5G may not have matured to its full potential just yet, but we’re getting there, and one big piece of the puzzle is making 5G phones accessible and affordable. Motorola is doing its part with the new Motorola One 5G, which is the sub-$500 phone that the company teased a few months ago.
At first glance, the phone looks to offer excellent value for money. There’s relatively powerful performance, a solid display, and some smart features. But the device isn’t quite perfect for the price. Here’s everything you need to know about the Motorola One 5G.
Design and display
The Motorola One 5G offers a nice edge-to-edge display with relatively thin bezels, quad rear cameras on the back, and a fingerprint sensor on the side. That fingerprint sensor, in classic Moto fashion, can be used not only to unlock your phone, but also double-tapped to bring up the quick settings menu or routed to a shortcut like composing an email. On the bottom, there’s a USB-C port and, notable in 2020, a headphone jack.
The display has a lot to offer for a phone in this price range. Sure, it’s not the most high-resolution display — coming in at 1,080p — but it does have a 90Hz refresh rate, which should help make for smoother animations and a more responsive-feeling touch. It measures in at a pretty huge 6.7 inches, and supports HDR 10. It also has a 2:1 aspect ratio, which Motorola says 87% of users preferred in trials.
Specs and Camera
Under the hood, the phone is solid-performing too. You’ll get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 — which should make for generally zippy performance — coupled with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s all powered by a 5,000mAh battery, which Motorola says should deliver two days of use, and it comes with a 20W fast charger. The device also (finally) comes with NFC — so you can use it for things like Android Pay.
When it comes to the camera, the phone has a lot going for it. There are a hefty four lenses on the device, including one 48-megapixel main sensor, a 5-megapixel macro sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a depth sensor. There are a few interesting features on offer by the camera too. For example, there’s an A.I. camera feature, with features like auto smile capture and the ability to suggest switching between camera settings or modes. There’s also a setting to take a second picture with a different crop. And, the 5-megapixel macro sensor has a ring flash around it to help light up the subject of the photo — and it could actually be useful considering the 2cm focal length of the lens.
As mentioned, on the front of the device there’s a dual front-facing camera, with one 16-megapixel main sensor and one 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor.
Of course, while the hardware of the camera looks solid, it remains to be seen whether or not it’s coupled with software that can actually deliver great shots.
The Motorola One 5G ships with Android 10, as you would expect, but Motorola says that it’ll only get one operating system upgrade. In other words, once it updates to Android 11, which will probably be available or close to available by the time most people buy this phone, it’ll be done with updates.
That’s a little frustrating. Most phones should get two years of updates at least, especially if they launch close to the release of a new version of Android in the first place.
Thankfully, the device will get two years of security updates, so at the very least your device should remain secure even if it doesn’t get the latest features when Android 12 rolls around.
Price and availability
While Motorola has announced that the device will be cheaper than $500, apart from that the company has remained quiet about exact pricing and availability. We do know that the device will be exclusive to Verizon and AT&T, but while the AT&T model should be available soon, the special Verizon model, which will support mmWave 5G, won’t be available until October. Motorola’s official statement is below.
“In the U.S., Motorola is delivering on its sub-$500 5G commitment with the new Motorola One 5G, which will be coming soon to AT&T. Verizon will launch a unique variant with connectivity to its 5G Ultra Wideband network in early October.”