Skip to main content

Latest Moto G phones promise 5G on a budget

Moto G Stylus 5G 2022
(Image credit: Motorola)

Motorola continues to expand its budget-focused Moto G lineup of smartphones with the latest additions bringing more 5G-ready handsets into the mix. One phone, the Moto G Stylus 5G for 2022, is an encore for last year's stylus-equipped 5G phone, while the other — the simply named Moto G 5G — brings a low-cost 5G alternative to the mix.

It's all in keeping with Motorola's apparent philosophy for the Moto G series — if this phone doesn't speak directly to you, we'll come out with one that does. And with newcomers delivering 5G connectivity for less than $500, budget-minded shoppers are unlikely to complain.

Here's what you need to know about the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) and the Moto G 5G before both 5G phones arrive on retail shelves in the coming weeks.

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) and Moto G 5G specs

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)Moto G 5G
Price$499$399
Screen size6.8-inch FHD+ LCD6.5-inch HD+ LCD
Refresh rate120Hz90Hz
CPUSnapdragon 695 5GMediaTek Dimensity 700
RAM4GB/6GB/8GB4GB/6GB
Storage128GB/256GB64GB/256GB
Expandableyes, up to 1TByes, up to 1TB
Rear cameras50MP wide; 8MP ultrawide; 2MP depth50MP wide, 2MP depth, 2MP macro
Front camera16MP13MP
Battery size5,000 mAh5,000 mAh
Size6.6 x 3.0 x 0.37 inches6.5 x 3.0 x 0.37
Weight7.6 ounces7.2 ounces
ColorsSteel Blue, Seafoam GreenMoonlight Gray

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) and Moto G 5G price and availability

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) arrives first, landing in stores on April 28, though you can pre-order the phone as of today (April 21). The new version costs $499 — a $100 markup from the version of the Moto G Stylus 5G released last year. (We'll get into what's different with this year's phone in just a moment.)

You can order the Moto G Stylus 5G through Motorola.com, as well as retail sites including Best Buy, Walmart and Walmart. Additionally, Motorola says wireless carriers such as Cricket Wireless, Dish, Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless, Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Google Fi and Optimum Mobile will offer the new Moto G Stylus 5G in the coming months.

The inclusion of Verizon in that list of wireless carriers is noteworthy, as it means the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) works with that carrier's mmWave-based 5G towers, though you'll need to buy your phone directly from Verizon for that compatibility. The unlocked Moto G Stylus 5G supports sub-6GHz and C-band.

As for the Moto G 5G, it inherits the $399 price occupied by last year's version of the Moto G Stylus 5G. It's arriving unlocked at Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon.com and Motorola.com on May 19. In the coming months, Cricket Wireless, Dish, Boost Mobile, Republic Wireless, AT&T, Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, US Cellular, Consumer Cellular, Google Fi and Optimum Mobile are among the carriers set to offer the Moto G 5G.

As you might have guessed from that list, the Moto G 5G only works with sub-6GHz 5G-based networks, though like the Moto G Stylus 5G, this phone can take advantage of new C-Band 5G spectrum, too.

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022): What you need to know

If upon hearing about a new Moto G Stylus, your first thought was, "Didn't Motorola just release one of those?" you certainly know your budget phones. The Moto G Stylus (2022) did, in fact, come out earlier this year, but that was an LTE-only model. This is the 5G version.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2022

(Image credit: Motorola)

More importantly, the latest Moto G Stylus 5G runs on a Snapdragon 695 5G chipset. Not only is that more powerful than the Snapdragon 480 5G in the last Moto G Stylus 5G, it's a lot better than the Helio G88 in the LTE version of this year's Stylus. Since that was our biggest complaint about the phone — performance was very laggy — we expect the Moto G Stylus 5G to be better equipped to handle any apps you throw at it.

The screen's more impressive, too. As with last year's phone, you get a 6.8-inch panel with FHD+ resolution, but this time around, Motorola has bumped the refresh rate to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and more immersive experiences. A 5,000 mAh battery figures to provide the multi-day battery life we've come to expect from Moto G phones, even with the power demands of a fast-refreshing display.

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) comes with a trio of cameras, highlighted by the 50MP main lens and its optical image stabilization — a feature that Motorola believes will cut down on blurry shots. The 8MP ultrawide angle camera offers a 118-degree field of view, allowing you to capture four times the background details that you'd get using the main lens. It also doubles as a macro lens, with a dedicated depth sensor rounding out the rear cameras. 

Up front, the 16MP selfie cam claims to offer a 4x improvement in low-light sensitivity. That should translate into better self-portraits when the lights are dim.

The highlight of the Moto G Stylus 5G remains the phone's built-in stylus, which continues to be housed within a slot in the phone's frame. Motorola says that 95% of Moto G Stylus owners regularly use the built-in input device to jot down notes, create sketches and edit photos.

A new capability in this year's phone creates Live Messages that you can text to recipients. Any sketch you make with Live Messages will appear as a line-by-line animation when you send it via popular messaging apps. It's not the most productivity-boosting feature, but it does add a nice personal touch to the Moto G Stylus 5G's bag of tricks

One thing we wish Motorola would add to these phones is lengthier software support. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is on tap to get just one software update, which would be the Android 13 update Google is introducing later this year. (That's the same upgrade policy for the Moto G 5G, too.) Motorola continues to insist that a single software update is sufficient for customers looking for these kind of budget phones, but in our viewpoint, it severely limits the value of what otherwise is a promising low-cost handset.

Moto G 5G: What you need to know

At $399, the Moto G 5G boasts less impressive specs than the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022). The appeal here is a phone with 5G connectivity that won't break the bank.

Moto G 5g

(Image credit: Motorola)

Motorola turns to a MediaTek Dimensity 700 system-on-chip to power the Moto G 5G. Given the track record we've had in testing other MediaTek-powered Moto G phones in the past six months — everything from the Moto G Pure to Moto G Power — that makes us a little nervous. Those phones have all exhibited noticeable lag in our testing, particularly when it comes to launching apps like the camera app. We're hoping the Moto G 5G bucks that trend, but we're not confident. For what it's worth, we got mixed results from the Dimensity 700-powered Realme 8 5G when we tested that phone last year.

The refresh rate on the Moto G 5G's 6.5-inch panel can't match the 120Hz pace set by the Moto G Stylus 5G. But at 90Hz, it's still faster than you'd expect from a budget device, most of which are stuck with a fixed 60Hz refresh rate. The Moto G 5G has that same 5,000 mAh battery as the Moto G Stylus 5G, so battery life shouldn't be an issue.

The Moto G 5G lacks the Moto G Stylus 5G's ultrawide angle camera, instead featuring macro and depth sensors alongside the 50MP main camera. There's no optical image stabilization on this camera, either.

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) and Moto G 5G outlook

From what we've seen so far of both phones, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) looks like a beefed-up version of last year's phone — whether it's worth the $100 premium over the 2021 remains to be seen once we've had a chance to test the phone. Speaking of value, the Moto G 5G seems to appeal most to bargain hunters who want a 5G-ready device but don't want to pay dearly for it. As with the new Moto G Stylus, we'll see what kind of performance the Moto G 5G delivers at that price once we get our hands on the latest addition to the growing Moto G family.

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.