Moto E5 Plus review

Motorola can only make so many great budget phones

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The Moto E5 Plus has a 12MP rear camera with 1.25 micrometer pixels and an aperture of f/2.0, making it decent in dim scenery. The front camera has an 8MP sensor with 1.12 micrometer pixels and an aperture of f/2.2.

The cameras prove better than the first impression they gives. It seems like there is definitely processing going on after the photo is snapped, as we don’t feel like what the viewfinder shows what the captured photo will look like. This likely has to do with the Auto-HDR setting that just happens to do a good deal in improving the image.

The laser auto-focus isn’t much to get excited about. While it is quick, it didn’t perform faster than the OnePlus 5 we used for comparison. So, focusing quickly and snapping a photo of a fleeting subject won’t be likely here, even with the help of the camera quick-launch gesture.

All in all, the photos look quite good, though zooming in beyond 100% quickly shows a lack of detail. We can’t recommend using this to create big framed pictures, but it’ll do just fine for photos that go on social media.


The battery is where the Moto E5 Plus undeniably shines. It packs a massive 5,000mAh battery, which is lending a lot to the 200 grams of heft it has. For most people, this battery should be enough to easily get through one day with plenty of use, and even two days for moderate users. Light users shouldn’t be surprised to make it part way into a third day.

The Moto E5 Plus also supports 15W TurboPower charging which gets the battery filled up quick. From 0%, we were able to charge the battery up to 16% in 15 minutes. After an hour, it was at 51%, and it reached 99% after two-and-a-half hours.

For our battery drain test, we played a 90-minute Full HD video file from the internal storage, though the actual playback was limited to the screen’s resolution of 1,440 x 720. During the test, all the regular radios were on and the screen was set to maximum brightness. This test only drained the battery 10%, so feel confident in the ability to get through The Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions even) on one charge. 


Everything adds up nicely for the Moto E5 Plus in a world where the Moto G6 doesn’t exist. It comes at a low price, has a big screen, great battery life, and smooth enough performance to function. But, Motorola’s positioning is where things get confused.

The model sold by Sprint is priced way too high. And, though Cricket’s version is priced more reasonably, it’s obscurely renamed the Moto E5 “Supra.” Cricket customers looking for a big phone with a big battery and smooth performance can take comfort in this pick, but anyone else may need to look elsewhere.

Where specifically? Well, that’s the curious bit, because Motorola’s phenomenal budget Moto G6 is priced competitively close to the E5 Plus, has higher performance hardware, and has an improved build. It sacrifices 0.3 inches of screen, but increases the resolution and fits a fast fingerprint scanner on the front of the phone and packs a dual-sensor camera on the back. Compared to the Sprint offering for the E5 Plus, the G6 is even more affordable. 

Though the 5,000mAh of battery in the Moto E5 Plus is a strong selling point, it’s not enough to recommend it over the Moto G6. The Asus ZenFone Max Plus M1 is another close competitor with a little more carrier freedom, a more premium design, and a big enough battery at 4,130mAh.

The Moto E5 Plus has the budget phone look, feel, and performance down, but it has the Moto G6 stepping all over it. Motorola has a lot of smartphone options with all sorts of positioning up and down the price scale, so it’s not a surprise that the E5 Plus gets lost in the shadow of our top cheap phone pick, the Moto G6.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.