Lenovo has officially announced the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus, two new Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones that will begin shipping in March. The G series is the best-selling phone under Moto’s brand. Traditionally, they’ve proven to be decent phones for very attractive prices. This year the company has completely overhauled the design to focus on a premium metal finish. They look less like their predecessors, with an appearance that’s much closer to the recent Moto Z family.
The aluminum backplate definitely results in a positive first impression for the G5 and its larger variant an impressive — as do the displays. The G5 has a 5-inch LCD display, while the G5 Plus has a bigger (but not too big) 5.2-inch screen, which feels just about perfect in hand. Both panels are Full HD 1080p.
From there, the specs between both G5s vary quite a bit — and line up perfectly with the leaks. The regular G5 has a Snapdragon 430 processor, while the G5 Plus gets the Snapdragon 625 (which we loved in the Moto Z Play for its balance of performance and battery-sipping longevity). The G5’s camera is a 13-megapixel f/2.0 system with phase detect autofocus, and the G5 Plus ups that slightly with a 12-megapixel f/1.7 camera with dual-focus pixels. It can record 4K video, while the G5 is limited to Full HD. Both have a 5MP selfie cam up front.
Storage for the G5 is either 16GB or 32GB of built-in flash depending on the region where you buy it, with support for microSD cards up to 128GB. The G5 Plus comes in two capacities — 32GB or 64GB — also with expandable storage. RAM ranges between 2GB and 4GB, again depending on the market you’re in. Only the G5 Plus will be sold in the United States. Both phones support dual-SIM setups. The G5 has a respectable (and removable!) 2,800mAh battery; the G5 Plus gets a sealed 3,000mAh battery.
The G5 and G5 Plus each come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and feature some of Moto’s excellent software customizations. You get Moto Display for notifications, and the same gestures (shake for camera, etc.) as other Moto phones. There’s also something new: if you want to, you can disable Android’s on-screen buttons and use swiping gestures on the larger-than-usual fingerprint sensor instead. Swipe left over the fingerprint reader for back, and swipe right for multitasking view. When this setting is enabled, those buttons go away to give your content more room on screen. I’d probably still stick with the virtual buttons, since it’d be hard to breaking such a core Android habit.
Here’s one downside about both new Moto devices: they lack NFC, so you can forget about Android Pay. That’s in the US, anyway. The G5 Plus won’t have it here, but will internationally. A Lenovo spokesperson said this decision was made because mobile payments are far more popular elsewhere in the world as adoption ramps up slower in the US. Completely ignoring the technology in an otherwise very nice, inexpensive smartphone won’t do anything to help that pace… Anyway, neither phone has wireless charging, though the G5 Plus supports Moto’s TurboCharge for faster top-offs.
Both the G5 and G5 Plus will launch worldwide in March in “fine gold” and “lunar gray.” Pricing will vary based on hardware configuration and territory, but the Moto G5 will start at €199 (no US release, remember) with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, with the G5 Plus starting slightly higher at $229 USD with 2GB RAM and 32GB of storage. The unlocked Moto G5 Plus will be compatible with all major US networks. I spent just a few minutes with both devices, but assuming the lack of NFC isn’t a dealbreaker, they seem like a very impressive evolution of the Moto G’s winning formula: good phone, cheap price. That’s especially true of the G5 Plus.