Having lost its mantle in the budget segment to the likes of Xiaomi, Motorola is eyeing a comeback with a string of new smartphones in the Moto One series. For users on the move, there is the battery-centric Moto One Power, for entertainment seekers there is Moto One Action, and for camera enthusiasts there is the 48MP Moto One Vision. Motorola has now added Moto One Macro, another camera centric phone but at a lower price point of ₹9,999. It has lots of cool camera modes including the macro mode that lets you shoot objects from as close as 2cm.
In true Motorola tradition, the One Macro is sturdily built and despite tipping the scales at 186g, doesn't feel hefty or unwieldy in the hand. The back panel is glossy like most new budget smartphones but doesn't feel cheap. The dual tone blue finish on the back looks subtle and masks smudges very well.
The front panel looks trendy with the teardrop cut out on top. The lower bezel, however, is not so thin. We have seen thinner bezels at this price point in the likes of Samsung's M20.
The fingerprint sensor on the back is easily accessible and fast. The triple camera module looks in symmetry with the rest of the back panel and doesn't protrude as in many other smartphones. The speaker is placed at the base and it packs quite a punch.
Though we have seen a few phone makers offer 1,080p displays under ₹10,000, they are still rare. Most handsets including Moto One Macro and Xiaomi's latest Redmi 8 have got 720p screens. The 6.2-inch display on Moto One Macro lacks the sharpness of a Galaxy M30s or a Redmi Note 7 Pro, and does look a tad dull at first glance, particularly during movie playback and gaming. We appreciate the fact that Motorola hasn't tried to oversaturate the screen to make colours look brighter. The screen feels natural and gives a better idea of the actual nature of the camera shots.
Moto One Macro isn't an Android One smartphone, even though it runs stock Android 9 with a bunch of trademark Moto apps and features. The camera app has been tweaked as well to add more fun options.
Moto has included the option to navigate using a single flat button instead of the circular button in the three button navigation system. Users still have to swipe up and sideways to get things done, but it feels more refreshing yet familiar to use. It also has a less of learning curve compared to UIs that allow full gesture based navigation. Accessing the Google Assistant is also a lot easier through a button.
Powering the Moto One Macro is MediaTek's octa-core P70 Helio processor. It is based on 12nm architecture and is believed to be faster and more power efficient than its predecessors. When pitted against the likes of Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 675, used in the more expensive Redmi Note 7 Pro, it falls short in terms of benchmark results. However, it is far more formidable when compared to the likes of Snapdragon 439 used in Redmi 8 and coupled with 4GB RAM, it can handle many of the big games like Asphalt 9 at lower graphic settings.
Overall, it feels smooth and just fast enough to take care of most day to day user requirements. Battery backup is impressive. A single charge lasted a whole work day with a bit of movie and music playback comfortably.
The troika of cameras on the back include a 12 MP primary snapper, a 2MP depth camera and a 2 MP macro camera.
While the regular camera is a run of the mill affair and works best with outdoor shots. It captures colours well giving your photos a natural look. The lack of sharpness is apparent in landscape shots.
The macro camera is not very sharp either, but it let's you get very close to objects and capture some stunning close-ups. The clarity and ability to focus quickly even macro mode is quite impressive. You can use the macro camera to shoot close up videos too.
The active photos mode is a fun addition and lets users capture a bit of motion in the photos on the lines of live photos in Apple iPhones.
The Moto One Macro doesn't impress at first glance and also lacks the eye popping colour options of Redmi smartphones. Yet it leaves a lasting impression with it's dependable performance, battery backup, clutter free interface and unique camera modes.
If you want a phone with bigger battery and more color options, Xiaomi Redmi 8 (4GB+64GB) priced at ₹8,999 is a viable option. For a better screen experience, you can consider Samsung Galaxy M20, as it has a 1,080p screen with thinner bezels. It also has a bigger 5,000 battery. However, it's entry level variant which costs ₹9,999 offers just 3GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. If you can splurge a bit more, you can go for the top variant, prices at ₹11,999, as it has 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage like Moto One Macro.