Tech

Motorola One Macro Review: All day battery and close up photography

It’s been some time since Motorola introduced their ‘One’ range of phones, focusing on individual specs like the One Power with a big battery and the One Zoom, with, surprise, a big zoom. The latest release is the Moto One Macro, with a camera that can focus on objects at a mere 2cm range. 

Hardware and Design
Motorola has priced the One Macro at $299 in Australia, which nets you a Mediatek Helio P70 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of on-board storage which can be expanded with microSD cards. 

Performance wise, the One Macro does pretty well. The Mediatek processor struggles somewhat with animations and transitions opening apps with a bit of stuttering, but you can still play games, watch movies and surf the web without large swathes of waiting or any choppy performance. 

A generous 4,000mAh battery is included, as is a 10W rapid charger in the box. The battery got me through a whole day with some fairly impressive screen on times. Considering my fairly aggressive daily phone use which includes a load of YouTube and Pocket Casts and some pretty heavy internet surfing and gaming as well, the battery was frankly astounding.

For those times when I needed a top up though, the 10W charger is fairly decent, it would be nice to get a faster charger, but this does the job.

Up front you get a large 6.2” HD+ (1520×720) resolution display that includes a teardrop notch at the top which contains an 8MP selfie camera. The front has very thin bezels on the sides, and top with a bit of a chin down below to hide the connectors for the display – yep, that’s why we get chins on Android phones. 

The display is fairly bright, though the auto-brightness isn’t as aggressive as I’d like when transitioning from dark to light areas and back again. 

All the buttons on the Moto One Macro are on the right hand side with a power button sitting beneath the volume rocker, and on the left hand side you get the dual SIM/microSD tray. I personally found the placement of the volume rocker a bit high for one-handed use, but all the buttons have a good tactile click to them which I loved.

The USB-C port on the base is centre aligned, with a single speaker port to the right. You DO get a headphone jack at the top of the One Macro, so it can tick that box and there’s an FM radio included as well. 

The rear of the phone looks lovely in the Space Blue colouring Motorola sent over for the review. The rear can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet, a nd given there’s no Gorilla Glass on the phone so finding an included TPU case in the box which will give afford you some protection is a big plus.

A centre-mounted fingerprint scanner with the Motorola Batwing logo emblazoned on it gets you access to your phone quickly and efficiently.

The phone itself only carries an IPX2 rating, so best not to get this phone wet, though it will repel water so if you happen to use it in the rain or with damp hands you’ll be ok.

The Ultra-Violet option looks like a nice option if you want to stand out though, so consider that when purchasing. 

There’s one last thing to say on the hardware side and that is that the phone lacks NFC, so no Tap & Pay is available on the One Macro.

Camera
On the rear is of course the camera array which includes the 2MP dedicated Macro lens standing alone from the rest of the camera sensors at the top. Underneath is a 13MP main sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, a 2MP depth sensor and a laser auto-focus sensor with an LED flash. 

The main camera sensor takes a decent photo with best results in brightly lit areas. 

Most of the focus of the One Macro though is obviously on macro shots, or – extreme close-up photography. At only 2MP, the One Macro hasn’t really got a lot of hardware grunt behind it, but most of the shots I tried taking turned out pretty well. The shots are by far clearer than trying to take the same shot on another camera without a macro camera – the Pixel 4 XL completely failed at focusing at similar range – though you can use zoom to achieve a similar end.

Surprisingly you can actually record video in Macro mode which is a plus as well.If you need to do that type of thing.

The Camera UI has a specific Macro mode which engages the macro camera, and you’ll also get a prompt to switch it on if you start trying to take close up shots without engaging it first.

Other pictures are pretty decent, though you are limited with a 13MP sensor – but it does well enough.

The rest of the camera UI is fairly easy to use, accessing the different modes is as simple as swiping across to the left. There’s some interesting options in there including a Cinemagraph and Spot Colour mode that lets you do some nice ‘arty’ shots.

Software
Motorola has included Android 9 (Pie) with their Moto software enhancements included. The phone is languishing a little behind on security updates with a September 5th patch, and no further updates available when I checked. 

Motorola hasn’t announced any plans to update the One Macro to Android 10, so it’s a matter of wait and see. Their security updates do generally come through for other models, but Moto Australia hasn’t announced anything here.

I like what Motorola has done with their software on the Moto phones. For the most part it’s stock Android but there’s hints here and there where Motorola has spruced things up a bit, or added a bit of functionality – such as their improved Always on Display notifications with Moto Display to let you interact with notifications, and their Moto Actions which let you control actions on your phone with a gesture, such as double chop to engage the torch or flip for Do Not Disturb mode. 

Should you buy it?
The decision on whether to buy the Motorola One Macro really comes down to the Macro camera and your need for this one spec. 

There’s plenty of phones out there with similar, or even better internal specs for a similar, or even cheaper price. The Motorola One Macro does have a phenomenal battery life, and has pretty impressive chops in the macro photography mode. So, it really comes down to how m 

The big battery is certainly available on other models of phones, including other models in the Motorola range which also offer bonuses such as NFC and a Snapdragon processor to smooth out some of those animations and transitions, so it really comes down to how much you need that Macro photography mode.

Overall though, the phone performs well with the hardware and the Macro camera is good, though it’s more a novelty than anything serious. If you’re in the market for a phone with a massive battery, fairly clean Android experience with decent looks and most importantly, a macro camera, then this is definitely the phone for you.

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Motorola One Macro Review: All day battery and close up photography
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