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Moto One Power first impressions: Motorola’s India-focused phone comes with big trade-offs

Powered by a 5,000mAh battery, Motorola One Power brings dual-camera capabilities and Google’s Android One software.

Moto One Power takes on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi A2
Moto One Power takes on Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Mi A2 (HT Photo)

Almost four years ago, Motorola made a comeback in India with a phone that featured premium specs but priced aggressively under 15,000. The phone was sold online only - a unique strategy that set the trend of online-exclusive phone launches in the following years. Four years later, Motorola is not even among top four brands in India. Xiaomi, on the other hand, adopted Motorola's strategy and is currently dominating the budget segment.

Is it too late for Motorola? Well, never say never. The company on Monday launched Moto One Power - a phone that departs from the company's traditional design language to bring the best of Google software and expectedly top-of-the-line specifications, including 5,000mAh battery.

Motorola says Moto One Power has been built for India. The long battery life, guaranteed security updates via Android One, and metallic design - a well tested formula for India's highly competitive budget smartphone market.

Unveiled at the IFA 2018 conference last month, Motorola One Power is the elder sibling of Moto One, a much more premium looking phone with more or less similar specifications. Motorola chose One Power ahead of Moto One for its new series debut.

As said earlier, Moto One Power is unlike any Motorola phone you have seen in the recent years. The phone doesn't feature the watch-like dial on the back, which had become synonymous with Motorola's Moto G-series. Instead, it goes for the run-on-the-mill design with a dual-camera setup on the top-left corner and concave fingerprint scanner on the back with Motorola branding on top of it. Another important change is the inclusion of bottom facing speakers with USB Type-C port at the centre.

The design change, however, doesn't bring anything new to the table. Rather it goes for a more generic look. Unfortunately, Moto One Power is a bulky phone with a large screen on the front. It's heavier and thicker than the usual. You may or may not get used to the form factor in a few days. Usually, phones with larger batteries have similar bulky design. Remember Gionee's giant brick-like Marathon series? Also, we are yet to test whether 5,000mAh battery adds significant improvements over the usual 4,000mAh battery on some of the popular budget Android phones.

Moto One Power's face saving feature is the Android One - Google's platform which ensures priority roll-out of Android and security updates. The phone is also in line to receive Google's new Android Pie update. With stock Android experience, there is going to be a range of new UI features in the future. As of now, it's fast and fluid. Interestingly enough, Motorola has always provided near-stock Android experience on its phone. With Android One, it has just cut down its own native features like Moto Voice on One Power. For now, it has just gesture-based Moto Actions and adjustable screen personalisation via Moto Display. Rest of the stuff is from Google which is certainly not a bad thing to have. READ Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Review

Moto One Power is Motorola's first Android One phone
Moto One Power is Motorola's first Android One phone (HT Photo)

For performance, Motorola One Power relies on Snapdragon 636 processor along with 4GB of RAM. It is the same chipset combination that Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro delivers. If Redmi Note 5 Pro is any benchmark, the One Power should be able to handle graphic-intensive apps and games. However, the hardware and software optimisation is key as we have seen on a rather disappointing Nokia 6.1 Plus.

Moto One Power will face a strong competition from the Mi A2 as well. Xiaomi's second Android One phone has rather superior design and near-excellent camera quality. Under the hood it has better Snapdragon 660 processor. Thanks to Android One, the software experience is more or less almost the same.

There's a lot riding on Motorola's new One Power smartphone. If it succeeds, it could very well dent Redmi Note 5's dominance in the budget segment. We are yet to review Motorola One Power's camera, battery life and other elements. Stay tuned for our detailed review.