Motorola One review

Motorola gets back to basics with Android One

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The Motorola One is the latest in an increasingly long line of mid-range Android phones to offer iPhone X looks at an affordable price point. It’s a smart, well-balanced phone with few glaring weaknesses.

While its design largely holds its own with rivals from Huawei and co., however, there are a couple of shortfalls. The phone’s display isn’t sharp enough, while it also runs on a slightly outdated chipset.

The presence of Android One is a plus point, but even then it’s not a massive departure from Motorola’s usual software efforts. All in all, a decent phone, but far from an essential pick.

Who's this for?

The Motorola One is for those who want the security and up to date software guarantee that Google’s Pixel family provides, but without the flagship price tag.

It’s also a good bet if you like Apple’s iPhone X design work, from the notched display to the glass-sandwich composition. This phone’s a good looker.

Should you buy it?

The Motorola One is a decent all-rounder of a phone. It provides a friction-free experience in all the important areas, particularly with its light and intuitive Android One software.

Our overarching issue with the phone, however, is that it doesn’t absolutely shine in any one area. Its 5.9-inch display is well-balanced, but it’s not particularly sharp. Its chipset is capable enough, but fails to set advanced tasks alight. Its camera is just okay.

Even the presence of Android One doesn’t really set the pulse racing given that Motorola’s standard software effort is so reminiscent of stock Android in the first place.

But the real issue is, you can get a better or equal experience in each of these categories for the same or less money. We wouldn’t dissuade you from buying the well-rounded Motorola One, but nor can we herd you towards it with any great enthusiasm.

Looking for other options? Consider these alternatives:

Moto G6 Plus

Some people will be drawn to the Motorola One thanks to the trustworthy Motorola brand. In that case, Motorola has already provided a compelling alternative of its own.

For around the same price as the Motorola One, the Moto G6 Plus offers a sharper, notchless display, roughly equivalent performance, and a superior dual-camera set-up. You don’t get Android One, but Motorola’s software is very close to stock anyway.

The design isn’t quite as fresh and modern as the Motorola One, though, so if you really want an all-screen device and a screen notch (as many seem to), the Motorola One is the better bet.

Read our Moto G6 Plus review

Honor 8X

The Honor 8X is a seriously appealing alternative to the Motorola One. It outguns the Moto on performance, display sharpness, and photographic chops.

It’s also a fair chunk cheaper than the RRP of the Motorola One, which could be a major factor at this end of the market, though the One currently undercuts it a small amount in the UK.

Of course, the major advantage of the Motorola over the Honor 8X is that Android One software. Huawei’s EMUI is divisive to say the least, and there’s a lot to be said for a clean Google-approved experience.

Read our Honor 8X review

Xiaomi Mi A2

The Xiaomi Mi A2 is another recent Android One phone, but it offers a much more appealing package than the Motorola One in many ways.

It’s got a notchless Full HD display, a decent all-metal build, a much more capable chipset, and a camera that can produce really pleasing results. All this and it can currently be had for less money than the Motorola One.

The main issues are a lack of NFC and no 3.5mm headphone port, but if those things don’t affect your day to day usage, it’s a more compelling all-round package than Motorola’s effort.

First reviewed: November 2018