Motorola G22 Review: Shadow of its Former Self

It’s no mistake that Motorola holds a very large place in my heart when it comes to smartphones. The most memorable phone I ever remember owning is the Moto X. As much as that phone did not take over the world in terms of specs, something about creating the look of your phone all online and manufacturing it for you was something unheard of in the Smartphone world. A few years later, bringing it back to the present day, Motorola has gone through somewhat of an identity crisis over the last 2 years, and the Moto G22 emphasises this point to a tee. A budget phone in an ever-changing budget phone world. Can the Motorola square up to the likes of Realme? Only one way to find out.

Motorola G22
+ FOR
  • Acceptable Camera
  • Great Battery Life
- AGAINST
  • Disgraceful Performance
  • Uninspiring Software
  • Horrible Display Responsiveness
  • Awful Speaker

Buy from Amazon UK – £142

Disclaimer

This device was provided to me by Motorola for review over 2 weeks. No money exchanged hands.

Quick Links…

Overview & Unboxing

Motorola is quite daring going into the budget smartphone world. From companies like Poco excelling in every aspect and making the perfect price for the device, to Realme who is making some of the most beautiful and distinctive smartphones for a low price and doing its job exceptionally well — Motorola is treading some deep water to catch up to the likes of just those two companies, never mind the other flurry of budget smartphones that make their way into the world each day.
Moto was known, at one point, to break barriers. They moved the smartphone world forward with different things to keep it fresh, rather than a standard block design with a screen. Motorola made a difference in the world of smartphones, but unfortunately, in recent years they are lacking any form of inspiration, and sometimes an air of laziness in their choices. The G22 is another one of those devices that don’t inspire, and from the onset, it’s easy to see.

Motorola

In terms of the unboxing experience, much like many phones out there nowadays, it’s a standard box that opens from the side with the unmistakable Motorola Logo shining bright on the front with the standard markings showing alongside.

Upon opening the box, the G22 in all its glory plays a major role in this ordeal. Under that, you have a few manuals and a charging brick alongside a USB Type-C cable.

Motorola

The Moto G22 has a squared-off, Galaxy Alpha-like design language which I adore when it comes to any smartphone. The feel of the device is very domineering, it begs for your attention from the onset.

Starting with the back of the device, you have a shimmering matte grey finish, and when shifting it in the light it is almost reminiscent of a sunrise. The shimmer emits from the camera module and you can soon get lost in the way it presents itself.
Speaking of the camera module, you have the 50MP Quad-Pixel front and centre with a very nice to see the macro camera to boot.

Motorola

On the right-hand side of the device, you have the power button with an in-built fingerprint sensor and a volume rocker just above that.

Along the bottom, there’s a USB Type-C port with a single speaker port just to the right.

Overall, the Moto G22 is a very interesting and gorgeous looking device, and this gave me so much hope for this review going forward. Then I switched it on…

Spec Sheet

Screen Size – 6.5″ (720 x 1600)
RAM – 4GB
Battery – 5000mAh
Launched – 4th March 2022
Display Type – IPS LCD, 90Hz
Dimensions – 164 x 75 x 8.5 mm (6.46 x 2.95 x 0.33 in)
OS – Android 12
Cameras – 50 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 0.64µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 118˚ (ultrawide), 1/4.0″, 1.12µm
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
Selfie Camera – 16MP
Storage – 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM (MicroSD Slot)
CPU – Mediatek MT6765V/CB Helio G37 (12 nm)
GPU – PowerVR GE8320

Performance & Use

With the low to mid-tier MediaTek MT67 at the helm, you would expect the g22 to do the bare minimum more than capably. Much to my dismay, this hasn’t been the case upon using this device for the best part of 2 weeks now. From the first time you turn this phone on, you will more than likely have a difficult time with it. Not because the whole process is hard, it isn’t. Android 12 is possibly the easiest stock setup process that the OS has had for a long time now. It’s the fact that the phone is 4 steps behind where you want it to be. When you press ‘start’, it takes up to 3 seconds for it to go onto the next screen. Even simple things like typing in your WiFI password for the first time, the keys you type are behind where you are. I’ve noticed a couple of times where I’ve finished a whole sentence on the keyboard and I can see the words be a few behind as it’s trying to keep up.
Due to this, the setup process took 3 times as long as I usually experience with an Android device. It was a huge disappointment to see this, as this is a fundamental process to get right as this is what customers see straight away.

Motorola

After I installed a couple of software updates (largely ‘bug fixes’), I was hoping the cold reboot of the device would fix the issues I had been having since switching it on for the first time. Unfortunately, again, this was not the case. Simple things like navigating the home screen were a chore, to say the least, much like the setup process before it, it was always many steps behind and it became boring very quickly.

Apps are slow to launch, and when exiting the app and opening another, that app you previously opened is already frozen and takes 5 seconds for it to be back in memory.

Motorola

Like I’ve mentioned before, I always root for Motorola, I do. But it’s inexcusable that they released a phone in this state. I cannot recommend it on the performance alone, as arguably you spend the most time on your smartphone just using it. Scrolling social media, watching a video, or browsing the web.
Sure, video playback is okay for this device, but even the 90Hz that should make this a less jittery experience doesn’t. It’s smooth, sure, but on a rural road with uneven asphalt kind of way.

Motorola

Twitter is my main place of absorbing social media nowadays and I spend the best part of my spare time browsing it. Since using this phone, it made me begrudge using it. Much like I’ve mentioned previously, scrolling just lags too far behind what I’m intending to do. You could make the argument that this is the same for most budget phones, but I reviewed the Realme 9i a couple of months ago and that had none of these issues. That device is priced the same as the g22.

Camera & Samples

I will say that the only redeeming factor the G22 had left in it after using it for the last 2 weeks was the camera, just for this device not to be a complete and utter flop in my eyes.

Luckily, the Moto G22’s camera is quite good for a device in this category. Comparing this to the Realme 9i I reviewed a month ago, the pictures add a lot more clarity where the Realme struggled to find it in the first place. The colours were very accurate, without adding too much vibrancy to the overall shot, turning it into a comic book alternative reality.

The macro camera didn’t end up being as good as the Realme 9i is, with quite a lot of pixelation to the pictures, almost as if the optimisation of the software wasn’t quite there yet and need a little more time in the oven.

The G22 has 4 cameras, with the 50MP camera being the star of the show for the majority of it. It includes a 2x zoom camera, and a macro camera also.

Video quality wasn’t much to write home about, unfortunately. But neither was the Realme 9i when I reviewed it previously. Budget devices aren’t meant to be world-breakers for any form of Camera performance, but it is there to get the job done to a certain degree, and it does indeed do that the majority of the time.

The G22 does have a Night Mode within the camera, but I was never really able to get it to reproduce a shot that was better than the standard camera. I’m unsure if this is something that needs to be fixed, or if the Night Mode is just that bad. But comparing night mode and standard shots, they look largely the same with no difference.

HDR performs very well for this camera. It adds an aura of vibrancy to bring your picture to life even further than it does with the standard model. HDR Auto is what I mainly used for my time with the device, it didn’t enable itself when there’s a glimmer of light available, it enables at the right moments, and the moments you need them.

If you are looking for a great camera, but not-so-great everything else, the Moto G22 may end up being the device for you. It stormed the Realme castle on the camera front, and the samples should do it more than enough justice.

Software

If there is one thing I will always praise Motorola for it’s their software experience. They take the image Google created in the stock Android experience and they improve on it, adding their little flare overall.

Unfortunately, it just feels misguided and uninspired on the G22. I reviewed the Motorola G8 Plus, another budget to mid-range device, back in 2019 and the software is the same here. It has an extra coat of paint thanks to Android 12, but as far as I am concerned, Motorola added nothing new to the experience. This is a huge shame to see, as I was always a defender of the Moto Software ethos, but it has regressed so much over the past couple of years but it’s hard to defend it anymore.

What I love about the Realme UI experience is the fact that they stick to their guns, add their personality to the phone in general and stand out from the crowd. It just seems like the software was an afterthought on the G22. Very basic, not adding much to Android in general, and very forgettable in my opinion.

There’s not much more to say in this section, as the software is just stock Android 12 with nothing added.

Battery

The battery on the G22 was very good in the end. If there was one constant over my weeks of reviewing this phone, the battery was always there or thereabouts in terms of consistency. I got 2 days’ usage out of the phone, with moderate to high usage.

As with any of my reviews, my usage is the same: Social Media, high-end gaming (Call of Duty: Mobile and Genshin Impact), YouTube videos and Netflix viewing.

With all of the above in mind, I start my days at around 7 AM, with my phone on charge overnight so I get up with 100% charge. I start by browsing social media, catching up on YouTube and having a quick game of Call of Duty.
While showering, I play music via YouTube Music and listen to a few podcasts during the day.

By the end of the day, with all this usage in mind, I would have 40% battery left with 4 hours SOT.

With little to no usage, I could easily squeeze 3 days out of this device.

Final Thoughts

I know this appears like I’m airing Motorola’s dirty laundry here with this phone, but I genuinely am disappointed in this device overall. From the lacklustre software to the unusable performance and tinny speakers, it’s very hard to recommend this phone to anyone.

I appreciate that a lot of people aren’t in the position to shell out £300+ for a phone, and products like the G22 would be perfect for anyone that has a slim budget. But if you have an extra £20 to spare, buy the Realme 9i instead. It has a much more improved display, a smoother experience overall with no stuttering, and the software adds a new level of polish to the Android Operating System.

The Moto G22 is an uninspired device with little effort put into it, and it’s easy enough to see from the onset. Apart from the camera, this device is possibly among one of the worst devices I have reviewed. It’s such a shame to see Motorola fall so far from grace, being a massive fan of them back when the Moto X took centre stage.

I hope Motorola learn from this mistake, or they may end up in the same position as BlackBerry in the mobile industry.

About Kurt Colbeck

Cynical, bitter, and speaks his mind. And those are my good points! I like to ramble and I love technology, so this is why I'm here.

One comment

  1. Awful phone. Video sound is so bad!! My old Moto had great video sound but recording with my new g22 and the sound is just terrible! Like a recording under water. How can a newer phone be so much worse than its predecessor?? Wish I’d never bought it. Massive step backwards in sound quality. Waste of money

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