Ever since Lenovo took Motorola Mobility off Google’s hands, it’s shown a willingness to take risks, most notably with the surprisingly successful Moto Z and its family of magnetic mods. Its G series phones are on the other end of that spectrum: safe, affordable, and surprisingly capable.
The G5 and G5 Plus unveiled at Mobile World Congress continue that trend. Still aimed at the budget market, the new new metal-wrapped phone comes in two varieties, the G5 and G5 Plus, but the visual differences aren’t as stark as their names would have you believe. The base G5 features a 5-inch Full HD 1080 x 1920 LCD display, while the G5 Plus has a slightly bigger 5.2-inch one.
Each has a home button/fingerprint sensor on the front, and will be available in gold and gray. While not technically water resistant, the G5s do include a splash-proof coating so you don’t have to freak out when it starts raining.
However, the Plus has some big advantages under the hood. Wile the G5 includes a typical-for-this-price Snapdragon 430 processor, the G5 Plus sports an upgraded Snapdragon 625. Neither uses a dual system in their Hal 9000-esque camera eye, but the G5 camera has 13MP f/2.0 lens while the G5 Plus lowers the megapixels to 12 but massively beefs up its low-light capabilities with bigger pixels and a f/1.7 aperture. Both phones feature 5MP selfie cams.
Elsewhere, you get 2GB of RAM on both models and up to 32GB of storage on the G5, while the Plus ups the ante to 64GB. Additionally, the G5, which will not be available in the United States, features a 2,800mAh removable battery, and the U.S.-bound Plus has a slightly larger 3,000mAh one that is sealed inside the case. Some markets will feature built-in NFC for mobile payments, but strangely the U.S. model will not.
The phones will support Android 7.0 out of the box and include many of Moto’s UX tweaks, including Moto Display (formerly Active Display) that lets you get a peek at our notifications when the display is off, and both phones will feature support for Google Assistant out of the box. One interesting tweak exclusive to the G5 Plus is One Button Nav, which lets you quickly navigate through screens using the fingerprint reader.
Both phones will be available in March, with the Plus model costing $229 for 32GB.
Hello from the other side: Moto’s G phones have always had a singular reason for existing: Value. That hasn’t changed with the G5, but the new metal enclosure continues to blur the line between budget and premium. For a little more than $200, you’re getting a very decent phone that won’t feel like you’ve compromised just to save a few bucks.