Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Cheap yet cheerful. But is this the budget android phone to buy?
- Well built
- Good battery
- Average camera
It's cheap and cheerful but may be a bit under-powered for some.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
We’ve been spoiled for choice with budget phones lately. In just the last week we’ve reviewed the Moto G5 Plus which we declared to be the best-value phone we’ve tested in ages. This was immediately followed by the even-cheaper Oppo A57 which arguably offered better value. Now here’s the Moto G5 which costs less again. So should you pay more or is cheaper once again better?
5in, 1920 x 1080 LCD screen, 2GB/16GB RAM, 1.4GHz Octa-core Snapdragon 430 CPU, Adreno 505 GPU, 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras, microSD, dual SIM, Micro USB, Android 7, 2800mAh battery, 144 x 73 x 10mm, 145g. Full specs here.
Design and handling
As with the G5 Plus, the G5 is housed in a diamond-cut, bead-blasted aluminium chassis which belies its budget credentials. It’s available in boring grey or a gold finish. It’s comfortable to hold but it’s still worth buying a case – at this price the high-quality shatter-resistant glass is absent.
The 5-inch screen comes with an bright-and-colourful Full HD screen which looks very good and is a noticeable step up from the HD-resolution Oppo A57. However, under the hood is the last-gen octa-core 1.4GHz processor and only 2GB of RAM which can feel limiting these days (there’s a 3GB version but it’s not available in all markets). Nonetheless, it ticks along very well with general-usage apps opening quickly. There can be a little lag during some operations but nothing that proved frustrating.
Power users may well run out of headroom with the 2GB RAM ceiling though. Games like Angry Birds generally run OK but there are a few pauses. Pokemon Go generally ran smoothly (though it was a bit slow to load) with only a few frame-rate hiccoughs.
A separate fingerprint reader lies beneath the screen (which is a poor use of space in our book) but it’s reliable and quite quick to unlock the phone – better than many expensive brands but not as instantaneous as Oppo’s brilliant biometric buttons.
Android 7 is included and works well. Casual users won’t notice much difference with the likes of the much-dearer HTC U Play when it comes to using basic apps and web browsing.
In terms of audio, like the G5 Plus, the main phone speaker is used. Bass is rendered relatively well for a phone (which isn’t saying much) and the sound is quite well rounded. Treble, however, tops out very quickly and is very tinny. Speaker-phone calls are clear and distinct but at no point does this speaker get very loud.
Moto G5 Camera review
Read more: Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
The Moto G5’s main camera has a 13-megapixel resolution while the front has just 5-megapixels. In good lighting, the G5 was capable of crisp and colourful captures. It was also fast at focusing and there was minimal shutter lag.
Dynamic range could be an issue if bright and dark areas were in the same image with the phone favouring light while dropping detail in the shadows when it had to make a choice.
In low-light situations it performed slightly-better than past models but fell off a cliff when it got a bit too dark. In decidedly-dark areas it would quickly take pictures but they’d turn out to be blurred, grainy and indistinct.
However, despite the low resolution of the front camera, Selfies looked good. The Beauty Mode touch-up also added a nice layer of polish.
Video is recorded up to 1080p at 30fps. In good lighting and with minimal movement it’s very good and can focus quickly. However, the limited dynamic range and metering abilities can get shown up here as (once again) bright areas are shown at the expense of dark with a great deal of detail getting lost in the shadows. Focusing can struggle in lower lighting and we had to jab the screen a few times to wake it up to the fact it was out of focus. It’s not the worst we’ve seen but it’s much better when lighting is uniform and good. Audio is an issue, however. Background noise gets recorded as a robotic chatter and people’s voices sound pinched and tinny.
Next: Battery, Other Features and Conclusion...
Join the newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Tivoli PAL BT
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
There are countless trends competing for attention in the gaming notebook and laptop space but not all of them are either useful or benefit the core gaming experience.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 2 Tenda Nova MW6 review: A gateway drug for mesh Wi-Fi
- 3 Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Expensive, but probably the best phone you can buy right now
- 4 Apple iPhone XS review: Astonishment at a price
- 5 Huawei Nova 3i review: All Sell, No Soul
Latest News Articles
- Exclusive first look: Creative Labs' high-end Sound BlasterX AE-9 breaks cover
- All the big reveals at The Game Awards 2018
- PCWorld is giving away a OnePlus 6T in Midnight Black for the holidays!
- Hands on with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx reference laptop: A fresh attempt to be faster
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive goes free-to-play, adds a battle royale mode called Danger Zone
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?