“The Motorola One 5G stretches your greenback with an enormous show, useful software program, and nice battery life.”

Large 90Hz show

Distinctive battery life

Glorious software program with neat options

Robust specs, except for 4GB of RAM

Good important and macro cameras

Just one assured software program replace

Subpar ultra-wide entrance and rear cameras

Shiny, fingerprint-prone plastic physique

As high-end telephones get ever dearer, pushing properly north of $1,000, we’ve fortunately seen the emergence of recent value-focused telephones within the $400 to 700 vary that supply an distinctive expertise for an affordable value. Motorola has all the time provided that kind of proposition, albeit at a cheaper price level, with its Moto G line, and has now began to maneuver upward to this center value bracket with the Motorola One line.

The Motorola One 5G is its newest providing, and it’s a stable bundle for beneath $500 on AT&T and Verizon. Right here’s why it is best to contemplate it to your subsequent cellphone.

, design, and show

Motorola is aware of that once you’re making an attempt to supply nice worth, massive screens and large batteries promote telephones. The One 5G is enormous, with a 6.7-inch show. However it’s an fascinating one, as a result of it’s extremely tall, with a 21:9 facet ratio, moderately than vast. Even with noticeably giant bezels round it, it’s narrower than the largest telephones on the market, just like the Galaxy Word 20 Extremely — though it’s really taller than the Word.

The additional-tall facet ratio is nice for seeing extra in your Twitter feed, e-mail inbox, or Instagram web page, nevertheless it makes it actually robust to achieve the highest of the display screen for the numerous apps that also put buttons and interface parts on the high. That’s the catch-22. The cellphone isn’t large enough to be a burden in your pocket, however the top might be cumbersome to cope with one-handed. And I’m saying this as a tall particular person with giant palms. My girlfriend discovered the dimensions of the cellphone completely comical.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor, which integrates into the facility button, can also be so excessive up that you would be able to’t comfortably relaxation your thumb on it with the nook of the cellphone resting in your palm, which is an odd choice. And the quantity rocker is greater nonetheless. These are usability hurdles, for certain.

A tall display screen is nice to take a look at, however robust to cope with — even when you have massive palms.

The show itself is nice for the cash. It’s very shiny and colourful, utterly usable in daylight, and has a 90Hz refresh fee that makes movement delightfully easy. Colours get a bit of washed out at most brightness, and darken off-axis, however these are small quibbles on a sub-$500 cellphone. Until you’re used to the highest-end Samsung, Apple, or OnePlus cellphone shows, you wouldn’t know what you’re lacking.

For beneath $500, you don’t count on next-level design or supplies. And within the Motorola One 5G, you don’t get them. This can be a shiny plastic cellphone. It appears to be like fairly good, significantly when the sunshine hits the shimmery dotted sample and throws off rainbow reflections. However it feels as slippery because it appears to be like, and it’ll by no means be free from fingerprint smudges. The plastic feels thick and sturdy, and I’m sure it’ll maintain as much as drops and bumps over years. However it’s vulnerable to little scratches. It took solely a pair days for the again of mine to be affected by them.

Software program, efficiency, and battery life

Motorola has a repute glorious software program. It’s nice as a result of it’s 95% typical Android, no completely different from what Google places by itself telephones, however with some Motorola aptitude that makes the software program extra useful and helpful with out including weight or getting in the way in which. Motorola’s gestures are a deal with. Make a chopping movement, and the flashlight activates. Double twist the cellphone to launch the digicam, flip the cellphone facedown to set don’t disturb, and choose up the cellphone whereas it’s ringing to silence it. All of it works in a manner that’s pleasant.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor additionally pulls obligation as a shortcut button. Double faucet it gently to launch a shortcut menu the place you may open apps or duties of your selecting. These might be common apps or particular features inside apps, like going straight to navigating house in Google Maps, writing a tweet in Twitter, or making a reminder in Google Calendar.

The difficulty with the software program isn’t what it’s at present, however what will probably be sooner or later. Motorola solely commits to at least one main software program replace, which, due to the unlucky launch timing, can be Android 11, not 2021’s Android 12 launch. Meaning you’ll get a software program replace very quickly, after which solely sporadic small safety updates going ahead. In case you’re occupied with getting new options down the highway, this isn’t the cellphone for you.

As a result of that is an AT&T-branded cellphone, I’ve to take a second to excoriate the provider for as soon as once more loading this cellphone with a customer-insulting stage of bloatware. On high of the standard suite of branded apps like AT&T Cloud and AT&T Good Wi-Fi, you get piles of preloads like 1-800-Flowers, AMC Theatres, Bubble Island 2, DC Universe, NBA, Pet Rescue Saga, and so forth. In all, there are 25 extra apps put in. Each one is trash and shouldn’t be preloaded on any cellphone. And I opted out of each attainable immediate throughout (and after!) setup to put in extra. Cease it, AT&T.

The spec sheet checks the entire bins, aside from the weak 4GB of RAM.

Fortunately, you’ve 128GB of storage to work with, of which I solely used 35GB after putting in all of my common apps and downloading copious quantities of media. Motorola runs a fairly tight software program suite (exterior of that AT&T bloat), so there’s tons of room to your personal knowledge.

Elsewhere on the spec sheet, the Snapdragon 765 processor is an effective get at this value, contemplating it’s powering gadgets all the way in which as much as the $1,000 mark in some instances. This “midrange” chip is greater than able to dealing with all the things you throw at it and has tons of headroom to make use of for a few years. I can’t say the identical in regards to the cellphone’s 4GB of RAM, which feels stingy in 2020. I didn’t run into extreme cases of apps being killed within the background, however I do know that 4GB is the naked minimal for operating trendy cellular video games. Who is aware of how properly that’ll fare over time, regardless of the processor being greater than succesful.

Motorola continues its deal with battery life, and goes as far as to say the One 5G is nice for 2 days on a cost. I wouldn’t go that far, as a result of everybody makes use of their cellphone in another way, however that is definitely a powerful battery. In spite of everything, 5,000mAh is a ton of capability, and with these easy specs and software program options, it simply will get by way of even the toughest days with loads left over. Likelihood is you’ll simply plug it in at night time, like everybody does with each cellphone.


The Motorola One has a well-known setup, with a 48-megapixel important digicam that makes use of Four-to-1 pixel binning to output 12MP pictures for elevated mild sensitivity. To spice issues up, there’s additionally an 8MP. 118-degree field-of-view ultra-wide digicam, plus a devoted 5MP macro digicam, and a 2MP digicam used to gather depth info. That’s so much happening, and it’s fairly a sight on the again of the cellphone.

The first digicam is nice, simply producing pictures worthy of sharing on social media with out edits. There’s a easy shade profile, and when HDR engages, it doesn’t go overboard. There’s ample readability and crispness more often than not, however once you shoot towards the sky or harsh mild, you may get comfortable edges and blown-out highlights. In low-light scenes, the scenario is completely different: With out OIS, this digicam doesn’t stand an opportunity. The “night time” mode does a fundamental impression of Google Evening Sight, making the complete scene near-daylight shiny, and dramatically bettering crispness and colours … nevertheless it’s nonetheless not nice. In blended lighting, or indoors, the digicam will get by advantageous in auto mode.

The ultra-wide digicam utterly misses the mark, although. Sure you get that nice wide-angle perspective, however each picture is extremely comfortable, washed out, and customarily simply not pleasing to the attention. It’s advantageous for a shot right here and there, however there’s such a giant drop-off from the primary digicam that it’s a letdown.

I anticipated the macro digicam to be dangerous, and was significantly shocked. This factor is nice, and it’s super-fun to shoot with. Additionally, 5MP is loads of decision, and it really has autofocus. You get nice element, and the minimal focal distance is extraordinarily brief. The ring mild is overkill a overwhelming majority of the time, however fortunately the digicam doesn’t want it to supply crisp and clear pictures. I’m undecided how typically individuals care about taking macro pictures, and maybe that cash would’ve been higher spent on a very good ultra-wide digicam as an alternative, however I’m glad that it’s good because it’s included.

The twin selfie cameras comply with the identical script because the rear cameras: The principle 16MP digicam is nice, the 8MP ultra-wide will not be. In case you can preserve your arm prolonged far sufficient to remain past the mounted focal distance, you’ll get a well-balanced and comparatively crisp picture with the primary digicam. Par for the course. However the pictures on the ultra-wide, which is meant to save lots of you from reaching thus far to get extra surroundings or individuals within the body, as an alternative frustrate by being washed out and comfortable throughout — not nice. Persist with the primary digicam.

Our take

Motorola’s tackle the “inexpensive midrange cellphone with 5G” section is an effective one, and the corporate continues to show that you simply don’t need to spend a ton of cash to get a stable smartphone with lots of the newest options and nice software program. For beneath $500, you’re getting a very good software program expertise with considerate additions, though it’s marred barely by AT&T’s distinctive stage of bloatware (and Verizon gained’t be a lot better).

Efficiency is nice, and all the things appears to be like good on this massive 90Hz show. Essential digicam high quality is okay for the section, and the additional macro shooter is enjoyable. Plus, you are able to do all of it with none concern over the battery operating out earlier than the top of the day.

The one actual draw back is the , in each dimension and high quality. The Motorola One 5G is simply too darn tall for many individuals to make use of comfortably one-handed, even whether it is well-suited to displaying you extra content material in apps with out scrolling. And the simply feels low-cost, from high to backside. However after all, there are sure to be shortcomings and compromises at this value.

Is there a greater different?

The Motorola One 5G performs in a aggressive house price-wise, however on the similar time is just accessible from AT&T and Verizon, which limits its market barely. In case you’re in search of a cellphone to make use of on T-Cellular, or would like to purchase unlocked, there are good choices.

The largest competitor has but to be formally introduced, however can be quickly: Google’s Pixel 4a 5G will launch on September 30. All indications are that this bigger model of the Pixel 4a, with 5G connectivity, may also are available in beneath $500. At that value, I might suggest the Pixel 4a 5G over the Motorola One 5G, as a consequence of its dramatically higher digicam and a Google software program expertise that features three years of assured updates. In case you don’t care about 5G or having an enormous cellphone, the bottom Pixel 4a is an unimaginable worth at $350.

As for telephones you should buy proper now, Motorola really makes a competitor: The Motorola Edge. It’s often discounted to $500, has 5G, and is total a lot nicer cellphone when it comes to specs and as a result of its MSRP is definitely $700.

How lengthy will it final?

There’s little question that Motorola’s telephones are robust. With this thick plastic exterior, I’ve no worries in regards to the Motorola One 5G lasting you a number of years from a perspective. The one query is the software program.

Motorola ensures one main software program replace, which on this case can be Android 11 that was sadly launched similtaneously this cellphone. Meaning you’ll solely get a number of security-related software program updates sooner or later, which Motorola additionally isn’t nice with. You might be feeling left behind due to the Motorola One 5G’s software program properly earlier than the offers out.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. In case you’re on AT&T or Verizon and desire a massive cellphone with 5G beneath $500, the Motorola One 5G is a wonderful choose. Notably for the reason that carriers are anticipated to supply nice incentives, with reductions on financing plans that would drop the value beneath $400, or in some instances even $300. At that value, this cellphone actually stands out. Nevertheless, in the event you’re prepared to purchase unlocked (and on sale) with the Motorola Edge, or wait a number of weeks within the case of the Pixel 4a 5G, you do produce other choices.

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