Motorola One Macro for close up photography

Motorola One Macro

Motorola One Macro is a phone focused (for want of a better pun) on macro-photography. In all other respects, it is a $299 phone offering what has become pretty standard fare in that price range.

Motorola One Macro is the latest in its new ‘One’ family. At $299 it is at the budget end, next is its excellent value One Vision (now $399 – even better as it was $499), and it makes me wonder if we are going to see the quad-camera One Zoom come in at $499.

Whatever the plan for Motorola ‘One’ brand the intent is clear – its an experimental sub-brand aimed at markets that good old-fashioned Motorola does not appeal to. The USP for Motorola One Macro is close up photography.

I am not saying Motorola as a brand is stuffy or staid, but its G-series (just below the flagship Z-series) sells well via Officeworks and has a reputation as a bullet-proof fleet phone.

Motorola One sells exclusively via JB Hi-Fi (who love exclusives as it allows the company to control marketing directions) and my spies tell me that despite the love or hate ‘Bronze’ colour, the value-packed One Vision, is selling very well.

Now you would expect ‘One’ branded phones to share some standard features but alas these are chalk and cheese.

One Vision (GadgetGuy review here) scores 4.8-out-of-5. It uses a Samsung Exynos 9609 processor (good choice); 6.3-inch, 2520×1080, 21:9 LTPS  IPS screen (huge screen real-estate for this category); a massive 48MP, OIS, quad-pixel/5MP depth camera and a 25MP selfie; Wi-Fi AC, BT 5.0, NFC; USB-C quick charge; and a 4/128GB/microSD to 256GB.

One Vision Macro uses a MediaTek Helio P70; 6.2-inch, 1520×720, 19:9 screen; 13MP+2MP depth + 2MP Macro and 8MP selfie; Wi-Fi N, BT 4.2, No NFC; USB-C standard charge4; and 4/64GB/microSD to 512GB. Sorry, there is nothing out of the box here.

Spoiler alert: It’s a Motorola, and all that entails. But unless you need macro (and I doubt you will), I urge you to beg, borrow or AfterPay for the repriced One Vision that at $399 is pretty well the class leader.

Motorola One Macro XT2016-2 4/64GB, Dual Sim (Hybrid)

Website here

Price: $299 via Motorola Online or JB Hi-Fi in-store.

Note: we are trying to reduce the length review to help our 50% plus readers that access the site via mobile. We still do the extensive tests but cut verbiage by using PASS or FAIL against our major paradigms.

Screen: PASS – as good as it gets for this paradigm, but videophiles will notice some 720p pixelation

6.2”, 1520 x 720, 270ppi, 19:9, 81.3% STBR, IPS, teardrop notch

The screen is bright and colours relatively accurate (tendency towards cooler blue).  It has a reflective surface making it hard to read in direct sunlight. You can select Natural (warmer), Boost (cooler) or Saturated colours.


Despite it being an IPS screen there is an AOD option which is very useful.

Processor – PASS – typical of this price bracket

It is a MediaTek Helio P70 as used in the lower-cost vivo S1, OPPO (A9, F11 etc.) and currently 48 other brands/models. MediaTek is like the AMD/Intel battle – both it and Qualcomm paddle in the same pool (and Huawei Kirin and Samsung Exynos). There is no downside in buying MediaTek smartphones in the mass and mid-markets.

However, this SoC throttles to 80% from the moment you start the 15-minute Throttling test and stays there throughout – it is a design issue to manage heat. But it is like buying a four-cylinder car and finding only three work yet it has plenty of power and smooth performance

 4GB LPRRD4 and 64GB eMMC (44GB free) with a hybrid (shared slot with Sim 2) to 512GB complete this.

The Mali-GF72 MP3 GPU is not a gamer’s dream, but it will play most 720p cloud-based mobile games on medium settings.

Battery – PASS – excellent life

4000mAh but supplied with a standard 5V/2A (10W) which is fine as it does not support rapid charge despite what Motorola calls it on the website (we tried it). It has a linear charge from 0-100% in under five hours.

Under 100% load and everything on it exhausts in about 10 hours – excellent. Discharge speed is 150mA (idle) to about 400mAh (under load)

We expect this a 36-48hour device

Sound – PASSable

  • 3.5mm jack, mono earpiece and mono down-firing speaker
  • Dual ANC mic
  • FM radio
  • Ringer: 80db, music 74dB, voice 70dB
  • Sound: Mono, no bass or treble – mid-centric for clear voice

Comms – PASS but others are beginning to offer Wi-Fi AC

Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz -31dBm (excellent) and 72Mbps at 1 metre from NETGEAR AX12 router.

BT 4.2 SBC performs as any other standard BT does

LTE – PASS with strong reception strength

  • Dual sim (hybrid with micro-SD)
  • Bands 1/2/3/45/7/8/19/20/38/40/41
  • -83dBm and find next tower at -85dBm (excellent)

Build – PASS with solid, quality build

  • Plastic polycarbonate frame, gradient paint, and plastic back
  • IPX2 rated (don’t drip on it).
  • Comes with a clear plastic bumper case
  • Space Blue or Ultraviolet.
  • 157.6 x 75.41 x 8.99mn x 186g

Other – PASS – what you expect

  • Rear fingerprint sensor
  • GPS (no e-Compass)
  • Notification LED

Missing – no deal breakers


Android – PASS and its pure Android

Pure Android 9 with some Motorola apps

 Motorola’s apps are limited to gestures including a twist to start the camera, two chops to turn on the flashlight, flip for DND, and a slightly different navigation bar

Rear Camera – Pass for quality daylight shots

  • 13MP, f/2.0, 1.12um, 67.2° – Samsung S5k3L6
  • 2MP f/2.2, 1.75um, OV2a10 depth
  • Laser autofocus and single LED flash

Features: Digital zoom (up to 8x), Burst shot, Auto HDR, Timer, High res zoom, Live filter, Shot optimization, Smart composition, Auto smile capture, Cinemagraph, Portrait mode, Cut-out, Panorama, Manual mode, RAW photo output, Active photos, Spot colour, Best shot, Slow motion video, Time-lapse video, Hyper lapse video, Electronic video stabilization, YouTube Live, Google Lens. 1080p@30fps

Daylight- PASS – good detail, reasonably accurate colours,

Motorola One Macro outdoors
Note the finger in the top left. I hate the camera placement – like an iPhone
Motorola One Macrozoom
8X Zoom is blurry and lacks detail – stick to 2 to 5X

Office Light: PASS but bokeh is not to my liking

Lower light: PASS – a little too much noise, softness (focus issues)

Motorola One Macro dark
PASSable – good amount of light but way too much noise

Macro Vision – PASSable

2MP f/2.2, 1.75um macro, OV2a10 macro sensor

2.5cm – way too noisy unless you have very bright light. 2MP means not a lot of detail. Lack of EIS or OIS means too often blurry and propensity to overshadow the image (literally – see flowers below)

Selfie – PASS but narrow FOV and no flash

8MP, f/2.2, 1,12um 1080p@30fps, Sensor Samsung S5k4h7yx

Features: Auto HDR, Timer, Face beauty, Auto smile capture, Cinemagraph, Portrait mode, Group selfie, Spot colour, Slow motion video, Timelapse

GadgetGuy’s take – Motorola One Macro is everything you can expect from a $299 phone

Decent screen, decent but not great camera, long battery life and stock Android. Not to mention good, old fashioned Motorola quality wrapped in a trendy ‘One’ visage.

Me – macro is a gimmick you grow very tired of. Give me an ultra-wide lens any day.

Where the One Vision was exceptional – more so at $399 – this is a good phone in an overcrowded $299 market.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Quality $29 phone from an established maker
Very good battery life
Macro is more a gimmick than useful