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Interface and usability
- Clean take on Android 9 Pie
- Useful gesture controls
- Fluid interface
Motorola devices have always been blessed with an enlightened approach to Android. The manufacturer takes a clean build of the operating system and makes a few customizations of its own, all in the name of making the interface cleaner and simpler.
The default launcher has apps installing to the right, and also in an app drawer found via an upward swipe. Going to the left reveals a ‘Google Now’ screen, containing various pieces of useful information.
Doing a double ‘karate-chop’ with the device in hand will activate the torch mode, while doing a ‘double twist’ will quickly open the camera. The Motorola One Macro also has sensors which allow it to detect nearby movement, which then allows it to automatically show information on the screen.
Swiping through the interface, we found that it was well-designed and fluid, a clear result of thinking from the customer's perspective, not from an engineer's best idea of what they might want.
Keeping things so lean has another benefit: speed. With very little ballast clogging up its systems, in most situations the One Macro flies. Given that this isn't a guarantee even at the top end *cough* Samsung *cough* that Motorola has succeeded here is an achievement in itself.
Movies, music and gaming
- Headphone jack and good battery life make this decent for media
- Will struggle with high-end games
With a large enough screen, a big battery and a headphone jack, the Motorola One Macro is well-suited to the pocket of the frequent commuter.
The screen is big enough to enjoy the odd TV episode on, and the battery performance means that it ought to survive a long-haul flight with a little juice left in the tank. With 64GB of storage and a microSD card slot there's also plenty of space for media.
The MediaTek Helio P70 processor powering things is power-efficient, however we couldn't accuse it of being overly powerful. In our experience, this isn't a device that is going to push top frame rates in PUBG, however for the mid to casual level of gamer it ought to be more than enough.
With a headphone jack, listening to audio on the One Macro is automatically more convenient in many situations when compared to devices that lack this port - there are no batteries that need to be charged nor connectivity issues.
The downward firing speaker does a reasonable job of pushing out notes, though it doesn't compete with the best, such as the Razer Phone 2.
Performance and benchmarks
- MediaTek Helio P70 chipset and 4GB of RAM
- Mediocre benchmark scores
It could perhaps be considered an oddity of the Motorola One Macro that it uses a MediaTek chipset. The firm is Qualcomm's only major third-party competitor, and has something of a sketchy reputation when it comes to heat build-up and update support.
This aside, the Helio P70 inside appears to have been well optimized by Motorola, meaning that in general use we had no problem with either speed or heat build-up. Whether this will prove to be the same in a year's time is another matter altogether, but in the present it is sufficient for the price.
Running the Geekbench 5 CPU test, the device achieved a single-core score of 292 and a multi-core score of 1,430. The single-core score in particular is a poor showing, while the multi-core score compares unfavorably to the likes of the Nokia 7.1, and recent efforts from Xiaomi and Realme.
In short, the performance of the One Macro is reminiscent of its design, that is to say it is comfortable. It will never get in the way of use, but expecting something 'pro' level will only lead to disappointment.
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Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.