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REVIEW: Moto G Plus First Sub $500 5G Smartphone

The battle for control of the emerging 5G smartphone market is intensifying, with Motorola throwing their hat in the sub-$500 market with an all new Moto G 5G Plus which comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 5G processor.

As I see there is no need to upgrade simply to get 5G, your next purchase should more about the need for a new generation smartphone that is capable of delivering improved battery life, the speeds that 5G is capable of delivering and improved shooting over the device you already own, better display is also a big plus.

And this is where the latest model Motorola device comes into play.

At $499 this device feels sturdy, and not cheap as can be the case with some other plastic backed phones.

This device is today the cheapest 5G smartphone on the market and its specs for the money seriously stack up.

Designed at Motorola’s Chicago headquarters the device is slimmer than the $1,899 Samsung S20 Note Ultra, it feels very comfortable in the hand and the 1080 x 2520 display with a 21:9 aspect ratio 409ppi and HDR10 does the job of delivering a crisp clear image to the screen.

The handset which is long and thin is built around the 6.7-inch display and the outer casing looks very similar to a midrange $1,000 plus device despite it being a plastic finish.

What I don’t like is the fingerprint sensor, which is on the side, not the back or embedded into the screen. It’s clumsy and when I hold a device in my right hand, I being a lefty find it irritating to have to reach over.

The sensor is also the power button which when pressed brings up the on off commands on the right-hand side which is handy. The device also has a physical Google Assistant button and two front-facing cameras.
The camera housing on the back which houses four cameras is slightly raised which when used with the supplied clear cover is not noticeable.

For the money, the 48MP (f/1.7, 1.6μm) camera with quad pixel technology delivers but it is not brilliant when compared with the S20 Fan Edition Samsung offering or the 4G TCL 10 Pro.

All the images below with the exception of one were shot with the Moto g 5G plus

Shot at 8X Zoom on the Moto G 5G Plus

Same tree shot on Samsung Galaxy S20 5G Note

With four rear and two front-facing cameras it appears that Motorola has gone for features instead of a premium camera rig and there nothing with this approach in a 5G camera that is sub $500.

A big plus is the wide-angle selfie camera the images are sharp and a toggle button on the screen allows one to switch from standard to selfie easily however you do need to watch where your hands are when shooting a picture.

The two front facing cameras are a 16MP f/2.0 and an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and the best time to shoot a selfie is daytime because despite an onboard flash they do come out a tad dull.
The Moto G 5G Plus version that I reviewed came with 128MB of storage and of 6GB RAM.

A big plus with this device is size and at 168 x 74 x 9mm it easily fits into a pocket or a bag.

As for weight the device feels extremely light at 207g when compared to several other products at this price point.

For those who are constantly on their smartphone, one of the really big benefits of this device is the 5000mAh battery. I got two clear days of activity out of the device and that’s impressive, it’s most probably the best we have ever got out of a smartphone for a while.

The charging speed is 20W which is not as fast as the LG Velvet and there in no wireless charging.

On the left edge of the phone, at the top, is a Google Assistant button which activates the Google assistant software. All of the questions we asked such as how good is the Moto G5G plus?

The phone only comes in one colour, blue is the biggest Motorola offering this year in Australia and is the first Moto G phone to have a 90Hz display.

Missing from the camera is optical zoom but there is an 8x digital zoom which does the job when you want to zoom in however the camera app did freeze occasionally when we were tinkering with the options available and when zooming.

The Moto G 5G Plus also has 4K video recording, and you can record in the 21:9 aspect ratio.

The video we shot was bright and vibrant.


This is an 8 out of 10 product, with the biggest value being the price.

It has everything you want in a sub $500 smartphone as well as 5G. The audio is okay but not great and the camera delivers when shooting video and still images. Another big plus is the battery.
If your budget is $500, then you cannot go further than the new moto g 5G plus, it’s a good upgrade option and I suspect that it will do extremely well in the value market.