Lenovo has launched the latest model of its Moto sub-brand at the Mobile World Congress. The Moto G5 Plus is the successor to last year's Moto G4 Plus and, like its predecessor, an upper mid-range device that puts a lot of emphasis on camera performance. For the new model's camera resolution has been reduced from 16MP to 12MP and, with a 1.4µm pixel size, on-sensor phase detection and very fast F1.7 aperture, the main camera specifications look very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S7's minus the optical image stabilization.

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On the video side of things the camera is capable of recording clips with 1080p Full-HD resolution and front camera specification remains unchanged with a 5MP sensor and F2.2 aperture. Compared to the predecessor the size of the IPS display has been reduced from 5.5" to 5.2", making the G5 Plus a little more compact, but the 1080p Full-HD resolution remains unchanged. The metal frame is a little more sturdy and gives the entire device more of a premium touch than its predecessor.

The fingerprint sensor at the front now also serves as a touchpad, replacing the Android function buttons. Android 7.0 is powered by a Snapdragon 625 chipset and 2GB of RAM. 32 or 64GB of onboard-storage can be expanded via a microSD slot. The non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery supports fast charging and, unlike Lenovo's high-end Moto Z models, the G5 Plus still features a 3.5mm headphone-jack.

  • 12MP CMOS sensor with 1.4µm pixel size
  • F1.7 aperture
  • On-sensor phase detection
  • 1080p video
  • 5MP / F2.2 front camera
  • Manual control over shutter speed
  • 5.2" 1080p IPS display
  • Android 7.0
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32/64GB storage
  • 3000 mAh battery with fast charging

We have had the chance to use the Moto 5G Plus for a few days before launch and were impressed by the speedy general operation and how solid the new model feels in the hand. We have also shot a good number of sample images with the camera in a variety of situations. 

Image Quality

In our brief test we found the Moto G5 Plus to capture good detail, especially in lower light, good exposures and pleasant colors across the ISO range. In the ISO 50 image below some slight smearing of fine detail is noticeable at a 100% view but overall fine textures are rendered nicely and luminance noise in the blue sky is very well under control. Some highlight clipping is visible in bright areas of the frame but it's well within acceptable limits for this class of device.  

 ISO 50, 1/1622 sec

In sunlight colors are pleasant with a slightly warm touch. At close subject distance, like in the image below, the combination of a 1/2.5" sensor with a very fast F1.7 aperture allows for some blurring of the background.  

 ISO 50, 1/2240 sec

Thanks to its fast aperture the Moto G5 Plus can keep the ISO low in indoor scenes like the one below. That said, in low light the camera is slightly more prone to camera shake than models equipped with optical image stabilization.

 ISO 160, 1/30 sec

The camera's white balance system deals well with artificial indoor lighting. In the ISO 250 image below fine detail is starting to suffer a little bit but both luminance and chroma noise are very well under control. 

 ISO 250, 1/30 sec

The indoor portrait below shows good detail and natural skin tones. The 1/30 sec shutter speed usually still gets you shake-free images.

 ISO 400, 1/30 sec

For low-light shots like the one below, shutter speed is reduced to 1/15 sec and the camera engages a multi-frame night mode. There is now noticeably more noise in the image, especially the shadow areas, but the overall tonality is very pleasant and edge detail is still very well defined. The Moto G5 Plus is performing well in these light conditions.

 ISO 500, 1/15 sec

The night shot below shows very good exposure, color and detail, considering the low light levels. Edges are very well defined and fine textures are still visible as well. Noise is noticeable when the image is viewed at a 100% magnification but finely grained and overall very well controlled. 

 ISO 640, 1/15 sec

Special modes

Panorama mode remains a bit of a weakness in the Moto camera app. The images tend to show good exposure and color but, compared to some competitors, are pretty small. In scenes with several moving subjects ghosting artifacts are almost unavoidable.

Panorama 2704 x 920 pixels

As you can see in the samples below, HDR mode is capable of maintaining better highlight detail than standard exposures. It also slightly lifts the shadows, making for a more balanced overall exposure in high-contrast scenes.

 ISO 50, 1/3763 sec, HDR off
  ISO 50, 1/3618 sec, HDR on

First impressions

We are hoping to spend more time with the Moto G5 Plus soon, but after our first brief test the new model looks, like its predecessor, like a great option for mobile photographers who don't want to spend iPhone or Galaxy S money. The Moto G5 Plus offers responsive operation in all situations and very decent image quality across the ISO range. We especially liked the textures and low noise levels in low light scenes. 

In terms of build quality the new model is a step up from last years G4 Plus as well and the touchpad-style fingerprint reader is an interesting touch. At its retail price point of $299 the Lenovo Moto G5 Plus looks like a great package for mobile photographers and general users alike.