Motorola Moto G5S Review

Last year, we reviewed one of Motorola’s new smartphones, the Moto G5S Plus. This time we’re taking a look at its smaller sibling, the Moto G5S. Armed with a Snapdragon 430 chipset, 5.2-inch HD display, and 4GB RAM, but is it still an attractive option for under Php11K? Find out in our review

Table of Contents

Design and Construction

The Moto G5S has plenty of similarities to the Moto G5S Plus including the design and build. It has a metal unibody with rounded corners and glossy chamfered edges.

The front houses the 5.2-inch Full HD display which equates to 424ppi. Above it is the earpiece, the 5MP front camera, sensor, and LED flash. Down below is the fingerprint scanner. Mounted on top of it is Corning Gorilla 3 that slightly curves at the edges.

Found on the left is the hybrid tray that can accommodate two nano-sized SIM cards or a microSD card on the second SIM slot.

On the right are the metallic power/lock and volume buttons that provide a silent but satisfying click when pressed.

Placed up top is the 3.5mm audio port, while down below are the micro USB port, loudspeaker, and the main microphone.

Flip it on its back and you will see the familiar protruding camera module, but instead of having a two camera setup like the G5S Plus, this one only uses a single 16MP PDAF camera. Also found here is the dual-tone LED flash, secondary microphone, and antenna bands.

The Moto G5S may have an outdated design, but it’s a pretty device nonetheless. The Fine Gold color is eye-catching and exudes premium quality. It also has a water repellent nano-coating to protect it from accidental spills and splashes.

In the hands, it’s solid and easy to grip. The matte finish at the back repels fingerprints and smudges very well. Sadly, just like the G5S Plus, it doesn’t come with a jelly case or screen protector in the package.

Display and Multimedia

The G5S has a slightly smaller display than the G5S Plus at 5.2-inches but you won’t easily notice the 0.3-inch difference. The resolution is retained at Full HD which translates to a good pixel density of 424ppi. Protecting is Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3. Like the G5S Plus, quality is good, it’s sharp with natural colors and wide-viewing angles which is good for watching movies, viewing photos or gaming.

Audio quality from the down-firing loudspeaker is decent. It’s loud and crisp but lacks bass. However, it’s good for casual listening, hands-free voice calls, and gaming. But if you want a better listening experience, you should opt for the earphones included in the package or an external speaker.

OS, UI, and Apps

The Moto G5S, like the G5S Plus and the rest of its Moto siblings, runs a close to stock Android UI and uses Google’s apps as its default. In this case, its Android 7.1.1 Nougat with the December 1, 2017, Android security patch level out of the box. We’re glad to know that it will receive Android 8.0 Oreo, but as of writing, it hasn’t arrived yet.

It uses on-screen navigation keys while apps can be accessed by a simple swipe up from the bottom. Customization options are pretty much basic like wallpapers and widgets. You can also activate Home screen rotation for landscape orientation, swipe left to access Google feed, or use the split screen feature for easy multitasking.

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There’s also Moto Actions which allows you to use simple gestures to control your phone, and Moto Display to get discreet notifications and night settings.

Upon boot up to the Home screen, the interface feels crowded and as you will be greeted by pre-installed apps like LinkedIn and Microsoft Outlook, which you can’t uninstall, along with the basic Google apps. All in all, this leaves you with 24.59GB of usable storage out of the 32GB, which you can expand via microSD or USB OTG.


Unlike the Moto G5S Plus with a 13MP dual rear camera and 8MP front, the Moto G5S is equipped with a lone 16MP PDAF shooter at the back and a 5MP on the front. Both have LED flashes for shooting subjects in the dark. Features are few though but still handy like Auto HDR, Professional mode, Slow motion, and Panorama.

Images produced by the rear camera are decent with accurate colors, especially in bright conditions. However, dynamic range is low while autofocus struggles when attempting macro shots. Low-light performance, as expected, is poor. The front camera, on the other hand, is okay as well and comes with an Auto Beauty mode. However, like the rear camera, it’s best to use it in bright conditions for better quality.

As for video recording, the G5S maxes out at Full HD at 30fps which is standard in most smartphones in this class. Color and details are of acceptable quality but it’s susceptible to shakes due to the lack of video stabilization. Watch the sample below.

Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor and Adreno 505 GPU. This is an entry-level device compared to the Snapdragon 625 but it has 4GB RAM to handle plenty of background tasks. Performance is good as we didn’t encounter any lags or crashes, multitasking is a breeze, and the fingerprint scanner is responsive.

Games like Injustice 2 and NBA Live are playable but loading times are longer compared to when played on more powerful smartphones. Warming can be felt at the top near the camera while playing. It’s not too hot to be a serious concern but enough to make your hands sweat. Check out the benchmarks below.

* AnTuTu – 46,750 (v6), 57,339 (v7)
* Geekbench – 636 (Single-Core), 2,294 (Multi-Core), 1,850 (RenderScript)
* 3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme – 291 (OpenGL ES 3.1), 273 (Vulkan)
* PC Mark – 3,665 (Work 2.0)
* AndroBench – 245.84 MB/s (Read), 136.68 MB/s (Write)

Connectivity and Call Quality

The G5S sports the usual connectivity features like 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Dual-SIM is supported but in a hybrid setup, meaning you can only use two SIMs if you sacrifice the microSD card. A gyroscope is also present which is good for certain applications and games.

Call quality is good thanks to noise-cancellation, while mobile data and GPS is fast and locks in quick. Just make sure you’re in an area where the signal is good.

Battery Life

The G5S is equipped with a 3,000mAh battery which his the same capacity as the G5S Plus. Light to moderate usage which involves heavy WiFi browsing and light gaming and photography gets us around 7 to 8 hours of battery life. Our video loop test which involves playing a Full HD video in Airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged in, yielded 11 hours and 20 minutes of playback which is not bad but less than the 16 hours we got from the Snapdragon 625-powered G5S Plus. Fast charging is supported and takes us about 2 hours to replenish the battery.

Note: PC Mark battery test stalls during testing.


The Motorola G5S is a decent smartphone with a premium build and capable specs for its class. However, it’s lacking in multiple aspects and felt like Motorola just stripped down the G5S Plus so they can introduce something at a lower price point. It would have been a worthy offering if it launched in early 2017, but in today’s standards, it doesn’t have enough fire-power to take on the competition.

The Moto G5S is priced at Php10,999.

Motorola Moto G5S (XT1797) specs:
5.2-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS Display @ 424ppi, with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Octa-Core processor
Adreno 505 GPU
32GB storage
up to 128GB via microSD
16MP PDAF rear camera, f/2.0, LED flash, 8X digital zoom, active viewfinder
5MP with wide-angle lens front camera, f/2.0
Dual-SIM (nano-hybrid)
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
Fingerprint scanner
Water repellent nano-coating
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
3,000mAh battery with TurboPower Charger
150 x 73.5 x 9.5 mm
157 g
Lunar Grey, Fine Gold

What we liked:
* Premium build
* Good display
* Almost stock UI
* Decent performance

What we didn’t:
* Below average camera quality
* Short battery life

This article was written by Louie Diangson, Managing Editor of YugaTech. You can follow him at @John_Louie.

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