Motorola One Macro (2019) review: A budget phone that holds up to scrutiny

Motorola Motorola One Macro
  • Motorola Motorola One Macro
  • Motorola Motorola One Macro
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Android One
  • Macro lens
  • Battery life

Cons

  • Triple-lens camera disappointing overall
  • Design not as nice as One Vision

Bottom Line

The Motorola One Macro is a fast, clean and highly-usable phone with a nifty trademark feature and longer-than-average battery life.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 299.00 (AUD)

Should I buy the Motorola One Macro (2019)?

For the most part, the Motorola One Macro is a fast, clean and highly-usable phone with a nifty trademark feature and longer-than-average battery life. It’s no flagship but it nails the essentials - which is the most important thing for a $300 phone like it. 

Though some of the quirky charm of the Motorola One Vision has been lost, the core conceit remains intact. When you think Motorola, you don’t usually think of a phone that looks this good. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the Moto G8 Plus will be available from AU$299.

Motorola One Macro full review

The Motorola One Macro cements the brand’s Android One-driven sub-brand of smartphones from a one-off into a trend. Like the previous Motorola One Vision, the Macro emphasizes photography features, long battery life and surprisingly-robust design.

When you think Motorola, you don’t usually think of a phone that looks and feels this good. 

Regardless, it feels like some of the quirky charm of the Motorola One Vision has been lost here. Motorola have abandoned the taller aspect ratio on the screen for something more conventional. The LCD display on the Macro is 6.2-inches wide and only HD in resolution, so it’s bright and colorful enough to be useful but not exceptionally so in the way that something more expensive might be.

Those details aside, the Motorola One Vision falls neatly into the glass sandwich school of smartphone that’s dominated the better part of the last two years. It’s got curved glass edges, thin bezels, a headphone jack on the top and a lonely USB Type-C port on the bottom. There’s a dual speaker system on the front and a fingerprint sensor on the back. There's no NFC.

At $299, the affordability that underpins the appeal here is inextricably tied to a sense of familiarity. There are few surprises to be found with the Motorola One Macro.

That being said, the macro lens that the device is named after is more capable than you’d expect. 

Line up a nice subject and you can get some surprisingly good results out of the optics on this $299 smartphone. They’re not as good as something flagship but they pop in a way that images taken through the device’s main camera often don’t. 

Still, for the most part, the Motorola One Macro is a fast, clean and highly-usable phone with a nifty trademark feature and longer-than-average battery life. It’s no flagship but it nails the essentials - which is the most important thing. 

Price

In Australia, the Motorola One Macro is priced at an RRP of AU$299. You can buy it through:

The Motorola One Macro is not available on any postpaid plans but you can pair it with a SIM-only plan. Check below for a round-up of the best SIM only plans:

Design - Look, Feel, Features and Camera

The Motorola One Macro cements the brand’s Android One-driven sub-brand of smartphones from a one-off into a trend. Like the previous Motorola One Vision, the Macro emphasizes photography features, long battery life and surprisingly polished design.

It’s not as tall as its predecessor but held alongside the pricier Moto G8 Plus, the One Macro is almost indistinguishable. It does feel a little cheaper in feel-factor but the two devices have more in common than they do apart. 

Depending on the way you look at it, that’s either a good or a bad thing. Either the Motorola One Macro is a $299 phone that looks and feels like a $499 phone or the Motorola G8 Plus is a $499 phone that looks and feels only slightly better than a $299 phone.

Credit: Motorola

Regardless, it feels like some of the quirky charm of the Motorola One Vision has been lost here. Motorola have said goodbye to the taller aspect ratio for something more conventional. The LCD display on the Macro is 6.2-inches wide and only HD in resolution. It’s bright and colorful enough to be useful but not exceptionally so in the way that something more expensive might be.

Those details aside, the Motorola One Vision falls neatly into the glass sandwich school of smartphone that’s dominated the better part of the last two years. It’s got curved glass edges, thin bezels, a headphone jack on the top and a lonely USB Type-C port on the bottom. There’s a dual speaker system on the front and sides of the thing and a fingerprint sensor on the back. There's no NFC.

At $299, the affordability that underpins the appeal here is inextricably tied to a sense of familiarity. There are few surprises here.

One of those few surprises can be found on the back of the Motorola One Vision in the form of a triple-lens camera system. Rather than crank in on the megapixels as other brands have, the One Macro tries to differentiate itself through the ability to deliver a really nice close-up. 

And that bet sort of pays off for the Macro. 

Sure, in the right lighting, you can produce some reasonably good results but for the most part, the main lens on the One Macro is more concerned with functionality than flair.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

It takes far too many seconds to actually capture an image using the Motorola One Macro, so fast-moving objects are out of the question and, despite the night mode, low-light subjects aren’t much better. 

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

In contrast, the macro lens that the device is named after is surprisingly capable.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

Line up a nice subject and you can get some surprisingly good results out of this $299 device.

Credit: Fergus Halliday | IDG

They’re not as good as something flagship but they pop in a way that images taken through the device’s main camera don’t.

Next Page: Performance, Battery Life and The Bottom Line

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Read more on these topics: Motorola, Motorola One Macro
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