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motorola moto g 5g back panel
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) review: The textbook Moto G deserves better

Look up Motorola in the dictionary and you'll probably find this phone... and that's not a good thing.
By
May 24, 2022

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)

The Moto G 5G (2022) is the quintessential Moto G experience, for better and, mostly, for worse. It offers a long-lasting battery and ample storage for a budget phone, but for whatever steps it takes forward, it stumbles further backward somewhere else. With so many great phones at the same price, you'd need to be a die-hard Moto G fan to not look elsewhere.

Retail price: $399.99

$399.99 at Motorola

What we like

Long-lasting 5,000mAh battery
Decent 50MP main camera
Up to 256GB of expandable storage
Clean software

What we don't like

Slow wired charging
Downgraded, downsized, dim display
Underpowered macro camera
Video maxes out at 1080p/30fps
No NFC support
Poor update commitment

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)

The Moto G 5G (2022) is the quintessential Moto G experience, for better and, mostly, for worse. It offers a long-lasting battery and ample storage for a budget phone, but for whatever steps it takes forward, it stumbles further backward somewhere else. With so many great phones at the same price, you'd need to be a die-hard Moto G fan to not look elsewhere.

Motorola has locked down its budget-friendly formula. Each new model packs a big battery, a headphone jack, and a light, smooth Android skin. At the same time, the Moto G series can’t shake a familiar set of flaws like slow charging, weak software support, and underwhelming camera setups. Does the Moto G 5G do enough to lift Motorola’s latest above its affordable siblings? This is our Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) review.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)
$399.99 at Motorola

What you need to know about the Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)

motorola moto g 5g home screen on step
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Motorola Moto G 5G (4GB/64GB): TBC
  • Motorola Moto G 5G (6GB/256GB): $399.99

If you opened an encyclopedia and turned to Motorola’s entry, you’d probably find a picture of the Moto G 5G (2022) — it’s the quintessential Moto G experience. It sits at the higher end of Motorola’s budget range, below the reasonably solid Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) and above the not-so-good Moto G Power (2022).

The phone sports a plastic back and frame and a corner-mounted triple camera array. Our Moto G 5G (2022) test unit arrived with Android 12 straight out of the box, but Motorola is only promising a year’s worth of updates (presumably up to Android 13) with two years of security patches. Motorola packed its budget-friendly 5G device with a SIM ejector tool, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a 10W “Turbo Power” charger.

See also: The best Motorola phones you can buy

The latest Moto G 5G (2022) also features a few changes from its direct predecessor, which launched in late 2020 — and not all for the better. It packs a 6.5-inch HD+ display rather than the 2020 phone’s 6.7-inch Full HD+ panel, and it follows the Motorola trend of ditching Qualcomm for Mediatek. This time, the Moto G 5G (2022) moved from a Snapdragon 750G to the Dimensity 700. Motorola at least boosted the standard configuration to 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, though Motorola has mentioned a cheaper model with 4GB and 64GB, respectively.

The Moto G 5G the quintessential Moto G experience in 2022.

The device hasn’t lost a step in the battery department, offering a hefty 5,000mAh cell. It also supports Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 5, and the titular 5G (sub-6GHz only) but there’s no NFC support. You get a USB-C port along the bottom edge, flanked by a 3.5mm headphone jack and a lone, down-firing speaker.

Motorola faces tougher competition than ever in the affordable 5G market, both from Android and iOS. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G and Google Pixel 6a are two of the best alternatives, though both cost an extra $50.

The Moto G 5G (2022) is available to buy unlocked starting May 19, 2022 from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Motorola. It will also be sold via Cricket Wireless, Dish, Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless, AT&T, Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular, Consumer Cellular, Google Fi, and Optimum Mobile in the coming months. It comes in a single color: Moonlight Gray.

What’s good?

motorola moto g 5g personalize menu
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Moto G 5G is, at times, a reminder of what we love about Motorola. From the minute you power it on, the Android experience is light and smooth, and, like the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022), it’s nice to see a budget phone from the brand that launches with the latest version of Android on board. There’s some bloatware in the form of TikTok, Facebook, and Booking.com, but you can remove all three apps. It’s still as easy as ever to customize, with a few preset themes or the ability to tweak everything from your layout to the shape of your apps. You’ll probably want to give the Moto app at least a few minutes of your time to learn where everything is hidden.

The move from Qualcomm to Mediatek isn’t a surprising one for the Moto G 5G — we’ve seen it on most of Motorola’s 2022 releases. However, the Dimensity 700 delivers enough punch to keep the Moto G 5G performing well. It’s more powerful than the Helio series chips that Motorola has been using, and our review unit came with 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as well, which is a very healthy amount for a budget phone. I didn’t notice any issues with lag or stuttering, even when bouncing between heavier tasks like navigation and streaming from Spotify.

No, the Moto G 5G doesn’t deliver elite benchmark results, but it lands close to its stylus-toting sibling, the Moto G Stylus 5G. That phone carries a Snapdragon 695 processor with an extra 2GB of RAM, so it’s good to see the Moto G 5G (2022) keep pace, especially considering some of the poor performance we’ve seen with cheaper Moto G phones. The only questionable thing about the processor is why Motorola chose it in the first place — the Dimensity 700 is technically a slight downgrade on the last Moto G 5G’s Snapdragon 750G.

When it gets things right, the Moto G 5G (2022) is a good reminder of what we love about Motorola.

Motorola’s charging speeds are another matter (which we’ll get to), but I have nothing but appreciation for the 5,000mAh battery. It’s the same size as you’ll find on many Moto G devices, and like the others, it just lasts and lasts. Motorola boasts two days of battery life, which the Moto G 5G delivers. I was able to go between a day and a half to two days without charging while connected to Verizon’s network and surfing at 5G speeds. The results dipped a little during long car trips, with simultaneous Spotify and Google Maps usage, but it’s still extremely hard to deplete the charge in less than a day.

Another carryover that we’re happy to see return is the fast and accurate side-mounted fingerprint reader. There’s also face unlock, but it’s all software and is nowhere near as secure.

Complete your setup: The best phone accessories

What’s not so good?

motorola moto g 5g phone with charger
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

For everything that Motorola gets right with the Moto G 5G (2022), it lets a barrage of old, familiar flaws creep in. The most noticeable — and painful — is the return of 10W Turbo Power charging. It’s never made much sense for Motorola to attach “Turbo” such low power charging, and you can expect to spend as much as two hours charging the battery from zero.

Like most affordable Motorola devices, the Moto G 5G is plastic. It comes in an attractive blue color, but the build itself feels anything but premium. The back panel has a bit of flex, especially up towards the camera unit, and the smooth finish is pretty slippery. It’s not quite Samsung Galaxy A32 5G slippery, but it’s definitely not a phone to leave on an uneven surface.

Turbo Power is as slow as ever, and Motorola's decision to exclude NFC is always baffling.

The Moto G 5G is smaller than its predecessor, and it dropped from a 6.7-inch to a 6.5-inch display with a familiar central-mounted punch hole camera. Smaller isn’t necessarily bad, and it does add 90Hz support, but Motorola also cut the resolution from Full HD+ to HD+. I noticed the reduced resolution while streaming Netflix, but it also seemed to creep in with app icons tucked away in folders. As you can see in the image above, the display isn’t overly bright either, which can be a pain when outdoors. It’s slightly better when viewed straight-on but very difficult to see from an angle.

Speaking of changes for the worst: why does the newer model not have NFC, Motorola? This is one of the silliest trends of the 2022 Moto G series, with only the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) being spared the indignity. If you want to use the phone for contactless payments or Nearby Share file transfers, you’re fresh out of luck.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) camera review

motorola moto g 5g cameras and buttons
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The 50MP primary camera is nothing new for the Motorola Moto G series. It works well enough out of the box and usually picks up accurate colors, though there’s occasionally some inconsistency between what you see in the camera app viewfinder and the final image. Images pixel bin down to 12.5MP by default, though you can set the camera to its full resolution as needed. Post-processing for portrait shots isn’t fast, but it offered generally clean results in my testing. It gets the job done, but it’s not the best budget camera in the business by a long shot, and at the $400 mark there’s increasingly touch competition.

Although Motorola’s primary 50MP camera is capable enough for everyday shots, the rest of the lenses leave something to be desired. The previous Moto G 5G packed an 8MP ultrawide sensor with its macro lens, but this version swaps it for a 2MP depth sensor. That means it offers less overall flexibility for shooting modes. The 2MP macro camera delivers soft, low-detail images, even with a clean lens and a stationary subject. Motorola also sacrificed the ability to record 4K video at 30fps — the rear camera now tops out at 1080p at 30fps, which is really poor even for a budget phone.

The Moto G 5G also continues an unfortunate Motorola trend with its selfie camera. It’s set up with an intense beauty filter by default, which you have to turn off in the Settings menu. I forgot about the feature at first and startled myself with my disturbingly smooth skin when I tested it for the first time. You can toggle the strength of the beauty filter, but it strikes me as a feature that should be opt-in rather than opt-out.

I can appreciate Motorola’s dedication to fun camera modes. The Cutout feature opens the door to some creative editing opportunities, while the Color Picker lets you emphasize one shade on a black and white background. However, I’d trade them both for an improved night mode. The Moto G 5G does offer a night mode feature, but the processing adds a whole heap of noise to the results. You end up with an image that you can see, though not one you’re likely to share beyond an Instagram story.

Motorola Moto G 5G specs

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)
Display
6.5-inch
HD+ (1,600 x 720)
LCD
90Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio

Processor
Mediatek Dimensity 700
Memory / Storage
4GB/6GB RAM
64GB/256GB storage
microSD up to 1TB
Battery
5,000mAh
TurboPower 10W wired charging
Cameras
Rear:
50MP main, f/1.8, 0.64µm, Quad Pixel
2MP Macro, f/2.4, 1.75µm
2MP Depth Sensor, f/2.4, 1.75µm

Front:
13MP selfie, f/2.2, 1.12µm

Video:
Rear: 1080p at 30fps

Front: 1080p at 30fps
Connectivity
5G (sub-6GHz)
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.1
GPS
Dimensions / Weight
165.4 x 75.8 x 9.4mm
204g
Colors
Moonlight Gray

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) review: The verdict

motorola moto g 5g home screen angled
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Moto G 5G (2022) is as textbook as Motorola gets, for better, but mostly for worse. It feels like what the Moto G Power (2022) should have been, with improved RAM and storage to go with 5G speeds, but it’s priced closer to the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022), which is a much more well-rounded phone.

The move to Mediatek from Qualcomm feels like a sidestep (or a minor step down if you’re coming from the last Moto G 5G) — much like it does on other Moto G devices. It packs a hefty 5,000mAh battery, but it hasn’t graduated beyond weak 10W wired charging. The decision to shrink the display to 6.5 inches makes it slightly easier to hold and use, though the drop from a Full HD+ resolution to HD+ is a big disappointment. Throw in the bizarre omission of NFC support, functional but inflexible cameras that can’t compete with the best, and a lame software update promise, and the Moto G 5G (2022) starts to look like a pretty poor deal.

The Moto G 5G (2022) offers excellent battery life, but it lags far behind its closest competitors everywhere else.

If you decide to turn your attention elsewhere, you’ll absolutely find a better use for your money. The affordable Android market is as hot as ever, especially at the ~$400 price point. Google’s Pixel 6a ($449) offers better build materials, Google’s AI-driven Tensor SoC, amazing cameras, and a solid update commitment for slightly more money. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G ($449) is another excellent choice, with a gorgeous FHD+ AMOLED display, flexible cameras, and Samsung’s impressive update support that will cover it for four years of OS updates and five years of security patches.

You can also venture outside the Android bubble to look at Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) ($429). Yes, that means adjusting to iOS, but the flagship-grade A15 Bionic chipset has the power to keep up with just about anything. Apple’s classic design feels more than a little dated, and the lone rear camera limits your flexibility, but the iPhone SE (2022) manages to push its tiny form factor to impressive lengths, and its caveats are far less bothersome than the ones you’ll have to live with if you pick up the Moto G 5G (2022).

Ultimately, as has been the case with so many Moto G phones in 2022, for whatever steps Motorola takes forward, it stumbles further backward somewhere else. While it might offer a small amount of value when sold via carriers, there is no reason to buy the Moto G 5G (2022) unlocked when there are so many better phones in the same price range.

motorola moto g 5g home screen on step
Motorola Moto G 5G (2022)
Motorola's affordable 5G device is back again. The Moto G 5G (2022) packs a Mediatek Dimensity 700 processor, a sharp 50MP camera, and a massive 5,000mAh battery.

Motorola Moto G 5G (2022) FAQs

If you absolutely want a Motorola phone and are unwilling to spend more than $400, the Moto G 5G (2022) is a servicable phone. However, we wouldn’t suggest you buy it considering the amazing budget phones you can get for around the same price tag.

The Moto G 5G (2022) is IP52 rated for protection against light splashes of water, but not submersion.

No, the Moto G 5G (2022) does not support wireless charging.

Motorola has not specified what type of glass covers the display. We’ve asked Motorola and will update this as we hear back.