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Moto G 5G review: The budget 5G phone

Moto G 5G Moto G 5G
Moto G 5G (Shweta Ganjoo/HT Tech)

The Moto G 5G is a great phone in its own right. But is this a device you should consider if you want a 5G smartphone? Read on to find out…

Brand: Motorola

Product: Moto G 5G

Key specs: 6.7-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 48MP triple camera setup, 5,000mAh battery

Price: 20,999

Rating: 4/5

5G connectivity is smartphones today what cameras used to be almost two years back. Don’t get me wrong here, cameras -- the number and the configuration -- aren’t out of trend yet. But they have been replaced by something fancier and more glamorous: 5G connectivity. And smartphone makers are cashing in on this trend by launching 5G-enabled phones all over the world, even in India where 5G connectivity is a complete no-show at the moment (you get the irony of the situation, right?). Motorola hopped on this train by launching the Moto G 5G, which is being heralded as one of the cheapest 5G smartphones in India.

The Moto G 5G, as you must have guessed by now, is a part of the company’s flagship G-series and it costs just 20,999 in India. The only other smartphone that offers 5G connectivity at a similar price range is the Xiaomi Mi 10i. Other 5G-enabled phones in India like the OnePlus Nord or the iQoo 3 5G are dearer than the Moto G 5G and hence out of the league for people who are looking to buy a 5G phone (sans 5G connectivity) in a sub-25K.

All said and done, the question remains: is the Moto G 5G worth buying? Read on…

Design

Our first stop is the design. The Moto G 5G features a design that we have come to associate with Motorola’s 2020 smartphones. It measures 166.1x76.1x9.9mm and it weighs 212grams, which is marginally bigger and heavier than the company’s Moto G9 and the Moto E7 Plus smartphones.

It has a plastic body with curved edges, which make it easier to hold the phone, especially while using it with a single hand. Turn it around and you get a back with a glossy fibre-esque finish. There is a triple rear camera setup that is placed on the top left corner of the phone’s back. This rear camera setup is placed inside a square-shaped camera module -- a standard in all of the company’s 2020 smartphone models -- that is Grey in colour (I am using Volcanic Grey colour variant. You also get the phone in Frosted Silver colour variant). This rear camera module sits on the top left corner, diagonally on top of the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner with the signature Motorola logo, which is another feature that it shares with its 2020 siblings.

Moto G 5G
Moto G 5G (Shweta Ganjoo/HT Tech)

As far as the overall experience is concerned, the Moto G 5G is heavy and boy you can feel its weight! At 212 grams, it is heavier than the Moto G9 and you can feel that while making calls or using the phone for a prolonged period of time. You can also feel its weight in the back pocket of your jeans should you ever decide to go out with it. What adds to the overall weight of the phone is the silicon cover that Motorola ships inside the box.

Interestingly, while the silicon cover adds to the overall weight, it also keeps the phone, which otherwise is a magnet for dust and grease marks, clean. It also helps that the phone comes with IP52 dust and water repellent coating.

Apart from this, the Moto G 5G sports a 3.5mm jack, a USB Type-C port and speakers at the bottom (in that order), which is slightly different from the Moto G9 and the Moto E7 Plus, wherein the headphone jack was placed on the top.

Besides these, Motorola has also rejigged the placement of the Google Assistant button, another standard in the company’s 2020 smartphones. In case of the Moto G 5G smartphone, the dedicated Google Assistant button is placed on the left side right under the SIM card tray. 

On the right side, you get the volume rockers and the power button. This distribution of keys, in my opinion, is better than the company’s other smartphones, especially in terms of accessibility. All in all, the Moto G 5G features a comfortable design, not the kind that is a smashing hit at a party but the kind that is cosy to come home to.

Display

Moving on to the display. The Moto G 5G comes with a 6.7-inch full HD+ punch-hole display with a resolution of 2400x1080 pixels. The punch hole camera is placed in the centre of the screen on top, which is similar to what you get in case of the Mi 10i 5G smartphone. This is also a slight diversion from the dew-drop notch that Motorola has used in most of its 2020 smartphones.

Coming to the overall viewing experience, the Moto G 5G comes with a gorgeous display that lights up like a Christmas tree as you step out in the sun. It is quick to respond and bright and beautiful. The colours, no matter where you are or what you are watching, are bright and vibrant. There is ample contrast and clarity and the support for HDR 10+ makes the screen that much more appealing.

I watched an entire season of The Crown on this phone and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the overall performance. The colours were resplendent and the viewing angles were sufficiently comfortable for me to watch the episodes in whichever way I felt comfortable. All in all, the display of the Moto G 5G definitely gets a thumbs up.

Moto G 5G
Moto G 5G (Shweta Ganjoo/HT Tech)

Camera

Now comes the camera. The Moto G 5G comes with a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 48MP primary sensor with quad pixel technology, a feature that we have seen in almost all of Motorola’s 2020 phones, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro camera. It also features an LED flash. This rear camera module is housed inside a square-shaped camera module that is stacked towards the left side of the display.

Now, the overall design of this camera module is quite similar to what we have seen in case of some of the other phones such as the Moto G9 and the Moto E7 Plus that the company launched in 2020. The difference is that while in case of those phones the rear camera module was placed in the middle, in case of the Moto G 5G, it is stacked towards the left.

Coming to the camera performance, the Moto G 5G does a great job at preserving the colours and depth in images. The images shot in daylight are sharp in terms of details and subtle in terms of colours. The colours don’t bleed and the images, even the ones captured using the macro camera, don’t pixelate on zooming. It doesn’t brighten things too much unlike a lot of other phones in the market (which is so typical of Motorola but in a good way). The night mode of the phone too is a decent performer if not a great one. The Moto G 5G manages to capture sufficiently bright images even in the low-light conditions. Switching to the Night Vision mode does improve the brightness but not necessarily the clarity.

Moving on to the front camera, the Moto G 5G comes with a 16MP selfie camera with quad pixel technology. Some might say that’s more than what you can ask for in a phone under 25K, I, however, beg to differ and say it needs work, lots of that. While the rear camera setup of the Moto G 5G is impressive, the selfie camera is a total buzzkill. The images lack depth and clarity and you easily spot the colours bleeding. Things don’t get any better in low light conditions with the Night Vision mode on either. The only consolation is that it comes with beauty filters, which enables you to click somewhat acceptable images.

Performance

Now, the most important part of this review: performance.

The Moto G 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 750G system on chip (SoC) that is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space, which can be expanded further using a microSD card of up to 512GB space. Motorola says that the Moto G 5G is the first phone in India with the Snapdragon 750G chipset. This chipset is the primary reason why you should take a break and look at this phone.

Benchmarking scores for the Moto G 5G are comparable with the Snapdragon 765G processor. While that might not mean much to the end-user, this detail might: the Moto G 5G is extremely comfortable to use and it doesn’t lose its calm no matter what you throw at it. Whether you are having a gruelling day at work or you are enjoying a day off with your favourite games, the Moto G 5G is a power performer. It never stops, it never fails. My typical day involves answering endless emails and messages, surfing aimlessly through my social media accounts and watching shows and movies for two to three hours a day. And if I am really getting bored (like really bored), I like to indulge myself in a game or two of Temple Run. During my time with the phone, it never threw me a nervous fit and it works almost effortlessly. This includes the phone’s biometrics -- fingerprint sensor and face recognition system -- that unlock the phone almost instantaneously.

Moto G 5G
Moto G 5G (Shweta Ganjoo/HT Tech)

Coming to the software, the Moto G 5G runs on Android 10 with Motorola’s My UX on top. It is by far one of the best and cleanest user interfaces that I have ever used so far. Motorola has kept the bloatware to a bare minimum. What you get on the phone are tons of Google apps, some Motorola apps and some Facebook apps, which don’t disturb the overall sanctity of the UI at all.

Lastly, the battery. The Moro G 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery -- another feature that is there in almost all of Motorola’s 2020 phones -- that is paired with a 20W Turbo Power charger. It charges about 50% in about 45 mins and it takes the chargers roughly two hours to charge the phone completely. While that is not a dealbreaker, the Realme 7 Pro does offer 65W charging capabilities albeit with a smaller battery.

As far as the runtime is concerned, Motorola says that the Moto G 5G lasts for over two days but in my usage, which typically includes 8-9 of emailing and messaging time, 2-3 hours of social media time and around 4 hours of video time, the phone lasted for a day and a half.

Conclusion

Now, the question remains: is the Moto G 5G worth buying. But in my opinion, the better question would be: do you really need a 5G phone living in India right now? Perhaps not right, not immediately at least. 

While India is fast moving toward making 5G a reality, it is far from the point where end-users, people like you and me need to buy a 5G-enabled smartphone to get a taste of those exceptional speeds. This makes the entire idea behind launching the Moto G 5G seem pointless.

That said, the Moto G 5G is a great phone in its own right. It features a subtle design, it has great rear cameras and a good display with long battery life. Sure, the front camera could use some help but barring that, the Moto G 5G is completely worth your approval, that is, if you are looking for a 5G phone. If not, the Realme 7 Pro is an option worth considering.

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