Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 rotated with stylus closeup

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review: Affordable Galaxy S22 Ultra alternative

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is an upgrade over other devices in the Moto G stable, and the best budget phone with a built-in stylus out there. But it doesn’t quite deliver the same value that other sub-$500 phones do.

Motorola has spit out a slew of G-branded phones over the first few months of the year, so you’d be forgiven if you missed the announcement of the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022). As the name implies, this is a 5G-enabled version of its popular G Stylus phone, freshly updated for 2022. While the updates are appreciated, the phone’s price point has risen to half a grand as a result. Is it still enough of a good value budget phone that stylus seekers want? Find out in the Android Authority Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review.

What you need to know about the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (8GB/256GB): $499.99

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is competing with its own siblings, which share basics such as screen size and battery capacity, as much as it is competing with outside options from Google and Samsung. The rest of the Moto G series swaps out features like the stylus or 5G support to reach a handful of different price points between $299 and $499, leaving lots of leeway to find the one with the right features and price for you.

See also: The best Motorola phones you can get right now

The refreshed Moto G Stylus 5G stands at the top of Motorola’s mid-range roster with the best spec sheet and highest price point. It features an upgraded processor, more RAM and storage, and a faster display when compared to its family members — including the recent LTE-only Moto G Stylus (2022) — making it an enticing pick.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 display

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Motorola has already kicked off sales of the unlocked Moto G Stylus 5G through its own website and via Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. The Moto G Stylus 5G comes in two colorways: Steel Blue and Seafoam Green. It is being sold in only one version for the moment with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Motorola indicated that there will be 4GB/6GB RAM and 128GB storage versions of the phone as well. These variants will be sold by Motorola’s carrier partners, likely at lower price points, at some point down the road.

The Moto G Stylus 5G will eventually be sold at various price points by most US carriers.

Speaking of carriers, the phone works with T-Mobile and Verizon mid-band 5G out of the gate. Motorola says the phone will eventually reach AT&T, Boost, Cricket, Dish, Google Fi, Optimum, Republic, Spectrum, USCellular, and Xfinity in the coming months. That’s the breadth of carriers in the US. The phone will also be sold in Canada.

What’s good?

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 rear side profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Moto G Stylus (2022)’s battery life is outstanding. Motorola has consistently dialed in excellent battery life for its mid-range family, and this device is no different. The phone has the same 5,000mAh battery that’s stuffed into many of its stablemates, and it consistently pushed through at least a day and a half. It was even able to reach two full days on occasion — you can’t ask for much more than that from a modern smartphone.

Check out: The best phone charging accessories

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 stylus garage straight

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The stylus is useful up to a point. The Moto G Stylus 5G has a basic stylus slotted into the phone’s right side. It’s no problem to retrieve, though usability could be better. The stylus is thin and slippery compared to the thicker, grippy-er S Pen of the top dog in the stylus smartphone world, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

The Moto G Stylus 5G’s pen is not as feature packed as Samsung’s S Pen, but it does the job.

The stylus is not Bluetooth enabled, nor does it have a button for secondary actions. Instead, it simply acts as an alternate input method for interacting with the screen. In that respect, it’s accurate and quick. There are some special apps aboard that take advantage of the stylus, including a note-taking app, a way to create GIFs and live messages, as well as a simple coloring book to entertain kids. For people who want the option, it’s a nice addition to the phone.

Overall performance of the phone is very good. Motorola dropped the underpowered Mediatek Helio G88 of its LTE sibling and upgraded from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chips of its direct predecessor, instead opting for a Snapdragon 695 chipset. Paired with 8GB of RAM it did really well with everyday tasks.

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) felt fluid and quick with no lag.

The phone felt fluid and quick with no lag, and performance was smooth across the board. It ran demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends and Genshin Impact at a playable frame rate, though the phone didn’t deliver the best benchmark scores. This is consistent with results we’ve seen on other Snapdragon 695 phones, such as the OnePlus Nord N20. The bottom line is that most owners will be plenty satisfied with the Moto G Stylus 5G’s performance — considering some of the issues we’ve seen with lag and stutter on other recent Moto G phones, this wasn’t a given.

It’s also great to see a budget Motorola phone with the latest version of Android out of the box. Motorola’s build of Android 12 is solid and it runs well on the G Stylus 5G. The brand left most of the elements of Android 12 intact, which means core experiences such as the home screen, quick settings shade, settings menu, and app drawer all mirror what you’ll see on a Google Pixel phone.

Rather than sprinkle its customizations throughout the user interface, Motorola contained them within a single app called simply Moto. Here you can take advantage of Motorola’s tweaks to Android if you wish and do things like personalize the layout, enable gestures, view tips and tricks, make changes to the display, and customize the gaming experience. It’s dead simple to use these tools to make the phone your own.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 display in hand angled

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Wireless performance was excellent, though there are some limitations. The phone supports sub-6GHz 5G services. We tested it on Verizon’s 5G network and the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) ran really well where Verizon’s mid-band was available. There’s no mmWave support on board, so you won’t see the absolute top 5G speeds in those rare mmWave-enabled areas, but the phone’s mobile data is plenty quick. The unlocked model supports a wider range of 5G bands that should be compatible with the extensive array of carriers that will eventually sell the phone.

Wi-Fi is disappointingly stuck on Wi-Fi 5, which is an outdated spec and prevents the phone from being as future-proofed as competitors running Wi-Fi 6 or later. But at least Motorola updated the Bluetooth radio from 5.0 to 5.1, and it made sure to include NFC for mobile payments. Welcome to 2022, Motorola. Now please add NFC to all of your future phones too, please!

See: The best 5G phones you can buy right now

What’s not so good?

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 rear angled on laptop showing Motorola logo

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is not a bad-looking phone, and yet Motorola could have done so much more to make it stand out. As it is, it recycles many of the themes and colors we’ve seen for years on the Moto G series. Thanks to the screen size and internal space needed for the stylus, it’s a huge device. The frame and rear panel are plastic while the front is made from Gorilla Glass 3 — a n outdated spec for sure.

Motorola sells the phone in a reflective blue or green. Our Steel Blue colorway collected lots of fingerprints both front and back. The phone has an IP52 rating, which means it is only protected from light splashing or rain. Meanwhile, the cheaper Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has an IP67 rating, which protects the phone from submersion in shallow water. Thankfully the side-mounted fingerprint reader of the G Stylus 5G is quick and accurate.

See also: The best waterproof phones you can buy

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 display in hand

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Motorola should have done more with the display. The company carried over the 6.8-inch size, FHD+ resolution, 396ppi pixel density, and LTPS LCD tech from older generations. Compared to previous G Stylus phones, the only real improvement is the speedier refresh rate at 120Hz (the 2022 LTE model is 90Hz). This delivers smoother performance when scrolling within apps or moving around the user interface. However, the screen is simply not bright or sharp enough for easy outdoor use.

The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)’s camera doesn’t really stand out and it takes middling photos.

Motorola opted for a 50MP main camera at f/1.9 that’s binned down by a factor of four to produce 12.5MP images. This is a bump up from the 48MP shooter on the 2021 G Stylus 5G, and it also adds OIS for improved stabilization over the 2022 LTE version. The 8MP ultrawide camera, which has a 118-degree field of view and macro capabilities, is the same as before, as is the 2MP depth sensor at f/2.4. There’s no dedicated zoom camera, but that’s not common at this price. Instead, all zoom is accomplished digitally via the main camera.

The 16MP front camera sensor appears to be carried over as well, but Motorola is now binning it by a factor of four to produce 4MP images that are more sensitive to low light. Video capture is limited to 1080p at 60fps on the rear and 1080p at 30fps on the front. This isn’t up to par with many mid-range phones that can shoot in 4K.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 camera profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The photos are of middling quality — you can check out a gallery of snaps in the next section. Shots captured via the main lens turned out fine for the most part, though the camera was sometimes prone to overexposing and boosting colors in a way that wasn’t accurate to the real-life scene. Shots taken in low light showed a surprising amount of detail, though the color accuracy takes a bit of a dip. Overall, the main camera is just okay, but it doesn’t compete with the budget camera phones.

The ultrawide camera can be fun thanks to its perspective, but the shots are noisier and softer than those taken by the main camera. Macro shots require a steady hand. The selfie camera does just okay when there’s plenty of light, but the default beautification filter is way too aggressive. Thankfully you can turn it off. The 1080p video clips I recorded looked good enough and the stabilization effect worked well. Again, though, the phone leaned toward brightening things up too much.

Don’t miss: The best selfie camera phones you can buy

Software updates are one place Motorola and the Motp G Stylus 5G fall short of the competition. Motorola has committed to providing one system update (Android 13) to the G Stylus 5G and three years of security updates. The similarly-priced Google Pixel 5a gets three years of system updates and five years of security updates and the cheaper Samsung Galaxy A53 5G will see four years of system updates and five years of security updates. The situation is far better than the Moto G Stylus LTE, which is already a system update behind, but Motorola still needs to catch up with the competition.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 rear rotated on box

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The single speaker is a bit disappointing. Stereo speakers at this price point are hit or miss, but it’s a shame a phone this large couldn’t accommodate a second speaker for stereo sound. The bottom-firing speaker pumps out plenty of sound, though it’s brittle sounding and messy at high volumes. At least there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack.

While the phone’s battery life is exemplary, the charging could be much quicker. The phone ships with a 10W TurboPower/Quick Charge 3.0 brick. It takes a good 100 minutes to recharge the G Stylus 5G fully. There’s no wireless charging, which we wouldn’t expect on a device at this price point.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) camera samples

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) specs

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

Display

6.8-inch Max Vision Display
FHD+ (2,460 x 1,080)
LTPS LCD
120Hz
20.5:9

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G

Memory / Storage

4/6/8GB RAM
128/256GB storage
microSD up to 1TB

Battery

5,000mAh
TurboPower 10
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

Cameras

Rear:
50MP main, f/1.9, 0.64µm, Quad Pixel, OIS
8MP Ultrawide, 118-degree FOV, Macro Vision
2MP Depth Sensor, f/2.4, 1.75µm

Front:
16MP selfie, f/2.2, 1.0µm, Quad Pixel

Video:
Rear: 1080p at 30/60fps

Front: 1080p at 30fps

Connectivity

5G (sub-6GHz)
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.1
GPS
NFC

Dimensions / Weight

168.9 x 75.8 x 9.3mm
215g

Colors

Steel Blue, Seafoam Green

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) review: The verdict

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 stylus garage

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

As always, the price and competition define the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)’s place in the market.

The phone is a definite upgrade over the vanilla G Stylus (2022) and its predecessor, the G Stylus 5G (2021). The phone’s modern processor and larger RAM configuration give it a significant performance boost, and the addition of NFC is long overdue. Battery life is about the same, however, and the newer phone’s faster display isn’t significantly improved when it comes to contrast or brightness. The cameras aren’t much more to write home about either. Despite the improvements, the similarities between these phones leaves the $499 price point of the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) feeling a little high.

You can save yourself quite a bit by going with the 2022 LTE-only G Stylus ($299), or get many of the same features from the 2021 G Stylus 5G ($399) for $200 less. These deliver on basics such as battery life and software experience. You could also wait to see what carriers charge for the 6GB/128GB variant of the G Stylus 5G when it goes on sale later this year.

The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G is a workable alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for those that want a stylus-equipped phone on a budget.

Then there are the real competitors. The Google Pixel 5a ($449) is a solid offering that has a better camera and better software commitment, though the Pixel 6a may soon replace it. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G ($449) has better cameras and the best software commitment in the segment. Like the Pixel 5a, it’s also more affordable than the Motorola and comes with an IP67 rating, though neither phone comes with a stylus. That’s a niche Motorola has on lock in the budget sphere.

There’s one more perspective to take, however. With so few stylus-equipped phones in the market, the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G is a workable alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ($1,199), which costs more than twice as much. From that viewpoint, the G Stylus 5G is a stylus lover’s best, affordable option with a large screen, competitive battery life, and solid performance.

Motorola moto g stylus 5G (2022) Seafoam Green HERO

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022)

Find new ways to express yourself with a versatile camera system, built-in stylus, and fast performance. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) has a huge screen, two-day battery life, and ships with Android 12.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G FAQs

Yes! Unlike many Moto G phones, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) has NFC for contactless mobile payments, file sharing, and more.

The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) has an IP52 rating for protection against splashes of water, but not submersion.

Unless you want to spend thousands of dollars, the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) is worth buying as it’s the best budget stylus-equipped phone right now.

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