Since always, the performance of cameras has been imperative to the choice of consumers buying a new smartphone. Now, with the evolution of hardware, features easily percolate from the premium segment to the mid-range and over the period of two years, tech such as dual cameras has gone from being incredibly prized to being highly common. Motorola One Power (Rs. 15,999) is one such illustration of this trickling effect and the smartphone gets an iPhone X-esque rear camera as well as a large sensor on the front.
But, will dressing up like Micheal Jackson sprinkle his swagger on you? Possibly not! And that’s what also applies to most cameras which have modules inspired by the iPhone X – as well as the new XS, which BTW you can win in our giveaway. The Motorola One Power is also a part of this clique and we’ll see here how its camera performs in different ambiances.
But let’s start with the specifics about the camera hardware that Motorola has packed inside the One Power’s cameras.
Motorola One Power Camera Specifications
Beneath the glasses which shields the camera assembly on the Motorola One Power is a vivid domain made mostly of elves and flowers. I wish I could push my lies further to make things more interesting but the Motorola One Power is yet another smartphone in the mid-range segment with not-so-intriguing internals. Sensors rated at 16 and 5 megapixels make up for the rear camera on the device while there’s a 12-megapixel sensor on the front.
The 16MP one is the primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.8 while the secondary sensor has an aperture of f/2.2 and is dedicated to depth sensing. Because of the larger aperture than its biggest competitors, Motorola One Power gets an advantage in low-light. The sensor on the front has an aperture of f/2.0 and this provides for decent selfies, even when the lighting is limited.
Since the Motorola One Power comes under the banner of Android One products, you get unlimited storage for your captures through Google Photos. But whether the pictures captured with the One Power even do justice to this grant or not – is something we’ll see in the following sections. I’ve been using the Motorola One Power for almost five days now and have taken a lot of shots with it to be able to justify my opinions.
Under natural lighting, the Motorola One Power does fairly well in creating a vivid backdrop with hues very relatable to the original colors. The amount of detail, too, is maintained and you can often zoom in to read the marginally-sized text too. I’ve been spoilt by the camera of the Poco F1, but the camera of the Motorola One Power does well against my expectations, at least when it comes to maintaining the right color and keeping exposure balanced in daylight.
There’s a visible amount of saturation boost when it comes to HDR shots in daylight and the images become warmer. As a result of this HDR treatment, some parts of the picture might become overexposed but gladly, there’s no observable fall in the details captured in the images.
Indoors and Night Light
As with every other mid-ranger, the Motorola One Power also takes a hit when it comes to photography indoors. While a good amount of lighting indoors can allow some impressive shots, the amount of graininess and pixel noise noticeably increases with the decrease in light and the camera app struggles to keep images from shaking. This results in a poor focus and slow camera response.
At night, things get worse and the camera really stutters while focussing on objects. If a bright light source happens to inside the frame, you can observe the elves we spoke of earlier already panting inside the camera enclosure. And yes, HDR at night is just not good enough.
DSLR-quality portrait shots or avidly known as bokeh have become the most aspirational interest for smartphone companies and Motorola does not lag behind. The Motorola One Power is equipped with a portrait mode too, with the ability to edit the focus and amount of blur post capturing. The shots are more or less usable and good to go for social media when clicked in daylight, but there are some noticeable issues with edge detection even under strong light.
Indoors or under low light, the blurring algorithm appears to be bamboozled but at this price, we can’t really expect a mind-blowing performance either. Another issue that I have is that the portrait shots are limited to 10 megapixels and can only be shot in wide-angle i.e. an 18.7:9 frame.
Looking at it pragmatically, the portrait shots are just average but I hope Motorola One Power gets a better and faster image processing quality with upcoming updates.
Compared to the back camera, the one for selfies appears to be more polished and dependable. Selfies turn out clear and detailed as long as there is ample light while the camera mostly does a decent job in keeping details and original colors intact.
Things, however, get twisted when there’s low light and this is when selfies get fuzzy and somewhat out of focus. However, to set things straight, you get a selfie flash which – to my delight – can work as both a standard flash and a torch and not just a torch.
The flash is a good aide when you want a selfie in low light without capturing the dark spirits which float silently through the night and could be floating behind you, enticed by your selfie pose. You can use the torch if you want more light or want to make sure you’re ready to slay hearts with that pout.
Yes for the self-lovers out there, who want to put the world in the back seat while the control the gears of life, Motorola One Power comes with a selfie portrait mode too. Portraits using the front camera are good and look attractive even when clicked under indoor lighting. Outdoors, the effect is appreciable and the pictures mostly turn out to be palatable.
With 4K video now becoming a fad in the mid-range as much the higher ends, Motorola One Power has also been added with 4K video recording. The camera can shoot in 720p, 1080p, and 4K. The videos captured at 4K are good enough and the colors, as well as details, are captured nicely, but they’re are shaky when you’re moving.
Although there is no mention of EIS, you do get an option to stabilize for editing after recording the video besides the ability to clip it which should be handy additions. However, it does not make a very big difference.
Here are two clips captured using the Motorola One Power at 4K; the first one is directly output while the second one is a stabilized version (Advise you to keep the volume low or on mute if you don’t want to be bogged by Delhi’s traffic).
Motorola One Power vs Mi A2 vs Redmi Note 5 Pro: Best Budget Camera
Starting my comparison expedition outdoors, I found that the Motorola One Power captures enough light to wash out pictures and while the images are more saturated than the other two, Mi A2 maintains a better contrast in images while the Note 5 Pro falls behind the two.
Mi A2 takes the lead when it comes to HDR photography in daylight, too. There is a clear demarcation of color zones and Mi A2 maintains more detail than the other two. Again, Redmi Note 5 Pro falls behind the other two.
When it comes to portraits in daylight, Motorola One Power captures colors more accurately and has a vibrant profile. However, edge detection is clearly better on the Mi A2 while the Note 5 Pro lags behind.
Indoor photography is one area where the One Power takes the lead by ensuring a realistic tone of colors and ample details. While Mi A2 also has a similar amount of details, it is not as good when it comes to the reproduction of colors. Redmi Note 5 Pro struggles to keep up in this category too.
Indoor portrait shots are clearly best captured on the Mi A2 with the Motorola One Power and Redmi Note 5 Pro seemingly hoisting the feature just for namesake.
In terms of daylight selfies, One Power adds a lot of warmth to the images, sometimes overwhelmingly more than the natural colors. Mi A2 again does the best job here with the Redmi Note 5 Pro exceeding Motorola for the first time.
Lastly, in terms of bokeh selfie, Mi A2 wins the bet again with the best edge detection. Motorola One Power comes in at the second place with better details than the Note 5 Pro.
Overall, the Mi A2 is the clear winner of the trio – only losing to the Motorola One Power in terms of the color reproduction indoors. Note 5 Pro observably does worst of the bunch with the poorest picture quality as well as colors.
Motorola One Power Camera: Far From the Best
Motorola One Power does not make the cut into the list of the most alluring features on the smartphone. The daylight shots are good enough and detailed mostly but there could be some issue with the exposure, especially while using HDR. Overcast or bright indoor lighting do not impact the quality significantly but as the night falls, the quality takes a dip too.
If the camera is more vital to you compared to the device’s aesthetics or a large battery, I’d recommend you go for the Mi A2 (Rs. 16,999). But if you want a balance between a decent camera and a great entertainment delivery, the Motorola One Power is the device to choose in this segment.
We’ll be looking at more aspects including the performance and the actual contribution of the large battery in our full review of the Motorola One Power, so stay tuned.
Buy the Motorola One Power on Flipkart (Rs 15,999)