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Moto G5 Plus or Moto Z Play: is it worth saving $60?

Moto G5 Plus or Moto Z Play: is it worth saving $60?

Lenovo has recently released its new generation of Moto G devices, just a few weeks after the company's official announcement at MWC 2017 in Barcelona. I went to the event using a Moto Z Play and found I couldn't stop myself from comparing it to the top model of the new intermediate series, the Moto G5 Plus. There are quite a few differences between the models, but the price difference between the two is nominal. Is it really worth saving $60 and buying the newer model? Or is the Z Play a better choice?

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Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: design and build quality

The Moto G5 Plus has a very different aluminium finish from what we've become used to seeing in the series to date. Personally, I really like the look of the Moto G, but the available color options don't really do much for me. The Moto Z Play, on the other hand, has a unique design which combines high-quality materials as well as being compatible with module accessories, the Moto Mods. As the Moto G5 is made from aluminium it doesn't really feel like a premium product, especially when you compare it to the Moto Z Play. 

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There are different formats for the biometric sensor. / © NextPit

As I mentioned above, the Moto Z Play was designed to offer a very distinctive user experience with its use of accessories, in addition to having a more elegant finish. The Moto G5 Plus has a different design. It does have a more refined look when you compare it with the Moto G4 Plus, but it's just not quite as slick as the Z Play.

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Models with distinct designs. / © NextPit

The only thing these two devices really have in common is the shape of the frame around the camera lens, which sticks out from the back of the phone. Directly below that is the the Motorola logo, which is the same on both models.

Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: display

After the design, which is quite different on both models, the display might be the first thing they have in common - at least when we're talking about the resolution. Both the Moto G5 Plus and the Moto Z Play come with Full-HD resolution, but the aspect ratio and panel technology are different. The G5 Plus has a 5.2-inch LCD IPS display, which is slightly smaller than the screen on the Moto G4 Plus at 5.5-inches.

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The screen on the Moto Z Play is AMOLED. / © NextPit

The Moto Z Play, on the other hand, has a larger 5.5-inch screen and it uses AMOLED technology. The Moto G5 Plus screen can show more detail since it has the same resolution as the Z Play, only on a smaller screen. However, this is definitely not a deal breaker since the user experience on the Z Play is better due to its brighter colors and higher contrast.

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Both models have Full HD displays. / © NextPit

It's worth mentioning that the LCD display of the Moto G5 Plus isn't that terrible as Lenovo gave it a good quality panel. However, the smaller screen size and use of LCD, for the fifth consecutive year, won't make many users happy. Especially those who have been following the development of the Moto G series.

Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: software

These two devices don't even have the same software. Although they're both running stock Android 7.0 Nougat there are still some differences between their software. The Moto G5 Plus comes with a few  software customizations, which you can easily see when you open the app drawer.

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Moto G5 Plus with a different launcher, next to the Moto Z Play with Pixel Launcher. / © NextPit

Although it's quite similar to the Pixel Launcher, Lenovo has added a few changes. The background is now transparent and they have installed a different App search bar on the top. The Moto app comes with more adjustments as the Moto G5 Plus includes a new button for motion navigation. Happily, there isn't any excessive bloatware installed on either device.

Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: performance

Unfortunately, I still haven't had the chance to test the hardware on the Moto G5 Plus. That said, taking the numbers into account, we can easily deduce that the processing power of the Moto G5 Plus will be able to match the Moto Z Play. Lenovo is now using Snapdragon 625, which provides a decent performance, and has been included in both the Moto G5 Plus and Moto Z Play, so both devices come well equipped for all your everyday smartphone needs. 

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The Moto Z Play has more RAM. / © NextPit

Compared to the Moto G4 Plus, the hardware on the G5 Plus has been given a small update with an improved processor. Looking at the Moto Z Play, we can see that its hardware is superior in many ways, mainly with respect to the battery, which is 3,510 mAH, against 3,000 mAH of the G5 Plus. Both come with turbo charge but only the Z Play has a USB Type-C, which is more modern and efficient.

Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: technical specs

Moto G5 Plus vs. Lenovo Moto Z Play technical specifications

  Moto G5 Plus Lenovo Moto Z Play
Dimensions: 150.2 x 74 x 7.7 mm 156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm
Weight: 155 g 165 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3510 mAh
Screen size: 5.2 in 5.5 in
Display technology: Sorry, not yet available! AMOLED
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 1920 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
Front camera: 5 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 16 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED Dual-LED
Android version: 7.0 - Nougat 6.0.1 - Marshmallow
RAM: Sorry, not yet available! 3 GB
Internal storage: Sorry, not yet available! 32 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2 GHz 2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.0

Moto G5 Plus vs Moto Z Play: preliminary verdict

There are some other things I'd like to evaluate on the Moto G5 Plus in order to compare it with the Moto Z Play. For the moment, we can see that there are some similarities between the devices but the differences are what really stand out.

The price, however, could confuse users since the average difference between the two models is only about $60. Aside from that, its suggested uses are very different since the Moto Z comes with a line of innovative modules. Looking at the Moto G5 Plus, we can see that the development of these types of devices are moving much slower, and with very specific changes.

I'll obviously keep updating this article in the weeks ahead with more precise tests, including the camera and battery as well as its performance. If I had to choose one model based on the points discussed in this article, I certainly wouldn't bother saving the $60. I'd choose the Moto Z Play.

Which device do you think you would go for? What would you like to see developed for the Moto range? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • tftdguru Aug 3, 2017 Link to comment

    I bought the Moto Z Play because of the NFC and the Amoled display, although I prefer the form factor/smaller size of the G5+. The Moto Z Play does everything I need very well and has amazing battery life. A liitle on the heavy side and, coming from a Nextbit Robin, the design is a bit pedestrian.

    • James Truax Aug 13, 2017 Link to comment

      yeah plus motorola has wide phones if you got a smaller hand and want to use one handed quickly ... not going to happen especially with a mod and a case on it.
      Its not out yet but i think our ideal phone would be the Moto X4 which looks to be a midrange phone like the Moto Z Play but the processor is a little bit better than the Z2 play, with latest LTE, Bluetooth, & Charger, and mild boost from processor and graphics chip. SO not sure when this comes out and if its going to be within $300-$400 range or $400-500ish. But no mods and 5.2" size like the G5plus but full metal build and quality and camera as the Moto Z play.
      Google Moto X4 i think there's an android authority post on it 2days ago

  • Michael Wafkowski (Ancient_Geek) Mar 23, 2017 Link to comment

    220 not 60 - kinda renders the article meaningless.

    • James Truax Aug 13, 2017 Link to comment

      Well there's a 64gb storage/ 4gb RAM memory for $299 & Moto Z Play got cheaper in a lot of places cuz Moto Z2 Play is coming out and Verizon sales it for like $408... so to push old inventory for new Motorola dropped price $100, Amazon around $379, Verizon has theirs for $336 i believe. So yeah $60 is a weird number but woulda gone with $80 or $100. not many sales for $359.99 to make ZPlay only $60 more.

  • Emilio Samartin Mar 23, 2017 Link to comment

    In the US the Moto G5 is not coming with NFC so the battery and NFC on the Moto Z Play make it a better buy.

  • RandomDude Mar 22, 2017 Link to comment

    How is the Moto Z only $60 more? The Moto G5 Plus MSRP is suppose to be $229 while the Moto Z Play costs $449. That's almost twice the price. I agree that the Moto Z Play is the superior device, but where are you seeing it for only $60 more?

    • James Truax Aug 13, 2017 Link to comment

      Well there's 2 variants of G5 Plus. I think he's referring to the 64gb storage/ 4gb Ram for $299 and Moto Z Play in some places within $60 like amazon has or had it $359.99 cuz they lowered price to bring in the Moto Z2 Play around $408(verizon) - $499

  • David Martrano Mar 21, 2017 Link to comment

    The Z play gets the nod! Bigger battery the mods & It's been updated to nought! Simple choice!

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