Motorola One Action Smartphone Review – Low Cost Android Phone with Wide Angle Action Camera
This sells for about 349, give or take, and it involves a three camera system with some limitations, along with a very nice ultra wide display and what’s nice about the mid range of the market is that you can spend under 500, but get a really nice phone With decent features and we’ve, looked at a bunch of phones in this price category and we’re going to explore what this one is all about in just a second, but I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure. This is on loan from Motorola, so we’re done with this. It goes back to them all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own. Nobody is paying for this review. Nor is anyone reviewed or approve what you’re about to see before it was uploaded, so let’s get into it now and see what this phone is all about. So let’s take a closer look now at the hardware. The first thing that struck me about this phone is the length of its screen, especially when it’s vertically oriented this is a 21 by 9 display six point three inches running at 1080 by 25 20 P, so they basically took a 1080p display that’s on a lot Of these mid range phones and stretched it, so you have a lot more screen real estate for scrolling through Twitter feeds and whatnot, pretty nice it’s, a LTPS IPS LCD display not an OLED, but it looks really nice and sharp, really good viewing angles on it here And what’s been nice about these mid range phones.
Lately is that they’re all coming with really nice displays, and this one certainly is able to keep up with its competitors. You’Ll note, though, in the corner here, it’ll be more evident when I pull up a web browser here, that we’ve got a camera, that’s punched out of the left hand corner and, if you’re, watching 21 by 9. Video. That camera, of course, will obstruct a portion of the video as you’re playing back there’s no notch on here or something along those lines inside it’s got 4 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of storage, which is great to get at this price point. And then you can also put in a micro SD card to expand that storage, further it’s powered by a Samsung processor in Exynos 96, oh 9, the phone weighs about 100 and 76 grams or 6.2 ounces it’s a pretty lightweight. Now the build quality overall on the phone feels really nice and premium. It is glass front and back and you’ve got a metal frame around the sides, and the glass here is actually curved too. So it’s just got all the little accoutrements you might expect from a more expensive phone, and I was also pleased to see that they included a basic case in the box too. So you can protect the phone and add a little bit more grip to it, because it is pretty slippery here on the back there’s a couple different colors available as well.
This will work with all of the major carriers here in the US, including Sprint and Verizon it’s completely unlocked. So when you buy it, you’re not locking into any carrier it’s full price and you’re done. You’Ve got a nano SIM slot here for a single sim card. It doesn’t support more than one, and the other portion of the tray here is for the SD card and it will support up to one terabyte on that SD card. So you’ve got a lot of storage available to you here on the phone, and this will lock in nicely here. The phone doesn’t have some of the water and dust proofing that we’ve seen on other devices, so just be aware of that, and it also doesn’t support wireless charging. Even though the back here is glass, you can unlock the phone with a fingerprint here on the back. It’S pretty quick to unlock. So if I just turn it on here and put my finger there, it unlocks the front. Camera will also do a face unlock, and I was very pleased to see that this phone will recognize whether or not your eyes are open. That’S been an issue I’ve been finding on a few other Android phones with face unlock. It will unlock. Even if your eyes are closed, this one the eyes have to be open, which was a nice little improvement there. Now, battery life on the phone is adequate and in line with other phones at its price point, it’s got a 3500 milliamp hour battery motorola says that will give you all day battery life and we found we would get all day battery life when we operated the Phone in a moderate usage scenario, in other words, checking email every once in a while, making a phone call or two all the things you might do with a phone throughout the day.
If you push the phone harder and watch movies all day, long on it or record videos or make a lot of long phone calls, all of those things will impact the battery life more significantly and under those circumstances, you’ll see less than all day battery life. So it’s really dependent on your individual usage scenario and as they used to say with cars, your mileage will vary, and that is always the case with smartphones. But again, under moderate usage, you should get through the day it charges here on the bottom, with its USB C port. It supports USB C power delivery. So you can charge the battery a little faster than traditional. Usb chargers will get you so that’s good, not much reports you’ve got that USB C port at the bottom. Here you have a speaker over here for sound that you might get during a speaker, phone call or a video or something that you might be watching on. It the speaker, is loud and clear. So that is a good thing, but of course, if you want to listen to music, you’ll probably want to connect some Bluetooth headphones to it or thankfully plug it into its headphone jack. Here at the top and it’s funny that we don’t see the headphone jack anymore on premium phones, but the lower cost ones have that jack, which is great on the right hand, side you’ve got your volume rocker and your power switch, and over here is that SIM Tray that we looked at a little bit earlier now, I want to spend some time on the camera system.
We’Ll start with the front camera here: it’s a decent camera, actually, 12 megapixels it’ll shoot 4k at 30 frames per second, our friend Jake was testing the phone out earlier and took some shots with the front facing camera, and you can see what that looks like here. So, overall, quality on that front camera is very, very good and should be fine for doing video conferencing and selfies and that sort of thing now the phone has three cameras here on the back, but you can’t use them like you might on a more expensive phone With three cameras and I’ll explain how this all works as we work our way through the camera system. So what I want to do is start with the main camera which is 12 megapixels. It looks great for still photos for a mid range phone. Nothing really to complain about you. Won’T get some of the polish you’ll see on more expensive phones with better camera systems, but I think it’s pretty good for what you’re getting nice and sharp good color, even in lower light, very pleased overall, with that it’ll shoot 4k video at 30 frames per second. It doesn’t stabilize the video all that way at that higher resolution, so I would recommend, if you’re moving around a lot to shoot at 1080p it’ll support 1080p at 60 frames per second, and you have the option to shoot at 30 and then, of course, there’s a Slo mo mode that can do 120 frames per second captures overall, that main camera very good for what it is.
You also have a portrait mode that involves another camera here on the back, but that second camera just provides the depth data so you’re not able to access that portrait. Camera directly it’s just used for portrait mode to figure out where your subject is versus the background, and then you have the action camera now. The action camera is 117 degrees for its field of view, which is an ultra wide field of view. However, it does not take photos, it only takes video, so we have the camera app booted up and what I’m going to do here is switch into video mode and when we do that right now, I’ve got it on the main camera, which is just doing a Standard vertical video now over here next to the record button, is an option to switch it into action mode and when I do that it’s going to go over to the action cam setting and now we’ve got this much wider image of the scene. And if I record now, even though my phone is vertical, it will record horizontally and then, if I turn the phone this way and record again, it will then switch it into the vertical mode. So to record vertical video wide, you got to hold the phone horizontally, but if you want to record a horizontal video in the action mode, you hold the phone vertically and I did find that it’s easier to shoot video this way and it’s nice to get a Horizontal video wide screen out of this orientation, so it’s, not all bad.
Another thing I was really impressed about the wide angle. Camera is how good the stabilization is. I walked with a pretty good pace on my front porch and it really held the image quite steady. So for a video shooter, it’s really good, although I was hoping that you could also take photos with this ultra wide lens, like you can on other phones and unfortunately that is not the case here, so let’s jump into the camera settings here. So you can see how you can adjust everything. I will start with the action camera so right now, we’ve got it at the 21 by 9 aspect ratio in Full, HD that’s. Only though 30 frames per second at that 21 by 9. If you want 60, you’ve got to go down to a regular 1080p image, and when you select that you’ll see, you can see a little bit more of that image in your viewfinder here as you’re. Getting your shot set up, and regardless of what resolution you choose for the action camera, it will always shoot horizontal when the phone is oriented vertically. If you want that wider image, you can go to the 21 by 9. Here, you can also do 21 by 9. On the regular camera, but it won’t have as wide of a field of view and that, of course, will shoot at the 1080 resolution. But you can go to 4k on the main camera, not on the action camera and then you’ve got your settings here for the selfie here on the front which are very similar to the rear.
Now to activate the portrait camera, you can hit the portrait mode here that will use a combination of the main camera and that depth sensor and you can take some nice portrait mode photos. But before I do, I just want to show you that the main camera actually has a good amount of natural bokeh already on it. So if we focus on Yoda here and take a picture, you’ll see that when we go in and look at that picture, we’ve got a pretty nice natural blurring of the background already – and this is optical, this isn’t any kind of digital effects. You’Ll have, I think, a pretty decent blur, naturally, which you might want to use first before you turn on the portrait mode, which can sometimes introduce some issues with fine points of hair and other things like that. But if you do want to use the portrait mode, you just switch it into that mode. You can select the amount of blur that you want and I’ll take a little bit of a different angle here and snap. The picture this right here is the blur level. So you can make it blurrier or less blurry, and you can adjust that later as well. So let’s snap, the picture here it’s going to process that and drop it into our photo library, and you can see that it did make it a little bit blurrier than it was before. But we’ll get some softening around those finer points there and if I click on the Settings icon here at the bottom, I can jump in and adjust the level of blur.
So I can make it blurrier or I can make it sharper. If I want and again we’ve got some natural blur there to begin with, so the effect here is not significant, but you do have the ability to adjust things and Motorola has always had some decent camera systems and they’ve always done very well with these depth. Sensors. As well, so I think overall it’s a decently performing phone from a camera perspective, but you don’t have the amount of camera options that you would have on other three camera phones. Now one of the cool things about having a super wide display is that if you’ve got video at twenty one nine to play back on it, it will fill up the whole space with, of course, the little camera punched out there. And it looks really nice on a low cost phone to have this much display available for these super wide videos, that’s, really cool. Of course, though, when you look at something shot at a 16 by 9 ratio, which is what most video you’ll encounter is shot at. This is what it’s going to look like now: Netflix and a few other content providers are providing 219 video and some of their productions. However, I found at the time I’m recording this video that Netflix did not support this full display, even though it is on other phones. So I would imagine over time, as the apps update you will see some things take advantage of the 219, but know that most video you’ll encounter is going to look like what you see on screen here and performance on.
The phone feels really good. Overall, things are snappy and responsive, it doesn’t feel compromised, even though it is a lower cost phone. So if we jump into YouTube, for example, and load it up from scratch, you can see the app loads up quickly and responsively. If we select a video here from the list that just starts playing immediately over Wi Fi and we found the LTE performance to be pretty similar here, although when you do playback these 16 by 9 videos, which is a bulk of what you’re going to encounter, you Will get those large letterboxing boxes there on the side, but other than that it’s? A pretty fun experience here using this phone and navigating around the 4 gigs of RAM helps as well to keep things running in the background. So when you’ve got something that you left, you can come back to it very quickly. Web browsing is great on it too, and, as I mentioned, having that slightly longer screen is nice, because you can fit more text on screen so that’s great for scrolling through Twitter feeds and Facebook and everything and rendering is pretty quick on it as well. So it doesn’t feel compromised, but of course it won’t be as powerful as some of the more expensive phones. You can get let’s take a look now at some Android games, so we’re gon na start off here with goat simulator and as you can see, it runs very very smoothly here.
No problems with performance and what you’ll find with android games is that most developers are targeting phones that are in the lower price category, because there are many more phones out there at this performance level versus some of the more expensive ones. So I don’t think you’ll have any problems finding games to play on this and the games that you do find will run very very smoothly, but you’ll notice the weird position of the game itself, it’s kind of nudged over to the left – and I found that it’s – Not only this game as some of the other ones that I’ve tested too. So if we jump over here to pac man 256, this game can run an either vertical or horizontal orientation. You can see there is a pretty big area here down at the bottom, that it is not taking advantage of, and if I switch into the horizontal orientation you can see just like the other game, we were just playing. It puts itself over to the left a bit and I think what might be causing this is where your controls will pop up from. If you were to leave this up, you can see that it is giving you just as much area here above the controls as it does on the left hand, side of the display and that might be what’s going on there. But from a performance standpoint games run fine on here. I don’t think you’ll find an Android game that won’t run and having the four gigs of RAM is pretty useful for switching back and forth between them.
We did run a benchmark on the phone as we do on all the phones that we test here on the channel called the 3dmark sling shot test and there we got a score of 1725 and that puts it at a lower performance level over the pixel 3a. That we looked at from Google a few months ago, so, if you’re looking for something a little more power, I think that pixel 3a will give you a little bit more oomph. But overall, this phone performed about where we’ve seen other lower cost phones perform it’s, not going to be a major powerhouse but it’s good enough to run a bulk of the Android app library that’s out there. So, if we’re all I’m pleased with what Motorola has put together here, one of the cool things about covering phones at the mid point of the smartphone market is that they’re all very unique and different companies are trying to figure out what to include and exclude to Hit the price point and they get more creative, I think when they have limitations to work with on price. I was disappointed, though, that the action camera on the back doesn’t take pictures. I think it’s really cool to get some of these wide angle lenses on smartphones, because it can add more to your smartphone photography. This one doesn’t give you a photography option, only a video ography option. So if you are looking to take wide angle photos with your mid range phone, this one’s not going to do it for you, because it simply can’t take photos out of that rear camera, but the bill quality’s great performance is adequate for what you’ll probably run on It and overall it’s nice to see so many options at this point in the market for unlocked phones that require no carrier commitments or subsidies, so that’s going to do it for the Motorola one action until next time.
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