The "1-Minute" Review
VerdictOffering a nearly stock Android experience, good everyday performance, and a powerful camera, the Motorola One Zoom offers a compelling camera phone option in the mid-tier price bracket. Just don’t mistake it for an Android One device.
- Excellent battery life
- Interesting design
- Bright, punchy OLED display
- Plenty of storage
- MicroSD support
- Good camera
- Fast charging
- Weak audio
- Not actually an Android One device
Motorola’s latest line up of phone each try to offer a solid mid-tier experience with one exceptional feature. As you might guess from the name, the Motorola One Zoom offers a 3x optical zoom and an impressive -- at least on paper -- quad rear camera. But a camera alone doesn’t make a great phone. Does everything else line up to make the phone worth buying?
Reviewers loved the phone’s design with its aluminum chassis with satin glass rear panel. Many thought the grain on the rear panel added an interesting touch with a feeling similar to brushed metal. They also liked the rectangular camera bump and the Motorola logo which doubles as a notification LED.
However, there were a few complaints as well. If you don’t plan to use a case with the phone, it won’t sit flat on your table or desk thanks to the camera bump. It’s also not IP rated with Motorola opting for a “water-repellent nano-coating” instead. So be sure to steer clear of the pool or downpours.
GSM Arena also describes the phone as “very, very, very slippery.” However, other reviewers found the phone grippy and comfortable. So if you’re prone to dropping your phone, you’ll want to use the included clear case.
AndroidPit praised the phone’s design, saying, “I think Motorola's One Zoom has created a coherent look that doesn't look like a copy of an Apple, Samsung or Huawei smartphone. One could almost say that Motorola has conjured the small rectangular into the large rectangular.”
Around front, you’re greeted by a 6.4-inch OLED display running at 1080-by-2340 pixels. Bezels aren’t the thinnest around but thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor and a teardrop front camera notch, they’re still quite thin. Motorola reports an 85% screen-to-body ratio.
Overall, while colors were not wholly accurate, reviewers found the display plenty bright for outdoor use and detailed enough to make everything from reading to movie watching enjoyable.
Android Authority loved the display, saying, “It’s a fine screen. I found it to be bright, crisp, and accurate. Viewing angles were great, and it was easy to read outdoors. Web sites, Instagram, and video content all looked good on the screen.”
Paired with 4GB of RAM, you’ll find a 2Ghz octa-core Snapdragon 675 processor powering the phone. Reviewers are quick to point out that the processor won’t top benchmark charts any time soon. However, they found the phone perfectly usable in most situations. It gets a little warm when gaming, but not overly so.
T3 notes, “Those aren't top level specs, but we must say we didn't notice any lag or slowdown in most phone operations – this has plenty of power for all the standard day-to-day phone operations.”
The Motorola One Zoom runs Android Pie (9.0) with a few Motorola customizations. Unlike the rest of the phones in the Motorola One series, it’s not technically an Android One phone. Reviews speculate this is so they could offer an Amazon-exclusive model with Alexa integrations.
Unfortunately, this means you’re left relying on Motorola to keep software up to date. So expect a single major Android update which is likely delayed before they drop official support for the phone.
All versions of the phone include 128GB of internal storage with microSD support for cards up to 1TB. This should be more than enough space for anyone.
Motorola heaps praise on the phone’s rear quad camera with a 48MP main lens, a 16MP ultra-wide lens, an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, and a 5MP depth sensing lens. Reviewers tend to agree -- at least for the price.
The phone won’t keep up with the latest top-tier phones -- but it costs less than half as much. Considering that point, reviewers found the camera more than acceptable. Low-light shots aren’t amazing -- though still plenty usable -- and the HDR feature is weak at times. However, most reviewers had no problem whipping out the camera, taking quick shots, and seeing pleasing results.
If you’re a fan of streaming, vlogging, or selfings, the 25MP front-facing camera should also please.
DXOMark notes, “With an overall DXOMARK Camera score of 87, the One Zoom ranks as the best Motorola device we’ve tested to date… The One Zoom’s quad-camera setup with its ultra-wide, telephoto, and depth-sensing sensors makes Motorola’s latest device an attractive proposition for budget-conscious smartphone photography enthusiasts.”
WIth a 4,000mAh internal battery, reviewers had no issue hitting a full day on a single charge with many noting you might not need to charge it every night. USB Type C 18W fast charging also provides a full recharge in just shy of two hours.
Stuff was amazed by the battery life, saying, “You've got to have a serious Pokemon Go addiction to drain it in one sitting, and even a Netflix binge should still see you have plenty of juice by bedtime. Stick to your usual routine and you might not even need to plug in overnight. It's among the longest-lasting phones you'll find at this price.”
Audio sees things take a step back, as the phone only includes a mono speaker. Fortunately, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack for those times when you really want to sink in the audio experience.
GSM Arena says, “... It can pump out some decibels. But, you probably don't want to listen to it blasting at max volume since there is plenty of distortion. It gets quite screechy.”
Overall, reviewers fine the phone an excellent mid-tier option -- especially if you can catch it on sale. Their only questions revolved around pricing and long-term performance.
GSM Arena states, “... There is plenty to love about the Motorola One Zoom. It offers a solid build, an ergonomic body, and a clean Android experience. It's just not realistically competitive at this price point.”
Android Authority highlights exactly who they think will love the phone, saying, “If you’re looking for a big screen that’s wrapped in really nice hardware, the Zoom has you covered. If you want a standard, telephoto, wide-angle camera setup, the Zoom has you covered. If you want good battery life, rapid charging, and lots of storage, the Zoom has you covered. If you prefer near-stock Android and like Motorola’s software tools, the Zoom has you covered. These are all reason enough to consider the Zoom."
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Paul Carroll, DxOMark
Accurate autofocus, nice exposures in well-balanced lighting, and a pleasant blur effect in bokeh shots ensure that it’s capable of some nice results, too. However, improvements to the performance of the zoom and ultra-wide cameras, as well as better color rendering and dynamic range, are needed bef...
- Sara Piquer Martí & Anyron Copeman, Tech Advisor
The Motorola One Zoom is a good mid-range phone which you can buy for under £400. In return, you get the mid-range Snapdragon 675 processor, a good screen and great cameras. It's possible that the design doesn't suit everyone, but if you can be convinced and are looking for a powerful phone with goo...
There is plenty to love about the Motorola One Zoom. It offers a solid build, an ergonomic body, and a clean Android experience. It's just not realistically competitive at this price point.
- Marcus Herbrich, Notebookcheck
While the One Zoom might not offer all the previously available One-series benefits, it certainly offers a lot. However, not at its current MSRP of more than $400. Like Google’s Pixel 3a smartphone the One Zoom also suffers from Motorola’s choice of a comparatively slow mid-range SoC. In return, Goo...
- Eric Zeman, Android Authority
The Motorola One Zoom is an appealing piece of hardware and looks to entice shutterbugs with its four-camera setup. The mid-range processor, however, holds the phone back in terms of performance despite the good battery life and other positives.
Prices (Where to Buy)
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Motorola One Zoom user manual here.
Motorola backs up the One Zoom with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your One Zoom has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Motorola support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Motorola's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.
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Manuals / User Guides
- Motorola One Zoom Manual (PDF)
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