Motorola Moto G22 review: Great price if you like ’em basic
Quick verdict: The Motorola Moto G22 is one of the company’s more basic phones. But it does have surprisingly good battery life for a budget handset.
- Better than average battery life
- Runs Android 12
- Slow for anything but single apps
- Poor GPU performance
- No Android updates in its future
Power, storage and battery
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
Motorola's latest G series phone, the Motorola Moto G22 certainly fits the bill, retailing in Australia for just $299. But at that price point, you're always playing with compromises and very specific features.
Outside the inclusion of a 90Hz capable display, there's not all that much about the Motorola Moto G22 that's remarkable. Like most other phones in this price range, it's fairly slow and the design and cameras are ordinary.
While the Motorola Moto G22 provides fair value for money, that's really about it.
Design: The 6.5-inch 90Hz display is fair for this price
Like Motorola's more pricey Edge handsets, the Moto G22 isn't a particularly visually striking phone. You're faced with a 6.5-inch LCD display where some makers are offering AMOLEDs in this space, but the G22's party trick is 90Hz capability.
Faster refresh rates are typically welcome in any phone, because they make for smoother animations, whether you're scrolling web pages, checking your social media networks or playing games. The Moto G22 allows for automatic switching, or a fixed 90Hz or 60Hz rate; you'd choose the latter if you want to conserve battery life.
Almost everything else about the Motorola Moto G22's design could have fallen out of a mobile phone factory building simulator game. If those don't exist, somebody should totally make one – with a side mounted fingerprint sensor/power button beneath volume controls, USB-C charging and a top mounted headphone jack. That's practically the default design for cheap phones right now.
If you care about colours, the Moto G22 sells in "Cosmic Black" or "Pearl White", or as I call them – black or white. Like many cheaper phones, you do at least get a simple plastic case in the box.
Which means that across my review period, I've frequently been pulling a very plain plastic lump out of my bag or jeans pocket. It's not huge in the hand, but it equally doesn't have anything that makes it feel particularly special either.
All of that might sound critical, but it really just reinforces that the Moto G22 is a straight shooting phone, with little that's either exceptionally good or exceptionally bad in design terms. Nobody's going to compliment you on its smooth style, but they're not going to laugh at your colour choices either.
Motorola Moto G22 review: The camera has lots of lenses, but ordinary results
At the rear of the Moto G22, Motorola packs in 4 rear sensors. The primary camera has a 50MP f/1.8 sensor, alongside an 8MP 118 degree f/2.2 ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 and finally a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor.
Naturally, you'll only be shooting with 3 of those sensors, because as the name suggests, the depth sensor simply creates depth maps for focus effects. At the front, when it's time to capture selfies, you'll be shooting with a 16MP f/2.45 sensor.
Like many of its competitors, Motorola offers an AI-led "portrait" mode for the front camera despite lacking any secondary depth sensor. The results are… not good, with lots of fake looking soft focus that just feels unnatural.
The rest of the Motorola Moto G22 again follows the path of offering fair performance, but absolutely nothing that you wouldn't see on other competing phones. If you push it in any way, whether it's fast motion or low light, you'll see the quality tumble off a cliff.
Like everyone else's macro lenses, while it's feasible to get fair macro shots with lots of patience, you'll be deleting lots of digital junk along the way when you do.
For everyday shooting, you absolutely should assume fair quality shots out of even budget phones, and the Motorola Moto G22 does jump that bar, albeit by a slender margin. Its own inbuilt camera app is nice and easy to use if you're not a camera pro, but you won't get those pro results out of it in any case.
Motorola Moto G22 sample photos
Performance: Helio G37 is slow, and that's all you get
Motorola keeps the price of the Moto G22 low by using one of MediaTek's low performance, low cost chipsets underneath the hood. Specifically, it's the MediaTek Helio G37, a system I've only so far hit with one other handset, TCL's underwhelming TCL 30+.
The Moto G22 matches the TCL 30+ step for step, with a Helio G37, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although to its credit, it does so for a full $100 less than TCL's offering.
Still, having been underwhelmed by my first taste of the Helio G37, I was keen to see whether Motorola could eke more performance from it, given its claims of "smoother performance".
First up, straight line benchmark processor performance, as measured by Geekbench 5's CPU test. Here's how the Motorola Moto G22 compares against a range of similarly priced handsets at the time of writing:
I'm starting to wonder what Motorola thinks the Motorola Moto G22 is smoother than, because it's not the rest of the phones in this price space.
It's much the same story for the Moto G22's IMG PowerVR GE8320 GPU, testing with 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test. The Moto G22 doesn't have the grunt for 3DMark Wild Life, but that's not an uncommon issue for cheaper handsets.
Benchmarks can give decent comparative illustrations, but there's nothing like actually using a phone to get an idea of how well it runs. Here the Moto G22 actually surprised me a little.
No, it didn't suddenly deliver rocket ship performance way beyond its benchmarks – this is still a slow phone best suited for single basic smartphone tasks – but it managed it a little better than I'd expect, especially coming off testing the very similar TCL 30+.
I suspect that's down to the fact that Motorola's launcher is relatively lightweight on top of Android 12. So many cheap phones don't keep up with current Android and its optimisations, but the G22 has done so – at least for now.
Motorola's promise with regards to the Moto G22 is quite blunt, noting that it won't get any Android OS upgrades, but it will get 2 years of security updates. That might sound bad, but many of Motorola's budget competitors are generally worse in this regard, shipping older Android variants with no promises of future upgrades. Motorola still has some work to do to catch up to Nokia in this regard, however.
Motorola Moto G22 review: Better than average battery life
I've been reviewing smartphones for so long now that I can remember when Motorola's first 5,000mAh phone was a revelation, way ahead of the market at that time.
That time has passed, so the 5,000mAh power pack in the Motorola Moto G22 is now no longer anything special in a specifications sense. Motorola does make one bold claim for the Motorola Moto G22 in battery terms, claiming 37.8 hours of battery life.
That's such a weirdly specific figure, especially when most of its competitors will talk in terms of days and nearly always with the qualifier "up to" slapped ahead of their claims.
So can the Motorola Moto G22 meet that bold battery claim?
The answer is… maybe, but really only if you want a phone that you don't do much with at all. Like any other smartphone, usage is the key way you drain the battery down, and in my review period I certainly could get multi-day battery life from the Moto G22 – but equally I could kill it stone dead within a day if I was using it a lot.
To give some degree of comparative picture of its battery life, I ran the Motorola Moto G22 through Finder's standard battery test:
Typically a phone has to score above 90% in that test to stand an average chance of lasting through a day's usage, and every percentage point above it is a big improvement. Here the Moto G22 does score well above its competition, even if I do have my doubts about the everyday reality of that 37.8-hour battery life.
When it comes time to recharge, the Moto G22 ships with a simple 10W charger, although it can take up to 15W if you've got a faster charger already. That will improve its battery, but not particularly rapidly.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you want an inexpensive smartphone with a clean Android user experience.
- Don't buy it if you need the fastest phone you can get in this price space.
At just $299, you're always going to see some level of performance compromise. That's just the nature of that price space, and it's nearly always a question of which compromises matter to you.
The Motorola Moto G22 only really excels in this space in terms of battery life. Otherwise its design, cameras and performance are all ordinary, verging on poor in some cases.
I'd certainly advocate for it above the TCL 30+, if only because it's a full $100 cheaper. However, the brutal nature of the Android smartphone space is that bargains really do abound, and it'd be wise to shop around, and consider which compromises are going to matter to you more than others.
Motorola Moto G22 review: Pricing and availability
The Motorola Moto G22 sells in Australia for $299.
Power, storage and battery
How we tested
I tested the Motorola Moto G22 over a fortnight, running it through Finder's suite of benchmark applications and using it for day to day applications, including social media, email, web browsing and Android gaming. All industry benchmarks were run 3 times to generate an average score, because it's not uncommon to see a little variance across smaller benchmark runs. The Motorola Moto G22 used in the review was provided by Motorola.
I've been reviewing technology gadgets and gizmos for more than 2 decades now, including just about every smartphone that's been sold in Australia during that time. Across my career I've been a multi-time Australian IT Journalist award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist, and either a contributor to or editor of the country's largest and most prestigious technology media outlets. I also really like cats, but that's probably not relevant here.