The "1-Minute" Review
- Inconsistent camera
- Weak low-light camera performance
- Slow software updates
- Chassis prone to scratches and scuffs
As the top tier of Moto’s latest budget-friendly line up, the Moto G5S Plus combines a large screen, solid design, and capable specs with a price that is a fraction of the prices of flagship phones. But the mid-tier market is increasingly competitive, and the G5S Plus is more of a minor update to the previous G5 Plus than a new release. Does it still offer the compelling value and experience that keeps Moto fans coming back for more?
One of the first things the sets the G5S Plus apart from its predecessors is the all-metal unibody design. Apart from the thin plastic bands covering the antennas, it’s all smooth, cool aluminum. Reviewers found the phone both eye-catching and a pleasure to hold. Both comfortable in the hand and reassuringly sturdy, they had no complaints on the design front.
Unfortunately, there are reports of minor scuffs and scratches on the finish after a few weeks bouncing around in pockets or bags with keys and other objects. If you’re the type that prefers a pristine look, a case is recommended.
Heading around front, you’ll find a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD panel with a front-mounted fingerprint scanner tucked into the chunky screen bezels. While the cheaper G5S and previous G5 series offer better pixel-per-inch ratings thanks to their smaller screens, we found no complaints regarding blurry text or a lack of detail.
While the screen is dim when using manual controls, both vivid color profiles and automatic brightness controls impressed reviewers with eye-popping color, excellent contrast, and plenty of daylight visibility.
Unless you’re looking to play the latest games on their highest settings, the octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor in the G5S Plus offers plenty of power. Switching between apps is a fluid experience and the phone flips through emails, loads web pages, streams media, and snaps photos with no hesitation or stuttering.
The phone offers variants with 3 to 4GB of RAM. If you’re a heavy multi-tasker or want a modest boost in responsiveness, reviewers felt the premium price for the 4GB model was more than reasonable. As a bonus, upgrading RAM also brings double the storage space.
You’ll find either 32 or 64GB of internal storage depending on the variant you choose. Should you need more space for apps, movies, or music, support for microSD cards up to 128GB in size offers more than enough space to keep all your favorites on hand.
While the phone shipped with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, Moto promises 8.0 Oreo at some point. Still, there’s little chance it will see the latest Android 9.0 P that is heading into beta.
The dual-lens 13MP rear camera is one area where reviews varied drastically. Unlike many dual-lens arrangements, the second lens doesn’t allow for wide angle shots, native black and white shots, or other advanced features you’ll find in higher-end phones. While the phone uses it to power a portrait mode feature which blurs backgrounds, reviewers found that results were hit or miss. However, when the phone captured a good shot, it offered excellent detail, contrast, and color reproduction.
Coupled with poor low-light performance, many found the camera frustrating in all but the best of lighting.
The 8MP front-facing lens, strangely, fared better. With the included flash, the camera takes detailed, sharp selfies with little delay.
The phone’s 3,000mAh battery is good for a full day of moderate use. If you’re light with usage, reviewers found you might squeeze a day and a half from a single charge. When it is time to recharge, Turbo Charge charging means you’ll get a full top off in just under 2 hours despite the slower microUSB charging standard.
Overall, opinions of the phone are positive. Alphr states, “There’s basically nothing else out there that matches the Moto G5S Plus formula at a similar price.” Digital Trends reinforces the opinion, saying, “... we would argue that it’s the best-performing phone in [its] price range, which is no small feat. Sure, it’s not a flagship-tier device—but for the price it’s an excellent-quality handset.”