The Moto G5 Plus offers a lot of value, but there are tradeoffs.

The Moto G5 Plus is all set to make its debut in the U.S. shortly, featuring several key upgrades over its predecessor. Motorola has announced that the variant with 2GB of RAM and 32GB internal storage will retail for $229, $20 less than what the Moto G4 Plus debuted at last year. The model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage will cost $299.

With the G5 Plus, Motorola finally switched to a metal design, and the internal hardware has also been upgraded. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 625 SoC, which is significantly better than the Snapdragon 617 in the G4 Plus. The base storage also gets a welcome boost to 32GB, and the camera on the G5 Plus has the potential to be one of the best in this segment. Although the megapixel count has reduced from 16MP to 12MP, the f/1.7 aperture and 1.4 micron pixels make the G5 Plus stand out in this category.

Category Motorola Moto G5 Plus Motorola Moto G4 Plus
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat Android 6.0.1
Android 7.0 Nougat (in some markets)
Display 5.2-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
424ppi pixel density
5.5-inch 1080p (1920x1080) IPS LCD panel
401ppi pixel density
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz
14nm
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.5GHz
Four Cortex A53 cores at 1.2GHz
28nm
GPU Adreno 506 Adreno 405
RAM 2GB/4GB RAM 2GB/4GB RAM
Storage 32GB/64GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
16GB/32GB storage
microSD slot up to 256GB
Rear camera 12MP f/1.7 lens
dual LED flash
PDAF
4K video recording
16MP f/2.0 lens
dual LED flash
PDAF
Front shooter 5MP
1080p video recording
5MP
1080p video recording
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), GPS,
microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 3000mAh battery 3000mAh battery
Fingerprint Front fingerprint sensor Front fingerprint sensor
Dimensions 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm
Weight 155g 155g
Colors Grey, Gold Black, White


The new features are great — particularly the camera — but for a device that costs $299, the lack of NFC and Android Pay is a sore point. To be fair, the Moto G4 Plus doesn't feature NFC either, but with the steady rise in adoption of digital payments services in the U.S., NFC in 2017 is a table stakes feature for a phone in this segment. The fact that G5 Plus units sold in Asia offer the feature makes its omission in the U.S. even more glaring.

The G5 Plus has a fantastic camera, but lack of NFC is a major drawback.

Furthermore, Motorola's recent track record in the U.S. when it comes to software updates doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. The manufacturer was once lauded for its quick updates, but that is no longer applicable to the Motorola of today. The company announced late last year that it wouldn't roll out the Nougat update to the Moto G 2015, which made its way to the market just a year prior. The Moto E3 Power — unveiled in July 2016 — was also left out of the Nougat update list.

The Moto G4 Plus and Moto G5 Plus, side by side.

The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are slated to pick up the Nougat update, but there's no word on when the rollout will commence in the U.S. even though Indian variants have received the Android 7.0 Nougat update nearly three months ago.

The Moto G5 Plus definitely offers a lot when it comes to the value proposition, and the pricing gives it a distinct advantage over other handsets in this space. That said, the Moto G series epitomized budget phones that were available for under $200, and with the lack of a G5 Play variant it looks like the sub-$200 segment will be underserved this year. If you don't want to spend over $200 on a phone, the base variant of the Moto G4 is still your best bet, and if you're willing to put up with lock screen ads, you can get it for as low as $150.

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Between the G4 Plus and the G5 Plus, the biggest improvements are in the build quality, the processor, and the camera — the rest of the upgrades are bonus.