Motorola One 5G costs $445 and will have you saying 'iPhone SE who?'
Available from Verizon and AT&T, it will be one of the most affordable 5G phones you can buy in the US.
Patrick HollandManaging Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Editor's note, Sept. 17: We're in the process of testing out the Motorola One 5G and will post our full review soon. You can buy the Motorola One 5G starting Friday, Sept. 18, at AT&T for $445. Motorola hasn't yet shared pricing or availability for the Verizon version.
With affordable and feature-packed offerings like the Moto G Stylus, G Power and G Fast, it's clear that
thrives in the budget end of the phone market. Now with the new Motorola One 5G though, the Chicago-based company finally figured out a way to combine its budget know-how with
connectivity -- without the use of an additional accessory or Motorola Mod à la Moto Z4 and Z3.
The new phone will be available Sept. 18 on
and likely later in October on
. Each carrier version of the phone supports a different kind of 5G. The Verizon Motorola One 5G supports the carrier's mmWave flavor of 5G and the AT&T version will have sub-6 5G connectivity.
Like its nearly identical European sibling the Moto G 5G, the Motorola One 5G has appealing specs but also some compromises. It has a 6.7-inch full HD display and is powered by a Snapdragon 765 processor, which is the same one found in the Motorola Edge, LG Velvet and Galaxy A71. The phone also has a bunch of desirable features, including a big 5,000-mAh battery with support for TurboPower charging, a headphone jack, a 90Hz refresh rate display and six cameras (more on those below). It also has NFC for Google Pay, which is notable because previous Motorola budget phones have lacked this feature in the US. The Motorola One 5G runs Android 10 and will receive one major OS update as well as two years of security updates. That isn't as good as Samsung's promise of three years of updates for its Note 20 and new Galaxy phones, but at least you know where you stand.
But to hit that $445 price, Motorola made some compromises, just like Apple did for the $399 iPhone SE. The screen is an LCD instead of OLED, which typically draws more power and doesn't have true black colors. It only has 4GB of RAM (these days, most phones at that price range have 6GB to 8GB). Lastly, the phone has a polycarbonate (i.e. plastic) body, which isn't as premium as a glass design. None of these are necessarily deal breakers in my book, however Motorola One 5G has six -- yes, six -- cameras.
The One 5G has four rear cameras, including a macro camera that has one of the coolest new features I've seen in a long time. Surrounding the macro camera's lens is a ring flash to illuminate close-up photos. This is especially useful because usually when getting up close and personal with an object, I find the phone's body casts a shadow over my subject. A ring flash like this has been seen on Canon's macro lens for its M50 mirrorless camera, but this is the first time it's ever been implemented on a phone and I anticipate it'll be super handy.
As for the phone's other back cameras, the main 48-megapixel camera uses pixel binning to combine four pixels into one. This helps reduce image noise and increase brightness. There's also an ultrawide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode photos.
Watch this: First Look: Motorola Edge and Edge Plus have all the 5G specs
On the front are two cameras, bringing the total number of cameras on the One 5G to six. One is a standard wide-angle camera and the other is an ultrawide-angle that offers a 118-degree field of view. All of the cameras are powered by Motorola's AI, which includes auto smile capture, shot optimization that recommends different modes and settings and smart composition. This last feature automatically generates a second reframed image based on your first shot.
I'll know more about the phone once I get my hands on it and get to test it out.
Motorola One 5G specs vs. Motorola Moto G 5G, Motorola Edge, LG Velvet, Samsung Galaxy A71 5G