Moto G22 Review: A Missed Opportunity

The Moto G22 offers a 90Hz display and a quad-camera setup, which is not very common in this segment

Moto G22 Review: A Missed Opportunity

The Moto G22 is priced at Rs. 10,999 in India

Highlights
  • The Moto G22 has a quad-camera setup with a 50-megapixel primary sensor
  • It has a 5,000mAh battery and a 20W TurboPower charger in the box
  • The Moto G22 runs Android 12 out of the box

The budget smartphone segment is evolving at a rapid pace and most manufacturers are going all-out when it comes to cramming in more features at lower prices. One such company is Motorola, which has been on a phone launching spree of late. The Moto ‘G' family has seen some new introductions, and one of them is the Moto G22.

The recently launched smartphone has a lot going for it on paper, as it boasts of a 50-megapixel quad-camera setup at the rear, a 5,000mAh battery and a 90Hz display, among other things. Priced at Rs. 10,999, it competes with other budget offerings such as the Realme C31 (Review) and the Redmi 10 Prime (Review). The Moto G22 seems to offer decent features for people looking at a capable device in the budget segment, but does it perform well too? Let's find out.

Moto G22 pricing and variants

The Moto G22 is available in India in a single variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It is priced at Rs. 10,999 officially, although I have noticed that the price has dropped to Rs. 9,999 on occasion on Flipkart and Motorola's own online store.


Moto G22 design

Smartphones in the budget segment seem to be taking a different approach lately, sporting more premium designs and better ergonomics. The Moto G22 is no exception; the all-plastic back panel looks quite attractive, especially in the Cosmic Black colour that I have. The Moto G22 is also available in Iceberg Blue and Mint Green, both of which look appealing in the photos.

Instead of the typical Motorola design language with curved back panels, the Moto G22 has a flat design similar to the iPhone 12. It tends to attract a few fingerprint smudges, but they are not very noticeable unless viewed at an angle. The device feels good to hold in the hand and the edges aren't that sharp, so using it without a protective case also feels comfortable.

motorola moto g22 back panel5 gadgets360 Moto G22

The Cosmic Black variant of the Moto G22 looks quite minimal

The quad-camera setup at the back gets a slightly different finish compared to the back panel. It has a metallic texture but manages to blend into the whole design very well, at least on the black variant. The camera module protrudes a little, which makes the phone wobble when kept on flat surfaces.

The Moto G22 sports a tall display with a hole-punch cutout at the top for the front camera. The bezels around the display are fairly thin at the sides, but the top portion eats up some screen real estate, and there is a somewhat thick bottom chin. The Moto G22 is relatively light with a weight of 185g. The weight is well balanced, and I easily managed using the phone with one hand.

The power button and volume rocker are situated on the right side of the Moto G22, while the top part of the frame houses a 3.5mm headphone jack. The bottom has a USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and the primary microphone. The SIM tray is located on the left side of the frame and it can support two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card of up to 1TB, simultaneously. Motorola includes a protective case and a TurboPower 20W charger inside the box.

Moto G22 specifications and software

The Moto G22 uses a MediaTek Helio G37 SoC, which is based on the 12nm fabrication process. The SoC consists of an octa-core CPU rated to run at up to 2.3GHz. It is accompanied by the IMG PowerVR GE8320 GPU with a maximum frequency of 680MHz. The Helio G37 SoC also supports displays with a 90Hz refresh rate, and the G22's 6.5-inch HD+ IPS LCD display makes use of that.

As for connectivity, the smartphone supports dual-band Wi-Fi ac, 4G LTE, GPS/A-GPS, and Bluetooth 5. The phone does not come with an official IP rating, but the company says it has a water-repellent coating which should be able to withstand some spills and light splashes of water. The Moto G22 has a 5,000mAh battery and supports up to 20W charging.

motorola moto g22 display gadgets360 Moto G22

The lean software experience on the Moto G22 is a positive, but it does have some bloatware apps

Motorola is known for its near-stock Android software with its devices, and that's somewhat true for the Moto G22 as well. The device runs on Android 12 out of the box, which is still not that common in this price segment. My review unit was running the June 2022 security patch. The company also promises three years of security updates for the device.

The Moto G22 does have some bloatware in the form of Josh and Dailyhunt apps, but you can choose to not install these during the setup process itself. However, it seems like Motorola is taking inspiration from brands such as Xiaomi and Realme, with the integration of the Glance wallpaper carousel. This can be disabled from the settings app if needed.

I've always preferred a clean UI experience and with the Moto G22, that is possible. It was easy to navigate through the entire UI and everything was easy to locate. You also get to customise the home screen and lock screen with the ‘Theme Engine' which was introduced in Android 12. Widgets and in-built app icons adapt to the colour cues of the wallpaper, which look good and blend well. However, the usage experience wasn't as smooth as I imagined it to be, but we'll get to that soon.

Motorola's smartphones are also known for their classic gestures which include a karate-chop action to activate the flashlight, three-finger gesture to take a screenshot, and the twist gesture to launch the camera. The Moto G22, much like the Realme C31 (Review), skips a dedicated gallery app, so you'll have to either use the Google Photos app or download a third-party one.

Moto G22 performance and battery life

The Moto G22 offers two biometric authentication options, a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition. The fingerprint sensor is embedded in the power button. Reaching it was not an issue and the sensor was able to successfully authenticate me nearly every time, but there was a noticeable delay in unlocking the phone. Tactile feedback of the buttons was good. Face recognition was hit-or-miss even in well-lit conditions. Even after recognising my face, the phone would take a couple of seconds before it unlocked.

The Mediatek Helio G37 SoC is an energy-efficient chip, but even with such a lean UI on the Moto G22, it wasn't able to handle even simple tasks well. Apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook stuttered even with basic scrolling. Despite setting the display at 90Hz, the smooth scrolling experience that I expected was missing.

motorola moto g22 software gadgets360 Moto G22

Moto G22 wasn't able to handle simple tasks such as scrolling through social media apps without lagging and multitasking between multiple apps proved to be challenging

The UI also felt choppy whenever I had a bunch of apps running in the background. Multitasking and switching between apps was a bit of a task for the Moto G22. At times, unlocking the phone also felt quite jarring, as apps and widgets on the homescreen took some time to appear. During my time with the Moto G22, the phone's back panel often got a little warm even after using basic apps such as Instagram for around 15 minutes at a stretch.

We ran the Moto G22 through some benchmarks and these numbers pretty much summed up my experience with the phone. The Moto G22 managed to score just 114,222 in AnTuTu and produced a score of 170 and 955 in Geekbench's single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. It only managed to 5.6fps in GFXBench's Car Chase simulation, while scoring 5,683 in PCMark Work 3.0 test. These scores were less than ideal and I expected better. The similarly-priced Realme C31 with the Unisoc T612 SoC managed to produce better scores overall.

Gaming is not one of the key selling points of the Moto G22, but I tried a mix of heavy and light games to test the performance of the device nonetheless. Apex Legends Mobile and BGMI were almost unplayable even at the lowest settings, which wasn't surprising. Call of Duty: Mobile on the other hand, ran fine at ‘Low' settings for TDM (Team Deathmatch) and I was able to grab a couple of wins. However, I noticed some lag whenever an in-game explosion occurred near my character. Asphalt 9: Legends was locked at ‘Performance' mode and it ran well for the most part. The Moto G22 was able to handle light games such as Temple Run and Subway Surfers easily enough.

The resolution on the display on the Moto G22 isn't very high, but is on par with most devices in this price range. It has a 720x1600 pixel LCD display and the clear indication of the low resolution were the jagged edges in the corner of every app icon and around text. I found the colours on the display to be well balanced and watching movies and TV shows on it was a good experience.

I did not notice any major colour shifting when viewing content on the display from various angles. The Moto G22's display supports the Widevine L1 certification, however, Netflix didn't seem to recognise this. I was able to watch movies at 1080p resolution on Amazon Prime Video though. The device also lets you choose between Natural and Saturated colour presets. The speaker quality of the Moto G22 is acceptable, but it's a bit lacking in the low end.

My daily usage included casual gaming and watching some streaming movies and videos and with this, the Moto G22's 5,000mAh battery was able to last well over a day. In our HD video loop test, the battery ran for 20 hours and 10 minutes, which is pretty good. The supplied 20W TurboPower charger was able to charge the Moto G22 up to 36 per cent in half an hour and 59 per cent in one hour. It took over two hours to fully charge the phone.

motorola moto g22 back cameras gadgets360 Moto G22

The Moto G22 sports a quad-camera setup at the rear with a 50-megapixel primary camera

Moto G22 cameras 

The Moto G22 has a quad-camera setup at the rear, which is interesting given that we usually don't see this sort of setup in this price segment. The Moto G22 camera module consists of a 50-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a f/2.2 aperture and a 118-degree field of view, a 2-megapixel depth camera with a f/2.4 aperture, and a 2-megapixel macro camera with a f/2.4 aperture.

At the front, there is a 16-megapixel camera with an f/2.45 aperture. The camera interface is pretty straightforward and neat. All the necessary shooting modes and settings are placed well within reach. The Moto G22 also offers support for "dual capture" for both photos and videos, which is useful. It also has a bunch of filters and beauty modes. However, I faced quite a few crashes and stutters when using the camera app, especially when switching modes in the UI, and this quickly got annoying.

Photos captured with the primary camera were pixel-binned to 9.4-megapixels by default. You also have the option to select 6-megapixels or ‘High-resolution' in the settings. Most of the photos I captured were in overcast weather conditions. The samples looked good at first, but upon zooming in, the images lacked adequate detail. What I liked about the Moto G22's primary camera was its ability to keep colours neutral consistently, as this creates room for experiments when editing.

Moto G22 primary camera daylight sample (tap to see full size)

Moto G22 ultra-wide-angle daylight camera sample (tap to see full size)

 

The main camera also tends to crop the photos more than I would have liked. Switching to the ultra-wide-angle camera visibly reduced the details in the picture, and the images leaned towards a cooler tone when compared to their primary counterpart. There wasn't a lot of distortion around the corners, which was good.

Macro photos were average as they lacked proper details because of the lower-resolution camera. Portrait shots looked good with decent blur in the background, and the phone was quick to lock focus. The camera app lets you choose the level of blur before taking each shot.

Moto G22 portrait mode sample (tap to see full size)

In low-light conditions, photos captured using Moto G22's primary camera were average. Most of the images captured in darker lighting conditions had lots of noise. As for the ultra-wide angle camera, details took a hit, but the images were still usable. Turning on the ‘Night Vision' mode brightened up the image, but also introduced noise in some parts of the photos.

Pictures taken with the front camera were decent and had good details. The camera tends to overexpose the background in backlit selfies. Selfie portrait shots were not very consistent and the camera often missed blurring out the correct regions around my hair and the background. The quality of selfies taken at night were below average.

Moto G22 low light (top) and selfie (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full size)

The Moto G22 can shoot videos at 1080p and 720p at 30fps. Videos taken in daylight with the Moto G22 were ordinary and lacked good details. Footage also lacked stabilisation and I also noticed grain in the output despite there being sufficient lighting. Videos taken in low light also had a lot of noise. You can shoot videos with the ultra-wide-angle camera for a wider perspective, but you cannot switch between the cameras while recording.

Verdict

The Moto G22 will attract some attention with its quad-camera setup and minimalistic design. The near-stock Android experience paired with a promise of three years of security updates sets the device apart in this price segment. The 5,000mAh battery is a useful feature to consider as well and the bundled 20W charger is a nice bonus. There are some other positive points too, such as the 90Hz refresh rate and the fact that you get Android 12.

Unfortunately, these features aren't able to make up for the poor performance. Using the Moto G22 every day is not a pleasant experience as it tends to struggle with even basic tasks. The Moto G22 feels like a missed opportunity as it could have been a decent recommendation in this segment had Motorola focused more on delivering a smoother Android experience rather than trying to offer more rear cameras.

If you are looking for alternatives in this price range, the Realme C31 (Review) and the Redmi 10 Prime are good options. If a clean software experience is important to you, the Nokia G21 (Review) is also worth a look.


Should you buy a 4G or 5G budget phone? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Good design
  • Lean software, promised security updates
  • Good battery life, 20W charger bundled
  • 90Hz display
  • Bad
  • Poor overall performance
  • Average video recording, low-light camera performance
  • Biometric authentication is sluggish
Display 6.53-inch
Processor MediaTek Helio G37
Front Camera 16-megapixel
Rear Camera 50-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
Battery Capacity 5000mAh
OS Android 12
Resolution 720x1600 pixels
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