Since its launch in 2013, Motorola’s Moto G line quickly became Motorola’s best-selling smartphone ever. And in that time, the Moto G series has maintained its reputation as one of the top budget smartphone lines. Motorola’s latest entry, the Moto G5 continues this trend, adding new features not often found in low-cost smartphones while at the same time downgrading certain specs found in previous models of the same line.

One of the immediate differences between the Moto G5 and its predecessor, the Moto G4 is the size difference between the two devices. The Moto G5 is a bit shorter and less wide with its 144.3 x 73 x 9.5 mm dimensions, weighing in at 145 g, 10 less than the Moto G4. This lighter weight comes in spite of the metallic back as opposed Moto G5 sports, compared to its predecessor’s plastic design, a change that not only makes the phone look sleeker but also increases its durability.

Moto G5 Review 1

Located at the top of the phone is its standard headphone port. On the ride side of the phone is a rocker for sound levels along with the device’s power button. Found at the bottom is a USB port along with a small indent allowing users to remove the Moto G5’s back, revealing the removable battery, SIM slot and microSD card slot which can hold up to 128GB of storage. The only things found on the back are the camera with a small Motorola logo underneath. The Moto G5’s front camera is located next to the speaker with a Motorola logo found underneath.  The Moto G5’s microphone is near the bottom of the device along with a fingerprint scanner at the bottom centre, a new feature for the Moto G series.

An obvious drawback to the smaller size of the Moto G5 is that its display has been downgraded from the Moto G4, changing from 5.5 inches to 5.0. The resolution of the Moto G5’s 16M colour IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen remains the same as the previous entry, displaying 1080 x 1920 pixels.  Thankfully, the smaller size does lead to sharper visuals, but I would’ve appreciated a larger screen size a tad bit more.

Moto G5 Review 2The Moto G5 launches with the standard version of Android’s 7.0 Nougat operating system with no further updates announced as of yet. The phone runs on a Qualcomm MSM 8937 Snapdragon 430 chipset and has an Octa-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU and an Adreno 505. Evidently, the Moto G5 isn’t the most powerful phone. Those looking to do any intensive gaming on the go would be better off looking for something else. Another issue that may arise for users that enjoy using a variety of apps is storage space. While the Moto G5 allows for extra storage of up to 128GB, the device itself has a 16GB capacity with only 10GB actually being available. Though, the Moto G5 performs well with basic tasks such as browsing the web and running social media apps. While it was nothing amazing, the battery life of the Moto G5 was satisfactory as well. The phone uses a removable Li-Ion 2800 mAh battery which lasts about a day with regular use. Charging, however, was a little quicker than most smart devices within the same budget.

The camera of the Moto G5 is another category that isn’t worth bragging about. The camera offers 13 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash. It also features geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, auto-HDR and can record 1080p video at 30fps. The Moto G5 camera isn’t bad but won’t impress anyone interested in the phone specifically for taking pictures. Shots can easily become blurred if there’s any movement and the phone does a poor job of managing in any dimly lit area. The Moto G5 does have a lot of customization options for its camera app to change things like the brightness or focus, but it doesn’t help all that much. Similar comments can be applied to the camera’s video features.

Moto G5 Review 3

In the sound department, the Moto G5 is nearly identical to its predecessor. For only having one front-facing speaker, the phone does a good job when it comes to audio or video files, especially at high volumes. While the speaker does work well enough, I’d recommend using headphones to enjoy it at its best. The speakers work as well when it comes to calls, being audible with no interference.

A couple of unique options are made usable with the Moto G5 thanks to the Moto app. Gestures such as twisting your wrist with the phone in hand will open the camera app, or moving in a karate chop motion to turn on the flashlight help to speed up certain processes, and I found lifting the phone in order to stop the ringing during an incoming call to be the most helpful.  These gestures are easy to remember and responsive for the most part. While it wasn’t an issue for me however, I do think there’s a somewhat high chance for these gestures to be accidentally performed, a possible issue users may run into with the features.

I don’t have much to say about the Moto G5 in the end. The phone covers all the bare essentials that would be found in a modern-day smartphone. While Moto G5 doesn’t perform any of these acts particularly well, none of them performed poorly enough that they’re really worth criticizing. I think the biggest flaw with the Moto G5 is that it isn’t all that much better than Motorola’s previous entry in the Moto G series, which by now is likely to be even cheaper than this device currently is. If you’re in the market for a new phone but aren’t interested in a device looking to be anything more than that, this phone is likely to be your best choice.