I usually wait a full week of ownership or more before I write a review. I am a light to moderate cell phone user coming from a Samsung Galaxy S5. All phones we purchase are unlocked and have used T-Mobile for 10 years. I have not received any money, merchandise, discount, or any promise of such for my review.
My phone met a watery death and it was time to upgrade. I was looking for a phone under $300 that was unlocked. I am used to using flagship phones that are a generation or three old, so I had a lot of reservations buying this phone. I also usually keep my phone for 2-4 years.
Text and call notification
No removable battery
Overall, I am very happy with the phone. It truly does feel like an upgrade. The phone performance is snappy, camera is fast, screen is decent, and there are few limitations. If you are a low to moderate user that knows how to use the google play store, then this might be the best value for your money of any phone currently on the market. Period.
The highlights of the phone that stand out most to me are the camera, screen, and performance. The camera has a great access function. You can access the function by twisting it twice. On average, I found that I can take a picture in 3 seconds from start to finish without a flash and four seconds with a flash. With my S5, it was about 10 seconds. I am a parent of 3 kids, so 10 seconds means a lot of missed photos. I found this to be superior to my brother’s IPhone 7, my friend’s S7, and the T-Mobile store’s S8. Low light photos are not as good as the flagship phones. A second double twist motion will bring up the selfie camera, which is also of good quality. I was able to get some good Easter shots with the camera. I am not a photography buff and can care less about stats and such. I want something that will capture life and this one does a great job. The stills are not as amazing as an IPhone, but they are comparable to a S7 (getting spanked in low light but close in all others I tried). Again, real world speed from wanting to a taking a picture to picture being taken is fastest I have ever seen on anything short of a top end SLR camera (with obviously inferior quality).
Everyday use has been great. The battery overperforms my expectations. The farthest I drained it was to 39% when I worked from 9 AM to 1AM. The turbo charge feature is fantastic. Advertisement says 6 hours in 15 minutes. For a light to moderate user, this could be accurate. If I listen to Amazon Music for 5 hours, watch a video or two, and do some light browsing, I am at 72%. This is with no adjustment or other battery saving devices or software. On an average day of about 1 and a half hours of actual use time, I am usually at around 70% and around 50% by bed time. I charge for about 30 minutes to an hour and am usually around 90%. So far, it is superior to my S5, which had a fantastic battery life. This is my best experience with any smart phone or tablet with a battery. We shall see if it lasts. I have not overcharged the phone one time so far.
The biggest thing for some is the screen. The size is decent. It is rated at 5.2 inches. The screen is not as good as the Samsung Galaxy S6, S7, or S8. The crispness is on par. The brightness is a little subpar to the OLED screens. Perhaps I am just used to OLED. The pixel density is good and the screen looks great. It performs decently in bright or dim light. It just doesn’t have that glowing “oh wow” look to it. It still looks great and reminds me of the screen on a LG G5, which is still really good. It does not remind me of the crappy screens of some of the other low budget phones I have seen.
Performance is good. Most applications load in under 5 seconds. The only game I play is Pokémon Go, so I can’t rate gaming. The stock text notification is worse than I am used to. Music sounds wonderful with a headphone, but only okay with the provided speaker. The stock calendar for google is also only okay. Calling and Wi-Fi calling have been perfect so far. Definitely better than my old S5. Bluetooth works well and pairs quickly. Multi-tasking is also effective once you get used to the on-screen buttons.
Other notes: You can use this as a pedometer. I am using Pacer. You can use this as a controller as I use it with my Roku 3 with the downloaded app. You cannot exchange data by touching phones since it does not have NFC. Weight is acceptable. Ergonomics make the phone seem a little awkward. I can imagine some with smaller hands might find it uncomfortable for one hand only use. I have not had any temperature issues.
Summary: If you are a superuser of smartphones, you are wasting your time expecting a budget phone to be a top end phone. If you are looking at a budget phone that performs like a flagship phone, but without some of the bells and whistles, this may be the best phone you can buy for the money right now.
I am not going to comment on what is the best phone currently on the market as things change in a few months. However, I continue to have good experience with the phone. One of my primary concerns was it's durability. It does not have an IP68 or similar rating and I have 3 kids. I purchased a cheapo meapo case and a tempered glass screen protector just in case as soon as I bought the phone. With 3 kids, I have been dropping the phone regularly. I dropped the phone very hard today and shattered by screen protector. Fortunately, the phone was unharmed, but it was literally launched while running with 2 kids in my arms and hit the floor screen first. Phew!
I have since had some family tech updates and had a lot of time with a Galaxy S7, IPhone 7, and Galaxy S8. The G5 Plus does not hold a candle to these phones in terms of sheer processing power. For example, each phone loads Pokémon Go at least 50% faster. I still can take a no flash picture from an off screen faster with the G5 Plus than either of these phones. The quality is acceptable. It is on par with the S7, while having a slight bit more image noise and poorer low light performance. The IPhone is clearly better. The S8 smokes everything. However, if speed and a better than average phone quality is your priority, then the G5 is a great discount phone.
I haven't found myself wanting more performance. Battery life continues to be better than expected. I recently pulled a 3 full day with no power off with light phone usage. It was the first time I went below 20%, but it was great. I used a quick charge to get to the 60% range in less than 30 minutes. This has been my best experience with a battery on any phone I or my family have owned. Video watching has been decent. The switch on feature when you look at the phone is awesome. Phone has always been cool to the touch, which is something I cannot say about the hot to the touch S7.
I have had a few minor problems with the phone after a few months. I had an error message on the phone when loading the camera app, but that has since been resolved after a quick Lenovo website search. There is no message indicator light, but that doesn't bother me. I always wear a pocketed shirt to work and my phone always spends time there. After the first Android update, I have has some intermittent issues with GPS. It hasn't caused any problems and works fine. It just cuts in and out in randomly when playing Pokémon Go. I have had similar issues with other phones, but it is a little worse than the main flagship phones.
Other note: I received some questions about RAM and storage. Available RAM is 3.6 GB (1.8 on the 2 GB phone). This is not a typo. Apparently, this is how file architecture work. Some of the memory is used to make Android run faster and better. Storage is around 53 GB on the 64 GB phone. Bezel on the phone is bigger than others so if you are looking for a small phone, it "feels" a little larger than a 5.1 inch S7 and a lot larger than an IPhone SE.
Overall, I still like the phone a lot. It is easy to use, has a quick camera, is built well, and just works. Maybe I will post a quick video if I ever get around to it.