Hands on Moto G5 review: Moto's budget blower just got more premium

We take a look at Moto's newest cut-price smartphone, the G5

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For

  • Fast charging
  • Solid at basics
  • Metal design

Against

  • Metal feels cheap
  • Plus is pricey

What do people crave in a smartphone? Moto think people want 'high quality without breaking the bank'. That's the dream, right, but doesn't one cancel out the other? We've gone hands-on with their latest phone, the G5 at Mobile World Congress to find out.

The Moto G series has always been our favourite budget handset range, it was cheap, ran close to stock Android, and performed admirably. 

Moto hope to build on that solid foundation by adding even more premium features into the mix.

The key addition here is a new metal design, which is available in Lunar Gray or Fine Gold. It's not the most premium feeling aluminium smartphone we've held (obviously), which left us questioning whether we'd prefer premium plastic or cheap metal, but it's a nice addition to a sub-£300 smartphone. 

Inside the metal case is a 2,800 mAh battery which Moto claims will last all day without needing to charge. The supplied 10W rapid charger will give you 'hours' of usage in 'just a few minutes'. Clearly not promising too much, but it's nice to see this more premium tech start rolling out to cheaper devices.

Powering everything is a 1.4 GHz octa-core processor and 2GB RAM, which felt speedy enough during our short preview, and Moto has added a fingerprint sensor to the Moto G, which will make unlocking your device nice and easy.

Finally, the G5 features an upgraded 13MP camera with improved software. The G5 snapper includes phase detection autofocus which allows for faster and more reliable autofocusing. We were quite impressed with our initial play around with the camera, but its low light and action scenes that really test a smartphone camera, so we'll need more time for a final verdict here.

 Bigger is always better 

Moto has also released a larger, G5 Plus. This has an upgraded camera, with improved low light performance, a 3,000mAh battery with TurboPower charging - providing up to six hours of battery life in just 15 minutes. It packs a 2.0 GHz octa-core processor, 3GB RAM, and 4G LTE.

Both phones feature Google Assistant, allowing you to bark commands at Google's virtual assistant.

Initial verdict

Moto has made some big improvements to the G range of smartphones while still being brilliant at the basics. The metal casing should be more durable, the cameras are improved, and it's great to see fast charging make an appearance in cheaper phones.

That brings us to the price, the Moto G5 will cost you just £169, we think it's an absolute steal at that price, and is always the phone we'd recommend if you want to spend less than £200. The Moto G5 Plus will come in a £259, which does put it up against some more premium rivals, such as the Samsung A3.

Make sure you check out everything else announced at MWC 2017

And take a look at the best smartphones in 2017 as well


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Spencer is the youngest member of the T3 team, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for with enthusiasm. As the Mobile Tech Editor, Spencer covers everything that moves, from smartphones and wearables, to cars and drones.