Entertainment The best Motorola phones 2022: top Moto smartphones for you
The best Motorola phones 2022: top Moto smartphones for you
The best Motorola phones are enjoy a reputation of being impressively affordable devices that are the epitome of the phrase ‘cheap and cheery’. And, budget-minded smartphone users would be wise to consider them on their next phone purchase.
Besides Motorola’s mid-range and premium phones, it’s also got several cheap phones that have proven to be of terrific value. There’s also the occasional foldable phone as well. That means that whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find something that will suit your needs and preferences from the brand’s lineup.
So there’s the Moto E, Moto G and Motorola Edge lines, as well as a few outliers in the foldable and rugged categories – enough for a range of different interests and needs. Even better news: it’s not so hard to find the ideal Moto phone for you.
We test every new Motorola phone that gets released here at TechRadar, using them as our everyday mobiles to see how they fare and how good of a value for money they are. Using our expertise, we ranked the ten best mobiles from the company, with options for people with various different budgets and needs.
The list is regularly updated with new Motorola phones frequently added once we’ve reviewed them comprehensively. Motorola releases a slow deluge of its G phones, so expect updates regularly with new entries from this family, as well as any others we see.
If a Motorola phone doesn’t appeal to you, check out our look at the best phones, best Android phones and best iPhones for something else, though you’ll probably find much pricier mobiles there, given Moto’s predeliction for affordable handsets.
The best Motorola phones 2022
The Moto G200 straddles the line between ‘budget phone’ and ‘mid-range’ mobile, but it’s far more affordable than most devices that pack similar specs. For a relatively low price, you’re getting a big, good-looking screen, a giant battery, a powerful chipset and a high-res main camera – it’s a 5G phone too. It feels a lot like a more affordable, but equally useful, alternative to Moto’s Edge handsets.
When we tested the phone, we loved how we were able to get access to all these cool features without having to break the bank The affordability of this phone is its biggest selling point.
We did have a few issues – inevitably some corners were cut to achieve the relatively low price here, with the screen being LCD rather than OLED, the 33W charging being slower than some rivals, and given the size of its screen, the phone itself is inevitably on the large and cumbersome side.
But those are small complaints compared to everything the Moto G200 delivers. So, if you’re in the market for a great Motorola handset, or just a great phone that won’t break the bank, then this is a top choice.
Read our in-depth Moto G200 review
While the Moto G100 and G200 are technically part of Motorola’s line of budget devices, the G22 is the top option on this list that’s a ‘true’ affordable phone, looking at its price. So this is going to be the top pick for people who don’t need top specs, and just want a cheap and cheery handset.
Our two favorite things about the phone were is durability and its long-lasting battery life, so if that’s what you need from a smartphone, you’re in luck here. The low price is just the cherry on the cake.
Motorola has cut corners to hit this price, with a dim screen, no 5G connectivity and limited camera modes (though we did find the main snapper to work well in good lighting). But if you don’t need a feature-packed phone, and just need a useful mobile that’ll see you through the day, this should be your top pick.
Read our in-depth Moto G22 review
Motorola’s top-end phone of 2021 was the Edge 20 Pro, the top-specced and most expensive member of its second generation of Edge devices. This isn’t a truly premium phone like the Edge Plus was in 2020, with a competitive price and some mid-range specs and features to keep the price low.
It’s good for a Moto phone, but not perfect, with the G200 bringing many of the same features but at a lower price. In particular, the high screen refresh rate and long-lasting battery impressed us.
We found the body too big to hold comfortably, especially with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that was pretty hard to reach. Plus it was slow to charge and the camera software was sometimes disappointing.
The Edge 20 Pro doesn’t quite compare to other similar-priced phones, as it’s simply not as competitive as rivals from Xiaomi, Google or OnePlus. However, in the canon of Motorola devices it’s not bad.
Read our in-depth Motorola Edge 20 Pro review
The Motorola Defy isn’t your typical Moto phone. It’s actually a rugged device, which means it’s designed to work well in the outdoors – it’s protected against drops, has a big battery, and includes a slot for lanyards.
Moto presents the phone as designed for gig workers, like food delivery bikers or similar. And, it’s intended to have lots of stopping power for this kind of task.
It does its job just fine – its built-in lanyard, hardy design and long-lasting warranty ensured that we felt safe using the phone. However, we did think that a USB port cover could have helped.
Sure, it’s not a perfect phone for every function: it’s not got much processing power, so don’t expect to play games at top graphics options, and its cameras leave a lot to be desired too. But we were impressed during our time with the phone and it’s definitely worth looking at if you have a habit of damaging your smartphone.
Read our in-depth Motorola Defy review
It’s odd to call a phone from mid-2021 ‘old’, but the Moto G100 has been supplanted by the G200 in many ways, including in price. The Moto G100 is near the top of the company’s 2021 line-up of G-series phones, but it’s somewhat of a spiritual successor to the Edge 20 handsets which came out several months earlier.
This is a great budget phone. It has a snappy processor, decent cameras, a big battery and a fingerprint scanner that’s pretty convenient to use.
The big problem we had with the Moto G100 is that you have to buy it alongside a dock for Ready For, a software that lets you connect your phone to a display for a range of other functions. Ready For is useful to some, but not all, so it’s irritating that you have to pay extra for a stand you might not use. Overall, though, this is a really good smartphone, and one that’s worth your money, especially if you’re interested in Ready For.
Read our in-depth Moto G100 review
The Motorola Edge Plus is the oldest handset on this ranking, and we’ve kept it around because it’s the last real premium phone from the company, with a huge price and some top features. When we tested the phone, we loved its great-looking display and top specs, and it made the handset stand toe-to-toe with its Samsung Galaxy and iPhones contemporaries.
Nowadays, other Moto devices like the Edge 20 Pro and G200 beat it in most departments, but the Edge Plus stands out in one way: it has a super-premium build, with a ‘waterfall’ screen that curves steeply at the edges. This gives the phone a striking appearance and a smooth feel in the hand. So if design is a key element for you, then consider this phone.
Read our in-depth Motorola Edge Plus review
The Moto G line gets great representation on this list, largely because it’s Motorola’s busiest line of phones, and the G30 is a great entry from 2021. The handset has a surprising amount of storage for a budget phone, as well as a long-lasting battery and hardy plastic shell that ensures the phone will survive a few knocks.
These were are favorite elements of the phone when we tested it, though we did face some issues with the fingerprint scanner and Google Assitant button, so it’s not a perfect device. You probably knew that, you’re in the lower half of our ‘best Moto phone’ ranking.
It’s a very similar phone to the Moto G10 lower down in this list, but it has a slightly better processor and a higher price. Since the cost is only a tiny bit different though, we’d recommend this handset more (which is why it’s higher in the list).
Read our in-depth Moto G30 review
The lowest-end member of Motorola’s 2021 series of ‘top-end’ phones is actually basically a Moto G phone in all but name, costing less than the G100 and coming with lots of similar specs. The difference here is that, while the Moto G phones are solid all-rounders, the Edge 20 Lite aims to impress in a few key departments, namely cameras (with a 108MP main camera) and display (with a big, punchy OLED display).
The pitch doesn’t completely pan out, and we had mixed feelings on the Edge 20 Lite. It excelled in some areas but fell behind in others, notably having a surprisingly short battery life and unreliable camera performance.
It’s not a bad phone, but there’s a reason it’s not the top phone on this list. If you’re looking for a budget Moto phone, there are better options further up.
Read our in-depth Motorola Edge 20 Lite review
As a cheaper take on the Moto G30, the G10 has lots of the same perks, including its long-lasting battery, its hardy plastic design and its big screen. Lots of the things we liked about the G30 are also the case here.
The difference here is that it’s even cheaper, but comes with slightly worse specs as a downside. We found the Snapdragon 400-series processor a little too slow for us, which is why the G10 is below the G30, but if you don’t use your phone much, you won’t mind. The software experience is clean too, making this a very easy-to-use device for people who are a little technophobic.
We should point out that the G10 is the most affordable phone on this ranking. So, if all you care about is the price, maybe the G10 is the phone for you.
Read our in-depth Moto G10 review
The Moto G50 is a curious entry to the company’s 2021 line-up, as while its title suggests it’s a higher-end model than the G10 and G30, and its price is higher too, it’s actually a little lower-end in terms of specs. The phone has a weaker chipset than the G30, as well as cameras that are more in line with those on the G10. However it has some higher-end specs which justify the cost, namely its 5G connectivity and the high refresh rate screen.
It’s an interesting balancing act, and some might consider the G50 equal to those devices, though from testing them all we can’t say that the G50’s higher price makes it worth it. If you need 5G it’s better, but for most people it’s not. But it’s still a dependable affordable handset that’s worth taking a peek at.
Read our in-depth Moto G50 review
How to choose the best Motorola phone for you
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “how much am I willing to spend?”. If you’ve got no set budget, and can splash out a bit, the Edge series is what you want to consider. If you don’t want to break the bank, though, stick to the G series.
After that, think about what the key features you need are. Do you need a great camera? A durable device? A high-res screen? A long-lasting battery? Fast charging? Lots of performance power? Most of the G-series phones are decent in all areas, but certain models stand out in certain departments, and we’ve highlighted these in our rankings.
You should also consider whether you want lots of software updates or if the newest version of Android isn’t quite as important – Motorola doesn’t always keep its handsets updated for very long, so older phones may already have been discontinued.
Which Motorola phone is the newest?
Despite releasing its phones in quite a sporadic pattern, there is a rhyme and a reason to the naming behind the phones.
The Edge series sees a new number each year – in 2021 it was the Edge 20 series, and 2022 brought the Edge 30, and so on. The Razr is also easy, as this foldable phone is often named after the year – so Razr (2020) and so on.
The G series is a little bit harder, but each new version gets a new suffix number – so if you see the G35 next to the G33, you know which is the newer version. The first number refers to the relative ranking – so the G55 will be as new as the G75, but not as top-end.
How we test Motorola phones
Simple: we put our SIM cards into the phone we’re testing, load over all our apps and contracts, and simply use the Moto phone as our own for several weeks.
This means we don’t just test the performance power, battery life and screen brightness in controlled, lab settings, but we get a great idea of the everyday work performance of the handset.
This also helps us stumble upon the little quirks, both the good and bad ones, that you might not normally find just by looking at a phone: if there are specific software bugs, or finickity fingerprint sensors, or if the phone overheats, we’ll notice it.
Since we test most of the smartphones released in our regions, testing them in a hands-on way like this also means we can compare key features between phones, which really helped with creating this ranking.