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Moto G Power (2022) Review: Power that lacks power

Back of Moto G Power 2022.
Moto G Power (2022) Review: Power that lacks power
MSRP $199.99
“The Moto G Power (2022) has a battery that lasts for days, but it lacks the power for a productivity phone.”
  • Affordable
  • Amazing battery life
  • Accurate biometrics
  • Decent amount of ROM
  • Good camera system and software
  • Water repellent
  • No 5G connectivity
  • Comes with Android 11
  • Plastic backing
  • Slow responses at times

The latest Moto G Power 2022 features the exceptionally long battery life that Moto G Power phones have become known for, as well as an affordable price point and well-rounded budget feature set that some would say make it superior to some of the more expensive flagship phones (from a price-versus-value standpoint).

Although the Moto G Power 2022 isn’t going to give you the same level of durability or processor performance that you’d get with the latest Galaxy, Pixel, or OnePlus phone, it still has a lot to offer. Is the Moto G Power worth buying? I tested it for a week to find out, paying close attention to its design, hardware, performance, display, software, features, battery, camera, and connectivity.


A side view of the Moto G Power 2022 being held in a hand.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

At first glance, it’s tough to tell the difference between a budget smartphone like the G Power and a premium phone. It’s not until you hold it in your hand, touch the device, and use the phone that you can tell this phone isn’t as high-quality as many of the more expensive devices on the market. Once you handle the Moto G, you can feel the plastic backing and sides, as opposed to materials like glass and metal you’d feel on a pricier phone.

The Moto does have benefits like water resistance (IP52 rating), but you’ll definitely notice this is a cheaper phone when compared to a pricier model like the Pixel 6. The Moto G 2022 comes in two colors: Ice blue and dark grove. I tested the dark grove model, and its color scheme is just like what you’d see in any typical grayish-black smartphone. You won’t find those vibrant or flashy colors like you’ll see with a phone such as the iPhone XR.

A hand holds the Moto G Power 2022 with the back showing.
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

The Moto G Power is a nice-looking phone, with textured swirling along the matte plastic backing to make it look a bit more elegant. The device has a fingerprint sensor on the back, which also doubles as a Motorola logo, allowing for fingerprint reading without taking up screen real estate (there’s face unlock, smart lock, and a screen lock pin as well). The fingerprint sensor feels intuitive, as my index finger often lands on the sensor naturally when I pick up the device. It feels like the phone unlocks immediately when I pick it up, so I really like the placement of the fingerprint reader. On top of the phone, there’s a 3.5mm jack, and the USB-C port is traditionally located in the center along the bottom perimeter.

Hardware and performance

The Moto G 2022 is powered by a Mediatek Helio G37 chip, along with 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of ROM within the lowest model (it’s also available in 128GB ROM). The chip is actually a bit of a downgrade when you compare it to what’s in the previous model, which ran on a Qualcomm SM6115 Snapdragon 662 chip. On Geekbench 5, the latest Moto G Power scored a single-core score of 182 and a multi-core score of 1,014. This is notably lower than the previous Moto G Power, which scored a 312 (single-core) and a 1,428 (multi-core).

If you’re someone who uses your phone primarily for web surfing, email, social media, and entertainment, the Moto G 2022 should be sufficient. This is a great phone for someone who just wants to make calls, socialize, check work periodically, and watch content. It has more than enough processing power to run numerous tasks, move from task to task, and do all of the basic things you’d expect a modern phone to be able to do. However, if you’re planning to work regularly on your phone or create content, this might not be the best option. It might feel laggy compared to a more powerful phone when handling high-octane productivity tasks. Games are also pretty slow, and the load time was as long as 75 seconds for some games (like Rocket League Sideswipe).

Display and audio quality

Moto G Power 2022 taken from front view.
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

The Moto G Power 2022 has a 6.5-inch, 1600 x 720 display with a pretty impressive refresh rate of 90 Hz. On 3DMark Slingshot Extreme, it scored a 497 (which puts it in only the 18th percentile when compared to all other devices). This isn’t a great score, but it could be much worse, especially for a budget phone.

The screen looks bright and clear overall, and text appears crisp and clean when I’m surfing the web. YouTube looks pretty good, as does Netflix and other streaming platforms, but I can definitely tell a difference between this phone and better quality phones. This is especially true when gaming, as the screen was noticeably darker. Although I could run most games OK, the colors were rather muted and dim, and I had trouble seeing nighttime scenes on games like NFS No Limits. It wasn’t to the point where it made the game unplayable, but it was bad enough to take away from the app gaming experience.

The Moto G 2022 doesn’t have the best audio, either. The manufacturer doesn’t indicate speaker specs, only that it has a “bottom-ported loudspeaker w/smart PA and two microphones.” The speaker gets somewhat loud (loud enough to hear from across a large room), but it sounds noticeably tinny and hollow. When listening to music through the phone’s speaker, it has minimal bass, blurry mid-tones, and it’s very treble heavy. No matter which audio settings I adjusted, it didn’t seem to fix the issue either. I tried turning on a bass boost feature, but it was to no avail—the audio was still treble-heavy and tinny. Fortunately, you can connect a pair of headphones or a speaker using the 3.5mm jack or the Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, as the phone’s speaker has poor audio.

Software and features

The latest Moto G Power comes out of the box with Android 11 installed, but you‘ll be able to upgrade to Android 12. The interface is relatively clean and simple. Since this is an Android Phone, it comes with much of Google’s suite — Google news, pay, Chrome, home, photos, etc. If you’ve owned an Android phone before, the software should feel relatively natural for you.

I will say that just like with games, some of the built-in applications loaded rather slowly. The settings menus were a good example of this: When I search settings for a specific keyword, it took at least a few seconds to load the information.

Battery life

The battery life on this phone is phenomenal, and it’s one of its biggest perks. Motorola claims the 5,000mAh battery should last about three days. This is more than double the capacity you’d get with an iPhone 13 Mini, and it even exceeds the iPhone 13 Pro’s battery capacity.

With constant use, I was able to use the phone all day long and still have about half of the battery to spare to get through most of the next day. I do a lot of hobby stock trading throughout my day too, and applications like TDAmeritrade, Robinhood, and Webull tend to drain a phone’s battery very quickly. I was quite impressed to see this battery last about two days while constantly running trading applications.

When using the Moto G 2022 more conservatively, picking it up roughly once per waking hour to check emails and surf the web for five minutes or so, the battery lasted a full five days. When performing the periodic use test, it felt as though the battery just wouldn’t run out of power. I used the phone lightly for five days, and still had 8% battery left over at the end of day five.

Camera and video

The Moto G Power has a 50MP main camera (compared to a 48MP sensor on its predecessor), along with a 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor just like the 2021 version. The front selfie cam remains an 8MP sensor, so the camera specs are similar to those of the previous model. Although it works well overall, the selfie camera’s lens on the Moto G Power (2022) feels intrusive.

Moto G Power 2022 selfie camera close up.
Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Unlike the iPhone, which does a good job of concealing the selfie camera lens within a black border, the Moto G Power’s Selfie camera’s lens is right smack dab in the middle of the top of the bright display. You can see the camera lens depth, and it almost looks like an eye that’s watching you.  I would have preferred to have the front camera be more discreet, so it’s not so in your face.

On the plus side, you can enable several built-in camera applications and features, including a portrait mode, panorama pictures, live filters, night vision, group selfies, auto smile capture, watermarking, photo markups, Google Lens integration, and much more. I was quite impressed with the number of camera features available on such an affordable phone.

Two of the more notable camera features I encountered were dual mode, which allows you to capture the front and rear camera’s images in the same shot, and pro mode, which lets you adjust things like the lighting, aperture speed, and focus to customize the settings to your liking and get the perfect picture. I’d recommend using the pro mode for most shots on the Moto G Power 2022, especially if you’re an experienced photographer or someone who’s at least familiar with photo lighting and settings.

As you can see in the portrait of the Gollum statue above, even the best portrait photos are often accomplished with “pro mode.” The colors look more natural, with less blur and fewer unnatural hues that make the photo look off. The portrait mode takes decent portraits, but not as good as what I could take with a DSLR, with a more expensive phone like the latest iPhone or Samsung, or by properly using the Pro mode on the Moto G Power 2022 itself.

Connectivity and carriers

Although this phone is a new release, don’t expect it to have 5G. We’re not yet at the point where every budget phone that hits the market has 5G—we still have some time before we’ll see that.

The Moto G Power works on 4G LTE (Cat13), 3G (UMTS/HAPA+), and 2G (GSM/EDGE) networks. There’s a locked version you can get with select carriers, as well as an unlocked version that works with most of the major US and Canadian carriers. When I set up the phone, I was able to take advantage of the temporary unlock feature (under Settings > About Phone > Device Unlock), which you can use for up to 30 days. Keep in mind, however, that you must be on mobile data to access temporary unlock, and you can’t temporarily unlock over Wi-Fi.

Although the Moto G Power doesn’t have 5G, it does have Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to perform as well as some of my other devices though, as my iPhone 12 clocked 311.2Mbps (download), while the Moto clocked only 156.5Mbps (download) in just about the exact same location, at almost the same time, and on the same Wi-Fi network. The upload speeds were pretty much exactly the same between the two devices though, clocking in at 37.4Mbps (on my iPhone 12) and 37.2Mbps (on the Moto G), respectively.

Price and availability

The 64GB version of the Moto G Power 2022 will cost you $199.99 retail, while the 128GB version costs $249.99. The phone is currently available for pre-order at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy, and it starts shipping on March 18, 2022.

Our take

With a slightly better main camera sensor, more memory, a reasonably fast refresh rate, and an excellent battery capacity, the Moto G Power 2022 is a pretty good value, improving in many of the areas where it counts, but lagging behind in terms of speed and processing performance.

This is absolutely a budget phone, so don’t expect top-tier performance. But, you can expect a reliable device that will allow you to watch shows and videos, surf the web, and socialize.

Is there a better alternative?

The Samsung Galaxy A12 is also worth a look for budget smartphone shoppers who want a Samsung phone with a lengthy battery life that costs even less than the Moto G Power 2022. You can buy a Galaxy A12 for around $180.

If you’re looking for a phone that will do it all — productivity, gaming, photography, the whole nine yards — look at one of the flagship phones like the iPhone 13, the Pixel 6, or the Galaxy S22+. Sure, you’ll pay more, but you’ll have a phone you can use for all purposes without frustration.

How long will it last?

The Moto G Power 2022 is primarily made of plastic, but this doesn’t mean it won’t last. The phone feels sturdy enough to last for at least a few years. I even dropped the device from waist height onto a concrete surface, and the screen, camera system, and backing remained intact.

The phone comes equipped with Android 11, and you’ll have access to Android 12, but it’s tough to say after that. You’ll get regular (bi-monthly) security updates for two years, but beyond that, the phone might need to be replaced simply because it could become obsolete in terms of its software.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you want a budget phone that will only set you back around $200, yet gives you an exemplary battery, a pretty good camera system, a decent amount of onboard storage, and fast and accurate biometrics, you’ll be happy with the Moto G Power 2022. But if you’re looking for the latest and greatest flagship phone with the best processor and the best new tech, consider an alternative like the Pixel 6 or Samsung Galaxy S22+.

Editors' Recommendations

Erika Rawes
Smart Home Evergreen Coordinator
Erika became a professional writer in 2010, and her work is published all over the web on sites ranging from USA Today to…
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