Lenovo has already announced nine Motorola smartphones this year. Yes nine. Four of those sit in the Moto G range with the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus released at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and the newer, "special edition" Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus announced more recently at the beginning of August.
The kings of budget return yet again but the device that started as the humble Moto G, is now far from, changing a simple, easy decision into a much more complicated one.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Design
- Moto G5S Plus largest and heaviest, Moto G5 smallest and lightest
- All metal, but special edition models are stronger
- All have front-mounted fingerprint sensor, but special edition models are multi-functional
The Motorola Moto G5, G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus share a very similar design, though the new special edition models are said to be crafted from a single piece of high-grade aluminium and stronger than the previous models.
All four devices offer a metal build though and they all feature the signature "M" below the Moto Z-like large circular camera housing on the rear that encompasses both the lens, or lenses in the case of the Moto G5S Plus, and the flash module.
The G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus have a slightly protruding rear housing, while the G5 doesn't and the headphone jack for the G5, G5S and G5S Plus is positioned on the top of the device, while the G5 Plus features it on the bottom.
All four devices have a fingerprint sensor on the front within a capacitive button, though the special edition models have a new multi-functional sensor that allows for unlocking, navigating and making payments.
The G5 is the smallest and lightest of the four G models, measuring 144.3 x 73 x 9.5mm and hitting the scales at 144g, while the G5S Plus is the largest and heaviest at 153.5 x 76.3 x 8 to 9.5mm and 168g.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Display
- Moto G5S Plus has largest display, Moto G5 has smallest
- Moto G5 has slightly sharper display
- G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus have Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection
The Motorola Moto G5 has a 5-inch display while the Moto G5S and G5 Plus have a slightly larger 5.2-inch display. The Moto G5S Plus has the largest display of the four models being compared here, offering a 5.5-inch screen.
All four screens offer a Full HD resolution, which naturally means varying pixel densities given the size differentiation. The Moto G5 sits at 440ppi, the Moto G5S and G5 Plus at 423ppi and the Moto G5S Plus at 401ppi.
Theoretically, this means the smaller and older G5 will have a sharper, crisper display than the other three models but the difference between all four is so small, it isn't likely to be noticeable to the human eye.
The Moto G5 Plus, Moto G5S and Moto G5S Plus are all protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 but the Moto G5 doesn't appear to be.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Camera
- Moto G5S Plus offers more advanced camera
- G5, G5 Plus and G5S have 5MP wide-angle front cameras, G5S Plus has 8MP
- Moto G5S Plus has dual-rear camera
The Motorola Moto G5 comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera with phase-detection autofocus (PDAF), an aperture of f/2.0 and an LED flash. Its front-facing camera is 5-megapixels with a wide-angle lens and an aperture of f/2.2. There is also a display flash on board.
The Moto G5 Plus has a 12-megapixel Dual Autofocus Pixels rear camera, an aperture of f/1.7 and a colour-balancing dual LED flash. It too offers a 5-megapixel front camera like its smaller brother.
The Moto G5S and G5S Plus advance the camera capabilities of the G series further still though. The smaller special edition model has a 16-megapixel sensor with PDAF, an f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash, coupled with a 5-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens and a wider aperture than the older models at f/2.0, as well as an LED flash over a display flash.
It's the G5S Plus that really shines out of these four models though, with dual 13-megapixel cameras on the rear, a depth editor, a f/2.0 aperture and a colour balancing dual-LED flash. The front camera also has a higher resolution at 8-megapixels.
In terms of video recording, the Moto G5 Plus and G5S Plus are capable of 4K video recording, while the Moto G5 and Moto G5S can only manage up to Full HD.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Hardware
- Faster processor on Moto G5 Plus and G5S Plus
- All offer 3GB of RAM
- Moto G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus have larger battery capacities
The Motorola Moto G5 and G5S come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chip, while the Moto G5 Plus and G5S Plus come with the slightly faster and more capable Snapdragon 625. All four models offer 3GB of RAM in the UK, though there are some older G5 models that have 2GB in other countries.
The G5 has 16GB internal storage as standard and a 2800mAh battery, while the G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus have double the storage at 32GB and a 3000mAh battery. All four have microSD support for storage expansion up to 128GB.
The four devices also all have a 3.5mm headphone jack, as we mentioned previously. They are also charged via Micro-USB rather than USB Type-C but fast charging is available on the G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus, while the G5 is compatible with the company's rapid charger.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Software
- All run on Android Nougat
- Similar software and experience across all four devices
The Motorola Moto G5, G5 Plus, G5S and G5S Plus all run on Android Nougat with Motorola's experiences over the top, including Moto Display and Moto Actions.
The Moto G5S and G5S Plus have the latest experiences too, such as Night Display and Quick Reply so although they will be familiar to the G5 and G5 Plus, they will have a few additional functions.
Traditionally, Motorola has offered very little bloatware on top of Android's software meaning users get a more refined experience than some other manufacturers. It also means faster upgrades to the latest Android software build when released.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Price
- Moto G5 Plus most expensive
- Moto G5 cheapest
- G5S cheaper than G5 Plus, despite offering more
The Motorola Moto G5 costs £169, the Moto G5S costs £220, the Moto G5S Plus costs £260 and the Moto G5 Plus costs £269, putting £100 difference between the bottom of the G range and the top.
Strangely, the Moto G5S Plus is the highest specced G model but costs £10 less than the Moto G5 Plus.
Motorola Moto G5 vs G5 Plus vs G5S vs G5S Plus: Conclusion
Which Moto G model should you buy? This very much depends on what your budget will allow for.
The Moto G5S Plus is the model that looks the best on paper, offering the biggest display, dual-rear cameras, a faster processor than the G5 and G5S, as well as a stronger design than the G5 and G5 Plus. It's also cheaper than the G5 Plus, which is higher-specced than the Moto G5.
If your budget doesn't quite stretch to £260, the Moto G5S would be the next best option. You lose out on processing power compared to the G5S Plus, but you gain in battery capacity, storage, display size and camera capability over the standard G5.
Essentially, unless you really need to stay under the £200 mark, the standard G5 has now become significantly less enticing.