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Motorola Moto G5 and G5 Plus vs Moto G4: What’s new?

Is it still one of the best budget phones around?
Motorola Moto G hero 2

When the Motorola Moto G broke onto the scene back in 2013, it shook up the budget end of the smartphone market.

Combining decent specs with a bargain basement price, it quickly became Motorola’s best-selling phone ever, and was followed by a new iteration every year.

Now we’re onto the Moto G5. The fifth edition of the handset is still a winning combination of bang-up-to-date Android software, a selection of good features and a price that – we presume – won’t break the bank.

But what’s changed since the Moto G4? Join us as we run down the main differences.


motorola moto g5

The most notable difference is there are only two versions of the Moto G5: the standard model and the Moto G5 Plus.

Motorola has dropped the Play model from the range, presumably because it was confusing for consumers.


The Moto G5 has a smaller screen than its predecessor. The G4 and G4 Plus stood a towering 5.5 inches, which dwarfs the G5’s 5-inch screen. Even the Moto G5 Plus’ 5.2-inch screen is smaller than the G4’s.

However, there’s been no drop in sharpness. Both the G5 and G5 Plus retain the 1080p HD resolution of the G4.

And considering they’re slightly smaller, the screens should look a bit sharper too.

Operating system

android nougat

Both the Moto G5 and G5 Plus come running Android 7.0 Nougat, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.

This brings new features like more than 70 new emoji, the ability to use two languages at the same time, and to use two apps side by side at the same time, so you can read a recipe with your timer open.

While the G4 and G4 Plus didn’t come with Android Nougat out of the box, it is available as an update.

So you won’t miss out just because you have a slightly older phone.


Motorola G4

Like the G4, the G5 comes with 16GB of storage, but the G5 Plus has dropped the 16GB version in favour of 32GB. Both take up to a 128GB microSD card.

We would question the usefulness of keeping the 16GB model. What with all the films, music and photos we carry around with us now, who wants a 16GB phone?

RAM and processor

Now this is curious. The G5 comes with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM, while the G5 Plus has 3GB. However, the higher-capacity G4 Plus came with 4GB of RAM.

Presumably the newer processor will make up for the drop in speed.

The G5 runs a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core chipset, and the G5 Plus a 2GHz Snapdragon 625 octa-core.

These should put the Snadragon 617s found inside the G4 and G4 Plus to shame.


Again, there’s a strange downgrading at play here. The Moto G5 only has a 2,800mAh battery, whereas the Moto G4 and G4 Plus have a 3,000mAh (as does the Moto G5 Plus).

Hopefully Motorola has managed to squeeze some extra juice out of it somehow, otherwise we’ll be looking at shorter battery life.


The Moto G5 Plus’ camera is the star of the show, boasting as it does dual autofocus pixels. Hence while it may only have 12 megapixels to the G5’s 13, it should be the better snapper of the two.

The G4’s 13-megapixel camera has no such witchcraft, though the G4 Plus’ 16-megapixel jobby has a laser autofocus system.

In terms of front cameras, it’s all unchanged, with each handset having 5 megapixels apiece.


Motorola Moto G5 angled

Thanks to the smaller screen, the Moto G5 manages to be shorter, less wide and slimmer than the Moto G4. It also weighs 10g less, which should make it more pleasant to use.


The G5 has plenty of sensors, including a fingerprint reader, accelerometer for sensing which way the phone is being held, gyroscope for telling which direction you’re facing, an ambient light sensor and proximity sensor.

The G4, by contrast, only has ambient light, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, and the G4 Plus has a fingerprint reader, too. It shows just how cheap these components are becoming for such a budget handset to have a fingerprint sensor.


The Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus look like being stellar handsets. They improve on their predecessors in almost every way, and as long as you don’t hanker for a bigger screen, you should be more than happy with them as mid-range phones.

We’ll bring you a full review as soon as we can.

What were the best phones of MWC 2017? Join us, as we count them down.

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