Motorola One Action Review: A Wide-Angle, Stabilised Action Camera in Your Palms for Rs 13,999

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Motorola has been making interesting developments when it comes to its smartphones. The Lenovo owned brand has been known majorly for its generational series of phones, the Moto E and the Moto G which mostly come in the budget segment. However, with the launch of the Motorola One series of smartphones, the brand has forayed in the mid-range segment and also not to mention, these smartphones come with an emphasis on specific features for each phone making them an intriguing offering. The latest debut in this series has been the Motorola One Action, and previously we have seen the launch of Motorola One Vision. The Motorola One Action has already gone on sale and retails for Rs 13,999. So, without making you wait any further, let’s check out how good of a device, the Motorola One Action is.

Motorola One Action Review: Design

When it comes to design, the Motorola One Action follows the lead of the previous Motorola One Vision. The device is likely to fool the people for Motorola One Vision if it weren’t for the colour or the triple rear camera setup. There are, however, little differences between the two phones. While the Motorola One Vision used to sport a glass back with a very premium finish, the Motorola One Action comes with a polycarbonate plastic back. Since the phone positions itself as an “action camera” device, we consider that the plastic back is meant for slightly rugged use and still manages to give a premium feel to the device.

In our hands, we had the Denim Blue variant of the phone, which seems very premium from the rear side with small dots pattern. There is the rear mounted fingerprint sensor with the embossed Moto logo, and the triple rear camera setup is vertically oriented with the dual-LED flash finding its way slightly below it in a capsule shape positioning. The rear panel curves smoothly into the edges, and it is because of this and the tall form factor that the device lends a very comfortable hold and the phone balances itself perfectly on the palms.

Motorola One Action Review: Display

On the front, it can be easily said that the Motorola One Action is the copy of the Motorola One Vision. The device has the same punch-hole style notch and the same 21:9 aspect ratio display that the Motorola One Vision sports. However, that also means that some of the small drawbacks of the Motorola One Vision display creep into this device as well. The status-bar of the phone has been stretched slightly on the Motorola One Action to accommodate the bigger notch, but given the tall display of the phone, that does not become a big hurdle while consuming content or simply using the device.

As for the full-HD+ display of the phone, the colours on display are vibrant, and the display has a cool feel to it. The brightness of the panel is also high to make it legible enough under the sunlight. Now the area where the 21:9 screen truly shines is consuming content. Watching movies on the Motorola One Action is a delight as the screen offers that immersive experience. We put up Birdbox from Netflix on this phone, and we had a pleasant experience. However, the adaption of the 21:9 screen is not as extensive for other applications as it is for content streaming. There will be a lot of instances, where you might have to deal with black bars on the sides, and some games like PUBG might force you to reposition the controller on the screen for better ease, simply because these games are not yet optimised for the 21:9 screens.

Motorola One Action Review: Performance

Before we talk about the performance of the Motorola One Action, it is crucial to note that the phone runs on the Samsung Exynos 9609 processor which is puts this phone in a unique position. To give you a picture, even Samsung does not have a phone in the market yet which comes with the Exynos 9609 processor. So, while it comes to day to day usage, the Motorola One Action is buttery smooth, and surely the simplicity of Android One is something that adds to the experience. This time around the phone also gets the single button navigation system which resembles the gesture navigation system found on Android Q. In addition to that, the phone comes with Moto specific features like chop-chop flashlight and others. The device also handles multitasking very well, and even heavy games like PUBG and Asphalt 9 were able to run with ease during our test. The only drawback while talking about the performance of this device is the battery life which is courtesy of the 3,500mAh battery. On a full day of usage, we had to plug the device back into the socket around evening. Especially given that the phone comes with an emphasis on video recording, a bigger battery is something that the users might have appreciated.

Motorola One Action Review: Camera and Video

Motorola One Action is the device which will compel us to talk about videos first before we move on to the topic of photos when it comes to camera performance. Being a device which puts a heavy emphasis on video, we put the Motorola One Action through a proper video test, and we have to tell you that we were pleasantly surprised. The device comes with an action camera with 117-degree field of view for those wide-angle shots and extreme EIS for buttery smooth stabilisation. In a way, Motorola One Action has tried to bring GoPro like qualities to the smartphone, and it the device does a good job in pulling that off to a certain extent. The camera has also been tilted 90-degrees to provide the users with a way to easily record landscape videos without keeping their hands in an uncomfortable position.

The users will also be able to switch between the action camera mode and the default video mode. The rear cameras even support 4K videos at 30 fps, and full-HD videos at 60fps. However, the action camera goes as high as providing full-HD videos at 60fps. The front camera on the phone can also record 4K videos at 30fps and full-HD videos at 60fps similar to the rear cameras. As for the action camera, it can be said that for someone looking to vlog or record with their mid-range phone, and Motorola One Action currently seems to be the right choice given all the feature that it ships. It is also crucial to note that while the action camera is the unique point about the phone, the users might find that in low light there is a little drift in focus of the camera not as much details.

When it comes to pictures, the Motorola One Action lives up to the potential of the 12MP (f/1.8) primary camera and the 5MP depth sensor. In outdoor shots, the Motorola One Action definitely clicks pictures which retain a lot of detail. Although, the details are not as fine tuned as the One Vision, which comes with a 48MP camera and has been designed for that very purpose. Even then, the colours are vibrant, and in some instances we found them to be a little oversaturated. The macro shots also turned out to be pleasing with the correct amount of detail, no oversharpening and vibrant colours. The night-mode was something that we missed on the Motorola One Action, but as per Motorola, there is a chance that we might get to see a night-mode on this phone soon. On the front, the device utilises a 12MP f/2.0 sensor which also clicks decent selfies, albeit with a little udersaturated colours. Even with that, the pictures get considerable depth and the “portrait effect” is also something that users will like. But, overall, the camera is something that will make your Snapchat and Instagram pictures definitely worthy enough to end up on your feed.

Motorola One Action Review: Verdict

The Motorola One Action is a phone which builds upon the Motorola One Vision and adds a unique proposition of the action camera into the mix. There are no two thoughts about the performance of this device. Also, for someone who would like to record videos, take up vlogging or simply produce video content, the Motorola One Action could be the best phone our there under the Rs 15,000 price tag simply because of features like a wide-angle lens, stabilisation and the range of recording options that it offers. The aesthetics and the Android One Experience is certainly that will be a plus point for the users. Some of the things that might be a little concern about the phone are the battery life and the absence of a night mode. Apart from these two things, the Motorola One Action is an impressive offering for Rs 13,999.

Reported By


Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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