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Moto G5s Plus Camera Review: How the new dual-lens snapper compares to the G5 Plus camera

We’ve fully tested Motorola’s new dual-lens 13-megapixel camera housed on the back of Moto G5s Plus, which promises an upgrade in optics over the standard Moto G5 Plus. What’s different about this special edition’s camera tech and is it actually better than before? Here’s our full Moto G5s Plus camera review and comparison with the G5 Plus.

Motorola’s ‘special edition’ Moto G5s Plus launched not too long after the standard Moto G5 Plus hit UK stores, offering a few tweaks and upgrades over the original model. For one it’s bigger, rocking a 5.5-inch screen as well as a more refined metal unibody design. However, one of the biggest changes is the camera tech overhaul, which sees the original 12-megapixel snapper ripped out and replaced with a new dual-lens 13-megapixel shooter.

This is the first Motorola mobile to come packing a camera with two lenses, although another handset sporting similar optics - the mid-range Moto X4 - just launched over at IFA 2017. Of course, double the lenses doesn’t necessarily mean better photos and video. That’s why we’ve tested the Moto G5s Plus’ camera alongside the original Moto G5 Plus and directly compared the results, for our in-depth G5s Plus camera review.

Check out our full Moto G-series comparison to see exactly how the Moto G5, G5s, G5 Plus and G5s Plus stack up in terms of specs, features and design.

And head to our best budget camera phones round-up for more great snappers that don't cost the Earth.

Moto G5s Plus camera review: Features and UI

As with all Motorola phones, you can quick-load the G5s Plus’ camera app in a jiffy simply by double-twisting your wrist while clutching the phone. That’s a shortcut you’ll find tucked away inside the Moto Assistant app, so you can deactivate it from within there if so desired.

Like usual, the camera interface is pretty streamlined. You get a handful of toggles down the left-hand side for activating the flash, HDR mode and timer, as well as a new low light feature for when conditions turn dim. Meanwhile, over on the right, you get the shutter button to take a snap as well as a button to switch instantly to video mode. There’s also a toggle between the front and rear cameras, as well as a camera modes menu button.

Jump into the camera modes and you can shoot a panorama scene or swap from full auto mode to the manual controls. This ‘Professional Mode’ allows you to tweak the white balance, ISO levels and other camera facets, for very precise results. Pro photographers only need apply. Luckily less gifted users can still override the autofocus with a tap on the Moto G5s Plus’ screen of course, which activates manual focus and also serves up a simple brightness level.

You’ll also notice a new ‘depth enabled’ mode amongst the bonus camera features, which basically adds a bokeh-style effect to your photo’s background. We’ll touch on this in the photo samples section below.

Moto G5s Plus camera review: Photo quality and Moto G5 Plus comparison

One of the only new camera features added by the Moto G5s Plus’ dual-lens setup is that depth enabled mode, which uses the combined images from the two lenses to blur your photo’s background. In this way, your subject will stand out nicely in the foreground.

This bokeh mode is a common feature for dual-lens snappers and it works well here, as you’ll see in our photo sample below. There’s no kind of blurring of the edges of our subject, while the background is uniformly out of focus.

In comparison, the Moto G5 Plus offers no such effect. Not a deal breaker by any means, of course. This is more of a ‘nice to have’. Check out the results of the exact same shot using the G5 Plus below.

However, after shooting lots of samples with the G5s Plus and G5 Plus side-by-side, we noticed quite a few other differences too.

Both snappers are perfectly capable of producing a good-looking snap in dependable conditions. As you’ll see in our other samples, you get plenty of detail packed into each photo, complete with similar contrast.

Moto G5s Plus:

Moto G5 Plus:

Moto G5s Plus:

Moto G5 Plus:

The Moto G5s Plus’ camera also captures more vibrant colours than the original phone. Reds, purples and other bright hues are very striking, compared with the more natural colours grabbed by the G5 Plus. Neither is ‘better’ than the other, it’s simply a different way of doing things. Your own personal preference will come down to taste.

Moto G5s Plus:

Moto G5 Plus:

When it comes to low light, the tables are turned somewhat. The Moto G5 Plus boasts an f/1.7 aperture lens, which can let in more light and therefore capture more detail when conditions are dim. In contrast, both of the Moto G5s Plus snappers sport an f/2.0 aperture, so you’ll find the results are much darker, with extra grain.

Moto G5s Plus:

Moto G5 Plus:

This special edition snapper also uses a ‘night mode’ which forces the camera to stay open a little longer when the lights drop. That’s fine when shooting a static scene, although any moving subjects will be reduced to a hazy blur. Less than ideal.

Moto G5s Plus camera review: Video quality and Moto G5 Plus comparison

When it comes to the video quality, there’s no real difference between the G5 Plus and G5s Plus.

You can shoot Full HD footage on the Moto G5s Plus at either 30 or 60 frames-per-second, or bump it right up to 4K resolution for some Ultra HD goodness. The dual-lens snapper handles changes in lighting conditions and focal point well, adapting on the fly to keep your home movie looking sharp.

Digital image stabilisation is strong at Full HD, 30FPS. Almost all shakes and judders as you move and shoot are eradicated, for smooth results. Bump up the frame rate or switch to 4K however and you’ll get a lot more shake, which is to be expected at this price point.

We did notice some strange electronic garbling invading our video samples when shooting in noisy interiors. Despite this, the G5s Plus tends to pick up voices and sounds quite happily.

Moto G5s Plus camera video samples

Check out our Moto G5s Plus video samples below.

Moto G5s Plus camera review: Selfie snapper and Moto G5 Plus comparison

Swap to the front-facing camera and the Moto G5s Plus is an obvious step up from the original Plus handset.

First up, the G5 Plus’ 5-megapixel f/2.2 aperture lens has been replaced with a 8-megapixel snapper with f/2.0 aperture. This means greater detail and a slight improvement in low light performance.

However, the big new addition is a front-facing LED flash, so you can snap far superior selfies in low light. Great news if you want to shoot a sexy club selfie. The standard G5 Plus can only illuminate the display to light up your mug, which as you can see isn’t quite as effective.

Moto G5s Plus photo sample:

Moto G5 Plus photo sample:

For all you need to know about this brilliant Motorola phone, head over to our full Moto G5s Plus review. And why not check out our Moto G5 Plus long-term review to see why we still love this affordable handset.

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