Motorola’s Moto G phone family has a wide range of devices, all of which vary in price and features. Today we are talking about one of the latest additions to that family — the Moto g52, which sits just about in the middle of Motorola’s mid-range phone lineup in terms of pricing.
What’s interesting about the Moto g52 is that it comes with a mixed bag of improvements and, well, downgrades when compared to its predecessor — the Moto g51 5G.
For example, the display of the g52 is slightly smaller and is not as smooth, having a lower refresh rate, but has an OLED panel that offers better contrast and deeper blacks. Additionally, Motorola has decided to remove the 5G connectivity that the Moto g51 had.
The Moto g52 from Motorola is available in select countries in Europe for a price of €249.99. Unfortunately, it is not sold officially in the US.
Table of Contents:
Design and Display Quality
The plastic used for the Moto g52’s back leaves the impression of a cheap phone when holding it. The back panel also proved to be quite the fingerprint magnet even with the white version we had with us, and white is usually the color that greasy smudges are the least visible.
Speaking of colors, the Moto g52 comes in two options: Porcelain White and Charcoal Gray. Both have a shine to them, resembling more premium phones with glass back panels.
Despite feeling cheap in the hand, the Moto g52 does not look half bad if we are talking pure visuals here. At first glance, it might seem similar or almost the same as the Moto g51, but there are some slight meaningful differences like a thinner lower bezel and a more glossy-looking back panel with the logo centered.
You will find the USB-C port, headphone jack, and one of the two speakers on the bottom side of the Moto g52. On the right are the power button and volume rocker, both of which feel sturdy enough when pressed. At the top, there is the second speaker with two speaker grills to prevent blocking it.Motorola has tremendously managed to reduce the weight to 169g, which is extremely impressive considering the g52 is rocking a 5000 mAh battery.
There’s an IP52 rating, which means the phone is mostly protected from dust and can handle some light rain. Durability and protection-wise, the phone does not feel very reassuring when held, though. The cheap plastic back and the overall build of the phone seems rather fragile.
The display of the Moto g52 is one of its most significant upgrades over the Moto g51, jumping from an IPS LCD panel to an AMOLED one, which offers deeper blacks, better colors, and more contrast.
However, likely to keep the price low, the new AMOLED display is capable of a 90Hz refresh rate compared to the 120Hz of the previous generation. 90Hz is still good enough, though, and most people would likely not be able to tell the difference.
Motorola Moto g52 display
The g52’s brightness pleasantly surprised me. The display was completely visible under bright sunny conditions (with auto-brightness turned on) even under direct sunlight. That is not often the case with phones in this price range, so kudos to Motorola here.
The Moto g52 comes with a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button, and there is also basic face recognition. The fingerprint sensor is slow, often taking a second or more to unlock the phone.
Performance and Software
Performance is not one of Moto g52’s strong suits, so to say. Throughout my time with the phone, there was stuttering/lag while scrolling through the UI or browsing the web every now and then. That being said, web pages and apps seem to load quickly.
As for gaming, its Snapdragon 680 chipset is mostly manufactured with power efficiency in mind instead of performance. Despite that, I was still able to comfortably play some more graphically intensive titles like the newly released Apex Legends Mobile, albeit at lower settings.
The good news is that even during extended gaming sessions, shooting with the cameras, and watching videos, the phone barely got warm.
As for its storage configurations, Motorola’s moto g52 comes in two options — 128GB with 4GB or 6GB of RAM.
When it comes to software, Motorola has one of the operating systems that are closest to the original Android experience you find on Google’s Pixel phones.
The g52 comes with Android 12 straight out of the box and all the features related to that version. On top of that, Motorola has sprinkled a few extra features here and there throughout the OS, like special gestures to turn on the flashlight, camera, or enter split-screen mode. There’s also the Peek display feature, which allows you to interact with notifications and apps while the screen is off.
The bad news is that Motorola is famous for its poor software support. Like many other Motorola phones, the Moto g52 has only one guaranteed major OS update and two years of security patches. In other words, the Moto g52 will go only to Android 13 when that comes out.
In contrast, Samsung offers four major OS updates and five years of security patches. If you value long-term software support, Motorola is likely not the best option for you.
On the back of the Moto g52, you will find a set of three cameras: the 50MP f/1.8 main shooter (using pixel binning to offer 12MP shots), an 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide, and a third 2 MP f/2.4 one that functions as a depth sensor.
The main camera seems to be doing a decent job at providing detailed shots, as long as you give it plenty of light. Dynamic range is also not bad, at least while shooting photos, and the colors seem vibrant but not too saturated, with a slight lean on the warmer side of the color spectrum.There is also a 50MP higher resolution mode that works quite well for bringing in more detail and sharpness, but it is unlikely you will notice the difference if you don’t pinch to zoom in on the photo. Additionally, there’s also the Macro mode, which churned up some acceptable results with a few quick shots.
The colors and dynamic range performance don’t change much, if at all when we swap to the ultra-wide camera. The more visible difference is the lack of detail in the shots, although that is to be expected, especially with a budget device like the g52.
There is also a 16MP f/2.45 front-facing camera, which is rather disappointing. HDR here is non-existent, and the colors seem off, especially compared to the other cameras on the phone.
When it comes to video, I noticed that many of the great colors seen in the photos are still present. Unfortunately, that is not true when HDR is concerned — in some conditions it was doing alright, but in others where there were more shadows and highlights, the camera had trouble with bright areas.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Moto g52 can only shoot video in 1080p 30fps, although that is common at its price range. It is also lacking optical image stabilization (OIS), which results in shakier footage while moving around, although there is electronic image stabilization (EIS) that helps to some degree.
The biggest downfall of the Moto g52 camera system, however, is its inability to shoot decent images during low light conditions. The Night Vision mode does help a little with the brightness, but the images that come out are without detail and washed out. Not to mention that the ultra-wide camera cannot even make use of that mode, and shooting video is even worse.
Audio Quality and Haptics
The sound quality of the Moto g52 is decent. The speakers get pretty loud at max volumes, but I wouldn’t go higher than 70% as the sound starts getting tinny after that threshold. Of course, the bass performance is poor here, but the two speakers are suitable for watching some media and listening to podcasts.
One thing that I found very displeasing, however, was that the whole back panel vibrates even at 60% or 50% volume. It made the experience of watching content irritable if my fingers were touching the back of the phone. This issue is greatly reduced with a case slapped onto the phone, though, so I guess there’s that.
Thankfully, if you are annoyed by the vibrations, you can use wired headphones, as the Moto g52 comes with a headphone jack.
Given its price point, the Moto g52 does not come with quality haptics. Vibrations while typing are super noisy, sluggish, and loose. If you intend to buy this phone I recommend turning the vibration off as soon as you start it up.
Battery Life and Charging
The Moto g52 comes with a 5000mAh battery, which is a common trend in the budget-friendly phones segment. It can charge at a maximum of 30W and comes with its 33W charger in the box, which charges the g52 very quickly.
PhoneArena Battery Test Results:
Wireless and reverse wireless charging are not supported by the Moto g52, but that’s to be expected for a phone under the $300 mark.
In my personal experience with the Moto g52, the large 5000mAh battery paired up with the highly-efficient Snapdragon 680 chipset offered great battery life, often lasting me for a day and a half if I used it regularly.
Alternative options to the Moto g52 can be the slightly more expensive Galaxy A33 or the very similarly priced OnePlus Nord N200.
The Samsung costs around €304, however, for that money you are getting 5G connectivity, four years of major software updates, better build quality, more capable cameras, and the list goes on. The downsides are that it is slightly heavier and does not come with a headphone jack.
The OnePlus Nord N20, on the other hand, comes in at € 292. It comes with a better processor but drops the ultra-wide camera and comes with a slightly smaller battery. Build quality, however, is much better with the Nord N20, so keep that in mind if it’s important to you.
Summary and Final Verdict
The Moto g52 from Motorola is quite the mixed bag of pros and cons, making it a difficult one to rate. Then again, most affordable mid-rangers have that in common.
If you don’t mind having short and somewhat poor software support and the lack of 5G, most downsides of the Moto g52 can be more or less overlooked.
Yes, the vibration motor feels like the equivalent of holding a slug, and the back panel vibrates while watching media, but there are workarounds to these issues. The only major setbacks that I see here is the stuttering that sometimes happens every now and then, as well as the poor low-light camera performance.
On the other hand, you get a screen with great colors, contrast, smooth animations, and brightness levels. Add the amazing battery life, good audio quality, capable main camera when there’s enough light, a very affordable price tag, and the g52 becomes quite an appealing device.
All things considered, Motorola’s Moto g52 mid-ranger is a great bang for your buck, as long as its few mishaps don’t matter too much to you as a user.