Review: Motorola One Action – Travel Video just got Better

Motorola One Action launch at Lenovo Tech Life event at #IFA2019. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Motorola One Action launch at IFA 2019 Image Tech for Travel<em>
✔️ 4k Video Recording✘ Misleading name
✔️ 21:9 Screen Ratio✘ Large border/bezel around the display
✔️ Day-long battery performance✘ Low water-proof rating
✔️ Value for money✘ No fast charging
✔️ 117º Ultra-Wide cam

{Tech} for Travel Says….
Hands-On Review: Capturing amazing video on the Motorola One Action was easy thanks to the Ultra-Wide 117º Field of View camera and the rock steady image stabilization.

You will not find a better handset at this price. Just don’t get carried away with the Action name!

Motorola One Action

I like different! And this was confirmed when I got to review the Motorola One Action. A mid-market smartphone that does one thing very well. Video.

Thanks to a uniquely positioned 117° ultra-wide lens, the Action films in landscape whilst you hold the device in portrait. This may sound simple, but give it a go and, with the exception of those who post on IGTV, you’ll wonder why it’s not standard on every device.

Motorola One Action in Denim Blue. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Motorola One Action in Denim Blue Image Motorola<em>


Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The One Action is down on power and internal specs but that’s to be expected with any budget level handset.

Inside is a 2.2 GHz Samsung Exynos 9609 processor with 4GB RAM, yet runs the Android One version of the Android Pie software very well.

Then there is the name!

Unless, thanks to the amazing price of the Motorola, you are buying this solely for video, this is not an Action Cam.

It’s not water-proof, it doesn’t have gorilla glass and, if it’s your day-to-day device, you will not be taking it to places true action cams excel.

But now I’ve got that off my chest, here is why this is one of the best mid-range Smartphone on the market today.

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Better Video than Most Flagship Phones

Yes, ultra-wide-angle lenses are becoming more commonplace in tech and with the One Action cramming in up to 4 times more thank to the 117º field of view, it’s off to a good start.

But unlike other handsets, you can use the Action vertically, or, how you’d normally hold your phone, to capture video in landscape. And, it just feels so natural.

Wide enough to capture all of the London Eye // Media {Tech} for Travel.

In the short demo above, I held the Action upright, and was still able to film all of the London Eye, whilst stood right in front of it!

Rock Steady Stabilization

Then to enhance your video, the built-in video stabilization is so impressive.

To demonstrate the power of the Action, Lenovo, who owns Motorola, took {Tech} for Travel on a ride around Berlin during #IFA2019 to demo the phone and this capability.

Video Stabilization on a bumpy Berlin road // Media {Tech} for Travel.

The camera software does come with some other features included such as Cutout, Night Vision and Cinemagraph which all great for those who enjoy adding a twist to their social postings.

Another big selling point is the display. With a 21:9 aspect ratio, it did take me a day or two to get used to the Motorola One Action during the review.

It was then that I discovered the One Action has a purpose, I’m sure even Motorola hadn’t considered.

CinemaVision Display

The main reason the screen is this shape is to maximise movie playback. No more black bars around the picture, or having to zoom in and it works really well.

I managed a good few hours of downloaded movies, and despite the hole punch front-facing selfie cam in the top left, it was a good viewing experience.

However, the hidden gem to this elongated display is email!

If due to travel, you pick up most of your mail on your smartphone, the One Action display works wonders for most email apps. I tested it on Gmail, Outlook and Verse.

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That long display lends itself to a better view of your inbox, reading longer emails and even composing notes as you have more screen in view when the keyboard comes up.

This, of course, is dependant on how you configure the text size on the device but out of the box, it works well.

Action fingerprint reader. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>Rear Mounted Fingerprint Reader in White Image Motorola<em>
All-Day Performance

Battery life is always an important benchmark on smartphones for travellers and the Action did perform better than expected.

During the review, it only once dropped to below 20% before the end of the day. And that was due filming outside for several hours with the screen on full brightness to counter the sun.

Under normal daily use, the 3,500mAh battery should be good for 12+ hours.

More Than Just a Budget Price

If all of that wasn’t enough for the price tag then there is more!

The One Action runs the Android One version of the current Android Pie software. This ensures several years of regular patches and no annoying bloatware programs.

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A pure Android environment works well on the handset given it is slightly down on power. As with most Android handsets, there is unlimited Google Photo storage which helps to free up the generous 128GB storage.

To the rear of the Action is a Fingerprint scanner for security and, surprisingly, it worked better than most phones I’ve tested. Even with a sweaty hand, the scanner recognised my print 9 times out of 10.

Phone On Display. {Tech} for Travel.
<em>On display at IFA 2019 Image Tech for Travel<em>


Look beyond the plastic casing and lack of flagship features. While I carried out the review of the Motorola One Action, never did it feel like a budget device and it does feel good in the hand.

Motorola includes a free rubber bumper style case with the handset, but you will want a screen protector to avoid any scratches.

This is a device that punches above its own weight!

  • Dimensions – 160.1 x 71.2 x 9.15mm
  • Weight – 176g
  • Colour Options – Aqua Teal | Denim Blue
  • 6.3″ IPS FHD+ Display (21:9 Aspect Ratio)
  • Rear: 12MP main camera | 5MP depth sensor | Action camera
  • Front: 12MP w/Flash
  • Single Dolby Audio™️ Speaker
  • Android One version of Android Pie
  • Ports – USB-C | 3.5mm Audio
  • In the Box
    • 10W Charger
    • USB-C Cable
    • SIM Pin
    • Earphones
    • Protective case

How Much Does the Motorola One Action Cost?

The Motorola One Action is on sale for £219/€289 in the UK and selected European markets.

In the US it, at the time of writing, the One Action is on Pre-order for $349 with shipping expected to begin on November 4th, 2019.

If you are a Prime member you can shop at your local Amazon store for the same prices and possibly a faster delivery.

Final Thoughts…

There is very little to argue about the One Action given its price. It makes no claims to be the most powerful or feature-packed handset. Motorola has given it one unique item and nailed it!

In day to day use, there is sufficient power to run a work partition for corporate programs alongside your personal and social apps. Although the 21:9 aspect ratio screen is designed for movies, it inadvertently works great for emails.

But, if capturing video is important to you when travelling, you’re a travel blogger or content creator; then the Motorola One Action is a worthy investment.

Tom Payne
Tom, Editor. An online publication providing news & reviews on apps, gadgets and luggage for the connected traveller.

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