In recent months, Motorola has launched a few new smartphones in India, and the Motorola One Macro is the latest on that list. The Motorola One series was introduced in India earlier this year starting with the Motorola One Power (Review), and since then Motorola has added the Motorola One Vision (Review) and the Motorola One Action to the series. In markets other than India, we’ve seen the launch of the Motorola One Zoom as well. All these other models are part of Google’s Android One programme and promise regular major Android OS updates as well as security updates for years. The Motorola One Macro, however, is not an Android One smartphone despite its name and family. This device mainly relies on its macro camera to stand out. Will that be enough in the competitive sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment? We put it to the test to find out.
Motorola One Macro design
The Motorola One Macro has a similar design language as the recently launched Motorola One Vision and Motorola One Action (Review). However, it does not sport the 21:9 aspect ratio display, instead, it has a 6.2-inch HD+ display with a more standard 19:9 aspect ratio. The Motorola One Macro has noticeable bezels on all sides with the bottom chin being comparatively bigger. There is a waterdrop notch at the top of the display which houses the selfie camera. Motorola has positioned the earpiece towards the frame of the smartphone to maximise space for the display.
Motorola has positioned all the buttons on the right, and we found the volume buttons to be a little too high for our liking. The power button has a slightly different finish which makes it easy to distinguish. On the left of the device is the hybrid dual-SIM tray. At the top, the Motorola One Macro has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary microphone, whereas the primary microphone, USB Type-C port, and speaker are at the bottom.
Turn the device around and you will see three cameras. The one placed on its own at the top is the macro sensor, and is pitched as the USP of this device. The other camera sensors are placed in a strip, along with a laser autofocus emitter. All of them protrude slightly and have metal rims around them to prevent the lenses from getting scratched.
There is a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner as well, which is well positioned. This scanner also has Motorola’s iconic Batwing logo on it. The back panel of the Motorola One Macro is made out of glossy plastic and it grabs attention the same way it attracts fingerprints. You will have to keep wiping the rear panel to keep it free from smudges. Motorola does offer a clear case in the box, which we used to tackle this problem.
We found that the Motorola One Macro felt slightly bulky in the hand compared to its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy M30s (Review), as the sides weren’t as curved. This is a little surprising considering that both phones are equally thick. Motorola supplies a 10W charger in the box.
Motorola One Macro specifications and software
Motorola has opted for an HD+ display for the One Macro which is a little concerning because most smartphones at around this price sport full-HD+ resolutions. This panel offers 270ppi given its size, which isn’t ideal.
The company has picked the MediaTek Helio P70 SoC to power the Motorola One Macro. This is an octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53 ones. For graphics, it has an integrated Mali-G72 GPU clocked at 900mHz.
The One Macro gets 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which is expandable using the hybrid SIM slot. Motorola offers the One Macro only in Space Blue, and has priced it in India at Rs. 9,999. The smartphone packs in a 4,000mAh battery which is in line with what the competition offers at this point. It is also IPX2 rated which means that it is water repellant to some extent, but don’t expect it to survive immersion in any liquid. There is support for dual 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 n, and six navigation systems.
In terms of software, the smartphone runs stock Android 9 Pie along with the September security patch. Surprisingly, the Motorola One Macro is not a part of the Android One programme. While Motorola hasn’t publicly stated any reason for this, the company told Gadgets 360 that this device will get one major OS update, i.e. Android 10, and two years of security updates. This isn’t as good as Android One phones, which are guaranteed two years of software updates and three years of security updates.
The UI is pretty much stock Android with a custom icon pack. You get an app drawer, and swiping right from the home screen takes you straight to the Google Assistant. We were happy to see that there were only a handful of preinstalled Google apps, along with the Moto and Device Help apps on the device.
Motorola has added a few customisations on the device including its trademark Moto Actions which let you quickly launch the camera app with a double-twist of the wrist or turn on the flashlight with a double-chop motion, among other useful features. There are also a few new actions such as a swipe-to-shrink gesture which shrinks the display area on screen, making it easier to reach all corners.
Gesture navigation has also been tweaked by Motorola and you have Android 10-style navigation gestures. There is a single pill-shaped button on screen, which you can swipe on to perform different functions. We found this to be implemented very well and had no issues while navigating or multitasking. Android Pie features Digital Wellbeing, and parental controls are also built-in.
Motorola One Macro performance and battery life
We have previously tested the MediaTek Helio P70 in the Realme 3 (Review), which had similar specifications as the Motorola One Macro. Thanks to 4GB of RAM on this device, we did not notice any lag or shuttering, and it could multitask easily between multiple apps. The fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the smartphone. We also set up the face unlock feature and found that it worked quickly as well.
The display panel on the Motorola One Macro has decent viewing angles and is visible outdoors. Since this phone does not have a 21:9 aspect ratio display such as the One Vision and the One Action, we didn’t see any apps running with black bars.
We ran our standard set of benchmarks to see how this smartphone fares against the competition. In AnTuTu, the Motorola One Macro scored 1,37,062 which is slightly lower than the 1,41,132 scored by the Xiaomi Mi A3 (Review), which has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. The One Macro scored 6,052 in PCMark Work 2.0. We also saw 55fps and 17fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chase tests respectively. The graphics scores are better than those of the Mi A3.
We played PUBG Mobile on the Motorola One Macro, and it defaulted to the Medium preset with graphics set to Balanced and the frame rate set to Medium. We did not notice any issues while gaming at these settings. We noticed a four percent battery drop after playing for 15 minutes, and the phone barely got warm. The One Macro is also capable of running the game at a higher frame rate, but then we did feel some heat on the back.
The Motorola One Macro’s 4,000mAh battery manages to deliver good battery life. In our HD video loop test, the smartphone lasted for 17 hours and 30 minutes. With our usage, which consisted of an active WhatsApp account, using Google Maps for navigation for over an hour, and playing PUBG Mobile, the smartphone lasted us for a day and a half on a full charge. When the battery does run out, the supplied charger is capable of taking it to 28 percent in 30 minutes, and up to 51 percent in an hour. To charge the device completely, it takes a little over two hours.
Motorola One Macro cameras
The Motorola One Macro has a triple camera setup at the back. The first sensor at the top is the 2-megapixel Macro sensor; the highlight of this smartphone. It has an f/2.2 aperture and 1.75-micron pixel size. Next is the 13-megapixel primary camera with an f/2.0 aperture and 1.12-micron pixel size. The third one is the 2-megapixel depth sensor. The Motorola One Macro uses laser autofocus as well as PDAF. At the front, it has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter with an f/2.2 aperture and 1.12-micron pixel size.
The camera app is well laid out and offers the photo and video modes right up front along with a slot for a recently used camera mode. Swiping right from the viewfinder reveals all the other shooting modes available on the smartphone. Apart from Portrait, Panorama, Slow Motion, and Timelapse it has a few uncommon ones called Cutout, Spot Colour, Cinemagraph, and Macro.
We found these modes to be very interesting. Spot Colour lets you pick a colour and only retains that colour in the final output. Cutout mode only works when shooting people, and it gives you a cutout of the person that you can place on any other background. Cineagraph lets you capture motion and select which areas of the frame need to be animated while the rest remain still. The output can be saved as a GIF or an MP4 file. Macro mode puts the corresponding sensor to work, and is best for shooting close-ups.
Photos taken with the Motorola One Macro looked average, and distant objects lacked detail when zooming in on a bigger screen. The smartphone was quick to focus in daylight and enabled HDR automatically, which helped it manage bright scenes well. The close-up shots we took also turned out sharp enough. Overall though, we have seen better performance from other phones at this price level.
The camera UI suggested that we switch to the macro camera when we got too close to a subject. The macro camera only captures 2-megapixel shots but it lets you get very close to the subject you are shooting. We found this to be handy when trying to photograph tiny objects. Macro shots had more detail than what the primary sensor could capture. However, we observed that the sensor would hunt for focus at times and we needed a steady hand.
The Motorola One Macro lets you set the amount of blur before taking a shot in portrait mode, and manages decent edge separation. The details are acceptable for the price.
Low-light camera performance was below average, and the phone took slightly too long to take each shot. Landscapes didn’t appear sharp and had a noticeable amount of grain. The smartphone managed to keep noise under control in most conditions, though.
Selfies are good enough to go on social media but we noticed that the Motorola One Macro tends to overexpose backgrounds outdoors. Selfies taken in low light had average details. Once again, we found that this phone’s camera performance was weaker than what we’re used to seeing in this segment.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p for the primary as well as the selfie cameras. Footage shot during the day was stabilised but there was a visible shimmer effect at night. The smartphone can also record video using the macro camera.
Motorola has named this smartphone the One Macro to highlight the macro camera on it, so let’s address that first. The macro camera lets you take good close-up shots, but we feel that the novelty of this will wear out soon. Thankfully, you’ll still have a smartphone with clean stock Android, a powerful Mediatek Helio P70 SoC, and plenty of RAM and storage.
We would have liked the One Macro to have been a part of Google’s Android One programme since it guarantees better software and security updates. Camera performance in low light could do with some improvement too. Other than that, the Motorola One Macro did not give us much to complain about.
Keep in mind that the Realme 5 (Review) is a very strong competitor that also has a macro and a wide-angle camera at a lower price than the One Macro. You could also opt for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7S (Review) since it offers a full-HD+ display at the same price. However, as a part of the recent festival sales we have already seen this phone selling online for Rs. 8,999, which makes it slightly better value, so keep an eye out for promotions.