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Motorola Moto G Power (2022) review: A real head-scratcher
Motorola Moto G Power 2022
Retail price: $189.99$189.99 at Metro by T-Mobile
What we like
What we don't like
Motorola has used a reliable formula to craft its Moto G Power for a few years now — a big display, solid cameras, and a massive battery. It worked pretty well for the 2021 edition, even if it wasn’t perfect. Now, the 2022 model packs a slight design refresh and a few critical updates, but is it enough to keep Motorola’s tenth generation among the best budget-friendly Android phones on the market? Find out in our Motorola Moto G Power (2022) review.
What you need to know about the Motorola Moto G Power (2022)
- Motorola Moto G Power (4GB RAM 64GB): $199
- Motorola Moto G Power (4GB RAM 128GB): $249
Motorola’s Moto G series has swelled to a quartet heading into 2022, and the latest Moto G Power sits right near the top. It’s still below the Moto G Stylus but above the Moto G Play and the super-budget Moto G Pure. You can grab it in either of two configurations, with up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage onboard.
The Moto G Power (2022) arrived running Android 11 out of the box, and we should see a future update to Android 12 and two years of security patches. Shoppers in Europe will have to watch for the inevitable Moto G11 Power, as recently Motorola has offered slightly different products outside of the US.
One of the key changes for the Moto G Power (2022) is moving from a Snapdragon chipset to the MediaTek Helio G37. The boosted RAM and storage over the base 2021 model reinforces the Moto G Power’s branding, as does the hefty 5,000mAh battery. However, Motorola made the curious decision to cut wired charging from 15W down to just 10W. Unlike many recent sub-$300 phones, Motorola’s device also doesn’t offer any form of 5G support.
Extra base RAM and storage give Motorola's Moto G Power a little extra punch heading into 2022.
The Moto G Power (2022) finishes off with a slightly smaller 6.5-inch HD+ display, complete with a central punch hole camera. Despite the smaller size, the new version packs a 90Hz refresh rate compared to the previous 60Hz mark. Motorola also shifted the fingerprint reader from the side power button to the rear.
In the box, you’ll find a USB-A to USB-C cable, a 10W charging block, and a SIM ejector tool. Motorola includes basic paperwork as well — a quick start guide and warranty information.
Motorola’s budget beast has some tough competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and the OnePlus Nord N200. The Galaxy A32 5G is more expensive at $279, but it adds 5G and Samsung’s robust update policy to the mix with a strong camera setup. The OnePlus Nord N200 is an affordable 5G-ready option at $239, though it’s a bit light on future updates. There’s also the rest of Motorola’s line-up to contend with, especially the ever-reliable Moto G Play.
The Motorola G Power (2022) launched in November but is yet to go on sale. Motorola says it’ll be available to buy “in the coming months,” with Metro by T-Mobile and Republic Wireless getting it first, with Verizon, Boost Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, AT&T, Cricket, US Cellular, and Google Fi, to follow. It will also eventually be available unlocked from Motorola and major third-party retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy.
Motorola has realized that you don’t need a glossy finish to dress up a cheap phone. The Moto G Power sports a series of raised ridges on a Dark Grove back panel, with a rear fingerprint reader packed right into the Motorola logo. You shouldn’t have much trouble keeping smudges and fingerprints at bay, and the ridges make the phone easier to grip than the 2021 model.
I also appreciate that Motorola added an official IP52 rating to its adventure-ready device. Maybe it’s not the most durable (Motorola hasn’t specified what glass is being used to protect the display, either), but it’s better against dust and splashes than previous generations. The rear-mounted fingerprint reader seems to work well, too, I had no issues with quick unlocks in my testing.
The aforementioned improvements to the base RAM and storage are also welcome. If that’s not enough, the 128GB option should be plenty of space, or you can add up to a 1TB microSD card. Motorola also kept the Power series’ standard 5,000mAh battery, which still lasts between two and three days at light to moderate usage.
The Moto G Power's triple rear camera picked up a few more megapixels and a few new tricks.
The Moto G Power impressed us last year with its overall camera setup, and Motorola has refined things a bit further this time around. It moved the triple camera array from the center of the back panel into the top left corner and kicked the primary camera from 48MP to 50MP. I found that it delivered solid results in most situations, especially given good lighting.
Motorola has a history of fun camera modes, including a Cutout option and Color Saver, but it added something new for 2022. The image above uses Motorola’s Dual Capture mode, which means you can press the button once to capture both a selfie and a shot of what you’re seeing. You can also choose between an even 50/50 split or a smaller picture-in-picture setup that looks more like a video call. This is hardly a new feature for budget camera phones (remember Nokia’s “bothies”?), but it’s a fun inclusion nonetheless.
What’s not so good?
For as well as the 5,000mAh battery performs, the charging situation is a big letdown. The 10W limit means that you’ll have to wait about an hour for a 50% charge, and it took just over two hours to fill the battery. It’s disappointing to see 10W speeds at all, but it’s worse that Motorola slowed things down from 15W charging last year.
I’m also not sold on the new display. The 90Hz refresh rate is a nice touch on paper but it’s barely noticeable in practice. The display is also not the most pixel-rich, and the bezels seem to have grown from the 2021 version, particularly along the top and bottom edges. Motorola reduced the screen-to-body ratio slightly, dropping from 83% to 79%. Unfortunately, the display is not very bright in most conditions, and is especially dim on cloudy days.
There’s also still no NFC on the Moto G Power, ruling out contactless payments. This is becoming a bit ridiculous at this point. Motorola has had NFC here and there on certain models, but the Power series has lacked the table stakes feature for too long. There are plenty of other affordable phones to embrace the technology, yet not this one.
Motorola did well to add Android 11 out of the box compared to the previous Moto G Power. However, the timing is a little concerning considering the Android 12 rollout is already underway. With the Moto G Power (2022) only likely to receive one full version update, there’s no guarantee it’ll ever see Android 13. Motorola’s patchy history with security updates for budget phones is also something to keep in mind when comparing the phone to other alternatives.
In a world where charging speeds are picking up, Motorola dropped from 15W to a woeful 10W.
I generally saw good results from the Moto G Power’s camera setup, though there were times when it came up short. For starters, the identification of objects and edge detection in portrait mode isn’t very good. I tried to capture an image of a lamp post as seen below, only to have half of the nearby stone wall roped into the portrait. The macro lens is mostly there for extra fun, but 2MP is not sharp enough. My final camera issue comes with Motorola’s Night Mode. It simply doesn’t work well in actual darkness. The sample image of a barn in the section below was taken in relative darkness, and the only area to benefit from Night Mode was the sky.
Motorola chose to ditch Qualcomm for its latest Moto G Power, moving to the MediaTek Helio G37. It’s essentially an upgraded Helio G35, though benchmarking suggests it’s less powerful than the Snapdragon 662 in last year’s Moto G Power model. That carries over to real-world usage, too. I found that almost any bouncing between apps came with a stutter, and things as simple as opening the keyboard were met with delays. The image processing is painfully slow as well.
Motorola Moto G Power (2022) camera samples
Motorola Moto G Power (2022) specs
|Motorola Moto G Power (2022)|
6.5-inch IPS TFT LCD
HD+ (1,600 x 720)
90Hz refresh rate
20:9 aspect ratio
MediaTek Helio G37
64 or 128GB built-in
microSD card support (up to 512GB)
10W wired charging
No wireless charging
- 50MP wide, 1.3μm (Quad Pixel), ƒ/1.8
- 2MP macro, 1.75μm, ƒ/2.4
- 2MP depth, 1.75μm, ƒ/2.4
- 8MP wide, 1.12μm, ƒ/2.0
microSD card (up to 512GB)
USB-C (USB 2.0)
3.5mm headphone jack
No NFC support
No 5G support
4G: LTE band 2/4/5/12/13/14/30/66/29
3G: WCDMA band 1/2/4/5/8
2G: GSM band 2/3/5/8
T-Mobile and all others:
4G: LTE band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/
3G: WCDMA band 1/2/4/5/8
2G: GSM band 2/3/5/8
Dimensions and weight
167.24 x 76.54 x 9.36mm
Motorola Moto G Power 2022 review: Should I buy it?
The Motorola Moto G Power (2022) isn’t the worst option for someone who needs a new phone on a limited budget, but it’s hard to recommend given the numerous gripes. It packs a solid camera setup, an IP52 rating, and a (nominally) smoother 90Hz display. However, there’s no 5G support, the processor has received a downgrade, and the wired charging is significantly slower than last year’s model. It’s ultimately a case of a few minor steps forward and some highly questionable larger steps back for Motorola. In addition, the lack of updates beyond Android 12 limits its long-term value.
For every improvement on the Moto G Power (2022), something else finds a way to go backward.
If you ultimately decide that it’s best to choose a different budget phone, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G ($279) is likely your best bet. It packs the same 5,000mAh battery with faster 15W charging, a better 5MP macro camera, 5G support, and higher RAM and storage options. It’s a little pricier, but the upgrades and Samsung’s excellent software support make it well worth paying the extra.
If you want another 5G-enabled alternative, the Nokia X100 ($252) is a little closer to the Moto G Power on price. It offers a smaller battery but solid 18W charging, a Full HD+ for better media viewing, and an ultra-wide camera. There’s also Motorola’s own Moto G Play (2021) ($169) which makes a few extra sacrifices, but is faster and has the same excellent battery performance despite being cheaper.