Motorola One 5G costs $445 and will have you saying ‘iPhone SE who?’


The Motorola One 5G does one thing that other 5G phones haven’t been able to do: cost less than $500.


Patrick Holland/CNET

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 Motorola 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 5G connectivity — without the use of an additional accessory or Motorola Mod à la Moto Z4 and Z3.

In the US, the majority of 5G phones are expensive. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra costs $1,300, the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at $900 and Motorola’s own Edge Plus is $1,000. Even the more affordable midtier 5G phones like the LG Velvet, Galaxy A71, Motorola Edge and OnePlus 8 cost about $700. So it’s really impressive that the Motorola One 5G costs $445 — at least for the AT&T version. Pricing and availability for the Verizon model has been shared.

The new phone will be available Sept. 18 on AT&T and likely later in October on Verizon. 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.

motorola-one-5g-3

If you look closely at the rear camera bump, the lens on the top right-side has a flash built around it. The idea is it helps brighten macro photos when your phone might cast a shadow over your subject.


Motorola

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.

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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

Motorola One 5G Motorola Moto G 5G Plus Motorola Edge LG Velvet Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
Display size, resolution 6.7-inch LCD; 2,520×1,080 pixels 6.7-inch FHD 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340×1,080 pixels 6.8-inch OLED; 2,460×1,080 pixels 6.7-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels
Pixel density 409 ppi TBC TBC 395 ppi 399 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.61 x 2.91 x 0.35 in 6.61 x 2.91 x 0.35 in 6.36 x 2.8 x 0.37 in 6.58 x 2.92 x 0.31 in 6.39 x 2.97 x 0.31 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 168 x 74 x 9 mm 168 x 74 x 9mm 161.6 x 71.1 x 9.29 mm 167.2 x 74.1 x 7.9 mm 162.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.41 oz; 210g 6.63 oz; 188g 6.63 oz; 188g 6.35 oz; 180g 6.52 oz; 185g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 Android 10
Camera 48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (ultrawide), 5-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth camera) 48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (ultrawide), 5-megapixel (macro) 64-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (telephotos), 16-megapixel (macro/ultrawide-angle) 48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (wide-angle), 5-megapixel (depth sensing) 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth-sensing)
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultrawide) 16-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultrawide) 25-megapixel 16-megapixel 32-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon Qualcomm 7250, Snapdragon 765G
Storage 128GB 64GB, 128GB 256GB 128GB 128GB
RAM 4GB 4GB, 6GB 6GB 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 1TB Up to 1TB Up to 2TB Up to 512GB, 1TB
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,300 mAh 4,500 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Side Side In-screen In-screen In-screen
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special features 5G enabled, TubroPower charging, Macro camera ring flash, HDR 10, 90Hz refresh rate 5G enabled, 90Hz refresh rate, 15W Turbo Power charging 5G enabled. 90Hz refresh rate, 18W Turbo Charging 5G enabled; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging, Fast Charging 4.0 5G enabled;
Price off-contract (USD) $445 (AT&T), TBD (Verizon) N/A $699 $600 (AT&T), $700 (Verizon) $600 (AT&T and T-Mobile); $650 (Verizon)
Price (GBP) N/A Converts to £315 (64GB of storage), £355 (128GB of storage) N/A Converts to £460 £420 (4G), £520(5G)



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