Motorola One 5G Review
The Moto One 5G ticks most of the right boxes with its large, vivid 90Hz display, competent spec lineup, and excellent battery life. Unless you absolutely need the Pixel 4a’s powerful camera, most users will appreciate the amount of value you get for under $450.
In the box:
- Motorola One 5G device
- 15W TurboPower charging adapter
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- SIM tool
- Quick Start guide
The Motorola One 5G follows the general style of recent Moto smartphones, featuring gently curved sides and a plastic back, which has a striking blue color and prismatic finish that give the phone a premium look and feel. The device is fairly hefty for its size at 210 grams, outweighing the Galaxy S20 and Motorola Edge+, which both share similar dimensions. Still, it’s not too unwieldy to hold and use, especially with its slim, 21:9 aspect ratio.
The back of the phone houses a quad-lens, stove burner camera bump along with two flash modules, while the bottom of the device has a single speaker grill, USB-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Along the edges, the One 5G sports the standard volume rocker, SIM tray (with microSD support!) and power button, though it’s missing the dedicated Google Assistant button present on its European cousin.
The power button also incorporates the fingerprint reader. The sensor is the phone’s sole form of biometric authentication, and thankfully it’s both fast and accurate, despite it’s slim size.
The One 5G’s display is large and generally pleasing. It’s a 6.7-inch, LCD panel with Full HD resolution that also features a 90Hz refresh rate for super-smooth scrolling. Colors are vivid and saturation levels look good, especially in the ‘Boosted’ setting (‘Natural’ looks too warm and ‘Saturated’ too cartoonish). The display gets sufficiently bright, remaining clearly legible even in sunlight.
Smartphone cameras are an area of fierce competition, and Motorola equipped the One 5G with a total of six lenses across the front and back, including a 48MP main shooter, ultrawide and depth sensors, a macro lens, and dual front-facing cameras for both standard and wide-angle selfies.
The One 5G’s photography won’t knock your socks off, but it produces mostly great shots and performs capably across a wide range of situations. Detail and dynamic range are both processed fairly well, and colors look natural and realistic. In low light, the Night Vision mode kicks in, and the delayed shutter speed definitely pays off with the extra light it captures.
The macro camera features one of the device’s more idiosyncratic features, a built-in ring light for illuminating your close up shots. Unfortunately, the setup isn’t immune to the harsh shadows common to mobile flash modules, and the 5MP macro sensor itself isn’t exactly blue ribbon material. The macro camera can produce decent images at times, and it’s definitely a fun addition, but the amount of value it brings is questionable.
The 16MP front-facing camera takes surprisingly good selfies, capturing accurate skin tones and great levels of detail. The wide-angle selfie lens is also a nice touch, which will probably come in handy when casually meeting up with friends becomes a thing again.
Software & Performance
Software is an area where Motorola devices tend to shine. The One 5G ships with near-stock Android 10, and Motorola’s signature touches bring extra convenience to the minimalist UI, with intuitive gestures like chop for flashlight or twist for camera. Moto’s UI also supports three-finger taps for screenshotting and native scrolling screenshots, something Google still hasn’t mastered, for some reason.
On the inside, a Snapdragon 765 chipset and 4GB of RAM keep the show on the road, and the phone manages to keep up just fine. Midrange processors have gotten good enough to remain snappy for the majority of use cases, so most people should be satisfied with these specs. As far as benchmarks go, the phone performs about as well as its peers.
Sound & Media
Call quality on the One 5G is acceptably good. Incoming audio sounds crisp and clear, and outgoing audio seems non-problematic as well. For music and media, the bottom-firing speaker is punchy and loud, and it sounds fine in most cases. Compared to flagships like the LG V60 or Pixel 4, it definitely sounds harsher and less nuanced, but audio performance is more than fine for the price point and will certainly get the job done.
The One 5G boasts a large, 5,000mAh battery cell to keep the lights on, and it’s a strong one. The phone routinely delivers 9-10 or more hours of screen on time for mixed usage, easily pulling through a long day with room to spare. Two days is also not outside the realm of possibility, but power users may need a top-up in the middle.
Speaking of charging, the phone can charge fully in a little over two hours with the supplied TurboPower 15W charger. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging, which is not surprising for the price point but still missed.