Regulars here know I have long been partial to Motorola’s G series phones that offer solid smartphone features at a budget price. Design however has been black plastic and glass drab. The new G5 launching today May 3 in Canada changes that. Lenovo has upped the design with a plastic and aluminum removable back and given the G5 a more expensive look. It remains a bit thicker than top selling premium smartphones and only the thick bezel around the screen gives away that this is a budget phone.
That said the G5 is still an impressive phone that feels good in the hand sports a replaceable battery and up to 128 Gb SD card support to supplement its 16Gb of onboard storage. It also features a very effective fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen. The $250 price tag with no plan is also tough to beat.
|Display size, resolution||5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||5.7×2.9×0.37 inches|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||144.3x73x9.5 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||5.1 oz, 145g|
|Mobile software||Android 7.0 Nougat|
|Processor||1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430|
|Fingerprint sensor||Below screen|
On first look the Snapdragon 430 processor is so last year but it is powerful enough to make this phone a snappy performer. I didn’t notice any lag, apps opened quickly and ran smoothly and the camera app performed well…so why pay for more power than you need. If you want to play demanding games the 430 will fall short but for normal smartphone use I find the G5 has plenty of power.
The Moto G5 features a Full-HD 5-inch IPS LCD screen. 5 inches is the sweet spot for my smallish hand so I actually appreciate the step down from last year’s bigger G4 screen. The screen is bright and looked good even up against flagship phones at double the price. The readability of the screen is excellent even outside on a sunny day with the Display set to Adaptive brightness to automatically adjust for lighting conditions. You can change the brightness and color temperature according to your own preferences. Two modes are available: “Standard” or “Vibrant” colors. I did all my testing with the display set at Adaptive Brightness and Vibrant colors.
The Moto G5 has dual-channel Wi-Fi, which is a impressive for an affordable phone, it has Bluetooth 4.2, as well as GPS and Glonass. The microUSB port on the bottom only supports USB 2.0 speeds. The only major thing that is missing is NFC and support for mobile payments so, if you are a fan of Android Pay, you are out of luck here.
The Moto G5 runs Android 7.0 Nougat, just about as pure vanilla as you find on a Google Pixel phone. It’s a good-looking and intuitive.
If you haven’t tried Android 7.0 yet, there are many changes, I like the way the basic nav and notifications have changed. A quick flick up on the home screen brings up the apps menu, rather than using a button on the icon dock.
There are a few Moto additions, but they are separate from Android 7.0 and can be switched off if you like. There are some nice features. When you get a notification, the Moto G5’s screen phases in and out intermittently, letting you see them while the phone’s on a desk without eating up too much battery. The fingerprint sensor button can replace the the software Android buttons by swiching and or clicking the button.
There are also some handy gestures. You can double ‘karate chop’ the Moto G5 to toggle the flashlight, and double twist to open up the camera.
Speaking of the cameras the front shooter is a 5 MP shooter with a wide angle lens that takes decent selfies under good lighting conditions. Lenovo’s camera app is solid and versatile but most will leave the custom settings alone and use it as a point and shoot.
Overall the Moto G5 is a quality well built smartphone that provides most of the features and functionality of a top of the line phone at a fraction of the price of a flagship model. For $250 outright, $30 on a 2 year plan the Moto G5 is the best affordable smartphone in Canada right now and it looks and functions like a much more expensive phone.