Motorola One Vision Australian review (2019)
If you can’t be different, be tall
- Great look & feel
- Clean software
- Inconsistent performance
- Camera is powerful but not versatile
The Motorola One Vision feels like a refreshing change of pace for the brand and a steal at the current $499 price-point.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Should I buy the Motorola One Vision (2019)?
The Motorola One Vision is a mid-tier smartphone that swings above its weight when it comes to look and feel. It combines many of Motorola’s more-established strengths with a penchant for aesthetics and design that you might not expect from the brand.
There are definitely drawbacks to be considered but the areas where the Motorola One Vision shines feel like a refreshing change for the brand and a steal at the current $499 price-point. If the Pixel 3a and Samsung Galaxy A70 hadn't just come out, I'd probably rate it way higher.
Price when reviewed
In Australia, the Motorola One Vision comes with a recommended retail price of AU$499.
Motorola One Vision (2019) full review
Even if it’s only being a couple hundred dollars more expensive than Motorola’s G-series, the difference between Motorola One Vision and the company’s wallet-friendly alternatives couldn't be more pronounced. It’s clearly the best-looking and best-feeling handset that Motorola have put out all year.
Running on Samsung’s Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM and an Android One-certified version of Android 9 Pie, the Motorola One Vision is a mid-tier smartphone that hits above its weight in the looks department. It’s got a notched AMOLED display, NFC connectivity, USB Type-C charging, a Micro SD slot, 2D Face Unlock, a headphone jack and a grill speaker that sounds about as good as every other smartphone speaker system out there.
Then, the back of the Motorola One Vision touts a fingerprint sensor and a dual lens camera that combines a hefty 48-megapixel (f/1.7) primary lens with lighter 5-megapixel secondary one. The sum total of these components isn’t overwhelming enough that you should overlook the competition but it does leave the Motorola One Vision well-equipped to deliver impressive results in the right circumstances.
Still, the most compelling thing here is the way that the Motorola One Vision combines many of Motorola’s more-established strengths with a penchant for aesthetics and design that you might not associate with the brand. The drawbacks (no wireless charging, no water resistance, iffy battery life) aren’t exactly surprising but the areas where this device delivers feel like a pleasant surprise.
The Motorola One Vision has all the essentials that you’d expect of it and does just enough differently to stand out and stand tall among most of the competition.
In Australia, you can buy the Motorola One Vision outright at the following retailers:
The Motorola One Vision isn’t available on any postpaid mobile plans via Telstra, Optus or Vodafone but you can always pair the device up with a SIM-only plan (see below).
Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera
Despite only being a couple hundred dollars more expensive than Motorola’s wallet-friendly G-series, there’s a striking difference in the overall build quality and design found in the new Motorola One Vision.
The most eye-catching thing here is probably gonna be the S10-esque hole-notch (for more on smartphones notches, check out our guide here), which is perched on the upper left corner of the One Vision’s 6.3-inch FHD+ AMOLED display. Still, across the board, there’s a lot to unpack - and enjoy - here.
The Motorola One Vision is a glass-sandwich that comes with all the usual perks and pleasures. It’s got NFC connectivity, USB Type-C charging, a Micro SD slot, 2D Face Unlock, a headphone jack and a grill speaker at the bottom-end. The back of the device also boasts a fingerprint sensor and a dual lens camera that combines a 48-megapixel (f/1.7) primary lens with 5-megapixel secondary one.
In action, the camera on the Motorola One Vision is reasonably accomplished. Daytime shots like bright landscapes, food and pets are gonna turn out pretty good.
Where I came away pleasantly surprised by the photos I got out of the Moto G7 Plus (review here) and, while I wouldn’t say that I was as taken aback by the image quality that the One Vision’s camera delivered, I was far from disappointed by what this device offered in the same department.
That being said, the one area where the One Vision’s camera does fall short is zoom. Just when you think that 2x zoom is being the standard, the One Vision is here to reset the clock. Even a little bit of zooming led to major distortion and a loss of image quality.
During my time with the handset, it proved particularly difficult to rely on. I usually had to get right up close to get the best results. The camera app itself also often proved very slow and clunky, which resulted in a lot of missed shots.
With that in mind, it is fair to say that the camera hardware on the One Vision is far from versatile or flexible. It’s powerful, sure, but it’s very much the kind of thing where you have to be in exactly the right place to get the shot you want and some of the other options do give you a bit more wiggle-room to work with.
Nevertheless, to hold and to use, the Motorola One Vision comes across as a lot more premium than Motorola is usually known for. It comes across as more rectangular than most of Motorola’s other handsets, thanks to a 21:9 aspect ratio. At 180g, there’s also a little bit of heft to the One Vision. Still, it feels relatively-slim when cradled your palm.
In Australia, there’s only one color option to choose from: a rich leather-tinted bronze. It might not be for everyone but it does make for a remarkable contrast to the obscenely-large legion of aurora and twilight knock-offs out there.
The main things you’re missing out on here are the usual for a $499 smartphone. You don’t get flagship optics. You don’t get water resistance beyond basic IPX2 splash-proofing. You don’t get wireless charging.
There are also a few other shortcomings to be noted. When used to watch video content, the AMOLED display on the Motorola One Vision can come across as a little dim. Likewise, the speaker on the device isn’t particularly powerful. You’re probably going to want to use headphones as much as possible.
Performance - Specs, Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life
Processor: Samsung Exynos 9609
Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie with Android One
MicroSD slot: Yes
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5, NFC,
Rear Camera: 48-megapixel (f/1.7) + 5-megapixel
Front-Facing Camera: 25-megapixel (f/2.0)
Dimensions: 160.1 x 71.2 x 8.7 mm
Like the name suggests, a big part of the pitch for the Motorola One Vision is that the handset runs on an Android One-certified version of Android Pie. Motorola say they'll be fast-tracking Android Q when it arrives later in 2019.
Launched in 2014, Android One is an initiative by Google intended to give the company a bit more control over the experience offered by vendors producing cheaper Android handsets. Android One handsets come with a guarantee of regular security and Android OS updates and a cleaner out-of-box experience based around just the core Android interface and Google’s app ecosystem. They’re also restricted to using hardware that’s been officially approved by Google.
Ultimately though, the software experience you get out of the Motorola One Vision isn’t all that different to what you’ll find from you’ll find in both the Moto G7 and Moto G7 Plus as well as Google’s own Pixel phones.
The Motorola still utilise a custom app for the One Vision’s camera and the brand’s ever-thrifty Moto Action gesture shortcuts continue to endure. Otherwise, you’re looking at a pretty clean version of Android.
Freshly setup, the Motorola One even defaults to the same navigation pill found in the latest Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. With each update, this native system of swipe-based navigation seems to becoming more and more mature. I found that definitely made the experience of using the Motorola One Vision as my day-to-day device that much easier.
Under the hood, the Motorola One Vision is powered by Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of on-board storage and a 3500mAh battery that supports 15W Turbo Charging. There’s also an SD card slot if you want to expand the memory on the device, which is always nice to have.
When it came to benchmarks, the Motorola One Vision managed to hold its own but didn’t really blow out the increasingly-competitive alternatives playing around that $499 price-point. It fell short of Samsung’s A70 (review here) and Google’s Pixel 3a (review here) - which, if you’re looking for a better camera, absolutely has one.
The difference here was more pronounced when it came to things like Geekbench’s Multi-Core and Compute tests. Anecdotally, I found that the Motorola One Vision often suffered slow app launches and the ocaisional hitching. At $499, I’m not expecting flagship-level snappiness out of this thing but it has to be said that the Motorola One Vision often struggled to keep up with my moment-to-moment smartphone needs.
Still, on the bright side, the above graphs do indicated how much performance that the Motorola One Vision’s Exynos processor was able to deliver - especially compared to the Moto G7. If nothing else, it’s a good showcase for Samsung’s Exynos hardware and I’d be fascinated to see more devices in this mid-tier space running on it.
Motorola might be talking a big game about the Motorola One Vision’s all-day battery life but the reality is a little more disappointing to behold. In this aspect, the Motorola One Vision falls distinctly short of the high bar set by its biggest competitors.
Most of the time, I’d wrap up my usual 9-to-5 work day on about 25% charge remaining. Sure, it’s possible to get through a day relying on this thing but if you’re the kind of person who churns through episodes of Manhunter on the train before work, you’re probably going to obliterate the battery on this thing. You’re pretty much never not going to need to charge the Motorola One Vision at the end of the day. Thankfully, the device is able to accommodate this with a decent sort of speed.
The Motorola One Vision supports 15W fast-charging via USB Type-C but, again, does not offer any form of Qi wireless charging. Motorola claim the device is good to garner seven hours of usage in just fifteen-minutes of charging.
The Bottom Line
In a year where the accomplishments of Motorola’s G-series handsets seemed almost routine, the Motorola One Vision feels like it’s come out of nowhere to steal the crown. The performance - both moment-to-moment and in terms of the battery life - needs some fine-tuning but otherwise this is clearly the best-looking and best-feeling handset that Motorola have put out this year.
The Motorola One Vision doesn’t redefine what a handset this cheap gets you in the way that the Pixel 3a does but it still manages to give it a shiny new coat of paint. It’s rare to find a $499 handset that looks and feels this good and, if nothing else, the Motorola One Vision articulates a much clearer idea of what a more expensive Motorola phone could look like. It might be more concerned with style than substance but it’s been a while since you could honestly say that about a Motorola phone
It’s got all the usual drawbacks (and then some) but the Motorola One Vision is a compelling-enough mid-tier buy that it makes me wonder what else Motorola might have up their sleeve.
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