Moto G5S Plus Review: One of the best mid-range smartphone you can buy in 2017

Moto G5S Plus offers Full HD screen and runs the stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 15,999 on Amazon.in.

By Rohit
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Ever since Motorola announced the first Moto G series handset, the smartphone market in India witnessed a great paradigm shift. Consumers gradually developed a knack for stock Android experience and started expecting more reliable yet affordable Android devices from manufacturers.

Rating:
4.0/5

Moto G5S Plus unboxing and First Impressions

Moto G5S Plus Review

 

A number of Chinese and Indian smartphone manufacturers tried to match the benchmark performance but just one or two actually managed to do it. One reason can be the fact that other Chinese companies were too busy tweaking their customized software skins while Motorola kept improving the stock Android user experience.

Lenovo, the parent company that owns Motorola Mobility has now ultimately started offering pure Android experience with the latest K series devices. And even Xiaomi has realized that their clumsy MIUI is actually not doing any good resulting in company's first stock Android handset- Mi A1.

But today we are not here to talk about Xiaomi Mi A1; instead we will focus on Motorola Moto G5S Plus. This special edition variant of Moto G5 sports a dual-lens rear camera setup and offers better than ever stock Android experience with some new Moto additions.

It is available for Rs. 15,999 exclusively on Amazon and at Moto Hubs and has to fight a number of handsets including Coolpad Cool Play 6, Xiaomi Mi A1, Honor 6X and even the parent company's Lenovo K8 Note. This brings us to the question, is Moto G5S Plus the best smartphone your money can buy in this price-point? Let's find out.

Moto G5S Plus offers best-in-class software experience in its price-point

Carrying the Moto tradition of offering no-nonsense software, the new Motto G handsets run stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the box. The user interface slightly differs from the default Android skin and resembles the Pixel devices' UI. There are no unwanted apps and you get a clean and minimal stock Android experience. The UI works very well and there's no stutters and lags during app loading, shifting from one app to another and during basic UI navigation.

The software experience on Moto G5S Plus is much refined than other mid-range smartphones with custom UI deployed on Android. Moreover, I found the Moto G5S slightly more responsive than the Lenovo K8 Note that also runs the similar stock Android UI. Overall, I would say that if you really need an Android device that gets the job done without any software issues, look no further than Moto G5S Plus in this price-point.

Useful Moto Software Additions
 

Useful Moto Software Additions

The software experience has been further enhanced with the introduction of nifty Moto tweaks such as Moto Display, intuitive Moto actions and several shortcuts to the features you use most throughout a day. You can simply twist your wrist to launch the camera, preview notifications without unlocking the phone and swipe down from left or right to shrink the screen in case 5.5-inch display makes it tough to access on-screen content. I am quite fond of Moto's chop gesture that switches on the torch instantly and come quite handy in everyday usage. Besides, there are several other thoughtful gestures that work quite well and pace up the mobile usage experience in everyday scenarios.

Motorola has also implemented some smart features in the fingerprint scanner. You can now use one button navigation to navigate your phone, which allows you to hide the on-screen buttons to offer extra real estate for on-screen content. A swipe left on the home button works as a back action or you can also set it to access your recent apps. You can activate these gestures by selecting one-button navigation within Moto app Actions.

Overall, Motorola Moto G5S Plus is by far the best handset in this price-point in terms of pure software experience. This hasn't been possible without years of Motorola's efforts to offer a seamless software user experience with company's budget and mid-range Android devices.

Sturdy and Premium Design

Moto G series has gradually started to resemble the pricey Moto Z lineup. The previous Moto G5 initiated the change in the design process which has now been further pushed, and in a way refined by the new Moto G5S and G5S Plus. The new mid-range Moto G devices look far premium and feel sturdier than the previous Moto G handsets. Crafted out of a single block of aluminum, Moto G5S Plus has a weight of 168 grams and feels a bit wider (76.2mm) in hands. But thanks to the rounded edges and ergonomic placement of hardware buttons, the handset can be used with one hand. The hardware buttons are also made of metal alloy and offer amazing tactile feedback.

Signature Moto Design Elements

Moto G5S Plus also sports the signature Moto design elements such as circular camera module and the Moto dimple at the center. Some might find the camera bump ugly but it has become a Moto design trend and I personally find it appealing. And this time around, you will find two sensors aligned horizontally just above the dual LED flashlight in the big circular camera module.

The front fascia houses a large 5.5-inch screen and the regular set of sensors, earpiece and selfie camera. Motorola has also added a flashlight at top to brighten up your selfies. The non-clickable home button also serves the purpose of fingerprint scanner and supports a variety of gestures to ease up the navigation process.

The bottom edge has a mono speaker unit, microUSB charging port and a microphone. A 3.5mm headphone sits at the top edge of the handset which I believe is the right position for an audio port.

Overall, Moto G5S Plus is by far the most premium looking Moto G handset till date and is very practical to use in everyday life.

Vibrant 5.5-inch Full HD Display

Moto G5S Plus sports a large Full HD screen which is very responsive and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The pixel density of 401ppi is good enough to deliver crisp viewing experience while reading, browsing web pages or while watching movies. The 5.5-inch form factor adds to the multimedia experience and Moto G5S Plus serves well for video playback and gameplay. The display is also bright enough to offer a comfortable viewing experience outdoors.

Camera: Dual-lens camera setup fails to impress

Moto G5S Plus has got a considerable camera upgrade as far as on-paper specs are concerned. The smartphone features a 13MP+13MP dual-lens camera setup, first on a Moto G device. The camera works on an f/2.0 aperture and one of the shooters senses depth information to create Bokeh effect. As far as front camera in concerned, Moto G5S Plus sports an 8MP wide-angle front camera.

Detailed and bright images in Daylight

The camera performance is really good in daylight as long as you are clicking images without the depth mode enabled. Switch on the depth mode and you will experience a noticeable shutter lag while taking a shot. You have to very patient while capturing bokeh images on Moto G5S Plus as the camera software takes evident time to process the images. As far as picture quality is concerned, Moto G5S Plus does a good job with and without the wide aperture mode enabled.

Noticeable Shutter lag while using Depth Mode

The images look impressive and the bokeh effect is appreciable if you keep the camera still and let it take its sweet time. Otherwise, the shots captured from the camera miss the opportunity and portraits don't come out well. The pictures captured with depth mode enabled also show undefined edges around the subject. Overall, the dual-lens setup on Moto G5S Plus is not the best we have seen around in this price-point. As far as standard mode of shooting is concerned, the camera gets the job done well.

Decent Low-light performance

The low-light performance is alright, nothing extraordinary as noise is very much visible, but you can still spot good information in pictures. A good thing, Motorola has also added 4K Video support in Moto G5S Plus. The camera can capture 4K videos at 30fps, which is a welcome addition to Moto G series. The video output shot in 4K in good lighting is crisp and can be used by content creators.


An 8 MP wide angle lens is provided for selfies, which does a good job for your Snapchat stories.

Qualcomm Snapdragon CPUs and 4GB RAM

Moto G5S Plus is backed by the popular mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. The octa-core CPU is clocked at 2.0 GHz and is paired up with Adreno 506 GPU to handle graphical intensive tasks. The CPU is paired with 4GB of RAM to handle multitasking. The CPU-RAM combination works brilliantly in presence of efficient stock Android. The handset can pretty much handle everything you throw at it without any performance slowdown.

The big 1080p display serves good for gaming and video playback. Gameplay is smooth and phone handles multitasking very well; however there are instances when G5S Plus heats up during strenuous tasks. Surprisingly the mono speaker unit also delivers good audio output. But don' expect a good audio delivery with the bundled earphones. They can only serve as a backup for calling and occasional music listening sessions. I was pleased to see FM radio on this budget smartphone as sometimes I like to tune in to local radio channels when Airtel fails to offer its so called speedy 4G connectivity, even in Delhi NCR.

The Moto G5S Plus comes with 64GB internal memory that can be expanded by up to 128GB via microSD card. Sadly, there's no dedicated microSD card slot and you have to compromise either on storage or on connectivity as the handsets ship with hybrid SIM card slots.

Battery and Connectivity

Moto G5S Plus is a big handset packing a large 5.5-inch 1080p screen, but the company still decided to go ahead with a considerably smaller battery unit as per today's standards. Unlike Lenovo's mid-range handsets, Moto G5S Plus draws its power from a comparatively smaller 3,000 mAh battery unit.

The battery can last for a day on a single charge but only with moderate usage. You would need a charger or a power bank if you love to stream movies on 4G and play games on your handset. The company ships the handset with a Turbo charger that refuels the battery unit quite rapidly.

The handset does not come with a Type C port. Besides, you get Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, GPS, hybrid SIM card slots and GLONASS. Sadly, the handset does not support NFC.

Conclusion

Moto G5S Plus is a convincing mid-range handset. Like previous Moto G devices, Motorola has managed to distinct the new Moto G handset with best-in-class software performance. The company's in-house software additions are a welcome addition that further enhances the user experience in everyday life. The smartphone has a crisp and responsive full HD screens and an improved and polished design.

There's ample RAM and a speedy yet efficient CPU to address all your requirements. The dual-lens camera setup is a highlight but could use some refinements. The irritating shutter lag and slightly artificial bokeh output leaves you wanting for more. Last but not the least, the battery backup is good but not the best in this price-point.

Overall, Moto G5S Plus is almost a winning combination and is one of the best mid-range smartphone you can buy today in the Indian market. Other options that you consider are Lenovo K8 Note, Coolpad Coolplay 6, Gionee A1 and Asus Zenfone 4 Selfie.

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