Considering the price of most new phones these days, $200 is a drop in the bucket. But if you're in the market for something new and only have $200 to spend, it's unlikely that you'll want to pick the new Moto G Power (2022).
The best Android phones under $200 are usually well-rounded, but Motorola's latest entry into its G Power series focuses a bit too much on an improved display at the expense of performance. Motorola eschewed Qualcomm for a MediaTek chipset this year, and the dip in performance compared to other Moto phones is painfully noticeable. You'll wait seconds for your phone to respond to inputs or open apps, and you'll rarely notice the 90Hz display upgrade because the processor just can't deliver that refresh rate.
Thankfully, the battery life lives up to the series's namesake: it delivers a solid three days on a single charge. But for anyone who wanted an upgrade to one of our favorite budget phones with epic battery life — that's the Moto G Power (2020) — 2022 will prove another disappointing year. It's a shame, too, because this phone's specs and features are pretty impressive for this price range (aside from the chip).
Moto G Power (2022)
Bottom line: What could have been the best budget phone Motorola ever made is enormously hampered by its processor, which can't keep up with the times. 3-day battery life, a great fingerprint scanner, and support for up to 512GB of expandable storage are, ultimately, reduced to ashes by the lag you'll constantly have to endure while using this phone.
- Excellent battery life
- Low price
- Great fingerprint scanner
- Expandable storage support
- Surprisingly great camera at this price
- Unbelievably slow at everything
- The display seldom feels like 90Hz
- No 5G
- No NFC
- Very slow charging
Moto G Power (2022): Price and availability
The Moto G Power (2022) is the second Moto G Power model to have launched this year, the first being the Moto G Power (2021). Motorola does not use 2022 in the name of the phone but, given its very late 2021 release, it's the easiest way to differentiate between it and the model with the same name that was released earlier this year.
The Moto G Power (2022) is available at Republic Wireless and Metro by T-Mobile in early December. The model with 64GB of storage retails for $200, while $250 will get you 128GB of internal storage. All other specs are identical between both models.
Motorola announced that it will be selling the Moto G Power (2022) for $189.99 for a limited time when you switch to Metro by T-Mobile. There was no given end date on this promotion, though, so it's not clear when the $10 promotional discount is over.
Motorola will also be selling the Moto G Power (2022) at AT&T, Boost Mobile, Cricket, Google Fi, Uscellular, Verizon, and Xfinity Mobile sometime in early 2022. An unlocked model will also be available at Best Buy, Amazon.com, and Motorola.com in early 2022.
Moto G Power (2022): Great camera, even better battery life
Battery life is the defining feature of the Moto G Power (2022), without a doubt. Like its predecessors — which derived their "power" name from the size of the battery — the Moto G Power (2022) will get you three full days of usage in most scenarios. If the phone does nothing else well, it's that it delivers upon the promise of multi-day battery life in a way most phones simply can't.
3-day battery life is something you will come to expect.
That, of course, comes at a cost, which I discuss in the section below.
But before we sully the G Power brand's name, I want to highlight a few positive features that'll make you smile every time you use the phone.
You'll love the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
First up is the loud bottom-firing speaker. If you're someone who likes to use speakerphone on calls or just listen to music while the phone sits idly on your desk, the audio quality and strength will pleasantly surprise you. Even at max volume — which got loud enough to make my ears hurt — there's no crackling or popping. It's also surprisingly well-balanced and sounds very clear.
There's even a 3.5mm headphone jack up top and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, both of which I miss dearly on more expensive phones.
The build of the phone, too, is quite solid — despite being built entirely of plastic — with no obvious hollow spots or that cheap feeling of give when pressing as many inexpensive plastic phones can have.
Motorola's software is as good as always — or could be if the processor weren't so terrible — and the clean interface and handy gestures make it easy to find settings and launch your favorite apps and actions without any trouble. I particularly love Motorola's gestures like the double-twist to launch the camera or chop-chop to toggle the flashlight. They really are wonderful.
That 50MP rear camera feels like it's in another class when compared to the processor, too. Most shots I took with it were genuinely impressive for this price point, regularly exceeding my expectations.
The 50MP rear camera regularly exceeded my expectations for this price point.
Its macro camera blew me away as well. It regularly produced excellent results without the motion blur or lens distortion issues many other phones in this price point suffer from.
The front-facing camera was much less impressive but at least produced passable results most of the time.
Moto G Power (2022): What you definitely won't like
When you're adjusting the volume on the phone and the simple slider animation can't keep up, you know there's a problem. $200 isn't much for a phone, but this level of performance is nigh inexcusable for anything but a 10-year-old phone. It's truly quite terrible, and I genuinely hated using the phone almost the entire time I spent reviewing it.
If you don't have the patience of a saint, none of the positive traits of this phone are enough to get you through the grueling pace this phone operates at.
If you don't have the patience of a saint, none of the positive traits of this phone are enough to get you through the grueling pace at which this phone operates. I cannot emphasize this enough. It's bad. Really bad.
At times, performance would kick up and the phone felt a little more "normal" but would regularly drop back down again to the abysmal performance I came to dread. Hopefully, it's just a software issue that Motorola can sort out in time, but I wouldn't put any stock in that for the time being.
The possibilities are there; it does perform well once in a blue moon. It's just that things are so inconsistent and usually end up on the slow side.
Most operations took seconds of waiting to endure through. Launching the camera takes 3-5 seconds on average, while taking a picture results in a full 1-2 second delay after pressing the shutter button, meaning you'll almost assuredly miss any shots you're trying to take with movement.
Because of the abysmal performance, you'd never know that Motorola upgraded the display to a 90Hz panel.
App launching was also terribly slow, especially when the app hadn't been opened recently. Any time you launch something for the first time that day, expect at least 10-15 additional seconds of waiting time before it's even ready to use, and good luck doing anything else on the phone in the meantime.
It's a shame that this part of the experience is so bad because just about every other area of this phone is noteworthy for the price.
Because of the abysmal performance, you'd never know that Motorola upgraded the display to a 90Hz panel. It's entirely possible that the panel regularly runs at 90Hz, but you'd never know because there are so many dropped frames along the way. In reality, it feels more like a 24Hz display most of the time, and that's probably being generous.
That big battery also charges quite slowly thanks to the 10W maximum charging. At least a 10W power brick is included in the box, but it's going to take you several hours to charge this thing up because the battery is so large. Simply put, if you forget to charge the battery — and I wouldn't blame you for forgetting since it lasts 2-3 days on a single charge — there's no way to quick-charge it.
I personally don't care too much, but the Moto G Por (2022) doesn't have 5G or NFC.
The last two negative points are things I don't personally care too much about — especially in the $200 price range — but some folks might find them off-putting. The Moto G Power (2022) has no support for 5G networks, just 4G LTE, and there's also no NFC module inside. That means you can't use this phone for mobile payments if that's something you prefer to do.
Moto G Power (2022): Competition
If your budget for a new phone can stretch to around $240, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G is a better phone in the most important areas. It's faster in every single area, from the processing speed to charging. It's also got NFC and 5G, and while those might not seem to be important to everyone, they're definitely big misses for Motorola in this segment.
If you absolutely must spend $200 or less on a phone this year, there aren't very many superior alternatives. Our list of the best Android phones under $200 is filled with Motorola phones for a reason. They've cornered this market segment with untold numbers of phones and became number 3 in the US because of it.
Moto G Power (2022): Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You're on a US carrier like Verizon and need a very inexpensive phone
- Your biggest concern is very long battery life
- You don't want to spend much money
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't have extreme levels of patience
- You want a camera experience that isn't slower than molasses in a Canadian Winter
- You need NFC for any reason
Even if you're in a pinch and can't afford to spend more than $200 on a smartphone, the Moto G Fast is likely a better use of your money. It's a fairly similar experience in many ways but costs even less, meaning you won't feel like you made a poor purchasing decision.
If Motorola could have chosen a better chipset, or even been able to bump up the chipset it decided to use a bit, the Moto G Power (2022) could have been a real winner. As it stands, the abysmal performance means that the 50MP camera and 90Hz display often go to waste. Instead of this phone, considering trading in your old phone for something better, instead.
Moto G Power (2022)
Bottom line: Epic battery life, a handy 3.5mm headset jack, and 50MP camera, unfortunately, don't make up for the fact that using the Moto G Power (2022) is a frustrating experience almost all the time. The incredibly slow processor negates the 90Hz display upgrade and somehow makes Motorola's wonderful software feel bloated and clunky. Skip this one unless you absolutely have no other alternative.
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