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Motorola One Action unboxing and first impressions: a solid mid-range contender

Motorola has expanded its One series of affordable smartphones in India with the launch of its latest One Action today. The newest offering looks a lot like the One Vision (first impressions) that was launched a couple of months ago. The One Action retains all the goodness of the previous launch along with several minor improvements thrown into the mix. The cherry on the top is that while One Vision retails at close to Rs 20,000, the One Action has been priced almost Rs 5,000 lighter. Here’s what I think about the device.

The Motorola One Action comes in a simple purple cardboard box with minimal branding all around. As you open the lid of the box, you will be greeted by the Motorola One Action with a clear protective case already applied. Under the phone, you will find the USB Type-C cable, wall charger, documentation and SIM ejector tool. Unfortunately, Motorola is not providing earphones with the smartphone, as was expected.

Right off the bat, the Motorola One Action looks exact replica of the One Vision with the same gradient design glass-back panel except for one detail. While the One Vision rocked a dual camera module in the top left corner, the One Action has one additional lens joining the duo. You will find the circular dimpled batwing Motorola logo with a fingerprint scanner in the center and Android One branding at the bottom. As for the other elements, physical buttons for power and volume are on the right, hybrid SIM slot on the left, 3.5mm audio interface on the top and USB Type-C port with speaker grille on the bottom. You will also find two noise-cancelling mics, one each on the top and bottom.

The heft that comes from the glass-construct and curved back panel makes One Action very ergonomic. Adding to that, the ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio of the display means the smartphone is taller and a lot slimmer, making it easy to use with one hand. However, you will still have to do some finger gymnastics to reach the top corners as the display is really tall.

Speaking of the display, the One Vision retains the exact same display as the One Vision. The IPS LCD screen measures 6.3-inches and offers a screen resolution of 2,520 x 1,080 pixels. You get features like colour saturation adjustment and night light. The display produces punchy colours and crisp text, and gets bright enough outdoors to be legible. However, the bezels all around the display are pretty thick for a smartphone that has opted for a punch-hole display to increase the screen estate. The thick black border around the punch-hole camera on the One Vision is retained on the One Action as well, which is disappointing.

Speaking of the punch-hole, it houses a 12MP f/2.0 wide-angle selfie cameras, which is a downgrade compared to the 25MP unit of the One Vision. However, given it’s lower price, this is justifiable. On the back, the smartphone has a 12MP f/1.8 primary camera with a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens and 5MP depth sensor backed by dual-tone LED flash. Notably, the One Vision had a 48MP f/1.7 primary sensor with the same 5MP depth sensor unit. The 16MP secondary lens is being dubbed as an ‘Action Camera’ by the brand as it lets users record landscape-oriented videos while holding it vertically. There is also an ‘Enhanced Video Stabilisation’ feature, which reduces shakes and jerks to produce action cam like video quality.

Despite being a stock Android device, Motorola has used a custom camera app loaded with features like portrait, cutout, spot color, cinemagraph, slow motion and HDR among others. The initial shots taken were pretty commendable but I will delve more into the imaging prowess in my detailed review.

On the performance front, the Motorola One Action again retains the Samsung Exynos 9609 SoC with a Mali-G72 MP3 from the One Vision. The RAM and storage configuration also remains the same at 4GB and 128GB, respectively. There is also a provision to expand storage up to 512GB via a microSD card slot, however, you will have to let go of the secondary SIM. During my short stint with the phone, the interface felt smooth and seamless. This can also be attributed to the barebones stock Android 9 Pie devoid of any bloatware. Powering the handset is a 3,500mAh battery, which should easily last a day.

The Motorola One Action brings everything (barring few minor changes) that you would get from the One Vision, at a price tag that is a whole lot cheaper. However, at Rs 13,999, the One Action goes up against some serious contenders like the Realme 5 Pro (first impressions), Redmi Note 7 Pro and Vivo Z1 Pro (first impressions). While the One Action does bring stock Android to the mix, I’ll have to test it in my full review to see how it fares against the competition.

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