Motorola One Action adds a GoPro-like camera for active shots

The Motorola One Action is designed for those who want to record their active lives. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Motorola wants the camera on its latest midrange phone, the One Action, to wow you. Like the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and other 2019 phones, the One Action has three rear cameras. But unlike the competition, it ups the ante by giving you one major feature you might find in a GoPro camera — the ability to film action shots. Think skateboarders, skydivers and back flippers.

Although not the first to try to appeal to active lifestyles (Samsung has a “super steady” feature on its latest phones for this purpose), the One Action is using its physical camera hardware rather than just software for its headline trick. 

Flanked by a main 12-megapixel shooter and 5-megapixel depth camera for better portraits, the middle sensor on the One Action is a 16-megapixel lens with a 117-degree ultra-wide view. Motorola has also positioned it so that the lens will record landscape video even while the phone is being held vertically.

The goal is to give an easier, more natural way to capture wide-screen videos and hold your phone, while partaking in these more adventurous activities.  


The Motorola One Action has three cameras, with the middle rear camera acting as the “action” lens with a 117-degree ultra-wide lens.  

Lori Grunin/CNET

The action camera also takes advantage of video stabilization and pixel binning (or as Motorola calls it, “Quad Pixel”), combining multiple pixels together for better low-light capture. The end result is a 4-megapixel shot. 

Beyond the cameras, the One Action features an edge-to-edge 6.3-inch full HD+ display with a cutout for the 12-megapixel front camera in the upper left corner. 

Motorola One Action specs

  • 6.3″ FHD+ (1080*2520) display with a 21:9 aspect ratio
  • 2.2GHz Samsung Exynos 9609 octa-core processor
  • 128GB of storage (expandable via microSD) with 4GB of RAM
  • 12MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, 1.25μm, PDAF; 5MP depth sensor; 16MP action camera ultra-wide 117-degree field of view, Quad Pixel pixel binning, 2.0μm and f/2.2 aperture.
  • 3,500mAh battery with 10-watt fast charging
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • USB-C
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Fingerprint sensor on the back
  • Splash resistance
  • Android 9 Pie (upgradable to Android Q)

The front camera cutout on the Motorola One Action. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

In briefly using the phone it feels significantly more premium than the company’s ultra-budget Moto E6. The glass back and higher-resolution display both look nice, though the cutout for the camera is a bit thicker than ones found on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 line

I didn’t have a good environment to really try out the action camera, but in quick use, it seemed to do its job recording video as promised. While it is nice that it records in wide-screen while held vertically, flipping the phone horizontally will actually make that camera record vertically. So there could be a potential learning curve there.

The One Action will be available Friday in Brazil, Mexico and “various European countries” for €259 (roughly $289 USD) in either “denim blue,””pearl white,” or “aqua teal.” A US release is slated for October, though it won’t include the aqua teal color option and no pricing for the US version has been announced. 

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