Motorola produces a wide range of phone models, with the Moto E series representing the company’s most basic and affordable, the Moto G series featuring the mid-range options, and the Motorola edge series aimed at the high-end/flagship market.
Motorola’s Moto G phone family has a wide range of devices, all of which vary in price and features. Today we’re talking about one of the newest additions to that family – the Moto G52, which sits roughly in the middle of Motorola’s mid-range phone line price-wise.
What’s interesting about the Moto G52 is that it comes with a slew of improvements and, well, downgrades compared to its predecessor – the Moto g51 5G.
For example, the display of the G52 is slightly smaller and less smooth, with a lower refresh rate, but it has an OLED panel that offers better contrast and deeper blacks. In addition, Motorola has decided to remove the 5G connectivity that the Moto g51 had.
Motorola’s Moto G52 is available in select countries in Europe for a price of €249.99. Unfortunately, it is not officially sold in the US.
Design and display quality
The plastic used for the back of the Moto G52 leaves the impression of a cheap phone when held. 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 where greasy smudges are least visible.
Speaking of colors, the Moto G52 is available in two options: Porcelain White and Charcoal Gray. Both have a gloss and resemble more premium phones with glass backs.
Despite being cheap in the hand, the Moto G52 doesn’t look half bad if we’re talking pure visuals here. At first glance, it may look like or almost the same as the Moto g51, but there are some minor meaningful differences, such as a thinner bottom bezel and a more glossy-looking back panel with the logo in the middle.
At the bottom of the Moto G52 you will find the USB-C port, headphone jack and one of the two speakers. On the right side are the power button and volume rocker, both of which feel firm enough when pressed. At the top, there is the second speaker with two speaker grilles to avoid blocking it. Motorola has done a great job reducing the weight to 169g, which is extremely impressive considering the G52 rocks a 5000mAh battery.
There’s an IP52 rating, meaning the phone is largely protected from dust and some light rain. However, in terms of durability and protection, the phone doesn’t feel very reassuring. The cheap plastic back and overall construction of the phone seem rather fragile.
The Moto G52’s display is one of the major upgrades over the Moto g51, moving from an IPS LCD panel to an AMOLED panel, which offers deeper blacks, better colors and more contrast.
However, the new AMOLED display is likely to keep the price down and is capable of a 90Hz refresh rate compared to the previous generation’s 120Hz. 90Hz is still good enough though, and most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Motorola Moto G52 screen
The brightness of the G52 pleasantly surprised me. The screen was fully visible in bright sunny conditions (with auto-brightness turned on), even in direct sunlight. That’s 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 facial recognition. The fingerprint sensor is slow, often taking a second or more to unlock the phone.
Performance and software
Performance, so to speak, is not one of the Moto G52’s strong points. During my time with the phone there was stuttering/lag when scrolling through the UI or surfing the web every now and then. That said, web pages and apps seem to load quickly.
As far as gaming goes, the Snapdragon 680 chipset is usually manufactured with energy efficiency in mind rather than performance. Despite this, I was still able to comfortably play some more graphically intensive titles, such as the newly released Apex Legends Mobile, albeit on 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 the storage configurations, Motorola’s moto G52 is available in two options: 128 GB with 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM.
When it comes to software, Motorola has one of the closest operating systems to the original Android experience found on Google’s Pixel phones.
The G52 ships right out of the box with Android 12 and all the features related to that version. In addition, Motorola has sprinkled a few extra features here and there throughout the OS, such as special gestures to turn on the flashlight or camera or enter split-screen mode. There’s also the Peek View feature, which allows you to interact with notifications and apps while the screen is off.
The bad news is that Motorola is known for its poor software support. Like many Motorola phones, the Moto G52 only has one guaranteed major OS update and two years of security patches. In other words, the Moto G52 won’t go to Android 13 until it comes out.
Samsung, on the other hand, offers four major OS updates and five years of security patches. If you value long-term software support, Motorola probably isn’t the best option for you.
On the back of the Moto G52, you’ll find a set of three cameras: the 50MP f/1.8 main camera (which uses pixel binning to shoot 12MP shots), an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens, and a third 2MP f/2.4 camera. which acts as a depth sensor.
The main camera seems to do a good job of getting detailed shots as long as you give it enough light. Dynamic range isn’t bad either, at least when shooting photos, and colors appear vibrant but not too saturated, with a slight slope on the warmer end of the color spectrum. There’s also a higher-resolution 50MP mode that does a pretty good job of getting into more detail and sharpness, but you’re unlikely to notice the difference if you don’t pinch to zoom in on the photo. In addition, there is also the Macro mode, which produced some acceptable results with a few quick shots.
The performance of colors and dynamic range does not or hardly change when we switch 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’s also a 16MP f/2.45 front camera, which is rather disappointing. HDR is absent here and the colors seem off, especially when compared to the other cameras on the phone.
When it comes to video, I noticed that many of the great colors in the photos are still there. Unfortunately, that’s not true when it comes to HDR: in some conditions it worked well, but in others, where there were more shadows and highlights, the camera struggled with highlights.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Moto G52 can only record video in 1080p 30fps, although that’s common in its price range. It also lacks optical image stabilization (OIS), which results in more jittery images when moving, although there is electronic image stabilization (EIS) that helps to some extent.
However, the biggest drawback of the Moto G52 camera system is its inability to take decent photos in low light. The Night Vision mode does help a bit with brightness, but the images that come out are without detail and faded. Not to mention that the ultra-wide camera can’t even use that mode, and shooting video is even worse.
Audio quality and haptics
The sound quality of the Moto G52 is decent. The speakers get quite loud at max volumes, but I wouldn’t go above 70% as the sound starts to get tinny after that threshold. Sure, the bass performance here is mediocre, but the two speakers are fine for watching some media and listening to podcasts.
However, one thing I found very off-putting was that the whole back panel vibrates even at 60% or 50% volume. It made the experience of watching content irritable as my fingers touched the back of the phone. However, this problem is greatly reduced with a case slapped on the phone so I guess that’s it.
Luckily, if you’re annoyed by the vibrations, you can use wired headphones, as the Moto G52 comes with a headphone jack.
Considering its price, the Moto G52 does not come with high-end haptics. Vibration while typing is super loud, slow and loose. If you are planning to buy this phone, I recommend turning off the vibration as soon as you start it up.
Battery life and charging
The Moto G52 comes with a 5000 mAh battery, which is a common trend in the budget-friendly phone segment. It can charge up to 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 aren’t supported by the Moto G52, but that’s to be expected for a phone under $300.
In my personal experience with the Moto G52, the large 5000mAh battery combined with the highly efficient Snapdragon 680 chipset provided excellent battery life, often lasting a day and a half if I used it regularly.
Alternative options to the Moto G52 could be the slightly more expensive Galaxy A33 or the very similarly priced OnePlus Nord N200.
The Samsung costs about €304, but for that money you get 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 have 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 is much better with the Nord N20 though, so keep that in mind if this is important to you.
Summary and final verdict
Motorola’s Moto G52 is quite a mix of pros and cons, making it hard to rate. On the other hand, most affordable middle-class cars have that in common.
If you don’t mind having short and somewhat poor software support and the lack of 5G, most of the Moto G52’s drawbacks can be more or less overlooked.
Yes, the vibration motor feels like the equivalent of holding a snail, and the back panel vibrates while watching media, but there are solutions to these problems. The only major setbacks I see here are the occasional stutter, as well as poor camera performance in low light.
On the other hand, you get a screen with great colors, contrast, smooth animations and brightness levels. Add to that the amazing battery life, good sound quality, capable main camera in sufficient light, a very affordable price tag, and the G52 becomes quite an attractive device.
All things considered, Motorola’s Moto G52 mid-ranger is a great bang for your buck, as long as the few mishaps don’t matter too much to you as a user.