Moto G5 review: Great features for Motorola's low-cost smartphone

Crucially, the G5 doesn’t feel like a Dh699 phone when you use it

The Lenovo Moto G5 sells for Dh699. Paul Hanna / Reuters
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Motorola re-emerged from relative obscurity four years ago with the Moto G, a game-changing device that redefined what a low-cost smartphone could do, which went on to become the firm’s best-selling handset of all time.

Lenovo – owner of the Motorola brand since 2014 – continues to push the envelope with the new Moto G5, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February and available in the UAE for just Dh699. So how does it stack up against the competition?

The Moto G range’s selling point has been specs that punch far above the phone’s price point, and the G5 is no exception. The 5-inch Full HD display isn’t flagship quality, but performs as well as smartphones double the price or more, with a surprisingly high pixel resolution.

Crucially, the G5 doesn’t feel like a Dh699 phone when you use it; Nougat, the latest version of Android, is present and correct. And while its processor is technically a little slower than last year’s G4, it’s hard to notice a difference, especially given the generous 3GB of RAM. The front-mounted fingerprint scanner feels nice and nippy.

The 13MP rear-mounted camera does a generally pretty good job in standard lighting conditions, inevitably struggling a little with darker images. The 5MP selfie camera, however, is a little underpowered compared to Huawei’s Honor 8 Lite and the Samsung Galaxy A3.

The G5’s Achilles heel for me was its design, which undermines the phone’s punchy specs with a plain-looking body that feels somewhat cheap in the hand. That’s perhaps a little harsh on a phone that costs less than a third of an iPhone 7, and many will find it feels just fine. But the G5 ultimately feels a little blocky compared with the competition, especially the beautifully crafted Huawei Honor 8 Lite.

If you’re able to live with the design, however, the Moto G5 is a great buy for the budget-conscious smartphone shopper. It’ll never come close to matching the likes of the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8, but like its predecessors offers great performance at a very affordable price point.


John Everington expands on what the new Lenovo Moto G5 has to offer:

Lenovo has plenty of affordable smartphones of its own. Why is it still using the Motorola brand?

The Chinese giant was reportedly ready to drop the Motorola brand completely in January, while still retaining the Moto naming convention. However Lenovo u-turned earlier this year, with Motorola Chairman and President Aymar de Lencquesaing saying the company had "clarity on how we present ourselves."

Okay then. Could there be any other reason?

Well, there’s the fact that the Motorola brand, like that of Nokia and BlackBerry, still has a lot of value in the mobile space, arguably more so than Lenovo. And don’t forget how successful the Moto G range in particular has been.

A 5-inch screen is a little small for me. Is there a larger option?

Yes and no. The Moto G5 Plus expands the display to a slightly puzzling 5.2 inches, but also offers a faster processor and the option of larger RAM and storage. At the time of writing however it’s not available in the UAE, although you could always try your luck online.

What a pity. What else should I know about the regular G5?

It has a 2800 mAh battery that will last pretty comfortably throughout the day. The battery is removable, which is unusual in this day and age, and there’s a slot for a microSD card or second SIM.

And how about the colours?

It’s available in "Lunar" Gray and "Fine" Gold, with no "Rose" gold version in sight, sadly.