Call it one of tech’s ironies, but while a number of companies have been getting onboard Google’s Android One bandwagon, including the likes of Nokia and Xiaomi, the company that actually make stock (read “uncluttered”) Android mainstream has stayed away from it in India. We are talking of course of Motorola, whose Moto G gave stock Android a bigger boost than even the Nexus had in 2014. The company has stuck to offering stock Android on its devices in the years that have followed but has never released an Android One device in India – a bit of a pity when you consider the update issues that have been plaguing a number of Moto devices of late. There was some talk of Motorola bringing the Android One edition of the Moto X4 to India, but that phone remained a largely North American phenomenon.
Well, with the Motorola One Power, that has changed. This is Motorola’s first Android One device in India. And it comes with a surprising price to boot – in spite of boasting specs that are very comparable with the Moto G6 Plus, which comes at Rs 22,499, the One Power costs a relatively modest Rs 15,999 (it is available exclusively on Flipkart and will be sold only online). Dem original Moto G feels? You betcher, at least price wise.
But if the price of the Motorola One Power evokes memories of the Moto G, its frame does not. While the new Moto G and Moto E devices have gone with an all-glass design, the One Power sticks to the 2016-17 metal template. Which is not a bad thing for those who love solidly built phones, but definitely does nothing for it in the style stakes. In fact, if anything the design is more reminiscent of the phones that we got from Motorola’s current parent, Lenovo. The phone has also be launched as the P30 Note with Lenovo’s Zuk UI, but truth be told, it would not look out of place in a line up of Lenovo’s K Note series.
Which is not to say that the One Power looks shabby. No, it is smart enough, but were it not for the Batwing logo on the fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, it would be easy to confuse it with other metal backed devices of about a year ago – the antenna bands are clearly visible on the upper and lower parts of the back, and the capsule-shaped vertical dual camera unit is not as much of a rarity now as it was a year ago. And neither is the notch-laden 6.2-inch display on the front (it is a biggish notch containing the selfie camera, earpiece and a flash). The tall design means that bezels are relatively small, but they are visible – the one below the display contains the Motorola logo! The sides curve out gently to the back and the right side contains the volume rocker and the power/display button, while the left has the dual SIM card and micro SD card tray (yes, the micro SD gets a dedicated place – no hybrid SIM slots here). The base of the phone has the USB type C port and speaker while the top houses a 3.5 mm audio jack (yes, we can hear the cheers).
All this is fitted into a frame that is relatively compact if a little heavy – the One Power is 156 mm tall, which makes it shorter than the Google Pixel 2 XL, which had a smaller 6-inch display, but at 198 grams is definitely on the heavier side (we will come to why shortly). It is not svelte or stunning and will stretch your palms a little but the Motorola One Power feels reassuringly solid. If it falls, we would be more concerned about what it landed on than the phone itself.
The solid rather than spectacular theme is repeated in the internals of the device. The display is a full HD+ one, and the phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor which has got good reviews on devices like the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1. There is 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage (expandable – remember that dedicated microSD card slot) – that is the only variant available at the time of writing. The rear cameras are a 16-megapixel snapper (f/1.8 aperture) and a 5.0-megapixel one for sensing depth while handling the selfies is the task of a 12.0-megapixel front-facing shooter with a f/2.0 aperture. Connectivity wise, you have 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC. and GPS. And guess why the phone felt heavy? Well, because it packs in a large 5000 mAh battery. Yes, it supports Turbo Charging and also comes with a 15W charger in the box that will actually let you use it!
Of course, this being an Android One device, the phone runs stock Android, although Motorola’s gestures and a few other ones are in evidence. It comes with Android 8.1 out of the box, which is a slight let down given that Android Pie has been among us for almost two months now, but we have seen versions of the device running beta versions of Android Pie and have been told that the update will be arriving on it by the end of the year. And of course, we have been assured of regular security updates too. Just how well Motorola fares in that department given its slightly spotty recent record remains to be seen.
All said and done, we can say that the Motorola One Power does enough to emerge as easily the most promising Motorola device we have seen in India in recent times, with rock-solid specs and build combined with the promise of stock Android and most importantly, a very affordable price tag. Of course, it does not enter an empty field. It will be going up against the likes of the Nokia 6.1 Plus, which has a smaller display and battery but a much more eye-catching design and Android One as well; the bestselling Redmi Note 5 Pro, and the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 (which also boasts a 5000 mAh battery). And if that were not enough also ranged against it is Xiaomi’s latest Android One device, the Mi A2, which is slightly more expensive but comes with a better processor and arguably the best cameras in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment.
Just how well it fares against all these – and a few others besides – will be revealed in our detailed review and comparisons. As of now, we can safely say: Hello, Android One Moto.
Oh and, welcome back, dem Moto G feels. We were SO missing you.