You can probably answer this question by reading Duncan’s review from earlier in the year, but this is the time of year when we wrap stuff up and come to conclusions, so please read on and find out why the Moto G5 Plus is my phone of the year.
I have to admit I was excited by the prospects of the Moto G5 line since it was rumoured, prior to MWC 2017. Could this be the first mid-tier device that delivers good hardware, with good performance, a decent camera, bundled with a usable software experience at an affordable price? I’ll jump to the conclusion: I think it does.
I’ve been using a Moto G5 Plus for about 6 months now, and I’m here to say it’s my phone of the year. It’s also worth noting that Chris has been using the Moto X4 exclusively since a couple of weeks before Christmas (in place of his Pixel 2 which he was rather fond of) and he’s loving the shit out of it. Moto have hit a winning formula this year. Let’s examine the reasons why.
Why has Moto done so well this year?
In previous years, the mid-tier devices always came with a sacrifice. Perhaps the build quality wasn’t that good, typically the cameras were just not up to scratch, maybe the performance lagged or it had poor battery life. In my experience the Moto G5 Plus, and I assume the newer ‘mid-cycle’ / update model, Moto G5S Plus don’t have those sacrifices.
Now, I’m not saying that they perform as well as a top tier device, however they perform exceptionally well for everyday use. What’s everyday use you ask? I mean my normal use: messaging, emails, searching, social, news feeds, games, photos, Google Assistant and even the occasional phone call (yeah you can use your phone to call people). I’ve had my work SIM in the G5 Plus for 6 months and I’ve used it daily, more than my Pixel, and I can say it meets my every day needs. Chris would say the same about the Moto X4. The Pixel 2 is the technically better phone, but everything on the Moto X4 works just as well, and it costs half as much.
The Moto range is so easy to recommend
Many people inevitably ask me “what phone should I buy”? Almost always, my answer ends up being the Moto G5 Plus. Of course my first response is, what so you use it for? Do you like a specific brand (other than Apple)? Do you “have to have the latest and greatest device”? Simply put, I think you need a compelling reason not to buy a Moto G5. Now, that’s not to say the G5 will suit everyone. It probably won’t. If you simply must have the BEST ever camera, this device doesn’t have it (although I’d love to test out the Moto X4 camera — Chris reckons it’s pretty great).
After using the Moto G5 Plus, I can attest that my pre-MWC excitement was not misplaced. The promise of great mid-tier phones is here, and it arrived in February 2017. What does this mean for the future? It means a lot of better specs and performance for mid/lower end phones.
I’d expect that the hardware capabilities of mid-tier devices will continue to improve. Build quality will be more premium, camera sensors will get better, processors will gain more power whilst using less of it, and so on. With AI, machine learning and computational photography on the rise there’s hope for a 2018 or 2019 mid range device that really doesn’t have ANY sacrifices on the features we consider to be “essential” today.
Top tier devices cost more, and deliver less value per dollar
This is the effect of competition. We may lament that top tier devices like the Pixel 2, Samsung Note 8 or even the iPhone X continue to rise in cost, and may well frankly be a rip off in some people’s opinion, but all is not lost. It is the mid-tier devices from manufactures who aren’t dominating this space that will lead the way in affordability and excellence in hardware.
Just look at devices like OnePlus phones, Moto G and Moto X lines and understand just how good that mid-range, sub $700 phone is getting.
The premium competition are not lowering prices at the top end. Frankly, these premium smartphones are essentially luxury fashion items. In my opinion, they stopped being consumer technology last year. The average consumer just can’t afford phones like the Pixel 2, Samsung Note 8, iPhone X or even some of the higher spec Galaxy S range. I’d argue, in case you hadn’t figured, that the average consumer shouldn’t even waste their money on these phones anymore.
The Moto G5 Plus (and its mid-cycle update, the G5S Plus) remains my phone of the year, and the Moto G6 line is something I’m hotly anticipating next year.