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Motorola Moto E5 Plus Review

The Moto E5 Plus is part of the E5 series that Motorola launched earlier this year. Today, we’ll be taking this device for a full spin and see if it is worth purchasing or not. Before we begin, check out our initial thoughts here.

Design and Construction

The design of the Moto E5 Plus is similar to the G5 series that launched last year, with slight changes. The back panel now has a glass-like design but still retains a water-repellant coating. A user’s Moto smartphone experience wouldn’t be complete if the device doesn’t have the company’s signature big clock-looking area at the back. We already consider this as Motorola’s unique component since it is aesthetically pleasing in its own way. Overall, its design looks stylish and premium thanks to its black color.

Starting at the front is the 8MP camera, call speaker which also serves as the loudspeaker, and LED flash while below is the 6-inch 18:9 display. Usually, entry-level to mid-range Motorola smartphones have thick top and bottom bezels due to component placements but the E5 series followed a different route. The E5 Plus does not have any fingerprint scanners at the bottom, allowing Motorola to thin out the bezels.

On the left is the lone SIM slot which houses the dual nano-SIM card and the dedicated micro SD card tray. Turning it the right side will show the volume rocker and power button. These buttons though are a little soft to our liking. Then when we attached the free jelly case, they were slightly hard to press as well so we couldn’t really find a sweet spot.

Down at the bottom are the micro USB port and main microphone. Up to this day, we are still baffled as to why Motorola didn’t include an independent loudspeaker here.

Flip on its back and you’ll find the clock-like area where the 12MP camera, sensors, and LED flash resides. What’s new to the design of the E5 Plus is that the fingerprint scanner is now located at the back just below the mentioned components.

In the hands, the Moto E5 Plus feels solid and premium. We didn’t have problems gripping it too, but due to its glossy back, it is a fingerprint and smudge magnet so it has to be cleaned frequently. Good thing Motorola provided us with a free jelly case to remedy that problem.

Display and Multimedia

The Moto E5 Plus comes with a 6-inch 18:9 HD+ IPS screen with a 1440 x 720 resolution. The display has good color accuracy and dynamic range. What’s great is that it’s still operable in direct sunlight at just 80% brightness. One downside is that we’re quite used with Full HD displays so we felt that there’s something missing whenever we were watching videos. Speaking of which, one thing to note is that the device can only stream YouTube videos up to 720p.

We tested the sound quality of the E5 Plus by listening to various songs and we found out that the device produces decent audio quality and as expected — Highs and Mids are present while lows are basically non-existent.

Camera

The Motorola Moto E5 Plus runs on an almost Stock Android which makes the device’s UI simplistic and straightforward. Starting with its camera interface there are three options on top namely HDR, LED flash, and timer. Down below is the camera switch, shutter, video recording, and camera modes which consist of Pro, Slow-mo, panorama, and video. Swiping from the left to right will show the options where users can change the photo size and video resolution, to name a few. As for the shooters we have a 12MP f/2.0 aperture, 1.25um big pixels rear and an 8MP f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um front.

The images produced by the rear camera is not that impressive nor disappointing. Shots taken in natural or decent lighting are detailed, usable, and can be posted in social media, however, the E5 Plus couldn’t capture moving objects that well. In low-light conditions, images tend to get muddy and noisy but one good thing is that the LEDs are not that overblown.

Switching to the front shooter will let users have access to the beautification feature on top of the camera UI. There are only four modes namely Pro, Slow-Mo, Video, and Photo.

The front photos are detailed and the quality is decent. One thing that we noticed is the inconsistency of the skin-tone of the subject when shooting at different lighting conditions. Overall, taking selfies with the E5 Plus makes for a decent Facebook or Instagram post.

The Moto E5 Plus can record videos up to 1080p/30fps. Handheld recordings will be tough as the device doesn’t support any stabilization making videos shaky. Check out our sample video below.

One feature that we like is the 480p slow-mo video recording. See a sample below.

OS, UI, and Apps

As we’ve said earlier, the Moto E5 Plus runs in an almost Stock Android UI which is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. The interface is clean and simplistic which is always a plus for us. Navigation is straightforward and isn’t confusing.

What I personally like is that there are only a few pre-installed apps namely LinkedIn, Outlook, Moto manager, and the usual Google apps.

Out of the 32GB internal storage, 26.5GB can be freely used which is plenty for files, movies, music, and app storage. If that’s still lacking, it can easily be expanded up to 128GB via the dedicated microSD card slot.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Motorola Moto E5 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, Adreno 505 GPU, and 3GB RAM. Basic task executions such as browsing, video streaming, internet browsing, and social media use are snappy and responsive. It’s atually more than what we expect given its entry-level nature. We also tested the fingerprint scanner and we are quite surprised by its responsiveness and accuracy. It only took at least 0.5 seconds including the fading effect to unlock the device.

Here are the benchmark scores:

 Motorola Moto E5 Plus
AnTuTu v758,719
PC Mark- 4,771 (Work 1.0)
- 3,679 (Work 2.0)
Geekbench 4.2634 (Single-Core)
2,337 (Multi-Core)
2,337 (RenderScript)
3DMark -304 (SSE - OpenGL ES 3.1)
-298 (Sling Shot Extreme - Vulkan
AndroBench-243.39 MB/s (Sequential Read)
-135.41 MB/s (Sequential Write)

Playing games such as PUBG Mobile can be a problem if the graphics settings are not set to the lowest as it exhibits frame drops and delays. Games such as Mobile Legends, however, are not a problem as we managed to play them with ease. Warming can be felt during heavy usage but it doesn’t reach to a point where it becomes uncomfortable.

Connectivity and Battery Life

In terms of connectivity, the Moto E5 Plus comes with the standard set such as Wi-Fi, dual-SIM with 4G LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS. What we’re disappointed, however, is the lack of sensors in this device. Navigation apps can still be used thanks to the accelerometer but it’s not that accurate especially during travels.

The Moto E5 Plus comes with a 5,000mAh battery, which is a large one. In our standard video loop test (Playing a 1080p mp4 movie at 50% brightness, 50% sound in airplane mode w/ earphones plugged-in) it lasted for 17 hours and 20 minutes. This result is average given the device’s battery capacity and frankly, we actually expected a longer battery life.

Author’s Note: PC Mark Work 1.0 and 2.0 battery tests crashes half-way through the test.

Conclusion

The Motorola Moto E5 Plus is a nice smartphone to have especially when you are often in a moist environment thanks to its water-repellent body coating. Might we add, it’s also a feature not normally found in this segment. The optimization of the device’s performance is great as the phone is fast and responsive.

It is priced at Php9,999 which is already considered dangerous as there are other phone competitors that sit in that price range with better performance. It’s a mixed bag on whether the Moto E5 Plus is worth purchasing. That’s because, on one hand, you have other choices with better overall performance while on the other, you have a unique decent performing large capacity device with a water-repellant body.

Motorola Moto E5 Plus specifications:

SpecsMotorola Moto E5 Plus
Display6.0-inch 18:9 HD+ IPS display @ 1440 x 720px
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 430 1.4GHz octa-core
GPUAdreno 505
RAM3GB RAM
Storage32GB storage
Expandable Storageup to 128GB via dedicated micro SD card slot
Rear Camera12MP rear camera with LED flash
Front Camera8MP front camera
SIMDual SIM
Connectivity4G LTE
Wi-FiWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4 GHz + 5GHz
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
GPSGPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
USBmicro USB
SensorsFingerprint Scanner
Audio Port3.5mm audio port
Featurep2i water-repellant coating
OSAndroid 8.0 Oreo
Battery5,000mAh battery
Colors- Black, Mineral Blue
- Flash gray
- Fine Gold
Dimensions161.9 x 75.3 x 9.35 mm
Weight200g

What we liked:

  • Responsive fingerprint scanner
  • Decent camera quality
  • Water-repellent coating
  • Almost Stock Android
  • Responsive and snappy

What we didn’t:

  • Fingerprint and Smudge magnet
  • Average battery life for a large battery capacity
  • Sits on a dangerous price segment
  • Lacks sensors


Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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