microSD. Can anyone please tell me if this is one of those phones?

Abhijit Shaw

October 14, 2016, 10:14 am

My Name Is Abhijit , I have bought Moto G4plus on 5th july 2016 after 15 days it giving trouble from then till now i am just going to service center again again but there is no response. Very poor service . I suggest do not buy Any phone Moto & Lenovo...

bohemond

October 17, 2016, 6:46 pm

"Thing is, you’ll need to provide your own supported charger to receive these times, as Lenovo doesn’t supply a suitable one in the box."

This must be a UK model thing; my USA version came with a Motorola turbo-charger (120v/60Hz) included.

YorkG

October 24, 2016, 3:12 pm

Had the MOTO G for 12 months, no issues, nice phone. No dust bean for my phone :)

Spencer Churchill

October 29, 2016, 7:03 pm

great review but the focusing in on the phones got annoying

Darnell Getum Hicks

October 31, 2016, 8:24 pm

I literally just got mine today and i fuckin LOVE IT! One of the best investments i ever made. . . damn near like shoplifting, lol. But no really, if u want all the features of an iphone and the buck of a Galaxy, I can truly say I have the best of both and more. I could not believe they only wanted $200! :-). Pick it up to light it up, chop it to turn on ur flashlight, turn it over for dnt disturb. No tricks, I definitely choose "treat" this year.

Tony

November 5, 2016, 6:27 pm

Mine came with a charger !

Sameh Youssef

November 7, 2016, 12:14 pm

I have Moto G4 and my problem with it is that it takes 5 hours to fully charge, this is with the supplier charger. What is your experience with the charging?

toboev

November 24, 2016, 7:56 pm

Date: 23 Nov 2016. Déja-vu, all over again.

Murray Snudge

December 5, 2016, 7:37 pm

I'm looking forward to Moto G5

Harry du Preez

December 6, 2016, 1:09 am

Not compatible with Android auto, never mentioned in reviews. For me this has turned it in to an expensive piece of junk, Avoid

Darnell Getum Hicks

December 7, 2016, 9:51 pm

Lol! Spontaneous outbursts? Did u actually get away w/ that. Ppl would think i was crazy. Yea, my phone never charges fast enough for me, lol. I'm a fuckin tech head. I gotta get an OtterBox for it. I spoil my phones.

Nicole

December 25, 2016, 7:37 am

buy a turbo charger

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