Moto G5 Plus vs G4: Which One Should You Get?

So you’re thinking about buying a new phone, but don’t want to spend $600 or more on a new iHandset or Galaxy S Something. Good news: we've just finished reviewing the brand new Moto G5 Plus (which goes on sale March 31), and with a starting price of just $229, it’s one of the best values you can get in a phone right now.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

However, that also means its predecessor, the Moto G4, has just gotten a price cut down to an even more affordable $180 (or even less depending on where you’re looking). So which one should you get? Let’s take a closer look to figure out which Moto budget model is really worth your money.

First the specs

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Moto G5 Plus
Moto G4 Plus
Moto G4
$229 or $299
$184.99 or $239.99
(Prime Exclusive models)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Qualcomm Snapdragon 617Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
2GB or 4GB
2GB or 4GB2GB
32GB or 64GB
5-MP Front/12-MP Rear
5-MP Front/16-MP Rear5-MP Front/13-MP Rear
Screen Size
full HD
full HD
full HD
Screen Brightness
591 nits
530 nits
491 nits

Micro SD card slot
Android Version
Android 7.0
Android 6.0
Android 6.0
Battery Life
(Out of 10)

9 (Editor's Choice award winner)

For Amazon Prime Subscribers

The first thing to consider is whether you have Amazon Prime. If you do, there’s a Prime Exclusive version of the G5 Plus that costs $185 for the 2GB of RAM/32GB of storage model, or $240 for the model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The one caveat to this deal is that the Prime Exclusive G5 Plus will show you special deals and offers on its lock screen.

MORE: Best Cheap Unlocked Smartphones

However, if you are really trying to maximize your money, picking the Prime Exclusive G5 Plus is pretty much a no-brainer. That’s because for just $5 more than last year's G4, you can get features like a built-in fingerprint sensor, a brighter screen, and way better battery life. And that’s before you even mention the G5 Plus new upscale metal design.

Standard Moto G5 Plus versus G4

Moto G5 Plus (Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Moto G5 Plus (Credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's Guide))

If you’re not an Amazon Prime subscriber, the price gap is more noticeable, though one phone still have a clear advantage. At $229, the standard G5 Plus costs $50 more than the $180 G4 Plus. But if you opt for the older model, you will miss out on a fingerprint reader, faster processor and a new camera with super quick dual pixel autofocus tech. You'll also have to settle for less built-in storage — 16GB on the Moto G4, compared to 32GB on the base model of the G5 Plus.

In our tests, we also found that while the G5 Plus’ 5.2-inch screen is smaller than the 5.5-inch display on the G4, it's almost 20 percent brighter, which means better outdoor visibility and potentially more vivid colors. For an extra $50, we think that makes the G5 Plus easily worth the extra money. And if you care about battery life, the G5 plus lasted 11 hours and 31 minutes on the Tom’s Guide Battery Test versus just 9:16 for the G4. The difference in battery life alone could be worth the extra dough.

Motorola is also making a Moto G5 — we saw it at Mobile World Congress in February — but it will only be available in select countries in Europe and Asia.

But what about the G4 Plus?

The Moto G4 Plus does have a fingerprint sensor and 64GB of storage, matching some of the G5's features. On top of that, the G4 Plus has a 16-megapixel rear cam, a higher resolution than what both the G4 and G5 Plus offer, though it lacks the G5 Plus's dual-pixel autofocus technology.

Last year's Moto G4 Plus has a 16-megapixel camera. (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide)

(Image credit: Last year's Moto G4 Plus has a 16-megapixel camera. (Credit: Sam Rutherford/Tom's Guide))

Unfortunately, the G4 Plus hasn’t gotten quite the same kind of price discount as the standard G4 since the G5 Plus came on the scene. The official Moto website still lists the G4 Plus at $249.99, while the lowest price on most sites hovers around $220 — about what you'd pay for the standard G5 Plus. And remember, a camera isn't all about how many megapixels it has, it's how it uses them that matters.

Which G5 should I get?

The last thing to consider is whether to stick with the standard G5 Plus, or opt for the more expensive version with 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The difference in price between both models is $70 (or $55 if you consider the discounted Prime Exclusive versions).

The disparity between storage space on the Moto G5 Plus models is mostly negated since both versions have microSD card slots. That means you can add additional room down the line if you need.  So that means you only need to worry about the difference in memory. That means you need to figure out what kind of phone user you are. If you mostly want to browse websites, send emails and watch videos, the standard G5 should be more than capable. However, if you are constantly switching between apps, playing games from time to time, or simply spend a lot of time on your phone, the 4GB/64GB version would probably be a better fit for your needs.

Bottom Line

In the end, unless an $50 is really going to break your budget or you prefer 5.5-inch phone to a 5.2-inch display, the G5 Plus is the clear choice. And if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber and can deal with seeing some of their ads, the decision is even easier.

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).