Moto E5 Plus review: Not your first budget choice

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The Good The Moto E5 Plus' battery outlasts the more expensive Moto G6, and it has a larger display.

The Bad Uncomfortably big for my hands, with a clunky design. It’s only available in the US on Sprint and Cricket, and prices vary wildly.

The Bottom Line Buy the Moto E5 Plus if you're looking for a budget phone on Cricket. Otherwise, skip it in favor of a slightly pricier Moto G6 Play or Moto G6.

6.9 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 6
  • Camera 6
  • Battery 9

The Moto E5 Plus is a budget phone with some definite perks: Terrifically long battery life, a sturdy design and a large 6-inch display. Other than that, the pricing on this phone contradicts itself.

In the US, the Moto E5 Plus is simultaneously cheaper and more expensive than the Moto G6 and G6 Play. Take a look at the chart below to see what I mean.

Price comparison: Moto E5 Plus, Moto G6 Play and Moto G6

Moto E5 Plus Moto G6 Play Moto G6
US price $180, $288 $199 $249
UK price £149 £169 £219
Australia price AU$229 AU$329 AU$399

Currently, the Moto E5 Plus is only available on two US carriers. Without discounts, it sells for $180 on Cricket or for $288 on Sprint -- it's the same phone!

Frankly, this phone is not worth $288 or even $180. The more expensive Moto G6 or G6 Play are better choices. While the Moto E5 Plus' battery life lasts longer than the G6, its screen resolution, speed and camera quality paled in comparison.

Moto E5 Plus

The Moto E5 Plus has a fingerprint reader on the back with indentation so it's easy to find.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Moto E5 Plus vs. G6 vs. G6 Play: What's the difference?

The Moto G6 Play and E5 Plus have similar designs, features and performance. The major selling point for these phones is their battery life. Though the Moto E5 Plus has a bigger battery -- 5,000 versus 4,000 mAh -- the G6 Play lasted longer in our looped video playback test in airplane mode.

On the other hand, the Moto G6 gets even less battery life than the E5 Plus or G6 Play. But it makes up for that with dual rear cameras, a higher screen resolution, faster performance, a lighter body, a USB-C port and a slick-looking glass back.

If you want the biggest screen and a long battery life, get the Moto E5 Plus. But if you're looking for a better camera and an overall better fit and finish, I'd recommend the Moto G6. Even if its battery doesn't last as long, I prefer the smaller, sleek design of the Moto G6 to the clunkier E5 Plus.

Moto E5 Plus's 6-inch display makes it clunky

The Moto E5 Plus should be tried on for size before buying. Its 6-inch display is too big for my small-ish hands. This, along with the phone's smooth edges and backing, made it easy to slip out of my grip.

Anytime I attempt to perform a "Moto action" -- i.e. shortcuts for Motorola phones like chop twice for flashlight -- the Moto E5 Plus flies out of my hand. But, I will give credit where it is due: No matter how many times the Moto E5 Plus clunked and binked to the ground, the screen never cracked.

The Moto E5 Plus' plastic backing looks sleek, though it scratches more easily than the Gorilla Glass 3 back of the Moto G6. Like the Moto G6 and G6 Play, the E5 Plus is splash resistant, meaning you needn't worry about accidental spills, but you can't plunk your phone into a pool.

The fingerprint scanner on the back has good placement, with a slight indentation to make it extra easy to find. The 6-inch display is great for watching video and playing games, but the resolution is almost half as sharp as the Moto G6.

Now playing: Watch this: Moto G6, G6 Play and E5 Plus budget phone comparison

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