Ah, the Moto G. One of the UK’s best-loved budget phones, but it’s had something of a confusing history and two new models are about to make that even more confused: G5 and G5 Plus. Read our Moto G5 review.
It’s a fantastic budget phone, but until 2016 when new owner Lenovo announced the Moto G4, Moto G4 Play and Moto G4 Plus, Motorola had launched a long string of very similar smartphones all called the Moto G. Trying to keep tabs on which is which is something of a minefield, especially when many of the SKUs remain available online.
Also see: Best budget phones 2017
In this article we’ll outline the specs, design, UK price and release date for the new G5 and G5 Plus, which have had something of a ‘premium’ makeover, and break down the history of the Moto G.
When is the Moto G5 release date?
Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus UK release date: mid-March and early April
The fifth-generation Moto G went on sale in March 2017 across the world. You can buy the Sapphire Blue model exclusively from O2 now.
The G5 Plus will go on sale in early April, and Carphone Warehouse – who is offering the phone exclusively in the UK – has opened pre-orders, promising delivery by 4 April.
How much will the Moto G5 cost in the UK?
The Moto G family is well known for its extraordinary value, and that is set to continue into 2017. No Moto G has ever cost more than £200, with most of the updated models averaging £150-£170 – though the G5 Plus will be the first to break that trend.
In the UK the Moto G5 is available with 2GB or 3GB of RAM. You can buy the 2GB model for £169 from Carphone Warehouse, Argos, Unlocked Mobiles and John Lewis – O2 will also sell the 2GB G5 in an exclusive blue colour, though this isn’t yet available.
Meanwhile the 3GB version is sold for £179 by Amazon and the Motorola online store – though isn’t yet listed there.
In Europe the Moto G5 costs €199 for the 2GB RAM + 16GB storage model.
In the US, only the G5 Plus will be sold, starting at $229 unlocked. In Europe it will cost more at €279 for 3GB and 32GB storage, and in the UK it will cost £249 – you can pre-order it nowfrom Carphone Warehouse.
The Moto G4, Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play are now a little cheaper than at launch, and all three are available from Amazon. You can buy the Moto G4 Play for £119.95, the Moto G4 for £159, and the Moto G4 Plusfor £189.99. All are SIM-free, so you can insert a SIM from your mobile operator of choice.
What are the features and specifications?
Lenovo has given the new Moto G phones a more premium look, and the bold colours of previous models are gone. It has hints of he Moto Z – such as the protruding rear camera – but these are not modular phones and won’t work with Moto Mods.
You have a choice of two colours: lunar grey and fine gold. These are sure to make them look like more expensive phones, and the specs are certainly a cut above your usual lower-mid-range phone. That’s what these are of course, not budget offerings.
Interestingly, the G5 Plus, which has the slightly larger 5.2in screen, uses the same camera as the Samsung Galaxy S7 (but without optical stabilisation), so it should appeal to anyone who wants a flagship-level camera without spending £600+. It will shoot 4K video, while the G5 is limited to only 1080p, despite it’s higher pixel count.
Storage and RAM will depend upon where in the world you’re buying a G5 or G5 Plus. Both phones support dual-SIM, but we’re certain UK models will be single SIM as usual.
The back of the G5 is removable, as is the battery, but the G5 Plus does not have the same feature, although its battery has a slightly larger capacity for 3000mAh.
US owners will find their G5 Plus doesn’t have NFC, but both models sold in other markets do. Thankfully there’s still a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
In terms of software, you get the usual Moto tweaks to Android, and this time the fingerprint sensor is also a home button, and you can set it up to navigate around Android as you swipe over in in different directions. Naturally the new phones run Android 7.0 Nougat, and also have the Google Assistant.
As you can see the design has not changed a great deal, but the fingerprint scanner that was previously exclusive to the Moto G4 Plus is now also found on the standard Moto G5. The phones have metal frames, too.
History of the Moto G
In the space of just over three years we’ve seen a crazy eight phones all called Moto G released. And the story is more than a bit confusing.
It all began back in November 2013 when Motorola announced the first ever Moto G (XT1032), an affordable smartphone with a Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of storage, a 4.5in HD screen and a 2070mAh battery. This quickly became the company’s best-selling phone, and was followed up in May 2014 with a 4G version (XT1039) with support for microSD cards.
In September 2014 came the second-generation Moto G (XT1068), with a new 5in HD screen, prominent front-facing speakers, dual-SIM functionality and improved cameras, now 8Mp and 2Mp, up from 5Mp and 1.3Mp. Sounds great, but Motorola removed the 4G functionality. This model was updated again in March 2015 with the XT1072offering full 4G support and a slightly higher-capacity 2,390mAh battery, but at the expense of the dual-SIM functionality.
For the third-generation Moto G (XT1541), announced in July 2015, Motorola bumped up the processor to the Snapdragon 410 (with integrated Adreno 306 GPU), and once again improved the cameras and battery. These were now rated at 13Mp, 5Mp and 2470mAh respectively. It also added IPX7 waterproofing…
…only for it to be taken away in May 2016 with the launch of the fourth-generation and now more aptly named Moto G4 Play, Moto G4 (standard) and Moto G4 Plus, three splashproof budget Androids. Originally just the standard and Plus models were available in the UK, which confusingly are the same size with just a fingerprint scanner (on the Plus), storage and RAM options to separate them. Whereas the standard Moto G4 comes with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage, the Plus is available in three versions: 16GB/2GB, 32GB/3GB and 64GB/4GB.
The specification has jumped up significantly for round four, with new Snapdragon 617 processors, Adreno 405 GPUs, 5.5in (and for the first time) full-HD screens, 16GB of storage (or more) as standard, microSD support up to 256GB, fast-charging 3000mAh batteries, and improved cameras rated at 16Mp and 5Mp.
The Moto G4 Play, meanwhile, has a spec much closer to that of the third-generation Moto G released in July 2015, with matching processor, RAM, storage and screen, but second-generation Moto G cameras (8Mp and 5Mp) and it’s only splashproof rather than IPX7-rated. The battery capacity has increased, though, to 2800mAh.