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Review

Motorola One Power Review: A winning combo of useful features

Is Motorola's first proper Android One smartphone worth its salt? We find out.

motorola one power review - lead image

Image Credit: Rajat Sharma


Motorola One Power 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • The Motorola One Power is priced at Rs 15,999.

  • The smartphone is Motorola's first to be Android One-certified.

  • A mammoth 5,000mAh battery ensures up to three days of continuous usage.

The smartphone, which has become a part and parcel of our daily lives and is perhaps the most personal gadget in existence today, has a storied history. It’s a history that spans four and a half decades, and one that would’ve never been possible, had it not been for one company – Motorola.

Pioneering the concept of the ‘mobile phone’, Motorola laid the foundations of modern-day cellular telephony when Martin Cooper made the first publicized mobile phone call on a prototype Motorola DynaTAC. Since then, the company has gone on to make several popular cellular phones, including the iconic RAZR series, the design of which remains unparalleled even today.

Image Credit: Rajat Sharma

Having recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, Motorola has come a long way since its inception in 1928. The company’s mobile division was sold to Google in 2012, only to be acquired a while later by Lenovo, of which it’s been a part since 2014. Even though the RAZR is no longer a thing, with the long-running ‘G’ series and the modular ‘Z’ line-up, Motorola’s march forward continues.

Taking the next step in its journey, the company recently launched the Motorola One Power in India. Deriving the name from two of its biggest features – Android One and a colossal 5,000mAh battery – the One Power has been priced at a competitive Rs 15,999. That price pits it directly against devices like Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1), fellow Android One competitor Nokia 6.1 Plus, and segment-leader Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.

Considering everything it offers (in context of the price), Motorola’s first Android One-certified smartphone seems like a great mid-range offering, at least on paper. But, is it really worth its salt? Read my comprehensive review of the Motorola One Power, and find out for yourself.

Design and Build Quality

Take one look at the Motorola One Power and one thing becomes clear right out of the gate – this is a smartphone intended to be a tool, not a lifestyle accessory. Compared to the glass back-toting ‘G’ series and the modular ‘Z’ line-up, Motorola’s first Android One smartphone looks a tad utilitarian, and maybe even a bit plain. But, that’s not a downer. If anything, it makes the One Power visually stand out among the rest of its brethren, all of which share (more or less) the same blueprint.

In terms of design, the One Power doesn’t really break any new ground. With a soft-touch metallic back panel, surrounded by a color-matched frame (quite likely made of plastic), it looks like just about any other mid-range smartphone in the market today. In fact, the Motorola One Power’s rear bears a striking resemblance to that of the Asus’ Zenfone Max Pro (M1), one of its primary competitors. But that’s beside the point.

Image Credit: Rajat Sharma

As one would expect from a mid-range smartphone in 2018, the Motorola One Power comes with a dual-camera system at the back. Comprised of two vertically-stacked lenses and a two-tone LED flash, the slightly protruding assembly sits at the top-left corner. At the center of the upper-half of the rear panel, is the fingerprint sensor, proudly embellished by Motorola’s iconic ‘Batwing’ logo. Other than that, the back is largely bare, save for an ‘Android One’ emblem stamped on the lower half.

Up top, the smartphone features a 3.5mm audio port, which is always a good sight these days. Down at the bottom, you’ll find a USB Type-C port (Thumbs-up!) and a mono speaker. The power button and volume rocker are on the right, while the left is home to a triple-slot tray which can take two SIM cards and a microSD card (up to 256GB) at the same time, so you aren’t forced to choose between dual-SIM functionality and expandable storage.

What the Motorola One Power lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in build quality. This is a solidly-constructed smartphone, and one that can easily survive the rigors of day-to-day use, such as an accidental fall (or two). Weighing in at 205 grams (primarily because of the large battery, discussed later), the One Power is certainly a bit on the chunkier side. However, this unmistakable heft also gives the smartphone a reassuring in-hand feel. It’s something which you may not like, but I personally adore.

Watch: Motorola One Power First Look

Display

Gracing the façade of the One Power is its biggest differentiating factor – display. It’s a 6.2-inch screen, and makes the smartphone Motorola’s first to have a notch, a ‘feature’ I have an absolute disdain for. It looks just as bad on the One Power as it does on the iPhone XS Max. What’s worse, you can’t hide the display’s ‘ears’. I really hope Motorola adds the ability to do so in a future update. The notch houses an earpiece, a front-facing camera, and the usual array of sensors. There’s no notification LED, but you probably won’t miss it (more on this later). The side bezels and chin are quite minimal, with the latter having a ‘Motorola’ logo in the middle.

Image Credit: Rajat Sharma

With a resolution of 1080×2246 pixels and an 18.7:9 aspect ratio, the Full-HD+ ‘Max Vision’ display itself isn’t half bad. Viewing angles are decent, and everything from color accuracy to contrast is (largely) on point. The panel also gets quite bright even under sunlight, provided you max out the brightness.

Hardware and General Performance

Delivering horsepower to the Motorola One Power is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, a chipset used by many mid-range smartphones these days. The SoC uses eight Kryo 260 cores (each clocked at 1.8GHz), and an Adreno 509 GPU. Manufactured using the 14nm fabrication process, it offers the right blend of performance and thermal efficiency.

In simple terms, this means that Snapdragon 636 allows the One Power to handle all its day-to-day tasks with aplomb, as I observed during my review run. Apps launch in a snap, and even resource-intensive titles like PUBG Mobile run sans any issues (albeit at slightly lower settings). I also found the smartphone adept at multitasking, thanks to 4GB of RAM. Sure, there is some lag here and there, but it doesn’t affect the overall experience.

Image Credit: Rajat Sharma

I tested the Motorola One Power with a Reliance Jio SIM in it and found call quality to be great. The 4G VoLTE-capable smartphone latches on to the cellular network without any problems as well. Individual results may vary, based on factors such as cellular carrier and area-specific network coverage. From 802.11a/b/g/n/ac to Bluetooth 5.0, the One Power has all the communication options you’d expect, and they all work as they ought to. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is also quite zippy, though certainly not the fastest.

Software

Motorola’s smartphones are renowned for providing a near-stock Android experience, and the One Power makes it even better, by going one step further. As Motorola’s first proper Android One-certified smartphone, it provides a software experience that’s clean, minimal, and devoid of any bloat, right out-of-the-box. There are no funky UI overlays or duplicate apps here, just pure Android as it’s meant to be. It also theoretically means faster OS/security updates with support from Google, which is always a good thing.

There are, however, some incredibly useful additions that Motorola has added to sweeten things up. These include the preloaded ‘Moto’ app, which lets you configure ‘Moto Display’, a nifty feature that flashes alerts about incoming notifications, even when the screen is turned off. During my testing, I found Moto Display to be quite reliable. You can customize how much detail to show in notifications, block alerts from certain apps, and more.

Once you get a hang of Moto Display, you won’t really miss the notification LED, as I’d mentioned earlier. Then there’s ‘Moto Actions’, which allows you to turn on the flashlight by ‘chopping’ the smartphone twice, or twist it quickly to launch the camera from anywhere. Quite convenient, if you ask me.

In addition, the preloaded ‘Moto Help’ app gives you a basic idea about the different features of the One Power. It can also be used to run diagnostic tests on the smartphone, including everything from display to microphone. The One Power (still) runs Android 8.1 Oreo, which is a bit of a bummer. That said, Motorola has promised that the smartphone will get the beta build of Android 9 Pie this month. If everything goes to plan, the stable version of Android’s newest flavor should reach the smartphone soon. In terms of updates, Motorola One Power is quite future-proof, since it’s confirmed to get Android Q as well, whenever that becomes available.

Camera

Motorola One Power sports a dual-camera setup at the back, comprised of a 16-megapixel primary (f/1.8) lens and a 5-megapixel (f/2.2) secondary depth sensor. There’s also Phase Detection Autofocus and HDR support thrown into the mix. That sounds all fine and dandy on paper, but is the actual camera performance any good? In one word – Yes.

Daylight – HDR Off (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

In broad daylight and other well-lit environments, the One Power’s dual-camera array captures very good photos. Colors and exposure are well-balanced, with ample amount of sharpness and resolved detail.

Daylight – HDR On (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

The HDR mode does help in bringing out the details in darker spots of images, but slightly messes up shadows and highlights in doing so.

Bokeh Effect (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

If you love shooting photos with funky bokeh effects, Motorola One Power has you covered. The secondary sensor does and admirable job of separating the subject from the background, although it’s far from being perfect.

Lowlight – HDR Off (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

Lowlight photography is an area where most mid-range smartphones end up struggling, but the One Power turned out to be an exception. Photos shot at night are quite good (considering the smartphone’s price), with decent color and contrast levels.

Lowlight – HDR On (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

That said, taking crops at 100-percent zoom isn’t exactly a good idea, since there’s a lot of digital noise and compression artefacts. Turning on HDR at night makes things a little better, but don’t expect any wonders.

Night Mode (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

So why did I call Motorola One Power an exception? It’s because of the Night mode. When turned on, it works some magic, resulting in night-time shots that look much better than anyone would expect from a mid-range smartphone. It doesn’t work equally well in all scenarios, but when it does, the results are great.

Selfie (Image Credit: Rajat Sharma)

Up front, the One Power sports a 12-megapixel (f/2.0) unit for selfies (and video calls). Personally, I’ve never really been too keen on self-portraits, but I found the result(s) from Motorola’s Android One smartphone to be just fine. There’s also a ‘Portrait Mode’ that lets you capture selfies with fancy depth-of-field effects, and the ‘beautification’ feature lets you smoothen out your facial characteristics before taking a selfie, if that’s your thing.

Battery Life

Remember the unmistakable heft that I mentioned earlier? It’s because of the Motorola One Power’s mammoth 5,000mAh powerpack, which the company claims can help the smartphone go up to two days on a full charge. Having extensively tested out the One Power, I can confirm that this is indeed the case, and then some.

Over the course of my review run, Motorola One Power’s fully-charged battery easily lasted me three days, even with moderate to heavy use. Even if you use your smartphone like there’s no tomorrow, you’ll easily get two days of use with the cell fully juiced up. The included 18W ‘Turbo Power’ adapter takes about 2 hours 50 minutes to fully charge the battery. That may not be the fastest charging speed out there, but given the capacity of the One Power’s cell, I’m not complaining. You can get about a day’s worth of battery in a little over an hour of charging, which is on par with most fast-charge options available today.

Verdict

There has never been a better time to buy a smartphone, especially if you’re looking at the mid-range segment. There are countless choices out there, and almost all of them are good, which makes deciding on one a task. Among the Motorola One Power’s rivals are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Asus Zenfone Max Pro (M1), both of which cost less. Then there’s the similarly-priced Nokia 6.1 Plus, which offers Android One in a much more premium and compact chassis.

So, is the One Power the perfect mid-range smartphone? Perhaps not. It’s chunky, and that notch is a bother even if you don’t typically mind it. However, as a complete package, Motorola One Power ticks almost all the right boxes. And at the end, that’s all that matters. If you’re sick of having to charge your smartphone multiple times a day, and can’t stand custom UI overlays, I recommend you get this one.

You Might be Interested

Motorola One Power

15999

Android 8.1 Oreo
Snapdragon 636 octa-core SoC
16MP + 5MP
  • Published Date: October 11, 2018 3:55 PM IST
  • Updated Date: October 12, 2018 1:31 PM IST