Motorola One Zoom hands-on preview: Deep purple

Following on from the Motorola One Action which was launched a few weeks ago, Motorola has now unveiled the new Motorola One Zoom at IFA 2019. Aimed at delivering an excellent experience in design, camera and display, the Motorola One Zoom is the company's best camera smartphone to date, but is it enough to deliver in an increasingly competitive market?

The Motorola One Zoom features an arresting design that looks great — especially in the Cosmic Purple color shown here. The back features a satin glass finish with six layers below the glass and chemical edging to remove the shininess you'll find with most glass-backed phones.

The other issue with glass phones is fingerprints and smudges and Motorola says the One Zoom has a smudge-resistant design. At first glance, it seems to deliver on this, which is great as it doesn't detract from the brushed look, which is applied to the different layers. As a result, it appears through the top layer, rather than just being applied to the top layer of the finish.

On the back is also where you'll find my favorite design feature on the Motorola One Zoom: the batwing. With smartphones becoming more homogenous, a phone needs to stand out and the Moto One Zoom does that with the batwing notification light beneath the camera. By default, this is turned off and only lights up when you have notifications, but it can be permanently turned on.

The Motorola One Zoom features a Cinevision OLED display, like the Moto One Vision before it, and it's powered by a Snapdragon 675 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The whole package is powered by a 4,000mAh battery, which Motorola says will deliver two days of battery life. There's also an in-display fingerprint sensor which seems to work fairly well, although we'll wait for the full review to pass our verdict on this.

The battery is larger than most devices at this price point, and with 15W TurboCharging, it should deliver incredible battery life. Motorola said using 30W charging instead of 15W would have resulted in the phone being 0.5mm thicker, but it would have been nice to have the fastest charging speeds possible.

The big reason to buy the Motorola One Zoom is indicated in the name: the zoom features in the camera. First, there are four cameras. The main camera is a 48MP Samsung GM1 sensor, which uses pixel binning to combine 4 pixels into one and outputs a 12MP image, with a combined 1.6µm pixel size. There's also optical image stabilization, a f/1.7 aperture and phase detection autofocus.

The 8MP telephoto lens offers 3x optical zoom or 10x hybrid zoom, with a focal length of 81mm. The third lens is an ultra-wide-angle lens with 117° field-of-view for 13mm focal length, while the fourth is a 5MP depth sensor used for portrait photography. Most smartphones at this price point don't offer the zoom functionality, which can often only be found on more expensive devices. Between all the lenses, you have a variety of different focal lengths, and while you can't switch between the lenses in video, you can use any of the three main lenses to record.

The front camera is a 25MP sensor with 78° field-of-view and f/2.0 aperture, which offers two ways to capture images. You can either use pixel binning to output a 6.25MP sensor with 1.8µm pixel size to let it low light, or you can output a full-res 25MP image at 0.9µm pixel size. Personally, I'd always pick the smaller image and pixel binning, but the choice is yours.

Unlike the name suggests, the Motorola One Zoom isn't running Android One. While the Moto One Action offered Android One outside of the U.S., the Moto One Zoom is running Android 9 Pie with Motorola's usual customizations on top. That includes being able to twist the phone to launch the camera, flip it to mute incoming calls and camera features like spot color, cinemagraph and portrait mode.

Overall, the Motorola One Zoom has a lot going for it, especially given its €399 price tag. Available in Cosmic Purple, Electric Gray and Brushed Bronze, it's launching in the U.S. today for $449 and in other countries starting at €429. At that price, it provides a lot of competition for devices like the Google Pixel 3a, and with a quad-camera setup, it offers more than you'll find on other devices at this price point.

What do you think of the Motorola One Zoom and do you want to see it come to the States? Let us know in the comments below.

Motorola One Zoom

The Motorola One Zoom brings a quad-camera setup, vibrant OLED display and beautiful design at a price that's incredibly competitive. Compared to the competition, the Motorola One Zoom is one of the best affordable flagships you can buy.

Nirave Gondhia

Nirave Gondhia has been writing about the mobile industry for over a decade and began his career selling and fixing phones in the UK. He's used every flagship smartphone over the past five years and carries at least two phones at all times - currently, he's using the iPhone 11 Pro, [Samsung Galaxy Fold and Motorola RAZR. Say hi to him on Twitter at @nirave.