Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review: Finally, a Motorola phone I can recommend

The newest Moto G Stylus 5G benefits from a Qualcomm processor and a high refresh-rate display.

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)
(Image: © Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Android Central Verdict

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is a well-performing mid-ranger that will give you plenty of bang for your buck, but Motorola still has a few lessons to learn.

Pros

  • +

    The price is just right

  • +

    It has NFC

  • +

    Decent camera setup

  • +

    Built-in stylus

  • +

    Great performance

Cons

  • -

    Just one major upgrade

  • -

    Horrible selfie camera

  • -

    Slow charging

  • -

    Finicky audio setup

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Motorola has a lot of phones, like a lot, to the point where you can barely throw a rock in a random direction without hitting one of Motorola's budget smartphones. The company has generally gone for a quantity-over-quality approach, pumping out as many affordable smartphones as possible. They're often underpowered, frustrating, and frankly uninspired, particularly the phones Motorola launches in the US. However, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) actually surprised me.

Motorola's latest stylus-touting smartphone manages to hit the right balance of performance and affordability. Despite some flaws, I found myself quite pleased with the device and rank this among the best budget Android phones of 2022.

Pricing and availability

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Motorola prices the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) at $500 for its highest configuration, putting it squarely in the mid-range territory.

You can purchase the device at Motorola's website, which will snag double the storage at 512GB, thanks to a pre-installed 256GB microSD card. You can also find the phone at retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon, the latter of which also includes a microSD card. Buying it unlocked ensures that it will work on T-Mobile and Verizon's 5G networks. However, Verizon has recently begun selling the phone in its stores for $100 less, although this configuration sports half the amount of internal storage and just 4GB of RAM. That said, Verizon's model also supports the carrier's new C-Band 5G and mmWave.

What I like

Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

Off the bat, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) looks like just about every other Motorola phone that the company launched this year. Sure, that screams uninspired, but I feel like the design is fairly appropriate for this phone at this price point. It has this nice blue sheen that seems to nicely reflect light and makes a phone look a tad more expensive than it actually is. 

On the front, you'll find the 6.8-inch display with a hole punch camera and bezels that manage not to offend. It's an LCD, so it's not quite as vibrant as an AMOLED display, but I find the display shows images and video quite adequate, especially considering its high 120Hz refresh rate — a first for the Moto G lineup in the U.S. The phone also has a nice heft to it, and it feels excellent in hand.

While it's nowhere near flagship-quality, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) does have some pretty decent specs. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, up to 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256 GB of expandable storage, a large 5,000mAh battery, and of course, a built-in stylus (more on that later). The end result of this configuration is a mid-range phone that performs quite well.

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CategoryMoto G Stylus 5G (2022)
Display6.8-inch FHD+ Max Vision Display, LCD, 120Hz
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
Storage128GB/256GB, expandable
Memory4GB/6GB/8GB
Rear Camera 150MP wide-angle, f/1.9, 0.64μm, OIS, Quad Pixel
Rear Camera 28MP ultrawide, 118° FOV, Macro Vision
Rear Camera 32MP depth, f/2.4, 1.75μm
Selfie Camera16MP, f/2.2, 1.0μm, Quad Pixel
Battery & Charging5,000mAh, TurboPower 10, Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Connectivity5G (sub-6, mmWave), Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 5, NFC
Dimensions168.9 x 75.8 x 9.3mm, 215g
ColorsSteel Blue, Seafoam Green

During daily use, the phone shows very little in the way of hiccups or slowdowns, even with the display locked at 120Hz, although you can switch this to an auto mode that lets AI handle the refresh rate. The phone never really seems to falter, even while playing several graphics-intensive games at higher frame rates. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) features a game dashboard that lets you boost the performance of your gaming; even with that setting enabled, the phone performs like a champ. I haven't noticed it get too warm either, something that I've experienced with some flagship phones like the Galaxy S22.

Did I mention this phone has NFC? That seems like a weird thing to get excited about, but it's not exactly a given for Motorola phones, particularly its mid-range devices, so I count this as a definite win.

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

The phone runs Android 12 out of the box, and because Motorola likes to keep things simple, you'll find the experience to be pretty much identical to what you'll find on a Pixel smartphone. However, My UX does have some excellent additions that complement the software pretty well, and you can find them all in the Moto app. This is one of my favorite things about Motorola phones because it lets you enable quite a few helpful gestures, like a double twist to turn on the camera or a chopping motion to quickly enable the flashlight. My favorite gesture is being able to double-tap the power button/fingerprint sensor to reveal a pop-up shortcut of whatever apps I want.

Aside from the gestures, I really enjoy Motorola's take on notifications, allowing me to peek at a notification and drag the app icon quickly and perform various actions related to the app. The clock widget also has some nice weather animations and even tells me when it's going to rain and for how long, something that can come in handy here in Seattle.

Along with all these software additions comes the added hardware of the built-in stylus. I have someone mixed feelings about it because it's a fairly basic stylus. Don't expect any cool tricks as you'll get with Samsung's S Pen or even Motorola's new Smart Stylus that launched alongside the Motorola Edge+ (2022). That said, it gets the job done, and I can pull it out for a quick note which comes in handy. There's nothing special about it, but it's still nice to have, especially at this price point when the alternative costs more than twice as much, and when most of the phones don't come with styluses.