Motorola has made a name for itself in the affordable Android smartphone segment. The company’s Moto G lineup has plenty to choose from, although not all of them are great. However, the company’s 2022 lineup is stepping things up by bringing 5G to lower price points. The new Moto G 5G is the latest budget smartphone for the US market, and it comes with some respectable specs, such as a Snapdragon processor, a higher-refresh-rate display, and a massive battery that would make plenty of Android phones jealous.
However, the Moto G 5G makes some compromises that are a bit hard to gloss over, and I’m not sure if the phone is really worth Motorola’s asking price when there are plenty of other comparable budget Android phones that you can buy for much less .
Price and availability
Sales for the Moto G 5G (2022) began on May 19, and the device retails for $400 unlocked. This gets you 6GB of RAM and 256GB of expandable storage. However, you may be able to find the phone for as much as $50 less at select retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon, and even Motorola.com.
Some carriers such as T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, and Cricket Wireless have the phone for as little as $200. However, with some carrier deals, you may even be able to score the device for free. Keep in mind that this variant only includes 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, so performance may take a hit.
What it gets right
One of the best things about Motorola smartphones is the mostly “stock” Android experience. You should expect a similar experience on the Moto G 5G (2022) to what you’ll get on a Pixel smartphone. Of course, there are some differences, and Motorola has its own color schemes and themes to choose from.
Motorola also has a set of handy gestures (pun intended) that it includes with its phones that I really enjoy using with this phone. For instance, chopping or twisting it twice to turn on the flashlight and camera. There are also some finger gestures like double-tapping the side-mounted fingerprint sensor to bring up a shortcut to your favorite apps or swiping your finger back and forth across the display to enable split-screen mode.
All of this is thankfully on top of Android 12. Earlier in the year, we saw Motorola phones launching with Android 11, so it’s nice to see the latest stable software version here. Thanks to the mid-range MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, everything runs pretty smoothly. It’s not a particularly powerful chip, but performance is good for this price point, and there’s not too much in the way of jitters or stuttering. That’s probably due to the 6GB of RAM in the version I have, with the lower-end model sporting 4GB.
|Category||Moto G 5G (2022)|
|display||6.5” HD+ (1600×720), LCD, 90Hz refresh rate|
|chipsets||MediaTek Dimension 700|
|Rear Camera 1||50MP wide-angle, f/1.8, 0.64μm, Quad-Pixel|
|Rear Camera 2||2MP macro, f/2.4, 1.75μm|
|Rear Camera 3||2MP depth, f/2.4, 1.75μm|
|selfie camera||13MP, f/2.2, 1.12μm|
|Battery&Charging||5,000mAh, 10W charging|
|connectivity||5G (sub-6), Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 5|
|Dimensions||165.4 x 75.8 x 9.44mm|
Playing games isn’t bad either, and though there isn’t any sort of performance-boosting mode like on other Motorola devices, it manages to run graphics-intensive games reasonably well. That said, this chipset isn’t exactly a powerhouse, so results may vary depending on what you’re playing, but it plays well with apps and simple games. Just don’t buy this phone expecting a phenomenal gaming performance.
What is phenomenal is the battery life. Motorola tends to tout two-day battery life on its phones, stuffing 5,000mAh batteries into its devices. With the Moto G 5G, this is very much the case. The phone will easily last more than a day on even heavy use and likely the full two days on regular use. I play a lot of games, take a lot of pictures, and watch a lot of YouTube, but the phone chugs along happily throughout the day. Daily, overnight charging isn’t really necessary here, which is nice to see.
Fast charging isn’t expected on budget phones, and less so on Motorola phones. The phone takes quite a while to charge due to its slow 10W charging and large battery size. Fortunately, your battery will last you a while in-between charges, but when you have to plug it in, you’ll be waiting around for it to top up, so it kind of balances out. Still, I wish the phone charged a little faster.
You also can’t expect much in terms of design for a budget Android phone such as this. The device features the same design as just about every other Motorola phone launched this year. This was fine as far as the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) was concerned, as it had a nice sheen to it that made it feel a little more premium. The Moto G 5G, however, both looks and feels cheap; an aesthetic further solidified by the phone’s sizeable bezels and a rather large chin. Nothing about this phone stands out, particularly amongst Motorola’s 2022 lineup. It’s not unexpected, but I find it a bummer when cheaper devices like the OnePlus Nord N200 look much better.
Another weak spot is the display. Motorola outfitted this device with a 6.5-inch HD+ display, which isn’t the best by any means. It’s helped by the 90Hz refresh rate, but the display isn’t very sharp or vibrant.
The Moto G 5G sports a 50MP primary sensor with a macro camera and depth sensor. The lack of an ultrawide sensor is unfortunate, limiting me to the primary sensor or the rarely used macro camera. I’m also not very impressed with the output from the primary sensor. Images come out too saturated for my liking, as if the software is trying to overcompensate for the hardware. I’m not sure if this results from the sensor, chipset, or Motorola’s algorithm, but looking at the final result always feels a bit jarring.
Low-light images come out okay, but don’t expect much from this device in the camera department. Selfies are also a weak spot, and the 13MP sensor applies a lot of unnatural smoothing.
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As expected from a budget Motorola phone, the Moto G 5G doesn’t have NFC, so you can pretty much kiss Google Pay goodbye.
Software support, or lack of it, is something else that’s par-for-the-course for low-cost Motorola phones. The device runs Android 12 out of the box, which is great. However, you won’t get any OS upgrades beyond Android 13, so you might want to look elsewhere if that’s something you care about. Motorola does promise three years of security updates, so that’s something.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive 5G smartphone, I would look at the OnePlus Nord N20 5G. Not only does it have a spectacular design, but it’s powered by a Qualcomm chipset, sports much faster charging, and has a fantastic FHD+ AMOLED display. Unfortunately, the trade-off for that impressive-looking display is a lower 60Hz refresh rate. It will also receive only one major OS upgrade, but launching with Android 11 out-of-the-box means it’s already a bit outdated.
The new TCL Stylus 5G is another attractive option that can be had for a similar price. It has a decent design with a sharp FHD+ display, its quad-camera setup includes an ultrawide sensor, and it has a built-in stylus. However, its battery capacity is significantly lower than the Moto G 5G, and its only model sports 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal (expandable) storage.
If you want something more in the ballpark of what Motorola is charging for the “higher-end” Moto G 5G with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, you might want to look at the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. For $50 more, you get a 120Hz FHD+ AMOLED display, fantastic cameras, water resistance, and years of OS upgrades and software support. You’ll have to make do with half the internal storage, but you can always throw in a microSD card.
Should you buy?
You should buy this if…
- You’re looking for an affordable 5G smartphone
- You want a smartphone with long battery life
- You want a “stock” Android experience
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You want a fast-charging smartphone
- You want a good, versatile camera experience
- You want a phone that will give you more than one OS upgrade
The Moto G 5G (2022) is pretty decent for anyone looking for an affordable 5G smartphone. It packs a large display and an even larger battery that can really go the distance. Despite the nearly two-year-old mid-range MediaTek chipset, it performs quite well and should get you through a day or two with very little trouble.
That said, there are too many compromises that would make me hesitate to recommend this phone to anyone. The design is incredibly uninspired, the display is a measly 720p+ resolution, and the camera setup is pretty subpar. Again, it’s not a bad phone, per se; it’s just not great either. For a budget smartphone, that’s actually okay.
Phones aren’t meant to be extravagant at this price point, so I don’t expect the world from this device, and you shouldn’t either. As someone who often criticizes Motorola, I don’t really mind the Moto G 5G (2022). That said, it wouldn’t be the first phone I pick up if I were looking for a cheap 5G smartphone, at least at Motorola’s recommended $400 price. If it were $150 cheaper, then we’d be talking, but there are plenty of other phones at the $400 price point (and cheaper) that offer much more than what you can find here, and you’d likely be better off grabbing one of those.
The Moto G 5G (2022) is a decent budget Android phone that can easily get you through a day or two of use thanks to its massive battery. Performance is great and you’ll also enjoy a Pixel-like “stock” Android experience, with a few Motorola extras thrown in.