The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictIf you’re looking for a solid mid-tier option and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of performance, the Moto G5S offers an almost-stock Android experience with a solid design and quality components—albeit it a price reviewers didn’t love.
- Solid, pocket-friendly design
- Near-stock Android experience
- Ample storage
- Good battery life
- Fast, accurate fingerprint scanner
- Questionable value compared to Motorola Moto G5 and G5S Plus
- So-so performance
The Moto series is known for offering a solid design and reasonable specs at a budget-friendly price. While the latest release sticks to this trend, it brings a slight increase in price. So with less savings in the mix, is it still worth your money?
Reviewers were pleased with the overall design of the phone. Unlike previous releases, the G5S upgrades to an all-metal unibody chassis. It offers a firm grip, sturdy feel, and a smaller size that makes it more pocket-friendly than most recent flagship releases.
Most critiques of the design hinge on the chunky bezels and camera bump on the phone. While the phone remains trim on the weight and size fronts, there’s a fair bit more border on the screen than you might be accustomed to from other manufacturers.
However, this design accommodates the snappy fingerprint scanner which also doubles as a navigation key should you prefer. As a feature that’s rare in this price point, it adds a certain level of refinement to a barebones price bracket.
Heading around front, you’re greeted with a 5.2-inch 1080p IPS display. While it can’t compete with the contrast of similar AMOLED or OLED panels, reviewers were pleased with the brightness, contrast, and color reproduction offered. It’s not the brightest screen though, so beware if you use your phone outdoors often.
Powering the phone, you’ll find the same 1.4Ghz quad-core Snapdragon 430 as the original G5 . However, the bump to 3GB of RAM was enough to keep most reviewers happy. While it’s not a phone designed for power users or intense 3D games, it offered enough power to keep most reviewers happy during their day-to-day tasks. Just know you might encounter occasional delays or stuttering should you push the phone to its limits.
What it lacks in performance, it makes up for in storage. With 32GB of internal storage and microSD support for cards up to 128GB in capacity, you can download apps to your heart's content and keep your favorite tv shows, movies, and music with you without worrying about low storage warnings.
At the time of writing, the phone runs Android 7.1.1 with the January 2018 security pack. Moto promised an upgrade to Oreo (Android 8.0) “soon”, but with Android P going into beta as we speak, don’t expect this phone to keep up with software updates.
If you’re looking to snap pictures or capture important moments with your phone, the 16MP rear camera with phase-detect autofocus pleased reviewers. While it’s not the powerhouse shooter you’ll find in flagship phones, most found the pictures well balanced and sharp. In particular, they found the HDR mode great for pulling out details.
Low-light performance was admirable—though many had issues with red eye and the occasional bit of image noise.
The front-facing 5MP camera didn’t wow reviewers… but then they had no complaints either.
The phone’s 3,000mah battery is good for a solid day of moderate to heavy usage. While the phone still uses microUSB, it supports turbo charging with the included Moto power adapter for fast top offs while on the go.
Overall, the biggest complaint about the phone is the pricing. While a healthy increase from the earlier G5, the phone still sits well below flagship prices. However, many question if sticking to the original G5 or upgrading to the G5S Plus might offer better value.
Alphr reinforces this, saying, “The G5S is a likable phone, sure enough, but it needs a significant price drop before I can recommend it.” Trusted Reviews was more forgiving, saying, “You do pay quite a bit more than the base model G5, but with that, you get a better camera, bigger battery and a slightly larger screen. While performance is nigh-on identical, these extras certainly make it worth considering.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Lars Rehm, DxOMark
Unsurprisingly for a device at its price point, it doesn’t come with any smart zoom features, but the G5S is capable of capturing images with good exposure and pleasant colors in good light conditions, and offers an accurate autofocus system in still image mode.
- Jim Martin, Tech Advisor
The G5s is a good-looking, well-built phone that suffers from below-average performance. Its cameras are good, though, and it has a decent screen.
- Darien Graham-Smith, Alphr
Motorola deserves credit for responding to criticism of the G5, and with the Moto G5S it’s certainly got some things right. The new design is beautiful, the screen is bright and punchy and the camera has gone from a mediocre snapper to a best-in-class contender.
- Florian Wimmer, Notebookcheck
The Motorola Moto G5s is a successful intermediate product that does not offer revolutionary innovation. Rather, it comes with improvements of some details, but one or the other change for the worse as well: its display, for instance, is darker than its predecessor's.
- Michael Passingham, TrustedReviews
If you want a mid-range phone with a mid-sized screen, the G5S is a great choice. You do pay quite a bit more than the base model G5, but with that you get a better camera, bigger battery and a slightly larger screen. While performance is nigh-on identical, these extras certainly make it worth consi...
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Motorola Moto G5S user manual here.
Motorola backs up the Moto G5S with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Moto G5S has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
Manuals / User Guides
- Motorola Moto G5S Manual (PDF)
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