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Moto G5S Plus: Worth the extra money?

by Justin Herrick | September 26, 2017September 26, 2017 11:00 am PDT

Yet another Motorola phone is upon us. The Moto G5S Plus, which was announced in August, is finally being sold in the United States. It’s not replacing the Moto G5 Plus, however. Both phones, at least for now, are going to be sold alongside each other. Motorola appears to be pushing the Moto G5S Plus as a special edition of the Moto G5 Plus with a couple upgrades to key areas.

Since the Moto G5S Plus isn’t an entirely new device, there’s no point in doing a full review. We’re going to focus today exclusively on the things that make this phone different from its sibling. You’ll then be able to make a decision as to whether or not the Moto G5S Plus is right for you.

It’s a bit nicer to look at (and hold)

Although it’s made from metal, the Moto G5S Plus starts at just $279. It both looks and feels a lot nicer than the price suggests. Motorola hasn’t been shy about using premium materials, but up until now we’ve only seen the company use them on its high-end devices. Previous generations of the Moto G would utilize rubber and a plastic that resembled metal. The Moto G5S Plus is, without question, made from the material all flagships pride themselves on including.

If you own the Moto G5 Plus, you’re probably not impressed. You get a metal body there, too. There remains a difference, though. Motorola didn’t recycle the same shell. It kept the blueprint but overhauled the construction.

The Moto G5S Plus has an aluminum unibody while the older model is comprised of several pieces of metal compressed together. When you look at the Moto G5S Plus, all you’ll see is a single piece of metal. That’s it. Motorola crafted the body from one piece and drilled holes into it for the micro-USB port, headphone jack, and speakers.

Not too many people complained about the look and feel of the Moto G5 Plus. Still, the tweaks made for the Moto G5S Plus are a huge improvement. The phone carries a much more high-end presentation.

You have more screen real estate

Bigger isn’t always better, but the larger display on the Moto G5S Plus certainly helps. Motorola upped the overall size of the phone to take the display from 5.2 inches to 5.5 inches. You’re also getting a better screen-to-body ratio, meaning the bezels are thinner on the Moto G5S Plus. It’s not an edge-to-edge screen in any way, though you’re likely going to appreciate having more screen to work with.

You’ll appreciate the 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display on this phone every time you watch a video or play a game.

Two cameras are better than one

The biggest change made by Motorola is in the camera. It’s really the selling point for the Moto G5S Plus. Now you have not one but two lenses on the rear. A pair of 13MP cameras with dual-LED flash sit on the back, and the company says you should get “the power of a professional SLR in the palm of your hand.” Bold claim but it turns out the cameras on the Moto G5S Plus are seriously good considering the phone’s price.

Obviously it’s nowhere close to the Google Pixel or Apple iPhone 8, but the Moto G5 Plus’ camera module gets you results you’re not going to find from any other sub-$400 phone. It’s a step-up from the Moto G5 Plus as well. Pictures come out looking clear and accurate, no matter the lighting. Motorola even included a professional mode for those who want to adjust every little setting imaginable.

Check out the gallery below for camera samples from the Moto G5S Plus.

Should you buy the Moto G5S Plus?

Only you can decide if you’re going to buy the Moto G5S Plus, but to us it does come across as the best budget phone on the market. The increase in price over the Moto G5 Plus seems fair and appropriate. Given that you’re getting a better design and a really good photography experience, the $279 price tag doesn’t seem out of line. But, for owners of the current model, there’s probably no need to upgrade. You have a capable phone in the Moto G5 Plus, and it’s going to get Android 8.0 Nougat in the coming months.

So it boils down to if you have the Moto G5 Plus or are seeking to upgrade to an entirely new phone. If you’re in the latter camp, go ahead and get the Moto G5S Plus.


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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