Lenovo’s Moto G series has long stood for great value and has seen tremendous sales in the Indian sector. Since 2014, 7 million Moto G units have been sold in India alone. The fifth-generation Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus were established here only a couple of months before, and while they might still be available, Lenovo has decided to introduce refreshed special editions of both phones.

The brand new Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus were established in India late last month. Both promise new features and upgrades which will help Moto stay competitive. The company was on a launching spree this calendar year, bringing fresh Moto E, Moto C, and Moto Zdevices to the Indian market, in addition to the Moto X4 internationally. The main reason for the rapid refresh of the G series, according to Lenovo, is that the Rs. 15,000 and above segment is seeing a steady rise in demand, and there has been a change in consumer spending. Will this plan work this time around for Lenovo? Let us try to find out.

Moto G5S Plus and Moto G5S design

For Lenovo, Moto G devices are more about providing value for money as opposed to promising top-notch specifications at dirt cheap prices. In terms of design, these models are functional but not always the most attractive. The fifth-generation Moto G models finally introduced metal rear panels, and now the special editions require this to another level.

The Moto G5S and G5S Plus possess all-metal bodies with a nice finish, which is a huge improvement from the polycarbonate used over the previous models. The Moto G5S Plus, in particular, today feels quite premium.

Recent Moto devices have all had a similar design language which isn’t a bad thing. It has become easy to recognize Moto-branded devices in a crowd. Both brand new phones have fingerprint readers at the front which work perfectly. Both have almost identical front panels with similar placement for the front cameras, flashes detectors, and earpieces.

There is an old-style Micro-USB port on the bottom of each phone, along with a speaker grille and microphone. The rear panels have raised circular bumps for the cameras and flashes, along with the iconic batwing Moto logo. The antenna bands are still pretty visible. All in all, the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus look refreshingly good in contrast to their predecessors.

In comparison to this Moto G5 Plus (Review), the Moto G5S Plus is slightly wider and isn’t very easy to use with one hand due to its large chin. At 168 grams, the weight is manageable. At 157 g, it feels light for a metal-bodied phone.

The 5.5-inch full-HD screen on the Moto G5S Plus looks bright, and both text and images appear crisp. The colours really pop on this display, and we had no real issues with it. Viewing angles and brightness appeared good too.

The 5.2-inch full-HD screen on the Moto G5S was good enough for daily use with decent brightness, but we found it too reflective for our liking. Under direct sunlight, we found ourselves struggling without pushing the brightness all the way up. It has good viewing angles but we found outdoor use a little difficult.

Both phones ship in playful green retail boxes with “special edition” printed on the front, confirming that these are upgraded versions of the fifth-generation Moto G phones. You can find a Turbo Power charging adaptor, Micro-USB cable, SIM ejector tool and headset in every box.

It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC clocked at up to 2GHz, coupled with 4GB of RAM.
One of the most marketed features of this Moto G5S Plus is its double rear cameras. There are two 13-megapixel sensors with f/2.0 apertures along with a colour-correcting dual-LED flash. At the very front, it sports an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, wide-angle lens, along with an LED flash.

The Moto G5S Plus has 64GB of storage which is expandable using a microSD card (up to 128GB). This is a hybrid dual-SIM phone with two Nano-SIM slots, one of which is a common microSD slotmachine. Connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G, Wi-Fi n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/ A-GPS, Micro-USB, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The smartphone is backed by a 3000mAh battery, along with also the TurboPower charger can provide up to 6 hours of battery life with a 15-minute charge. It weighs 168 g and measures 153.5×76.2x8mm.

Coming to the bigger sibling, the Moto G5S comes with a 5.2-inch full-HD display, also with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The Moto G5S is powered with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC clocked up to 1.4GHz, coupled with 4GB of RAM. Much like the Moto G5S Plus, the company is marketing the camera capabilities of the Moto G5S also though there is only single camera. On the front, there is a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, wide-angle lens, and an LED flash. The smartphone runs on a 3000mAh battery and has the same TurboPower charger. It weighs 157 g and measures 150×73.5×8.2mm.

Similar to additional Moto devices, the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus possess software improvements from Motorola.

You will find Android 7.1 goodies like the ability to do quick actions by long-pressing the icons of supported apps. There’s also split-screen multitasking. Under Moto Actions, you can activate One-Button Nav which allows you to navigate using just the fingerprint detector. A double-chop motion can activate the flashlight, and you can twist your wrist to launch the camera app. You could also swipe down from the middle to the bottom left or right corner to shrink the display area on the screen, which makes one-handed work easier. Under Moto Display, users get a Night Display mode which reduces blue light, making notifications fade in and out while the device is in standby.

Moto devices are generally some of those first non-Google ones to receive new Android security updates, so you ought to be covered for the near future in terms of software. There is also hardly any bloatware on the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus.

It perfoms well enough, although it did require a while to get shots right. Unlike the Xiaomi Mi A1, the double cameras on the Moto G5S Plus took some used to getting to. You can refine shots with post processing but it still requires some effort. Depth shots in good light appear to possess nicely blurred backgrounds, but the borders of the foreground subjects are not always defined nicely. On the flip side, the Moto G5S Plus looks more competent when it comes to low-light photography. We were able to catch some good thickness shots in low light with great amounts of detail and well-controlled noise.
Harness to view full-sized Moto G5S Plus camera samples

Regular shots in good light have organic colors and textures. Landscapes are exposed well and colors are accurate. The HDR mode does a fantastic job of maintaining highlight details in shots that have uniform lighting, but we did notice overexposure at times in shots with differently lit areas.

We believe that the Moto G5S Plus does better in low light than many of its current competition. Some low-light shots were a little under-exposed, but were still were far from the worst we’ve seen.

Harness to see full-sized Moto G5S camera samples

The Moto G5S offers stage detection autofocus (PDAF), and locks concentrate quickly. Details are preserved well in outside shots, even though highlights may get overexposed with this phone too. The Moto G5S does a great job with macro shots and we were able to receive some highly detailed close-up shots, some even better than that which the Moto G5S Plus could deliver. Landscapes are passable with details suffering.

The Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus are good for all jobs and we’re hardly left wanting for more power under the hood. The Moto G5S Plus does nicely in graphics-heavy matches and manages multitasking with ease. We had a terrific time with all the device since it has a much better screen in comparison to its smaller sibling. The 5.5-inch display is good for watching videos and playing games on. Even with just the camera program left running for a while, we discovered that the phone getting quite warm. This is surprising considering that lots of different devices including Xiaomi Mi A1 and Mi Max two (Review) utilize the same chip and don’t get as warm in use.
The Moto G5S Plus speaker is loud enough for a small room though the noise distorts at maximum quantity. The headset shipping with the Moto G5S Plus is average, and do not anticipate them to impress you a lot. We were also surprised to find this phone missing out on VoLTE (voice over LTE) support at the time of writing this review. We were able to make calls using a Reliance Jio SIM only after installing the Jio4Voice program that lets VoLTE calls.

The Moto G5S is slightly better when it comes to managing heat. It does get warm, but only after a lengthy session of gaming or watching videos. The phone manages everyday tasks easily, and doesn’t feel like a slouch. It does encourage 4G with VoLTE, and call quality was decent. In terms of multimedia, the Moto G5S feels slightly inadequate because of its reflective screen. We needed to adjust the brightness several times to get comfortable. Alas, the bundled headset is below par in quality.

During our review, we also noticed that both the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus obtained warm while being billed – something we don’t see with each device.

The Moto G5S Plus handled 64,639 in AnTuTu, 20,899 in Quadrant, and 21fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex test. The Moto G5S, on the other hand, managed 30,450 in AnTuTu, 18,450 entire in Quadrant, and 16fps in GFXBench.

Moto G5S Plus and Moto G5S battery life
The Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus both pack 3000mAh non-removable batteries, which is strange considering that larger phones generally have space for bigger batteries. Thus, the Moto G5S with its smaller screen lasted more in our tests. It managed approximately 18 hours with heavy use, while the Moto G5S Plus may just operate for 14 hours which was disappointing. In our typical HD video loop test, the Moto G5S conducted for 12 hours and 35 minutes, while the Moto G5S Plus ran for 11 hours and 15 minutes.

The good thing is that Lenovo ships TurboPower adapters with both models. The Moto G5S becomes fully charged in about 60-70 minutes while the Moto G5S Plus requires slightly more time.

The smartphone market in India changes rapidly, and Lenovo’s decision to launch special editions of this fifth-generation Moto devices seems like a great movement – except for buyers of the originals. Both the Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus offer improvements that help the company stay fresh and take on newly launched competitors. The dual cameras on the Moto G5S Plus will be a fantastic selling point, especially against the Xiaomi Mi A1 (Review), although the experience still requires some polishing from the company’s end. Stock Android is generally always a great thing though it’s becoming more common today and less of an advantage for Lenovo. Quick charging support is also a big plus.

The Moto G5S is a good improvement over the Moto G5, though it faces a stiff challenge from the Xiaomi Redmi Notice 4 (Review) which sells at a lower price and provides better hardware. The Moto G5S Plus has to carry about the Xiaomi Mi A1 which is also quite similar and costs a bit less.

If you are a Moto lover then the Moto G5S Plus or Moto G5S should surely appeal to you since they look great and offer all the bells and whistles one expects at their prices. We expect Lenovo will roll out service for VoLTE about the Moto G5S Plus soon, especially considering that Airtel has started rolling out its system in addition to Jio.