Motorola has unveiled a couple of new Moto G devices for 2017, and while they look different to last year's models, they follow the same pattern.

There's the Moto G5, the smaller of the two devices, which will be aimed at developing markets in Europe, Asia and parts of South America; and the Moto G5 Plus, which is more robustly outfitted, with a larger screen, more powerful processor and improved camera, aimed at the North American market.

There are a dizzying number of variants depending on the market, and some decisions make very little sense to me.

Each launches in some regions in early March — that's soon! — and have a number of improvements to their 2016 equivalents. But in studying their spec sheets, it's clear Motorola is aiming to eke every penny of profit from each region, with no fewer than six different versions of the G5 Plus, for example, with varying combinations of RAM and internal storage that will make your head spin.

The ultimate takewaway, though, is that these are very capable mid-range devices that overcome their biggest issues from last year — build quality — and offer enough power and battery performance to keep heavy users happy, at prices that will keep them accessible to the average user.

Moto G5 + Moto G5 Plus specs

At 5 inches and 5.2 inches respectively, the two devices look very similar, though the former has a removable back cover and a fair amount more plastic around the bezel than the Plus variant. The processor inside the smaller Moto G5, while octa-core, is a slower Snapdragon 430 clocked at 1.4GHz than the Moto G5 Plus's Snapdragon 625, a very capable chip we're happy to see trickle down to such an inexpensive product.

Both devices — not just the premium model — have fingerprint sensors this year, and each sport between 2GB and 4GB of RAM, depending on market, and 16GB to 64GB of storage. And while the Moto G5 proper has a higher-resolution 13MP camera, it's of much lower quality — it's a smaller sensor, with diminutive pixels — than the Moto G5 Plus's 12MP shooter, which has 1.4 micron pixels and an impressive f/1.7 lens.

Impressively, the Moto G5 series will ship with Google Assistant.

U.S. users will be dismayed to discover, however, that there is no NFC chip built into the Moto G5 Plus. I have no idea why this isn't in here — a Moto rep merely shrugged and referred to cost — but keep this in mind when considering the phone: it won't support Android Pay or any NFC-based mobile payment system. And everyone — U.S. and the rest of the world — will have to deal with yet another generation of Moto G with Micro-USB, a plug standard that went out of style a year ago. Motorola justifies this by pointing to a sea of existing cables that its customers want to continue using, but that doesn't cut it anymore. Not in 2017.

On the software side, both devices will ship with Android 7.0 Nougat and some requisite Moto flair — things we've expected for years, like chop-chop-to-flashlight — that keep people like me addicted to its phones. Moto Display, one of the defining features on Moto phones, have been spiffed up for 2017, too, with the ability to jump directly into emails and other shortcuts.

Both good looking phones, the new aesthetic isn't quite as bold as the Moto Z line, but the G is Motorola's bread and butter, and needs to appeal to a much wider audience. Small touches like the rounded "flat tire" camera module on the back mirror the more expensive Moto Z line, but these new Gs stand on their own, flaws and all.

The Moto G5 will be available starting in March for €199 with 2GB RAM/16GB storage across Europe and Latin America, while the Moto G5 Plus will go for $229 US for the 2GB/32GB model, and $279 for the 4GB/64GB version. In the U.S., the Moto G5 Plus will be sold unlocked through, and will work on all four major carriers, including Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

See at Motorola

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