Motorola G 5G Plus Review: More than just high-end connectivity

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Motorola’s G 5G Plus truly pushes the boundaries of what a budget smartphone can do. At the start of this year, 5G seemed like a flagship feature but with the G 5G, Motorola makes it accessible to the mass market. The smartphone has some key characteristics of a budget smartphone, and some you only find on flagships. And this mix of features, albeit with a few nooks here and there makes the Motorola G 5G Plus a phone you cannot avoid.

Design and build quality

For starters, the Motorola G 5G Plus is no small phone. It helps that it is a bit less wide than your usual but the tall form factor means adjusting will be necessary. We spoke about this in our first impressions video and even after use, that has not changed much. In a natural grip, it is difficult to reach the smartphone’s power button and volume rocker located on its left edge. Moreover, the power button, doubling as a fingerprint scanner is difficult to press and takes a few tries to get up and running. This is not a big deal breaker but it will certainly hamper usage given the phone’s bulky frame a 9mm thick and 207g. Although, the latter does not feel as much which is thanks to Motorola’s great weight distribution.

The internal back has a textured look however we wish this was on the outside

Speaking of the frame, it is made of plastic. The back of the smartphone is also plastic whereas the front display is made of glass. On the left edge of the frame, you find a Google Assistant button and a dual nano-SIM tray. The Google Assistant button has been fairly useless in my case whereas the SIM tray just feels a bit frail. There is, however, an option for micro-SD card expansion here if you plan on using the smartphone with only one SIM-card. Making up the rest of the smartphone I/O, you find a secondary noise cancelling microphone on its top edge whereas the bottom has a speaker grill, Type-C USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Oddly, the bottom edge is where you find a lot of FCC labels which stick out like a sore thumb.

Motorola has placed the side-mounted fingerprint scanner a bit too high up

From a build quality perspective, there was nothing we experienced that was out of the norm. The smartphone, especially its back feels a bit tacky but this is easy to get used to. If you want to avoid it altogether, a case is an even better option. Just be wary that with a case, using the side-mounted fingerprint sensor will become even more difficult. Something a case cannot solve is water resistance. While the phone has a water-repellent coating, it is not the same as an IP-rating. So, if you are someone who likes to wash your phone or take it with you to a pool, you will need to avoid that.

Display and multimedia

Owing to the smartphone’s large form factor, it is no surprise that we find a 6.7-inch display panel here. It comes with a 21:9 aspect ratio at a 1,080 x 2,520 pixel Full HD+ resolution. While this is an IPS LCD display, it does well to pack both HDR10 support and a 90Hz refresh rate.

You will be able to use the display for multimedia quite easily

With typical usage, I found the brightness of the panel to be a bit lacklustre. And this is primarily because my eyes have gotten used to more vibrant AMOLED panels. If you are after that, you may not find the experience on the Motorola G 5G Plus to be great. However, it is by no means bad. The HDR10 support comes in handy for certain content and unless you absolutely nit-pick, there is nothing bad here. Some smartphones at this price range do not even include a high refresh rate option so it is good to see this from Motorola. With respect to audio as well, the single speaker is nothing outstanding. But at least Motorola gives you the option to use any pair of 3.5mm headphones to take it up a notch.

The FCC branding on the bottom edge does not look pleasing

Speaking of notch, this is a great diversion to talk about the design of the display. It is a flat panel with a dual-notch pill on the top left. With its flat nature, it brings an 84.3 per-cent screen to body ratio but more so, this means you will be able to grip the phone better. But I feel flatter edges eliminate false touches is a bit of a myth. Time and again, I suffered from false touches when navigating or unlocking the smartphone which felt weird.

Performance

This is an area that Motorola gets right more often than not. And with the Motorola G 5G Plus, it has done exactly that. Under the hood, you find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 processor alongside the Adreno 620 GPU. You can also opt for either 64GB of 128GB of UFS 2.1 storage with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM respectively. Personally, going for the higher-end option will be the smarter choice.

Motorola’s clean user interface makes the G 5G Plus a joy to use

As for software, you are looking at Android 10. This package blends quite seamlessly together, allowing for a fluid and responsive experience. With Motorola’s user interface being so close to stock Android, the enthusiast will definitely enjoy using the G 5G Plus. You also get some goodies from Motorola baked in such as Moto Actions and various other features. A great one is being able to double-tap the power button to reach a certain application. But the button’s positioning makes this a bit unnatural to do often.

Double tap gestures on the G 5G Plus are well implemented but that power button makes them a bit more difficult

For hardcore multitasking, the G 5G Plus is well suited too. This is thanks to how clean the user interface remains with absolutely no additional bloatware. You can get reliable performance, and of course, all of this aided by the higher 90Hz refresh rate of the display. Something you will have to be a bit careful about is pushing the smartphone with high-end gaming. Certain titles may struggle at higher settings and the phone does heat up a bit, but not to an unbearable extent.

Camera

As great as the Motorola G 5G’s user interface is, the camera interface definitely needs a revamp. It is downright confusing with an inconsistent look. Hardware wise, you are looking at a 48MP wide camera alongside an 8MP 118-degree ultra-wide lens, a 5MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. This is a fairly rudimentary camera setup with no telephoto lens but it can still do the job. The macro lens in particular is fun to use but overall, the picture taking experience is passable.

The G 5G’s samples are not something we would call consistent but they are definitely worth of being used on social media. We were particularly impressed with the smartphone’s night time performance though. Its f/1.7 aperture on the main lens pairs well with night mode for some pretty capable results. With the front camera as well, you get both a 16MP wide and an 8MP ultra-wide lens. The extra versatility definitely helps in wider selfies however it depreciates in low-light conditions.

Battery life

The Motorola G 5G Plus’ battery life is outstanding. This is a big deal for a lot of users and they will be more than happy with the 5,000mAh cell. Even if they extensively use data on 5G, the G 5G Plus is more than capable of handling this. For regular use, expect 1.5 days of heavy use and even more if you use your phone moderately. The best part about the smartphone’s battery is that it supports 20W fast charging. This is faster equivalent to some modern day flagship smartphones but here, the TurboPower charging brick is provided out of the box. As a general rule of thumb, expect to see around a 40 per-cent capacity in 30 minutes.

Conclusion

While the the Motorola G 5G Plus may not be the most premium smartphone out there, it certainly redefines the concept of value. Priced at Dh1,299, there is hardly a more polished 5G smartphone near this price range. You get some excellent specifications, reliable battery backup and a decent screen. While the G 5G Plus’ size and camera capabilities may come as slight sacrifices, adjustments considering how affordable Motorola has made this smartphone may be easier to accommodate to. We are not saying this smartphone can replace a flagship, but it certainly stands out in a pool of mid-range devices currently available on the market.