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Moto G Power (2022) review: A step back for Motorola's long-lasting phone

Still a long-lasting phone, the new Moto G Power has a performance problem

Moto G Power 2022 on a bookshelf
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Moto G Power (2022) lasts a long time on a charge and the 64GB model costs less than last year's version. But an under-powered processor leads to laggy app launches, and you may be better off with the 2021 version if you want a long-lasting device without the sluggishness.

Pros

  • +

    Battery lasts all day and then some

  • +

    6.5-inch screen is a pleasure to look at

  • +

    Helpful gesture support

  • +

    More storage in base model

Cons

  • -

    Noticeable lags when launching apps

  • -

    Camera struggles with lighting

  • -

    Dim display

  • -

    Only one Android update

Moto G Power (2022) specs

Starting price: $199
Display: 6.5-inch LCD (1600x720)
Refresh rate: 90Hz
CPU: MediaTek Helio G37
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB, 128GB
microSD: yes, up to 512GB
Rear cameras: 50MP main (f/1.8), 2MP macro (f/2.4), 2MP depth sensor (f/2.4)
Front camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Battery size: 5,000 mAh
Battery life (hrs:mins): 13:15
Size: 6.6 x 3 x 0.37 inches
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Colors: Dark Grove, Ice Blue

The Moto G Power has firmly established itself as the phone to get in Motorola's G Series lineup of budget handsets, and it's easy to understand why. If you want one of the best cheap phones that lasts all day and then some on a single charge, you turn to the Moto G Power, whether it was the 2020 or 2021 versions. With a pitch that straightforward, you can see why Motorola keeps cranking out new versions.

And the beat goes on with the Moto G Power (2022), which arrives not even a year after the Moto G Power (2021) made the scene. Motorola is eager to keep the long-lasting good times rolling. But while the latest Moto G Power still has the lengthy battery life enjoyed by its predecessors, Motorola's made a key change that makes the new phone a less compelling budget option than before.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Price and availability

You can now pre-order the Moto G Power (2022) in advance of the phone's March 18 release. Best Buy (opens in new tab) and Amazon (opens in new tab) are taking orders now, as is Motorola.com (opens in new tab).

You'll pay $199 for the 64GB version of the Moto G Power (2022), which is an improvement over the Moto G Power 2021 — that phone only included 32GB of storage in its $199 version. Motorola also sells a 128GB Moto G Power (2022) for $249. Color choices include Dark Grove and Ice Blue.

Apart from battery life, the low price of the Moto G Power has always been one of its most compelling features. That's especially the case now that you can get a phone with a decent amount of storage for less than $200.

In addition to the retail outlets, you can buy the Moto G Power from Metro by T-Mobile (opens in new tab) and Republic Wireless (opens in new tab). Motorola says the phone will also come to Verizon, Boost Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, AT&T, Cricket, US Cellular, and Google Fi. 

Moto G Power (2022) review: Design and display

There's no mistaking the Moto G Power (2022) for anything other than a budget phone, thanks to its plastic frame. And that's fine — I'm not expecting a $200 looker. At least, the G Power is solidly built, and Motorola tries a few stylistic touches like a spiral pattern on the phone's back case that actually makes it easy to grip.

Back view of Moto G Power 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The rear camera array blends somewhat seamlessly into the back panel, and while the rear fingerprint sensor strays a little too close to the cameras — I prefer it down lower in the center of the phone's back — at least it's very responsive at unlocking the Moto G Power. Up front, the selfie camera is situated in a punch-hole cutout placed in the top-center of the phone's 6.5-inch LCD screen.

About that display: it defies the Moto G Power's budget phone roots by featuring vibrant colors and a 90Hz refresh rate. Most phones in this price range stick with 60Hz. As a result, scrolling is a little bit smoother on the Moto G Power (2022) than on many rivals and its predecessors.

I enjoyed watching video on the phone as well. Steaming Moana on Disney Plus, I was struck by the purples, pinks, and oranges of the sky stretching across the shimmering Pacific Ocean; the strands of Moana's hair blowing in the breeze were easy to spot, too. According to our tests, the Moto G Plus (2022) captured 94.6% of the sRGB color spectrum — the equally low-priced OnePlus Nord N200 5G registered 160.7% — but I thought the phone recreated those colors well. They're certainly accurate, as evidenced by the 0.23 Delta-E rating we recorded for the Moto G Power; for context, the OnePlus Nord N200 had a 0.26 rating. (The closer to zero, the more accurate the colors.)

Moto G Power 2022 showing a scene from Moana

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I only had a couple complaints about the display on the Moto G Power (2022). With an average brightness of 407 nits, it's pretty dim. (For context, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is brighter, at 485 nits.) As a consequence, on bright, sunny days, you're going to need to crank that display up to maximum brightness, and you'll still have a hard time making out details on the Moto G Power's panel. 

Also, like other phones in the Moto G family, Motorola has given this one a chunky bezel at the bottom of the display, which makes the 6.5-inch screen feel more cramped than it should be.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Cameras

Not much has changed on the camera front since the Moto G Power (2021). On the 2022 model, Motorola has bumped the sensor on the main camera to 50MP (up from 48MP), but you still have the same macro camera and depth sensor that the last Moto G Power offered. That's not the worst thing in the world, as the older Moto G Power generally produced serviceable if not spectacular shots — certainly nothing you'd be embarrassed to post or share.

Moto G Power 2022 rear cameras

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For the most part, the Moto G Power (2022) yields the good-not-great results of its predecessors, though this phone seemed to struggle a little more with color and tone than past Motorola camera phones. For photo comparisons, I tested it against a Pixel 4a 5G — a tough challenge for the Moto G Power since Google's handset was one of the best camera phones on a budget until the Pixel 5a came along. But I think it illustrates the sacrifices you sometimes make with picture quality by opting for a cheaper phone.

One of my neighbors has gone a little crazy with the holiday decorations, and I think the Moto G Power does a fine job capturing the scene, with a bright, vibrant image that shows off the different colored lights and allows the inflatables in the background to stand out. But check out that snowman in the middle of the shot — he's washed out, as the Moto G Power struggled with the shadows cast over the yard. The Pixel 4a 5G shot is darker and less colorful, but more balanced, and the details of each snowman are more visible.

Lighting conditions also proved tricky for the Moto G Power when we move indoors under the unflattering lights of my kitchen. The spatchcocked turkey in the Moto G Power shot looks somewhat jaundiced, as there's a yellow hue to the photo. The Pixel 4a 5G produces a warm photo that compensates for the light and faithfully recreates the crispy skin and mahogany tones of this roast turkey.

I think the Moto G Power did a credible job photographing this Christmas wreath hanging on our front door when using the camera's Night Vision mode. You can make out the individual lights, and the pine needles look pretty striking in the shadows. But there's a reason Google is the king of night shots — it does a better job emphasizing the light so that you can see the greenness of the wreath bathed in the white light emanating from inside the house.

If I was disappointed by any shot the Moto G Power took, it was this picture of my daughter. Motorola includes a dedicated depth sensor for portrait shots, and yet the left half of my daughter's face looks somewhat fuzzy and not as focused as the right half. The blur effect is OK, but if you zoom in, you see that strands of her hair got caught in the background blur. Her freckles are washed out, too. The Pixel 4a 5G shot is handled far more successfully, with the actual subject of the shot in sharp focus.

Speaking of wasted lenses, I continue to believe that phone makers would be better off skimping on the number of cameras than including a dedicated macro lens like the Moto G Power does. This close-up of a flower in my backyard is all right — it's certainly more detailed than the Pixel 4a 5G's shot. (Because the Pixel lacks its own macro camera, I got up close and switched to the ultrawide angle lens; that turned out to produce a not very compelling photo, in all honesty.) That said, the macro shot produced by the Moto G Power doesn't have a sharp focus and fails to call out the details on the petal. You have to ask yourself what's the point.

I'm more satisfied with what the Moto G Power (2022)'s 8MP front camera did with this self-portrait. It's an accurate recreation of my face, even if the facial smoothing is a little over-aggressive. Once again, the Pixel 4a 5G produces a warmer shot, which some people might prefer, but I see nothing wrong with how the Moto G Power handled the job.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Performance

As with the Moto G Pure, the new Moto G Power turns to MediaTek for its chipset. In the case of the Moto G Power, a MediaTek Helio G37 is running the show. It's probably not a coincidence that the same problems I experienced with the Moto G Pure's performance are also present in the Moto G Power (2022).

While not as laggy as the Moto G Pure — there's some high praise — there's still a noticeable delay between when you tap on an app and when it launches. This is especially true with the camera app, where I can sometimes count all the way up to three Mississippi from the time I launch the app to when it's actually ready to take a photo. You can play demanding games such as PUBG Mobile on the Moto G Power (2022), but you'll spot lags and hiccups as the phone struggles with the graphics. It's not enough to foul up gameplay, but it definitely does not make for an immersive experience.

Benchmarks reveal more about the performance story. In Geekbench 5, the new Moto G Power posted single- and multicore scores of 177 and 1,011. Those are actually worse than what Moto G Power (2021) and its Snapdragon 662 system-on-chip produced when we tested that phone earlier this year and got scores of 314 and 1,437, respectively. Essentially, Motorola has taken a big step backward with performance on this phone, after it previous delivered a pretty respectable showing for the price.

Front view of Moto G Power 2022

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Moto G Power (2022) lags behind other comparable phones, such as the Snapdragon 480 5G-powered OnePlus Nord N200. That phone posted Geekbench scores of 508 and 1,602. On the Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited graphics test from 3DMark, the Nord N200's score of 2,562 trounced the Moto G Power (2022)'s 544 result.

While some members of the Moto G family have added 5G support — the Moto G Stylus 5G is the best example — the Moto G Power (2022) remains an LTE phone. That's not likely to concern bargain hunters at this stage, though there are plenty of inexpensive phones from Samsung, OnePlus and — yes — Motorola that don't skimp on 5G connectivity.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Battery life and charging

If the Moto G Power's performance is dismal, especially when compared to its predecessors, at least it still provides the long-lasting battery life we've come to expect from this family of phones. On our battery test, in which we have a phone surf the web continuously over cellular (T-Mobile LTE in this case), the Moto G Power (2022) lasted 13 hours and 15 minutes before running out of power. Turning off its 90Hz refresh rate improved that time only slightly to 13 hours and 20 minutes.

Neither time matches what the Moto G Power (2021) and Moto G Power (2020) did on our battery test. But it's still the third-best time we've seen in the last 18 months. Only the Nubia RedMagic 6 stands between the Moto G Power (2022) and its predecessor on our best phone battery life list.

Moto G Power 2022 plugged in

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It is good that the Moto G Power lasts a long time on a charge, because recharging the phone is not exactly a sprint, thanks to Motorola capping charging speed at 10W. After 30 minutes of charging a drained Moto G Power (2022), the phone was back to 20% power. The OnePlus Nord N200, which features 18W charging, gets back to 32% in that time.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Software and special features

The standard praise we have for Motorola's My UX interface applies to the Moto G Power (2022). My UX is a clean implementation of Android, and the few additions Motorola makes are welcome ones, such as gesture shortcuts to take screenshots, split your screen or turn on the flashlight. Wallpapers and styles let you personalize the look of your phone.

Moto G Power 2022 camera view

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our usual criticism of Motorola's update policy applies, too. The Moto G Power (2022) ships with Android 11, and all you can expect from Motorola is an update to Android 12, which is already out. You'll get bi-monthly security updates for two years, but the lack of Android updates beyond a version that was released two months ago does not speak well to this phone's longevity.

Moto G Power (2022) review: Verdict

If you want a long-lasting phone above any other feature, the Moto G Power has been the device to get, and the 2022 model lives up to that reputation. Unfortunately, the MediaTek chipset powering the Moto G Power (2022) is a big step back from previous editions, making it feel more like a phone that sacrifices solid features for a lower price.

Further complicating matters is the fact that the Moto G Power (2021) is still available and — because of its more powerful processor — a better option for a long-lasting phone than its successor. Yes, the Moto G Power (2021) will be stuck on Android 11, while buyers of the 2022 edition can expect an Android 12 update. But the 2021 phone didn't suffer from the noticeable delays in app launches that I saw when testing the Moto G Power (2022).

Put another way, if you were to lay down the two most recent Moto G Power models in front of me, I know which one I'd pick up. And in this case, newer does not mean better.

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.

  • Mikey21G
    I agree about the processor. I have the Moto G7 Power, and my Geekbench scores were 251 and 1072, which is better than this phone. Keep in mind the g7 power is 3 yrs older than the Power (2022). Don't buy this phone at all
    Reply