With Xiaomi, Samsung and Realme dominating the mid-range in India, Motorola is now almost a forgotten name. It used to hold the pole position with the G Series, but lately the G Series has failed to keep up with the competition, at least on paper. However, last year Motorola introduced a new lineup with Android One certification and respectable specs. The aim was to address the pain points that users face when using a budget smartphone. The Motorola One Vision is the second phone in the series and offers an interesting package for binge watchers and photographers alike. How does it perform against the competition? Let’s find out –
Performance and battery
Strangely enough, the Motorola One Vision is powered by a Samsung Exynos processor. The Exynos 9609 to be exact. It appears to be the only smartphone powered by the 7-series Exynos processor. The octa-core CPU contains four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.2 GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.6 GHz. These are certainly impressive numbers and in line with the competition. Still, the benchmark analysis shows that the Motorola One Vision is slightly slower than the competition, including the Realme 3 Pro, the Redmi Note 7 Pro and the Galaxy M30.
That said, you probably won’t find much of a difference in performance if you use the phone as a daily driver. Over the course of this review, I used the phone to binge on Stranger Things on Netflix, played PUBG Mobile, and even used it to write articles on the go, and all the while, the phone never really slowed down. Now there is a slight delay when launching apps, which is only noticeable when you put the Realme 3 Pro or the Redmi Note 7 Pro side by side, but you probably won’t notice it. The clean, minimalist stock Android interface also helps things run smoother, and there’s less bloatware to bother with. There’s 128GB of storage as standard and the option to expand via a microSD card, so there’s plenty of room for your apps.
While the Motorola One Vision doesn’t advertise its gaming capabilities much, we found PUBG Mobile to run quite smoothly for a mid-range device. On Gamebench, we clocked a 37 median FPS, which is more than what you’d get on the popular mid-range, with an impressive 92 percent FPS stability. On Asphalt 9, we clocked 27 median FPS, which is also pretty close to the max it can go, and FPS stability was back at 92 percent. It’s also because of the wide screen and punchy colors that the graphics look pretty good, especially on Asphalt 9. We’re not sure if the HDR capabilities will come into play here.
The Motorola One Vision also does a lot with a fairly small battery. The capacity is only 3500 mAh, which is 500 mAh less than what most mid-range smartphones offer today, but combined with the energy efficiency of the 10nm production process and the standard Android interface, the phone almost manages to to last a working day, usually from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. We clocked in at about 8.5 hours on Geekbench Battery Test, while 15 minutes of PUBG Mobile drained the battery by 8 percent and 30 minutes of Netflix drained the battery by 10 percent.
The camera is the reason for the phone’s existence, as the name suggests. The phone offers a 48-megapixel Samsung GM-1 sensor with a sensor size of 1/2-inch and an effective pixel pitch of 1.6 µm after throwing it away. Sitting in the middle of 2019, this is not something new and groundbreaking anymore. Quite a few devices under Rs 20,000 offer the same camera and the performance, while commendable, has some issues. Shooting in 48MP mode itself, for example, results in blurry photos, and Moto’s way around that was to remove the ability to shoot at 48MP altogether. You can only shoot in 12MP from the rear camera and that results in reasonably sharp photos. A major downside to the One Vision’s camera is its white balance, which is way below par when shooting daytime shots, especially with HDR on. In a camera comparison we did with the Galaxy M40, Honor 20i and the Redmi Note 7S, the Motorola One Vision managed to display sharp details but was way off in color reproduction. There was also a significant amount of halation around objects when using HDR mode, a result of poorly implemented algorithms. The phone also has a slow shutter response and there is an annoying wait of about a second after you press the shutter button.
In low light, however, the Motorola One Vision does a commendable job. When using the special night mode, the phone takes multiple shots to get the exposure right, resulting in pretty sharp images in low light. You can check out our detailed camera comparison with the Motorola One Vision to get an idea of how the camera stacks up against its rivals.
Design and display
The Motorola One Vision looks very different from other phones at that price. It is larger and narrower, making it easy to use with one hand. The One Vision uses a 21:9 aspect ratio screen, which is where most movies are shot, and it’s slightly wider than the 19.5:9 aspect ratio that most smartphone screens come with. The upside is that when the aspect ratio is supported by a movie, the experience is quite immersive. The content covers the entire area, leaving only a thin black bar at the top and bottom. But if not, there is thick pillars on all sides, which makes it look really bad. Games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 do scale up to support the screen, but we’re not sure about other games.
The phone also has a punch-hole camera drilled into the top left corner of the display. The hole is bigger than other phones with the same technology, and there’s no way around it when looking at something on the screen. But it does give the feeling of using an edge-to-edge screen. The screen is also HDR rated, but you can only watch HDR content on YouTube and not on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the like. When enabled, HDR makes the images pop, but it’s the lack of Netflix certification that dampens the experience.
Furthermore, the back panel of the phone is made of polished polycarbonate. Motorola uses a subtle copper color gradient that makes the phone stand out among the multi-gradient designs you see in the name of a modern design. There’s a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor which is quite fast and snappy and the rest of the rear panel remains uninterrupted except for the dual camera module tucked away in the top left corner. Minimalist and clean. Just the way we like it.
Long story short, the Motorola One Vision’s reason for being is its camera and that’s where we found most of the flaws. The camera’s ability to take sharp photos is offset by the sloppy white balance and slow shutter speed, while in low light it’s one of the best you can get. But no one buys a phone just for a good low-light camera, and unless a software update is released to fix the existing issues, the Motorola One Vision will lose out to more powerful rivals. The performance isn’t great to write home about, but everything works pretty well with no lags or crashes. As for the screen, it takes some getting used to and finding content to match the panel is still a task, but we liked the ergonomics it offers due to its narrow form factor. At Rs 20,000 there is too much uncertainty about the camera performance of the phone and with cheaper phones offering better performance, we don’t see ourselves going out of our way and buying this smartphone.