For several years, the Moto G-series has been setting standards for the manufacture and sale of a solid smartphone at an affordable price. Over time, however, Motorola lost its lead and competitors like Xiaomi and Realme have taken the lead. The company now wants to set accents in a slightly higher-value segment in which the competition is not that bad. The Motorola One Vision was the first attempt in this direction, and the company is now intensifying its efforts with its latest product launch – the Motorola One Action.
The Motorola One Action is based on the Motorola One Vision (review) in terms of aesthetics and internal hardware. However, a special wide-angle action camera makes it even more attractive. The overall package looks very appealing for a price of Rs. 13,999, but is it enough to beat champions like Realme X (Review), Redmi Note 7 Pro (Review), Oppo K3 (Review) and Vivo Z1 Pro (Review)? We find out in our detailed test.
Motorola One Action Design
In terms of design, the Motorola One Action is a copy of the Motorola One Vision, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The phone impresses with its high profile and has the aesthetics of a premium device. The back wall is made of glossy plastic and has thin lines below the surface, while the corners and edges have a dotted pattern to create a contrast.
We've tested the Motorola One Action denim blue version that lights up when light shines on it, but the effect is understated compared to the prismatic looks and glaring color shifts we've seen on many phones lately. Motorola has also introduced a more attractive option for pearl white in India, while some overseas markets also offer an option for aqua teal colors.
The back has curved corners and merges seamlessly into the polycarbonate frame to ensure a comfortable grip. However, the edge is slightly raised at the top and bottom of the phone and protrudes outwards. We like the slim design of the phone because it fits well in the palm of your hand.
The fingerprint sensor with the Motorola bat logo is in the ideal place for each index finger, while the triple rear camera module is in the upper left corner. It bulges out so far that the phone wobbles on a flat surface. You may also want to protect the Motorola One Action with the included silicone case, as the back has scratch marks and quickly becomes dirty.
The volume and power buttons are on the right, while the hybrid dual SIM card slot is on the right. The 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top and bottom is a speaker and a USB Type-C port.
Interestingly, the on / off switch is provided with horizontal lines, but unlike the Motorola One Vision it does not have a comb-like surface pattern. The buttons are also slightly shaky, but offer decent click feedback.
The Motorola One Action has a large display with an unusual aspect ratio of 21: 9, which Motorola calls the CinemaVision display. There is a hole for the front camera in the upper left corner, but it has a thick black outline and is difficult to ignore. The area that the hole occupies is considerably larger than the area that we saw with the Vivo Z1 Pro (test) and the Honor 20 (test).
Aside from being an eyesore, the UI designers seem to be forced to stretch the status bar further down to prevent it from affecting the content on the screen. We also saw slight bleeding in the area between the camera sensor and the circular border, especially when looking at the screen in a dimly lit environment. If you look beyond this, the display is a boon to watching content, especially videos that are 21: 9 format and difficult to find. On the other hand, reaching content at the top of the screen is quite difficult.
Motorola One Action specifications and software
The Motorola One Action offers a 6.3-inch full HD + IPS display (1080 x 2520 pixels) with an aspect ratio of 21: 9 and a pixel density of 432 ppi. The phone is powered by Samsung's Octa-Core SoC Exynos 9609 paired with 4 GB of RAM and a generous internal storage of 128 GB. This can be expanded by up to 512 GB with a microSD card, but at the expense of the dual SIM functionality. Motorola offers the phone in a single configuration for Rs. 13,999.
This new Motorola offering is the company's first phone with three rear cameras. It is equipped with a 12-megapixel primary camera (1: 1.8), a 5-megapixel depth sensor and a special 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle action camera (1: 2.2) with a field of view of 117 Degree is supported. The latter uses pixel binning to combine four neighboring pixels into a single unit for brighter and more detailed results.
There is a 12-megapixel (f / 2.0) camera on the front of the phone that can record 4K videos at 30 fps. There are a variety of camera functions you can play with, e.g. B. portrait format, studio lighting, special colors and more. The phone comes with a 3.5000 mAh battery and comes with a 10 W adapter.
Motorola One Action is a member of Google's Android One program. This means that operating system updates to Android 11 and security patches are guaranteed for three years. The phone is equipped with Android Pie. The only additions are the Moto help and the Moto apps. The latter provides access to custom gestures – or so-called moto actions – e.g. B. a double stroke to turn on the flashlight and a double handle to open the camera app.
Our test device ran the security patch for July. In addition to the usual Android functions such as digital wellbeing, adaptive brightness and adaptive battery, Motorola has added a custom navigation gesture interface called "One Button Nav". It's the same Android Q style as the Motorola One Vision and even better than Android Pie's navigation gestures.
Motorola One Action Display and performance
The Motorola One Action display is qualitatively identical to that of the Motorola One Vision, which means that you get a good viewing angle and good readability of the sunlight. The screen is sharp and the color reproduction and contrast are decent too, but it has a somewhat cold color temperature and a slightly washed-out appearance.
For a small premium, the Samsung Galaxy A50, Oppo K3 and Realme X offer OLED displays that produce stronger colors. Since Motorola extols the advantages of the 21: 9 display for a superior multimedia experience, a higher-quality panel would have served well.
Nevertheless, the phone's Full HD + display is bright enough. Unfortunately, there is no way to manually adjust the white balance. However, you can choose between natural, enhanced and saturated color profiles.
Watching 21: 9 content without letterboxing on the Motorola One Action display is an enjoyable experience. Even though the camera hole is in the way, we have got used to it over time. This particularly wide aspect ratio has also proven to be advantageous when reading, surfing the Internet or multitasking with split-screen apps.
There is a certain amount of 21: 9 content on streaming platforms, but for videos shot in a different aspect ratio you have to tolerate a huge black bar. Some scaling issues may also arise with apps that do not support the 21: 9 format because they run in their own floating windows and the background image and elements of the home screen remain clearly visible.
In addition, not all games are tailored to the 21: 9 aspect ratio, so you'll have to live with a thick bar to hide the camera hole. In addition, there are some games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 that may require you to reposition a button on the screen to prevent the camera hole from overlapping with the button.
In terms of performance, the Motorola One Action will not complain about the users. It is powered by Samsung's Exynos 9609 octa-core SoC, which is also located under the hood of the Motorola One Vision. Interestingly, Motorola is still the only company that uses this processor in its cell phones. Not even Samsung has launched a cell phone that uses the Exynos 9609.
Daily use was a breeze for Motorola One Action, and there was no stuttering when multitasking with 10-15 apps running in the background. The phone even handled graphics-intensive games like PUBG Mobile and Mortal Kombat X without delay or warming.
In the synthetic benchmarks, Motorola One Action achieved 1,609 points in the Geekbench 4 single-core test and 5,399 points in the multi-core test. The phone's AnTuTu number was 146,230, which is lower than the values achieved by Snapdragon 675 phones. The One Action reached 1,339 in 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme and 22,626 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited.
Motorola One Action cameras and battery life
The Motorola One Action does not have the One Vision's 48-megapixel main camera and can be downgraded to a 12-megapixel snapper, but does offer a special 16-megapixel action camera. The latter was mounted at a 90-degree angle so that landscape videos can be recorded while the phone is held vertically. This makes it easier to record videos in certain situations and has no visible influence on the quality of the videos.
Disappointingly, the special action camera can only capture wide-angle video and cannot be used to capture still images in photo mode. This basically means that you can't use the 117-degree field of view to capture a larger area in an image, even though you have a wide-angle lens available. If you want to record a vertical wide-angle video for platforms like Instagram or TikTok, you have to hold the phone horizontally.
The Motorola One Action takes razor-sharp photos in daylight with a healthy level of detail and a good dynamic range. Our photos were a little over-saturated, but the entire issue was pleasant to watch. Macro shots also looked good and retained nice contrast and surface details. However, there was some bleeding at the edges and the focus lock turned out to be a bit delicate at close range, which often led to blurry shots.
Portrait pictures taken with the phone had good motif separation and depth, but edge detection could have been a bit more accurate. We like it very much that this phone does not rework or smooth fine textures. However, the details were missing and the colors were subdued in the interior.
In low light conditions, the phone used to take grainy photos with a lot of visible noise and suppressed colors. The Motorola One Action lacks a dedicated night mode, but the company is telling us that options are under consideration to add an update in the future.
The 12 megapixel front camera also performed well. Selfies turned out to be sharp and lively, and we were particularly relieved to see that this phone doesn't overwork or smooth skin textures. Selfies had a lot of detail and looked bright, but background elements outdoors seemed overloaded.
Self-portraits also looked good, and the edge detection was mostly just right, provided we kept the phone still for proper focus lock. There are a variety of filters and studio lighting effects that you can play with. Users can adjust the blur intensity while taking a selfie and adjust brightness, saturation, and sharpness after saving. It is worth noting that the camera app takes some time to switch between modes.
The main camera can record Full HD videos at up to 60 frames per second and 4K videos at 30 frames per second in both normal and 21: 9 formats. There is no OIS here, but the EIS compensates hand movements well, which results in more fluid videos. In fact, Motorola One Action's stabilization was pretty good for a phone in this price range. In terms of overall quality, we found the color rendering in videos to be decent, but there was a lot of focus hunting. 4K videos were significantly jerkier despite the better dynamic range and the higher level of detail.
The action camera reaches a maximum speed of Full HD 60 frames per second for video recording, but videos recorded with this sensor showed more accurate color reproduction. It is impressive that the front camera can also record 4K videos at up to 30 frames per second and Full HD videos at 60 frames per second. The quality of these videos can at best be described as average, with shaky output overall.
The 3,500 mAh battery installed in the Motorola One Action is hardly enough to survive a whole day of normal use. During our review, the phone was connected to cellular data all day, and we used several social media and productivity apps and streamed music from YouTube Music for at least three hours. We also watched some videos and played games for about an hour. When used in this way, the phone normally only had about 10 percent of its energy at the end of the day.
If you want to stream multiple episodes of a TV show or want to improve your playing time, the battery level drops faster. The Motorola One Action lasted 11 hours and 39 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is far below average. The included 10 W charger is relatively slow and takes about half an hour to get the battery up to 30 percent and almost two and a half hours to fully charge it.
The Motorola One Action tries to imitate the formula (review) of the Motorola One Vision, but adds an additional sensor for its "Action Camera" criterion. The build quality of the phone is solid and it is also characterized by its aesthetics, but the punch design is not fully exploited.
We have no complaints about raw performance, and the camera output is decent too, apart from a few quirks like the inability to take wide-angle stills. The battery performance is extremely disappointing and slow charging is another disadvantage. So, we come to the most important question: is the Motorola One Action Rs worth it? 13,999?
The answer is yes. This phone is characterized by its unique aesthetics and supports this with reliable performance, decent cameras and clean software. If you want to see the competition, consider the Realme 5 Pro with four cameras, Vivo Z1 Pro (test), Redmi Note 7 Pro (test) and Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 (test). But in bulk, the Motorola One Action is definitely an interesting and capable choice.