If you own a smartphone, most of the world’s smartphone makers aren’t all that concerned with you right now. They’re focused on the emerging markets, the billions of previously unconnected people who are starting to come online. Countries like India, Brazil, and Indonesia, plus smaller countries the world over. The companies making good smartphones at low prices are competing feverishly to be the first Android device new users turn on.
Motorola’s G line of mid-range phones has been the standard for the last few years. There’s just no beating the combination of price, specs, and design. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Motorola announced the Moto G5 and G5 Plus, the latest devices in the line. At least on paper, they make a compelling case for continuing Motorola’s tradition of making Android phones that you can’t believe are this cheap.
Spec rundown? Spec rundown! The 199-Euro (about $211) G5 has a 5-inch, 1080p display, a Snapdragon 430 processor, 2 or 3 gigs of RAM depending on the market, and either 16 or 32 gigs of internal storage. It has a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel sensor on the front. It’s made of aluminum and comes in gray and gold, plus blue if you live in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia. The $229 G5 Plus is beefier all the way around: 5.2-inch, 1080p display, Snapdragon 625 chip, and anywhere from 2-4 gigs of RAM and 16-64 gigs of storage depending on where you are. It has a lower-res 12-megapixel camera on the back along with some new and faster autofocus tech, and the same selfie cam on the front as the G5. Its battery is a little bigger, it charges a little faster, and it comes in gray and gold.
Both Gs come with the latest version of Android, called Nougat, along with Motorola’s standard enhancements like Moto Actions and the notification-previewing Moto Display. They also both come with Google Assistant built in, accessible with a long press on the home button. The phones are meant for different markets, but have the same goal: to address what Motorola says are people’s deepest desires for their phones. Those things turn out to be head-smackingly obvious, like “longer battery life” and “good camera” and “doesn’t break all the time.”
Motorola did a broad, global survey to find out people want nice phones, which seems like a solid use of time and money. (“Fifty percent of survey respondents agree they want a camera that delivers outstanding photos in their future smartphone,” Motorola wrote in its press release. Apparently the other half hate cameras and want horrible photos?) Point is, Motorola’s been so successful with the G phones because it’s always put slightly more into its cheap phones than everybody else. Yet again, it looks tough to beat this combination of specs, design, and price. That’s good news for Motorola, and for a lot of people looking to buy their first smartphone.