Moto G5 Plus Review: The "Flagship Killer" Killer?

With the Samsung Galaxy S8, and LG G6 arriving soon, as well as iPhone 7, and Google Pixel being on the market, there's a lot of choices when it comes to picking a smartphone. What isn't so much a choice is the price that flagship phones command. The Samsung Galaxy S8 starts at $749, and that price is similar to the rest of the flagships. Financing that over two years, or even paying in full, is quite a lot of money, especially if you're like me and you see the next new phone and get antsy about 6 months into the now old phone. OnePlus has been proving for the past few years that you don't need to pay the flagship price to get the flagship specs, but at $439, it's still a bit of money to put down. Motorola is here to change that.

Motorola has been introducing phones at lower than average prices since about 2013 with the Moto X, and especially with the Moto G line of phones. Since 2014, the Moto G has offered a midrange smartphone at lower than midrange prices that you actually wanted to buy. The smooth design, and option-filled buy page offered users a phone they could truly make their own. Prior to the G5 Plus, it was no speed demon, just allowing users to download enough with its small storage, with a low amount of memory, and a power-efficient processor. For the most part, that all changes with the Moto G5 Plus.

Part of what makes the Moto G line of phones so enticing is not only the price, but the design of the phone. It's not made of the finest material, but it certainly looks premium with its metal-like back. The sides are plastic, but the front looks nice with a fingerprint reader. Both the external speaker, and phone call speaker are in the same spot, so when playing audio, it's certainly easier to hear with the speaker pointed at you, but it's not the loudest, and there's only one speaker. The display is 1080p with settings in the software for a more vibrant Samsung-ish display, or normal. I find the vibrant display quite lovely. In the software, it runs a very lightly skinned Android 7.0, which is refreshing seeing how much Samsung and LG phones get different skins. It runs very quick, with a Snapdragon 625 processor and 4 GB of RAM, it runs just as smooth as any flagship. Just know that to get 4 GB of RAM, you need to get the 64 GB model, not the 32 GB model with only 2 GB of RAM. That processor is also very power efficient, with a 3,000 mAH battery, you can easily get a day and a half with moderate-to-heavy usage. It's incredibly refreshing to not have to worry about draining the battery while streaming an hour of video and only seeing the battery percentage drop a few numbers, where on other phones you lose about 10 percent. Another great thing about this phone is little features Motorola adds that make you wonder how you've lived without them. The clock with full notifications on the standby screen is always a nice touch, but it's the gestures that really shine, like two chops with the phone to turn on the flashlight, and two twists to turn on the camera. Once you've used them, you really get used to them. Another nice feature is turning off on-screen home buttons on the bottom, and substituting them for gestures on the fingerprint scanner. Tapping on the fingerprint scanner takes you home, but swiping left on the scanner goes back, and swiping right opens the multitask window, which although not incredibly intuitive, I find it more elegant than LED lights that turn on and off on the bottom bezel.

Now the Moto G can't really be considered a flagship killer due to the lesser processor, but also due to the lack of special features. There is no border-less design, water resistance isn't featured anymore, Micro USB is used instead of USB-C, and the camera is not so great in low-light. A part of what makes the flagship phones flagship-worthy are the wiz-bang features that wow the coworkers at the water cooler. The Moto G5 Plus only offers insanely great value with incredible battery life. Nothing that will initially wow the audience, but the price certainly will. Ordering this with the Amazon Prime Exclusive with lockscreen offers and ads brings the price from a still great $299 for 64 GB of RAM down to $239. If you want to save more money, the 32 GB model goes from $229 to $184. Sure you do get a notification ad in the lock screen, but that's it.

Does it compete with the OnePlus 3T? Sort of. The OnePlus 3T is a true flagship killer due to its more premium design, and better specs, but if you don't mind not having the same amount of RAM my desktop computer has being crammed into your phone, the Moto G5 Plus won't disappoint.

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