The borderless trend has invaded the midrange smartphone segment. Those extremely thin bezels are glorious to gaze at, but Motorola is still not on board this trend. The Moto G5S Plus relies on good looks, a sturdy build, and smooth user experience to take on other phones in its class.

Let’s dive in and see how this midrange competitor fairs as a daily driver in this review.

The front has a beautiful 5.5-inch Full HD display

The rounded and swift fingerprint reader is also a nice touch

On its left is the hybrid card tray while the physical buttons are on the right

You’ll have to choose between a second SIM card or a microSD card

The micro-USB, loudspeaker, and main microphone are at the bottom

The all-metal unibody is glorious to the touch

The phone feels super solid!

Its dual rear cameras are quite intriguing to look at

It appears to be smiling back at you

It runs Android Nougat with no bloatware!

A couple of Moto apps are installed, but they are very useful

It’s built like a tank

When I first held the Moto G5S Plus, I instantly felt how well-built the phone is. My very own Moto E (second generation) still works perfectly after years of use and abuse despite being a budget plastic phone, and it looks like the Moto G5S Plus will be no different. The metal unibody construction leaves a lasting impression every time I pick up the phone. It doesn’t have a water-resistance rating, but it has a nano-coating making the phone virtually splash-resistant.

There’s not much to say about the design of the device since it’s not that different from other Motorola handsets in the market, and it doesn’t belong in the near-borderless category. But the 1080p display shows pleasing quality with just about any content you play on it. Too bad it doesn’t have stereo or front-facing speakers.

Above average midrange performance

On paper, the Moto G5S Plus easily sits in the popular midrange segment with a Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of memory, and 32GB of expandable storage. It holds up well or even better than similarly specced phones.

With my week of use, I never had any lags or hiccups. This is probably due to the clean installation of Android Nougat. Motorola has always been treating its devices with pure Android and just a few customizations on the side. I tried a number of games ranging from casual to graphics-intensive like our favorite Asphalt Extreme and the Moto G5S Plus was able to deliver smooth gameplay. High settings in NBA 2K17 caused it to stutter a bit, but it was manageable. It’s important to note that it doesn’t heat up (it just gets warm) even after hours of continuous gaming.

Dual cameras don’t do well

While the Moto G5S Plus doesn’t have a full-screen display, it does have dual rear cameras which look like a smiley when paired with the two-tone LED flash. Both rear sensors are 13 megapixels and, as always, the two work together to capture a detailed image with depth information. You’ll have to select the “depth enabled” mode in the camera launcher to take advantage of the two lenses and capture with background blur. For selfies, an 8-megapixel shooter takes on the job along with its own LED flash to help in the dark.

Photos look great when viewed on the device, but looking closer on a desktop monitor shows how simply above-average they are. Colors are well-saturated, but the noise-reduction is quite high, resulting in loss of details. There’s also noticeable shutter lag when shooting, especially with depth enabled. Unfortunately, the secondary sensor doesn’t do it justice, because of the poor cutouts of subjects. Maybe a software update will be able to fix the mediocre depth sensor, but for now, it just feels gimmicky. The selfies are generally okay, but not exactly the best around.

There’s a ‘Plus’ factor to its battery

With its 3000mAh battery, the phone is a winner when it comes to longevity. The phone also features Motorola’s quick charging tech called TurboPower with an included fast charger out of the box. Surprisingly, it works well with other quick chargers too, like Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0.

With average use, the Moto G5S Plus can last for as long as two days on a single charge. If you’re a heavy user (like me), you can get around eight hours even with mobile data constantly on and apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Gmail refreshing in the background. Battery life is just impressive, but I think Motorola could’ve squeezed in a larger capacity in a device this size.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Moto G5S Plus is a polarizing midrange handset. The phone doesn’t have a near-borderless display, but it has amazing build quality; the dual rear cameras don’t live up to expectations, but the battery can last you a whole day. There’s always a caveat to consider with this phone.

If you’re looking for a well-built device which looks handsome, has a clean Android version with promised updates, and bears a trusted name, you should look into the Moto G5S Plus. It’s best to check it out in person to appreciate the build of the phone, and the camera issues might be addressed through a patch (assuming Motorola will fix it).

The phone sells for US$ 350 in the US, PhP 14,999 in the Philippines, and INR 15,999 in India.

Erratum: It was originally stated that the phone has 3GB of memory, but the actual specs have 4GB. We apologize for the error.

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