Is Moto mastering midrange? Lenovo’s phone division has been doubling and tripling down on midrange phones this year, shucking off attempts to compete with Apple and Samsung at the high end and instead churning out a range of different lower-end and midrange phones.
At the IFA trade show in Berlin today, it announced two of them: low-end Moto E6 Plus; and the Motorola One Zoom (above), which has a 3x-zoom camera at an unusually low price point for that feature.
The One Zoom has a triple-camera setup that, at least in the US, is generally found on higher-end phones. There’s a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12MP main camera (which Moto infuriatingly claims is 48MP, but only generates 12MP images) and an 8MP, 3x-zoom camera. There’s also a dedicated depth sensor. On the front, there’s a genuine 25MP selfie camera. That’s a lot of camera options, and it’s backed up by a lot of stamina with a 4000mAh battery.
One cute standout feature: when you get notifications, the Motorola logo on the back glows. Otherwise, there are decent midrange specs here. The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 6.4-inch 1080p screen, and a headphone jack.
It will run Android Pie with an upgrade to Android 10. It comes in gray, purple, and bronze. The One Zoom is pretty much a follow-up to Moto’s now-extinct X series, the handsome, metal-clad midrange line that found occasional niches in places like Amazon and Google Fi but never really caught fire here in the US.
This is a handsome, thoroughly respectable midrange phone. It doesn’t do anything crazy like the previously announced Motorola One Action, which turns its wide-angle camera sideways to kill vertical video.
The problem, really, is a problem with the whole midrange of the US market. While $ 449.99 is a popular price in a lot of other countries, here in the US, most phones fall into three buckets. They’re under $ 300, they’re sold on monthly service plans with the overall price hidden, or they’re used iPhones. The Google Pixel 3a seems to be breaking through on the strength of its brand and great camera, but it’s a lift.
Motorola also boosted its entry-level line with the Moto E6 Plus, a “dual-camera” version of its lowest-end phone.
The thing is, it isn’t real dual cameras. It’s a 13MP main f/2.0 camera and a 2MP depth sensor. I am unsold on the value of depth sensors. It seems like a big-deal hardware part just to enable bokeh effects that, nowadays, come perfectly well through software. But clearly, I am not Motorola. Still, though, I would not consider a depth sensor to turn something into a “dual camera.”
Otherwise, the new E6 Plus has a 6.1-inch, 720p screen and runs Android Pie on a MediaTek Helio P22 processor. Yes, it will get an Android 10 upgrade—eventually. The front camera is 8MP. It has 2GB or 4GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot, and a 3000mAh battery. It comes in blue, two shades of red, and gray, and it appears to be coming out everywhere except the US.
Am I impressed? Should you be? Not really. Is this important for Motorola’s overall health as a company? Maybe. A ton of Motorola’s business goes on in Latin America, where its Moto E lineup is considered to be reliable, no-nonsense, and affordable. The E6 Plus probably hits the spot there, and it will probably eventually find its way into the prepaid mix here in the US. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.