Motorola One review

GSMArena team, 14 November 2018.

Near-Stock Android Oreo, with a few additions

Motorola's smartphones have always provided a clean Android experience, which is still a rare sight.

Motorola One review

The Motorola One continues the purist tradition with its Android 8.1 Oreo ROM, that, for the most part, is almost identical to what you would find on a Google Pixel device.

Lock screen - Motorola One review Home screen - Motorola One review Folder view - Motorola One review
Lock screen • Home screen • Folder view

We get a pretty standard looking UI - the notification shade, quick toggles area, the way the OS handles its multi-windows capabilities and the rolodex recent app switcher. Mind you, these do look a bit dated now that we have had plenty of experience with Android Pi and its revamped UI. Still, we can only imagine Motorola will catch up with Android 9 adoption soon enough.

Notification shade - Motorola One review Quick toggles - Motorola One review Editing Quick toggles - Motorola One review Recent apps - Motorola One review Split screen - Motorola One review
Notification shade • Quick toggles • Editing Quick toggles • Recent apps • Split screen

The Motorola launcher does also include an optional Google feed screen on the far left and lends itself to a certain degree of customization, like editing number or rows and columns and toggling things like notification dots, app suggestions and home screen rotation.

Google feed - Motorola One review Launcher settings - Motorola One review Launcher settings - Motorola One review
Google feed • Launcher settings

There are, however, some tweaks, sprinkled in in a really subtle manner. We definitely appreciate Motorola's efforts to keep the Moto assistant additions tidy and well organized under one roof - the Moto app.

Moto app - Motorola One review Moto Actions - Motorola One review Moto Display - Motorola One review Moto Display - Motorola One review
Moto app • Moto Actions • Moto Display

We're pretty used to seeing the Moto app with a varied number of available options and additional features on a wide range of Moto devices. The number of custom features offered on the Motorola One is on the lower end of that spectrum.

Moto Actions, for instance, only has the basic pair of gestures that Moto devices tend to get associated with - the double twist for camera and chop for flashlight. No quick screenshot or twist to do the same. Even 'pick up to stop ringing' is not available. These are all options that the Moto G6 family of phones has.

Moto display is missing a few bells and whistles as well. Not that we particularly miss the option to keep the display on whilst staring at it, but its absence is still noteworthy. Also, we didn't see any additional fingerprint features on the Motorola One either, like the convenient Moto Key for filling in passwords and even unlocking Windows PCs.

Fingerprint and security options - Motorola One review Fingerprint and security options - Motorola One review Fingerprint and security options - Motorola One review
Fingerprint and security options

Hence, it should come as no surprise that the Motorola One lacks any trendy facial recognition and unlocking tech. You have to live with a password, pattern or pin as a backup to your fingerprint.

In fact, there are few additional settings to speak of beyond the already mentioned. And what is already there is pretty simple in nature.

Settings - Motorola One review Storage manager - Motorola One review
Settings • Storage manager

What is custom is the system-wide Dolby Audio sound control with presets for movies, music, games, and voice, plus two custom slots. The Intelligent Equalizer will adapt to the content, and you can bias it in three different ways, plus you can also tweak a 10-band EQ yourself.

Dolby Audio equalizer - Motorola One review Dolby Audio equalizer - Motorola One review Dolby Audio equalizer - Motorola One review
Dolby Audio equalizer

There are pretty much no additional apps worth mentioning pre-installed on the Motorola One and that's the way we like it. You pretty much get the Google app package and anything else you might need is easily attainable via the Play Store.

FM radio - Motorola One review
FM radio

There is an FM radio receiver and an app to go with it.

Performance

The Motorola One is not an ultra-powerful device by any means. This kind of comes with the "Play" moniker. As in P30 Play, which is the phone's alternative name in some markets in case you skipped over our rant in the intro. Even so, the Snapdragon 625 caught us a little by surprise mainly due to its age.

Motorola One review

Don't get us wrong, we still firmly believe that most average users don't really need anything beyond a mid-range chipset. And even this slightly dated one, with its eight 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53 cores, is perfectly adequate for everyday tasks and even casual gaming.

Plus, despite its age, the Snapdragon 625 isn't really all that technologically lagging behind. It was actually one of pioneers in bringing more efficient manufacturing processes, like the 14nm LPP one in this particular case, down to the masses, leveraging it for efficiency rather than flagship speed performance.

Looking at the Snapdragon 625 compared to something new and trendy like the Snapdragon 636, there are some noteworthy deficiencies, like the slower RAM speeds and the less capable X9 LTE modem or the older Bluetooth 4.1. However, most of these are more of "theoretical maximum" specs than things that actually end up in devices, let alone budget ones. So, at the end of the day, you really aren't losing all that much with the Snapdragon 625.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    9003
  • Honor Play
    6696
  • Nokia 8
    6568
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    5908
  • Honor 8X
    5651
  • Nokia 7.1
    4975
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    4933
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    4625
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    4446
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    4183
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    4160
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3972
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    3603
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    2328

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    2438
  • Nokia 8
    1925
  • Honor Play
    1899
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    1890
  • Honor 8X
    1618
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    1617
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    1524
  • Nokia 7.1
    1344
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    1342
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    913
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    882
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    867
  • Motorola Moto G6
    754
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    639

Well, you are loosing a fair bit of performance, no two questions about it. The Snapdragon 625 gets pretty much outpaced by anything current that is not a Snapdragon 400 series chip. Even Huawei's last generation mid-range Kirin 659 successfully rubs shoulders with the Snapdragon 625 in certain test scenarios.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    265314
  • Nokia 8
    210323
  • Honor Play
    204876
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    170218
  • Honor 8X
    137276
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    130927
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    123883
  • Nokia 7.1
    117175
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    115605
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    90263
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    81024
  • Motorola Moto G6
    70845
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    58757

Looking at AnTuTu and its more compound test scores, the picture is pretty much identical. The Motorola One clearly punches below its weight or rather price class in terms of raw performance.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    3713
  • Nokia 8
    3503
  • Honor Play
    3294
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    2658
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    2240
  • Nokia 7.1
    1940
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    1812
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    1525
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    1408
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    1324
  • Motorola Moto G6
    1136
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    922

BaseMark OS 2.0 is no different in its assessment. On a side note, we almost feel like including the Pocophone F1, with its Snapdragon 845 and the Honor Play, with its Kirin 970 on the same set of charts is a bit dubious. However, on most markets, these fit within the same price bracket as the Motorola One.

The Motorola One and its Adreno 506 are clearly no chart-toppers in the graphics department either.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    82
  • Honor Play
    64
  • Nokia 8
    57
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    33
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    22
  • Honor 8X
    21
  • Nokia 7.1
    16
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    16
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    14
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    9.8
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    8.1
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    7.1
  • Motorola Moto G6
    6.1

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    59
  • Honor Play
    55
  • Nokia 8
    33
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    30
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    21
  • Honor 8X
    19
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    18
  • Nokia 7.1
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    15
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    13
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    13
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    7.9
  • Motorola Moto G6
    5.8

However, there is a bit of a saving grace, of sorts, here, since the native panel resolution is just 720 x 1520 pixels. Most competitors seem to have jumped to FullHD already.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    60
  • Nokia 8
    39
  • Honor Play
    39
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    23
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    15
  • Honor 8X
    14
  • Nokia 7.1
    10
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    10
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    9.8
  • Motorola Moto G6
    9.3
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    6.4
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    4.8
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    4.6

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    53
  • Honor Play
    36
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    22
  • Nokia 8
    18
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    14
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    13
  • Honor 8X
    13
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    10
  • Nokia 7.1
    9.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    9.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    9.4
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    9.3
  • Motorola Moto G6
    8.8
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    4.6

Just don't get too hung up on the particular fps numbers and just how low they go. Like we already mentioned, the Motorola One is perfectly capable of handling casual games and beyond. Most modern engines are just good enough to dial down both resolution and detail level to match the hardware at hand.

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    35
  • Nokia 8
    32
  • Honor Play
    22
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    13
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    9
  • Honor 8X
    7.6
  • Nokia 7.1
    6.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    6.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    6.3
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    5.6
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    3.6
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3.5
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.9
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    2.6

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    31
  • Honor Play
    21
  • Nokia 8
    12
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    12
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    8.6
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    7.2
  • Honor 8X
    6.7
  • Nokia 7.1
    5.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    5.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)
    5.7
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    5.3
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    5.2
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3.2
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.7

As usual, Basemark X offers a more comprehensive and easily comparable overview of the actual GPU power of the Motorola One.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Pocophone F1
    43652
  • Nokia 8
    37593
  • Honor Play
    32238
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    27560
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    21378
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro
    15025
  • Nokia 7.1
    14963
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    14357
  • Motorola One (P30 Play)
    10524
  • Motorola Moto G6
    9883
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    8721
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    7620

There's no real point beating about the bush, performance on the Motorola One really fails to impress and falls short of the competition. That being said, the Snapdragon 625 is still perfectly capable of delivering a smooth UX and holds its own it pretty much every daily task.

Plus, it comes with very few feature sacrifices, even in the camera department, which can easily go up to 4K in video capture, despite the age of the chipset and its limitations. Join us on the next page for a more in-depth look at photo and video quality.

Reader comments

  • Bkrs

I also was with apple, and defected. Love my moto one. even in 2020 it still works great. I will definitely be getting another Motorola, have not missed apple in any way.

  • Zibobo

U damn right

  • Anonymous

I have had only iPhones, chose to defect from them-. I could'nt be happier with the Moto one. It's fast, looks beautiful, does everything I need perfectly. Definitely will have another Motorola after this one, garaunteed.