Hands on: Motorola One Vision review

One vision may be all you need

What is a hands on review?
Motorola One Vision
Image Credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

The Motorola One Vision at first looks like a repackaged Moto G7, but it may be more than that with its 21:9 aspect ratio display and powerful-looking rear camera.

For

  • Solid design
  • Impressive-looking camera

Against

  • Unsure of 21:9 display
  • Water resistant rather than proof

The Moto G7 series is one of the best options for you if you're looking for an affordable yet respectably spec'd handset, but what if your main focus is a good-looking phone and a strong camera?

That's what the Motorola One Vision is trying to achieve. At first look you may see it as a Moto G7, and while from the rear it may seem similar, there are actually quite a few differences here.

We've tried out the Motorola One Vision for a while, and below you'll find our first thoughts about the phone ahead of our full review.

Motorola One Vision release date and price 

There are no plans for Motorola to bring the One Vision to the US, but the phone is confirmed to be coming to the UK. We've yet to hear the situation for those in Australia.

It’s up for pre-order tomorrow (that’s May 16) and will then be shipping out to those who have pre-ordered on May 30.

In the UK, it’s set to cost £269 (about $350 / AU$500) and it will be available from a variety of retailers including Amazon, Vodafone and John Lewis, as well as Motorola itself.

Design and display 

The design here is reminiscent of the Moto G7 series from Motorola, but there are a few core differences to distinguish it from that line of phones.

The One Vision comes with a glass back with rounded corners, and there’s a gradient effect on the rear to give it a unique shine in different lighting. You can see below how it changes in direct sunlight.

You’ll be able to buy it in two colors - those are Brown and Sapphire, and we’ve used the latter at length and can confirm it’s an attractive look for the phone. It reminds us of the blue Honor 10 in terms of its looks in everyday lighting.

It sits easily in the hand because of rounded corners, but those with smaller hands are sure to find it difficult to reach the top of the display.

That’s mostly because it’s a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is what we saw on the Sony Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus (as well as the upcoming Xperia 1 flagship phone). The idea here is that a lot of video is filmed in the 21:9 aspect ratio, so this is the best for watching film and looking at photos as well as a variety of other tasks such as gaming.

Motorola has achieved an all-screen look on the One Vision by including a camera cut-out on the top left of the screen. There’s a single sensor in there, and the rest of the front of the phone is all display apart from a thin bezel encircling it.

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On the right edge of the phone there's a power button and volume rocker, while there’s a USB-C slot at the bottom with a speaker to the right of it. The top edge of the handset is home to a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the rear of the device you’ll find the fingerprint scanner, which is in an easy to reach place for your finger when you want to unlock the phone. That placement may prove annoying when you have the phone sat on a desk next to you though. 

Back to the screen, and we feel it may be difficult to use this handset one-handed considering how tall it is. That said, it’s a vibrant and clear 6.3-inch screen with a Full HD+ resolution that looked great when watching video and cycling through a variety of apps.

We won’t know for sure how well the 21:9 aspect ratio display impacts everyday tasks until we get to use this properly for our full review. 

The phone also isn't waterproof, as it has an IP rating of IP56, so it should be able to handle some sweat and rain but it isn't one you should take in the shower.

OS and specs 

The Motorola One Vision comes with the latest Android 9 Pie software on board, and it’s a part of the Android One program, so you know it’s set to keep getting updates for at least two years as well as monthly security upgrades for three.

Inside the phone there's an Exynos 9609 chipset along with 4GB of RAM, which should allow you to run all of the apps you want to. In our limited testing time we haven’t found any issues with the performance of the phone.

There’s 128GB of storage here by default, and then you’ve got the opportunity to put a 512GB microSD card in for any extra room you’re looking for.

That's a lot more space than we'd expect for a phone around this price, and it should be enough for you unless you're prone to filling your phone up with music, films and apps.

Battery life and camera 

Motorola estimates this phone will last for a whole day thanks to a 3,500mAh battery inside doing all the hard work to keep it powered up.

If you’re struggling for extra power, you’ll find a fast charger included in the box. It’s capable of charging up the device for seven hours of usage in only fifteen minutes of charging, according to Motorola.

The camera is where this phone begins to become even more interesting. There’s a 48MP shooter on the rear of the phone that uses Quad Pixel technology to ensure more light in your images.

That means that despite the megapixel count you’re only going to be able to take the equivalent of 12MP shots with the phone’s rear camera, but it’s still a powerful shooter that creates some beautiful images in our limited testing so far.

Perhaps the most impressive feature is called Night Vision, which is similar to the Night Mode we saw last year on the Google Pixel 3, where it can flood the sensor with light to ensure much better photography at night.

There’s also a 5MP secondary lens on the rear of the phone that is used for depth sensing, so you can make bokeh shots where you blur the background of photos to ensure focus on certain elements of the image.

It can also be used for a mode called Portrait Lighting that allows you to do artistic things like keep the subject of a photo in color while the background is black and white, or change where the sun looks to be in an image.

Early verdict 

We're not totally sold on the idea of a 21:9 aspect ratio display, but Motorola's implementation of the idea here is interesting with the phone's punch-hole camera instead of a notch or bezel (the latter being found on the similarly stretched Xperia 1).

Our full review will see us fully test the camera and other aspects of the Motorola One Vision, but it seems like this may be a strong device for anyone looking for an affordable handset.

Image Credit: TechRadar

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.