Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Which is Motorola's finest notetaker?

Just over a year after introducing the Moto G Stylus (2021), Motorola followed up with the Moto G Stylus (2022), a purported upgraded version of the phone. 

But when looking at the Moto G Stylus 2022 vs. Moto G Stylus 2021, is it really worth the upgrade? That will depend on where your priorities lie, how you use the phone, and which features are most important. To help you break this down, we compare and contrast the two phones.

Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Outward appearance

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Moto G Stylus 2022

(Image credit: Motorola)

The defining feature for both these phones is that they come with a built-in stylus for easily sketching, taking notes, editing photos, highlighting text, and more with better precision than you’d get with your finger alone. This is especially useful for students, mobile workers, and those who have larger fingers and tend to find manipulating the small screen of a mobile device cumbersome. 

Both have 6.8-inch Max Vision FHD+ displays that stretch from the edges of the screen, so you get as much screen real estate as possible. But the Moto G Stylus (2022) has a higher resolution screen at 2460x1080, versus just 2400x1080 for the Moto G Stylus (2021). It’s a nominal difference, but a 90Hz refresh rate in the Moto G Stylus (2022) is what will really stand out, allowing for a much smoother scrolling experience. 

The Moto G Stylus (2022) comes in Metallic Rose or Twilight Blue, and features My UX for gesture controls, customized entertainment experiences, and more. With a water-repellent housing, it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack — an important inclusion for those who still like using wired headphones, even just as a back-up — along with Type-C USB charging. 

The 5,000 mAh battery lasts for up to two days, and it comes with a 10W charger. With 128GB of memory, you can expand this up to 512GB with an optional microSD memory card.

Moto G Stylus 2021

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

By comparison, the Moto G Stylus (2021) comes in Aurora Black or Aurora White, which are much more elegant and classic color options. It, too, has the My UX operating system, water-repellent design, and 3.5mm headphone jack, along with USB Type-C charging. However, it has a smaller 4,000mAh battery, also with 10W charging, meaning theoretically the phone might have to be charged slightly more often. It has the same built-in 128GB memory as well, which is also expandable up to 512GB.

Moto G Power (2022) vs. Moto G Power (2021): Breaking down the specs

Next, we’ll look at two important aspects, processing power and cameras. But first, let’s break down the core specifications of the two phones.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Moto G Stylus (2022)Moto G Stylus (2021)
ColorsMetallic Rose, Twilight BlueAurora Black, Aurora White
Screen Size & Type6.8-inch Max Vision Full HD+ 6.8-inch Max Vision Full HD+
Screen Resolution2460x10802400x1080
Operating SystemAndroid 11Android 10
ProcessorMediaTek Helio G88Qualcomm Snapdragon 678
Storage128GB (Expandable to 512GB)128GB (Expandable to 512GB)
Cameras50MP rear, 2MP macro, 8MP ultra-wide, 16MP front 48MP rear, 2MP macro, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth, 16MP front
Water-ResistanceYes (Repellent)Yes (Repellent)
Battery & Charging5,000mAH, 10W4,000mAH, 10W
Headphone JackYesYes
ChargingType-C USBType-C USB
Connectivity4G, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi4G, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi
Dimensions170.21 x 75.9 x 9.45mm169.8 x 77.9 x 9mm
Weight216 grams213 grams

These phones are quite similar, indeed, but a closer look reveals differences that could sway you towards keeping the older model. Or, conversely, wanting to upgrade to the newer one.

Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Processing power

Moto G Stylus 2022

(Image credit: Motorola)

The Moto G Stylus (2022) runs on Android and will likely only get one upgrade to Android 12. It runs on the MediaTek Helio G88 processor, which some might consider a downgrade from the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the Moto G Stylus (2022). Overall, Snapdragon processors tend to run better for things like games and apps. 

If you aren’t a huge gamer and aren’t planning on using the phone for any bandwidth-intensive tasks, this might not matter. However, it’s an important thing to note. As is the inclusion of 6GB RAM in this model, a major factor for multitaskers who need as much RAM as possible to manage multiple windows and data-intensive tasks. 

Additionally, the Moto G Stylus (2022) has some neat additional features, like a screenshot editor for enhancing any image, Moto Note for easily jotting down a quick note when something comes to mind (without having to unlock the phone first), and coloring book that lets you fill in areas on the screen with a color of your choice, easily switching among different ones. 

Moto G Stylus 2021 Review

(Image credit: Future)

Some might prefer the Snapdragon 678 processor of the Moto G Stylus (2021), finding that it better meets their needs and makes sticking with this phone ideal. However, also consider that with only one possible OS update, the most you’ll get from this phone is Android 11. With Android 12 already out, that will quickly set you back a few upgrades come next year, which might be enough to sway your decision. 

With 4GB RAM, you won’t get as seamless an experience with the Moto G Stylus (2021) as you would with the newer version. And there aren’t any added “cool” features worth writing home about. 

Neither phone supports NFC for tap-to-pay, which might be a small annoyance for anyone who loves using that feature. It should be noted that both are also 4G devices which, and while it's not completely outdated yet, that puts you a step behind the growing 5G coverage.

Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Let’s take some photos!

Moto G Stylus 2022 photos

(Image credit: Motorola)

The camera systems are fairly similar to one another in these two smartphones. The Moto G Stylus (2022) has a 50MP camera system that allows for capturing great low-light shots, as well as crisp close-ups. The ultra-wide-angle lens means you can fit more in each shot as well. 

Along with the 50MP rear camera is an 8MP, 118° field-of-view camera, depth sensor, and 2MP camera, as well as a 16MP front camera for selfies and more. It can also shoot FHD resolution video 30/60 FPS. 

Enjoy plenty of different shooting modes, from night vision to portrait and panorama, along with AI features like smart composition, shot optimization, auto smile capture, and even Google Lens integration. There’s a built-in speaker and smart PA, as well as two microphones. 

Looking over to the Moto G Stylus (2021), it has a slightly lesser 48MP camera system with quad pixel technology. It includes macro vision at 2MP, an 8MP wide-angle camera with the same 118° field-of-view, 2MP depth sensor, and 16MP front camera. Video can also be captured at FHD, 30 FPS. 

You’ll see many of the same photo shooting modes, including smart composition, auto smile capture, and Google Lens support. It has front-ported speakers and two mics as well. 

Both work with Google Assistant for voice control while using the camera and for other purposes. There aren’t any major marked differences between these phones when it comes to the built-in cameras and features.

Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Should you upgrade?

Moto G Stylus (2021)

(Image credit: Future)

While it can be tempting to step up every time a new version of your favorite phone comes out, sometimes it’s OK to skip an upgrade cycle or two (or three). In the case of the Moto G Stylus, you might want to do just that. 

Looking at the Moto G Stylus (2022) vs. Moto G Stylus (2021), there’s no pressing reason to upgrade. In fact, in some cases, you might actually prefer buying the older model if you’re looking for a basic and affordable phone to use. 

One reason some might want the Moto G Stylus (2021) over the Moto G Stylus (2022) is the processor: Some simply prefer Snapdragon over MediaTek, finding it meets their heavy needs better. There are also more cameras in the Moto G Stylus (2021) which might make you want to stick with that one. The exterior colors are also more muted, ideal for someone who doesn’t want something more flashy (though you should protect either with a case anyway). 

Now, on to the reasons to upgrade or get the Moto G Stylus (2022) instead. Most notably is the operating system: You’ll be able to upgrade it to Android 12 and it comes with Android 11 out of the box. The Moto G Stylus (2021) is two OS updates behind, and even if and when you can upgrade, you’ll still be one behind. Assuming another update comes by the end of 2022 or early 2023, you’ll be falling into seriously outdated territory with the Moto G Stylus (2021). 

The Moto G Stylus (2022) also has a bigger and better battery, improved screen refresh rate, and slightly better screen resolution; plus neat add-on features like Moto Note that you might find come in really handy. 

Realistically, if you already own the Moto G Stylus (2021), hang on to it for now. If you really want to upgrade and stick with the Motorola family of devices, consider going with the Moto Stylus 5G instead. The 5G option provides both upgrades in design and features, along with 5G connectivity, to bring you into the latest and greatest.

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.