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MWC 2017: Moto G5 Plus Hands-On With The Affordable Android Smartphone

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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We try out the Moto G5 Plus to see if it can offer a true cheap smartphone contender

Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, has showcased the Moto G5 and G5 Plus; Android handsets designed to appeal to people who want affordable alternative to expensive flagships smartphones from Samsung and Huawei.

Featuring full HD displays, measuring in at 5inches for the G5 and 5.2inches for the G5 Plus, the brace of smartphones feature aluminium designs and fingerprint scanners, a step up from their predecessors.

Android 7 Nougat is present and correct, which Motorola has left almost completely un-touched, which should appeal to Android purists.

Moto G5 say hello to Google Assistant

Moto G5 Plus portraitBoth models of the new Moto have access to the Google Assistant, the search company’s artificial intelligence powered virtual assistant, further spreading it beyond the confines of the Google’s Pixel models in the smartphone market.

Backing up the Assistant in the Moto G5 Plus is a Snapdragon 625 octa-core chipset running at 2Ghz and paired with 3GB of RAM. Storage weights in at 32GB. The Moto G5 uses a lesser 1.4GHz Snapdragon 430 chip, 2GB of RAM and built-in storage of 16GB.

Rear cameras are also different between the two smartphones, with the Plus touting a 12MP camera with a f/1 aperture and big pixels to let in more light, as well as the ability to focus a claimed 60 percent faster through the use of Motorola’s Dual Autofocus Pixels tech. The G5 has a 13MP camera with phase detection autofocus for faster yet sharp phone photography.

Battery size for the G5 sits at 2800mAh while the G5 Plus has a larger 3000mAh power pack; both should last a days use, with support for rapid charging to take the sting out of a dwindling battery during busy times.

Moto G5 Plus sideBoth the Moto G5 and G5 Plus appear to b solid upgrades over their predecessors and at €199 (£170) and €279 (£245) respectively, they offer decent specification and features at a price that is cheaper than many Android smartphones.

However, Nokia is back in the handset space and has revealed three competitively priced Android smartphones, so Motorola may have to fend against more rigorous opposition in an arena it has made its own in recent years.

Silicon Hands-On First Impressions

Moto G5 Plus displayWe had a quick look as the Moto  G5 Plus and have come away impressed. For the price the G5 Plus feels very nice to the touch; it’s solid yet lightweight and is easy to navigate with one hand. At 5.2inches the G5 Plus’s Full HD display manages to look sharp and clear, despite lacking the 2K screens found on pricier Android smartphones.

This makes flitting through the mercifully untouched Android 7 Nougat a joy; a relatively mid-range chipset does not seem to hamper navigation, with the whole user interface feeling nice and responsive. It’s not as lighting fast as the top end smartphones from Apple and Samsung, but you’d be hard-pressed to get annoyed at the Moto G5 Plus’s speed.

We would need to have the G5 Plus in our possession a little longer to see if responsiveness slows down once the on-board memory is filled up with apps and data, but so far it’s performance is suitably smooth.

Testing cameras out at MWC with bright lighting conditions isn’t ideal to really put a smartphone camera through its paces, but the 12MP snapper on the G5 Plus delivered decent photos; it didn’t blow us away with detail, colours or contrast, but again for around £250 it offers solid results.

The metal chassis of the G5 Plus also hides a fingerprint scanner in its home button which felt responsive and again is a nice feature for an affordable Android smartphone to have.

Motorola has consistently made impressive affordable Android smartphones, and the Moto G5 Plus is no exception, in fact it is one of the most plesant mobiles we’ve tried out at MWC given its price point.

For business users an un-fettered version of Android with the Google Assistant build -in, means easy access to productivity apps not hidden away under additional user interface tweaks, and a virtual assistant with genuinely useful smart features.

We predict that the Moto G5 Plus will be an appealing smartphone for people and organisations who want access to stock Android without forking out a large amount of money for Google’s Pixel smartphones.

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