Not long ago, Motorola launched the One Vision in India which came with a cinematic ultrawide screen and a dual rear camera setup carrying a 48MP quad-pixel sensor for better night time photos. The Motorola One Action is basically the same device with some changes in the camera department and external hardware.
The Motorola One Action’s USP is a dedicated video shooting camera that allows capture of ultrawide videos while holding the phone vertically. The ‘action cam’ is tilted at 90-degrees to enable video recording using only one hand.
The Motorola One Action is the fourth device in its Android One powered lineup. Motorola is targeting the under Rs 20,000 price segment with its One series in India, which is known for being too competitive given the presence of aggressive players like Redmi and Realme. Here is our review.
Motorola One Action specifications: 6.3-inch FHD+ punch-hole display with 21:9 aspect ratio | 12MP (f/1.8) + 5MP (depth sensor) + Action camera 117-degree ultrawide | 12MP (f/2.0) front camera | Octa-core Exynos 9609 chipset | Android 9 Pie | 4GB RAM+128GB internal storage | 3,500mAh battery with 10W charging
Motorola One Action price: Rs 13,999
Motorola One Action review: Design is good but could have been better
Motorola One Action likes to keep it plain and simple while the rest are competing over 3D pattern backs. One Action sets itself apart from the horde of other devices in this price range with its tall and premium looking body that surely makes a good first impression. The ergonomically shaped back also gives a sturdy grip.
However, the thickness of the device is a bit too much for my liking. If you would have read our Motorola One Vision review, you would find similar comments for that phone’s design and body as well, and that’s because Motorola One Action’s build is exactly like the One Vision.
The only difference between the two phones in terms of the build is the use of plastic on the Motorola One Action (One Vision has a glass back). However, the glossy back still looks premium and doesn’t feel like plastic at all. So, I do not mind Motorola switching the glass back with plastic, given the One Action costs considerably lesser than the One Vision.
Motorola One Action review: Display and sound bring nice video watching experience
Motorola One Action’s ultrawide screen with 21:9 aspect ratio is great for one-hand usage and I’d like to see other smartphone manufacturers using such a display. However, the gigantic punch-hole at the corner of the screen is an eyesore. It takes up too much space and reserves a broad area of the screen for notification, which kind of decreases the advantage of a tall screen for daily usage.
The LTS IPS display is not as bright as an AMOLED or Super AMOLED display, but it is bright enough to read the text under direct sunlight. You can easily use the device outdoors and that includes consuming video on the go. It produces sharp vivid colours and the viewing angles are also good.
Thanks to Dolby Sound, watching Anime and TV shows on the device is a real treat. I preferred to watch videos on the phone without using earphones. And there is also a 3.5mm audio jack on the phone. It is hard to find a phone in this price range which is as loud as Motorola One Action and does not sound like noise. The speaker could have been perfect if it carried more depth.
Motorola One Action review: Performs like an affordable flagship
Motorola One Action is powered by Exynos 9609 chipset paired with Mali G72 MP3 GPU. It carries 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage with microSD card support up to 512GB. The chipset on Motorola One Action does not give away that it is a mid-range processor. The phone runs smoothly and it doesn’t struggle even when flooded with notifications.
Motorola One Action doesn’t lag or stutter while switching between apps and Chrome tabs. You can have as many Chrome tabs opened as you want and it will run just fine. Motorola One Vision also handles graphics-heavy games with ease. Normal games like Subway Surfer and Warrior Legends run smoothly, so do graphics-heavy games. PUBG Mobile is set to higher settings by default and I could play the game for long stretches without the device getting hot or facing lags. The frame drops are almost negligible and it is likely you won’t even notice them.
Since the Motorola One Vision runs the stock version of Android, it is free from all types of bloatware. The UI, as always, is clean and snappy. The gesture navigations are great and Motorola has added Moto Actions to the phone which comes really handy with specific functions like turning on the flashlight or opening the camera while the device is locked.
Motorola One Action review: Welcome the action cam
With the ‘action cam’, Motorola One Action takes upon itself to bring innovation to the mid-range smartphone user. The phone comes with a dedicated ultrawide video camera with 117-degree field of view, which is tilted at 90-degrees, so that you can shoot horizontal videos while keeping the phone vertically in one hand.
Also, Motorola One Action supports an enhanced video stabilisation feature that produces extremely stable videos of moving objects, even if you are moving yourself to record the shot. You can shoot stabilised FHD videos at 60fps via the ultrawide video camera but 4K video recording is only possible via the normal camera sensor, which does not support stabilisation.
Motorola One Action also promises better low-light video recording with the Action Cam with its Quad-Pixel technology, and while it produces better videos than other phones priced way higher than this device, I’d suggest you keep your expectations under check.
The Action Cam produces good colours and it handles exposure well. Contrast, brightness, and focus adjustment during video recording is also nice. With Motorola One Action, you also get the option of slow-motion and timelapse video which works fine with enhanced stabilisation.
Motorola One Action review: Social media-ready pictures
Coming to the pictures, the 12MP+5MP dual rear camera is not as good as its predecessor (One Vision) which came with a quad-pixel 48MP primary sensor to take nice low light photos. However, it does not mean that One Action is a total failure at clicking photos. The 12MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture is capable of clicking really good pictures in bright outdoors. The pictures are vibrant and social media ready.
However, while the colour reproduction is quite good, Motorola One Action pictures lack details. As already mentioned, the competition is tough and devices like Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro, which cost the same, are capable of producing better pictures with ample details. Also, the shadow regions in the Motorola One Action images carry noise even under bright outdoors. That being said, the low-light performance of the phone is not good either.
The One Action increases shutter time when the light is not enough to take in more light and the software works to minimise the noise in such shots but the result is still not satisfactory. Since there is no dedicated night mode on the phone, the quality only deteriorates at night.
Coming to the camera features, Motorola carries the ‘spot colour’ feature on the camera app in One Action, which gives the option to retain a single colour in the frame, while stripping the image of rest of the colours in real-time. The bokeh mode struggles to detect edges around a subject and the cutout feature is only good on papers where you can crop the subject of photo out of the background and put a different image in the background. However, in practical use, the cutout is not proper to the edges. The same goes with studio lighting feature.
I liked the camera UI as it keeps your last used mode at standby near the capture button. Also, all the camera features are just a tap away. The front camera of the Motorola One Action keeps the skin tone normal but exposure levels are not good. The portrait mode on the front camera also struggles with edge detection.
Motorola One Action review: Battery, and more
I had complained about Motorola packing a 3,500mAh battery in the One Vision despite the phone being bulky and tall, and Motorola has repeated the same in the One Action. The battery backup lasts a full day but you will need to plug it in your charger or else the device powers off during the night. Motorola One Action comes with a 10W charger in the box, which takes around two-and-a-half hours to charge the battery from 15 per cent to 95 per cent.
The fingerprint sensor at the back is snappy and works quite fast, but the mark at times. I personally like the face-unlock feature of Motorola One Action. It unlocks the device almost instantly even when the light is not enough.
Motorola One Action review: Verdict
To its advantage, Motorola One Action has a tall build that can be used easily with one hand, a good screen, smooth performance, nice sound, and gameplay sessions are good as well. The added bonus of the Action cam is a welcome addition and the high level of stabilisation in video recording is really commendable. However, Motorola has carried on the drawbacks of its previous Android-One powered device to the Motorola One Action, and that includes a not-so-good battery performance, a thick build, and a giant punch-hole. However, given the things it gets right at its price point of Rs 13,999, I would definetly suggest considering the Motorola One Action.