It’s a solid phone at an appealing price, but unlike its siblings, with the Motorola One Macro, you can really see where compromises have been made.
Pros Super-clean Android experience at a bargain price
Brilliant battery life
Surprisingly decent performance
Cons Inadequate p display
Macro camera a bit of a gimmick
The main camera disappoints
Review Price: £
MP main camera, MP depth sensor
Dedicated Macro camera
.in HD+ display
MediaTek MT Helio P
GB internal storage
Motorola’s growing family of One phone offers a pure Android experience combined with a single stand-out camera feature, all at an affordable price.
Following on from the Motorola One Vision, the Motorola One Action and the Motorola One Zoom, the Motorola One Macro is notable for two things. As per its name, the Macro packs a unique secondary camera that lets you take extreme close-up shots.
Perhaps more significantly, the Motorola One Macro is the cheapest phone in the range by some margin. Priced at just £, it’s one of the most affordable handsets in the current Motorola lineup.
Naturally, there have been a few compromises in order to reach that price point, some of which are more consequential than others.
Motorola One Macro design – Wider and cheaper
There’s definitely a shared design language at play with the Motorola One range, but the accents differ slightly.
The Motorola One Macro’s shiny back and curved edges follow on from its siblings, as do the basic shape and alignment of its camera module and fingerprint sensor. But the front of the phone adopts a dewdrop notch, rather than the hole-punch design of the Vision and Action devices.
It’s a much wider and stockier device because Motorola has reverted to a slightly more orthodox: display aspect ratio. That makes it trickier to wield in one hand, but by the same token, it doesn’t have the same jarringly lanky proportions.
While the fingerprint sensor is well placed, not to mention speedy and reliable, the volume buttons are positioned too high on the right-hand edge. I could just about reach the textured power button with my thumb but found that I had to shuffle the phone in my hand if I wanted to adjust the sound.
Shiny back and Curved edges
The Motorola One Macro’s shiny back and curved edges follow on from its siblings
There’s a certain heft to this phone, but g isn’t exactly heavy by modern standards. It does look a little cheaper than the Motorola One Action though, perhaps because of the shiny two-tone finish to its plastic rear. I’m not saying the effect is unpleasant exactly, but it definitely looks a little chintzier than its more sober and professional siblings.
Even if you’re enamored by that flashy finish, it won’t stay pristine for long. This handset wears fingerprints like an autumn coat.
There’s a .mm headphone jack on the top, and despite the cheaper price tag you still get a USB-C port on the bottom; it sits alongside a mono speaker.
Motorola One Macro display – Don’t get too close
The Motorola One Macro’s .in IPS LCD panel is big and, as we’ve just discussed, more uniformly proportioned than its siblings. : makes for a much more “normal” all-around viewing experience than the super-stretched: screens of the Action and Vision.
Sadly, it lacks sharpness. One of the ways in which Motorola appears to have achieved the Macro’s lower price point is by cutting the pixel count, which means an x resolution. This is also known as HD+ or a slightly longer form of the classic p standard.
This was one of the negatives of the original Motorola One, which launched in. And while the Motorola One Macro is a cheaper phone, coming in well under £, I still don’t think this is a compromise that should have been made.
It isn’t that the Motorola One Macro’s display is bad. It’s clear and balanced and plenty bright enough – in most conditions, at least. But hold it next to a similarly proportioned p phone such as the Motorola One Action, as I did, and the difference is clear to see.
Slightly Higher-res screen
The One Action display is brighter and cooler, giving the One Macro a slightly sickly tint by comparison. It’s that small details simply look crisper and, well, more as they should be on the sharper device.
Yes, they’re generally in focus, and I was able to get a uniquely clear perspective on things like a ladybird feasting on an aphid. But, sadly, the detail from this camera proved to be lacking, with a noisy, grainy look that perhaps speaks to its humble -megapixel specification.
There’s also the simple fact that macro photography is something of a niche proposition. Certainly in comparison to the singular strengths of the Motorola One Vision, One Action, and the new One Zoom, being able to get super-close to your subject isn’t going to improve your everyday shots.
Performance isn’t amazing away from the macro camera, either. General snaps are taken care of by a bog-standard combination of a -megapixel f. main camera and a -megapixel f. depth-sensing assistant. You also get a Laser AutoFocus time of flight ToF sensor.
The general shooting experience is a mixed bag. The Motorola Camera app is intuitive enough, but it’s a little willowy and occasionally slow to focus, resulting in the odd blurry shot. I also noticed a sizable delay when taking portrait shots, although the results are pretty good for such a cheap phone, with a sharply defined subject and not too much in the way of weird edge artifacts.
I found the quality of normal shots to be lacking, however, with a generally flat and washed-out appearance. The One Macro also has a tendency to overexpose clouds and other bright areas, despite the auto HDR mode kicking in quite reliably.
Dark shots are more or less a no-no, with no dedicated Night mode and a relatively dim f. main lens. The results are grainy alright. Not the worse result, but the Macro tends to flatten shots
HDR isn’t always effective at reigning in bright spots. I was able to get very close to this tiny flower, but check out the noisy background. The macro camera lets you shoot creatively, but there’s lots of noise
Macro shots give you close-up clarity, but with a lot of noise. While the same close-up with the main camera fails to focus as well, but packs in more pixels
There’s no Night mode, and the results with Auto aren’t pretty. The camera occasionally fails to focus properly in a decent time. Motorola One Macro battery life – Fantastic stamina
The Motorola One Macro has a much bigger battery than the One Action and One Vision; it’s the same as the Motorola One Zoom. Its mAh unit, like the Zoom, leads to some truly impressive stamina.
Indeed, with a less pixel-packed display, this might be the longest-lasting Motorola One phone of the lot.
I was able to get a full two days of moderate use out of the Macro in between charges, during which time I indulged in a bout of intensive photo-taking and a fair amount of web browsing.
Elsewhere, minutes of Netflix streaming with the brightness at full sapped just % of the charge. To give you a point of reference here, something like the Nokia . which has average stamina lost % under the same circumstances.
You don’t get the W Turbo Charger of the Motorola One Zoom here, however. This being a cheaper phone, you only get a W unit in the box – although it’s still no slouch.
: Best mid-range phones
Should I buy the Motorola One Macro?
Motorola’s line of One phone offers clean design, elegant software, and competent performance across the board. The Motorola One Macro offers all of these things at the lowest price of them all.
It’s a solid pick for anyone with less than £ to spend for these very reasons. In particular, the phone’s performance, clean Android One UI, and exemplary battery life prove considerable draws.
Getting right up close to the One Macro doesn’t flatter it, however. The core selling point of a dedicated macro camera turns out to be somewhat underwhelming, even gimmicky, with noisy results and limited practical benefit. The phone’s p display, meanwhile, is a notable downgrade from the rest of the range.