Moto G5S Plus Review


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Moto launched the G5S Plus as a special edition smartphone in India last month priced at Rs. 15,999. Even though the phone is a minor upgrade to the G5 Plus, the company has managed to pack dual rear cameras to capture images with depth effect and it also has an improved front camera. Is the phone worth the price? Let us find out.

Unboxing

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We recently unboxed the phone, check out the video below.

Box contents

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  • Moto G5S Plus smartphone in Blush Gold color
  • Headset with microphone
  • 2-pin Turbo Charger (5V-3A / 9V-1.6A / 12V-1.2A)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Quick start guide and warranty information

Display, Hardware and Design

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After moving from 5-inch screen on the Moto G (2nd Gen) and Moto G (3rd Gen) smartphones to 5.5-inch screen on the Moto G4 Plus, the company moved to a slightly smaller 5.2-inch for the G5 Plus, now it is back to 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a pixel density of about 401 ppi (pixels per inch). It also has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

The display is bright, colors are vibrant, viewing angles and the sunlight legibility are good as well. This display is definitely good. There are Standard and Vibrant color modes in the display settings. It has huge bezels above and below the screen so the screen-to-body ratio of the phone is about 71%, which is slightly better than 67% screen-to-body ratio on the G5S.

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There is an earpiece above the display. It has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera on the front accompanied by flash, which is an improvement from the 5-megapixel camera on the G5 Plus. In addition to the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, the phone also has gyroscope and magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer for VR headsets. It doesn’t have an LED notification light.

The volume rockers and the power button are present on the right side, SIM and microSD slot is present on the left, 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top and the primary microphone, micro USB port and the loudspeaker grill are on the bottom.

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The Moto G5 Plus had dedicated dual SIM and microSD slots arranged on a single tray, but the company has moved to hybrid dual SIM slots again for the G5S Plus, which is disappointing. Even though the phone has 64GB storage, some people would still want to use more storage while using dual SIMs.

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The phone has a unibody metal design, and you can see the antenna lines running on the top and the bottom part of the back. There are dual 13-megapixel cameras on the back with dual-tone LED flash that protrudes out, but the glass doesn’t get scratches when placing the phone on a flat surface. There is a usual Moto dimple below the camera. Since the phone has a brushed metal body, it is slippery to hold, so it is recommended to use a case.

It has a 3000mAh built-in battery, similar to the G5 Plus. The phone also has water-repellent nano coating, similar to other Moto phones. Overall the build quality of the phone is good.

Camera

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Unlike the single 12MP rear camera with f/1.7 aperture on the G5 Plus, this has 13-megapixel dual rear cameras one with monochrome lens and the other one with RGB lens, f/2.0 aperture, dual-tone LED flash and an 8-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash.

The camera UI is simple with menu to choose image, panorama, depth-enabled mode and manual mode that lets you adjust white balance, shutter speed, ISO and more. There is a camera shutter, video option and toggles for front and rear cameras on the right side. On the left side, there is an option for low light, timer (3 or 10 seconds), Flash toggle (Auto, On, Off) and HDR toggle (Auto, On, Off). It has quick capture mode that lets you twist the phone twice to open the camera or switch between the front and back cameras.

You can also launch the camera when you double press the power button even when the phone is locked. Front facing camera has face beauty option as well as HDR option.

The depth enabled mode lets you adjust the focus (1 to 7) before shooting. Once the image is saved, you can edit it with depth editor that lets you adjust the focus by selecting a part of the images and two beta features – Select Black and White that lets you change the color of the foreground or background to Black and White and replace background with another image. Even though the phone has a monochrome lens, it doesn’t let you take monochrome images directly like the Honor 8 Pro.

Coming to the image quality. Daylight shots were fine, but some images came out dull when it is cloudy or in poor lighting conditions. Macro shots were good and the images get focused quickly. Depth-enabled shots were good with people compared to objects. It perfectly blurs out the background and the depth editor is useful. The depth mode also takes a few seconds to save the image since it captures two shots for each cameras and combines them to create the depth effect.

HDR shots were pretty good with improved contrast and saturation. Low-light shots had noise, but the low-light mode reduces the noise. You need to keep the phone steady when shooting images in the mode since it takes multiple shots and processes them. It also takes some time to process the image. Images with flash were good and the flash is not overpowering even in closeup shots. Thanks to dual-tone LED flash, skin tone maintained in shots. The front-facing camera is pretty good for selfies and video chats and the flash is useful in poor lighting conditions.

Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.)

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HDR ON

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Low-light mode

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It can record videos at maximum 4K resolution at 30fps, has support for 1080p at 60 fps resolution and also has slow motion recording at 720p resolution. Thanks to the secondary microphone on the back, audio is crisp. Check out the video samples.

Check out the complete set of Moto G5S Plus camera samples here.

Software, UI and Apps

The Moto G5S Plus runs on Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) with Android Security patch for June 1, 2017 which is stock with added Moto features such as Moto app. The company has not announced when it will get the Oreo update. It comes with Home app that is similar to Google Now Launcher but it replaces the apps button on the bottom tray with another slot for icon. You can swipe up to reveal all the apps. You can edit quick settings icons, change the position and replace it with few more in the options. There is nothing to mention about the software in specific since it offers stock Android experience.

It only comes only in 4GB RAM with 64GB storage variant, you get 3.64GB of usable RAM, out of which 2.5GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 64GB of internal storage you get only 53.7GB of usable storage since OS and Apps take up about 12GB of storage. Since this runs on Nougat, you can use the microSD as the internal storage.

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Microsoft Apps such as LinkedIn and Outlook.

It comes with the usual Moto apps that offers several features such as one button nav option so there is no need to use on-screen back, home, and overview buttons. A simple swipe or tap of the fingerprint reader can trigger these functions. This also gives haptic feedback when an action is performed.

It has Moto Actions that has six features – one-button nav, double karate chop to turn the torch on/off, Twist the phone to launch the phone’s camera to capture images quickly, Swipe up, left or right to shrink the screen, pick up to stop ringing and flip the phone for ‘do not disturb’.

The Moto Display offers time at a glance when you pick up the phone and also offers notifications on the black screen when you receive them. You can swipe up to go to particular app that sent the notification or swipe either left or right to dismiss them. Moto Display compensates for the lack of LED notification light. The night display option automatically reduces blue light which may impact sleep at a specific time or based on alarm or sunset.

Fingerprint Sensor

The fingerprint sensor is present below the display, same as the G5 Plus. It is quick to unlock the phone most of the times as soon as you place your finger on the sensor and offers haptic feedback as well after unlock and if detects a wrong fingerprint. It unlocks the phone even when the screen is off, so you don’t need to unlock the phone for the fingerprint recognition to work. You can add up to 5 fingerprints and you can also use your fingerprint to authorize Google Play purchases.

Music Player and FM Radio

Google Play Music is the default music player for playback. It also has equalizer. It has FM Radio with FM recording. It can play 1080p Full HD videos smoothly. The speaker is present on the bottom part of the phone, unlike the front-ported speaker on the G5 Plus. Quality is decent, but it could have been better. Audio doesn’t get muffled when the phone is placed on a flat surface since it is on the bottom. As usual the bundled headset is useless. Audio through third-party earphones is good.

Connectivity, Calling and Messaging

It has Dual SIM option in the settings that lets you customize each SIM cards. It has 4G connectivity with support for 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio. Both the SIM slots have 4G support, but you can use 4G on only one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 3G. There is a connection priority option that lets you choose Data or Voice. If you prefer Data, when you receive incoming calls on the non-data enabled SIM, it will go to voicemail when data is active. Other connectivity features include, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. It also has USB OTG (on-the-go) support and NFC support.

Since this is a dual SIM phone you get option to call or send SMS from either SIMs. It comes with Gboard as the default keyboard. We did not face any call drops or any other issues.

Performance and Benchmarks

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It is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 64-bit Mobile Platform that has eight ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.02GHz per core. The performance is good. We tested several games, which were smooth and graphics is also good, thanks to the Adreno 506 GPU. 4GB of RAM is more than enough for multitasking by running several apps in the background. The phone gets a bit hot when charging using the Turbo charger and when using 4G, but it doesn’t get too hot. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

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Moto G5S Plus Geekbench 4 Single-Core

Moto G5S Plus Geekbench 4 Multi-Core

Moto G5S Plus 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

The phone is on par with other Snapdragon 625-powered smartphones and is slightly better than the G5 Plus in all the benchmarks.

Battery life

The phone packs a 3000mAh battery, same as the G5 Plus. I have been using the phone for about two weeks, and it lasted for more than a day on a single charge with average use. It should last for the whole day even with heavy use. You can enable battery saver to extend the battery life when the battery is low.

Moto G5S Plus FoneArena One Charge Rating

It achieved a One Charge Rating of 14 hours and 47 minutes in our battery test, mainly due to talk time, but this is decent for a phone with a 3000mAh battery. It couldn’t beat the Moto G5 Plus that has a slightly better One Charge Rating of 15 hours and 51 minutes.

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Since it has support for Turbo Charging, it can charge from 0 to 50% in just 30 minutes and takes 1 hour and 37 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%. Check out the complete set of battery life test results here.

Conclusion

Overall, the Moto G5S Plus is a decent upgrade to the G5 Plus and the company has priced it at Rs. 15999 and sticks to single 4GB + 64GB version. The phone ticks several right boxes in the price range when it comes to screen, performance, build quality and the phone also offers a decent battery life considering it has a 3000mAh battery. Of course the company could have gone for a bigger battery, but moving from dedicated SIM and microSD slots to hybrid slot is not a good move.

Even though the primary camera is not impressive, dual cameras for shooting depth shots with bokeh effect is good, but it takes 5 to 6 seconds to process the image so you can’t take another shot immediately. The phone is available exclusively from Amazon.in. It gives a tough competition to the recently launched Xiaomi Mi A1 that has similar specifications. We will do a comparison soon.

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Good build quality
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Dual camera is slow
  • Metal back is slippery
  • Hybrid SIM slot
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Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+