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Motorola One 5G Ace Smartphone Review
We put the Motorola One 5G Ace smartphone through the wringer and here’s what we found.
Motorola has a loyal following for its budget-conscious phones, as evidenced by your feedback here on the channel and why shouldn't they?
Motorola produces solid handsets which offer a mix of excellent battery life and features. And while not everything they put out comes tops our lists, one of their latest handsets may just hold enough cards to win a spot in your hand.
Let's get into my review of the Moto One Ace 5G.
Testing and display
Up top, I want to mention that in the last Moto device, the 2021 Moto G Stylus, that I'd have some thoughts on Republic Wireless 5G network. They provided the review unit for this video and I hadn't tried them out yet. Stick around to the end for my real-world experiences and insight on their network. It was really positive.
It has a large 6.7-inch LTPS HDR10, 1080×2400 LCD display. You'll notice that it does have some visible bezels around the edges, though they're thinnish. You'll also notice the center hole punch 16-megapixel camera in the upper edge of the display. Watching The Witcher on this display is a wonderful experience. It's light and bright with solid color reproduction. Like I've shown previously, some displays don't handle the show all too well, often being a bit dark for enjoyment.
I should mention that the speaker definitely gets loud enough and it sounds really good—there are additional effects you can turn on that make it sound even better.
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You get a 48-megapixel sensor for the wide angle lens, 8-megapixel ultra wide and 2-megapixel macro. If we take a look through the photos the 48-megapixel camera takes in ideal conditions outdoors, you'll see that they're great looking captures. Colors are vivid, but natural. Images are fairly sharp. The default setting for the camera is actually 12 megapixels. It uses quad pixel unless you hit the settings and choose high resolution.
The camera captures images which are bright and vivid in the right lens.
As you can see in these photos here, one of the cons to the camera is that it has a tendency to go hard on the contrast and produce some aggressively contrasty images. The ultra wide angle lens will get you some distortion at the edges of the image, but I didn't notice any fringing or vignetting. You can also see that distortion in this image here, where I was walking under some construction scaffolding. I reached up to take a picture of the lights hanging from that scaffolding and here's that same image from the main camera, so you can see what it looks like without the distortion around the edges. The macro lens is okay if you're in good light, though don't go blowing that image up because at two megapixels, you're going to see a degraded image fast.
Honestly, the low light and night vision images captured with this front-facing camera are not bad. They're definitely soft, but overall decent. As you can see in this pic with the keyboards, things can get a bit noisy in less than ideal light. Overall, the cameras are fine in the right light, just know they'll struggle a bit in lower light settings. The night mode images are noisy in the blacks and just to give you an idea of what that looks like ideally, here's a night mode image from the Ace next to one from the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
To be clear, this is not an apples to apples comparison, as there's much more expensive hardware in the iPhone. But to give you an idea of what I mean by noise in the photos, it's that graininess you see in the dark areas of the photo, which are black in the iPhone's photos. The issue here is that other phones in this price point, like Google's Pixel 4a, will also get you better nighttime captures without all that graininess as well.
Portrait mode is okay with regard to the front face. You can see how it handles softening images around the focal point of the image here as it blurs my jacket, but does manage to keep my beard in focus.
So, let's take a look at the hardware. The One Ace 5G is a thick little number, but feels good in hand.
Looking at the rest of the phone, you get your SIM tray on the left side which offers expandable storage. On the bottom of the phone, you'll get a mono speaker, which as I previously stated, can play your music nice and loud, and it features a three and a half millimeter audio port.
The right side of the is where you'll find the power button and volume rocker. In dimly lit rooms it looks black, but the One Ace 5G actually has a purple hue on the rear, which is also where you'll find the fingerprint scanner and those cameras.
Getting to the rest of the experience, you're going to get your fingerprint sensor, which worked quite well in my use. And under that plastic body, you'll find a beastly 5,000 mAh battery. And that is actually one of the strongest points of this phone. It truly has all day battery life and for many people, multi-day battery life. Personally, I couldn't kill it in a day. At the end of my days, it's all around 40% power left, on heaviest use. And that was with screen brightness all the way up and all the features I wanted running full steam, like peak display.
And speaking of peak display, that is one of my favorite things when talking about Motorola's phones, is the Moto features like Moto gestures and Moto display, which augment core functionality on top of Android, without adding a bunch of unnecessary bloatware.
Using the Motorola Ace on the Republic Wireless network
The phone isn't bad at all. It's a thick one, but it's a nice phone for sure. Phone calls are solid, as I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Using Republic Wireless for this phone was a delight. They're an MVNO, a mobile virtual network operator.
Using T-Mobile's network, that's what they're on, and I have to say that the speeds I was getting were pretty awesome. It varies by location of course, but in many cases I was getting over 200 megabits per second (Mbps). That was around parts of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, but in the San Fernando Valley, it went down. It could vary anywhere between 20 and 80 Mbps.
With that said, there are definitely some things you should know about using Republic Wireless service plans, which offer great customization for however much data you want to use, as long as it isn't unlimited data. They don't currently offer that.
In terms of recent Motorola phones I've really enjoyed, I'd place this one somewhere in the middle of the pack. I like the, well actually loved, the 2020 Moto G Stylus is over this, but that one is not 5G enabled. This phone is also slated to get only one update of the Android OS and currently ships with Android 10 out the box, so if you're someone who keeps a phone longer than two years, that could be problematic, especially considering some competing phones will see up to three years of updates.
And the only potential downside to that massive 5,000 mAh battery is that it only comes with a 10-watt charger in the box. So, it's going to take you some time to charge all 5,000 million hours at 10 watts. Now it does support Motorola's turbo power quick charge, but again, you're not getting that in the box. So, you'd have to buy a third-party charger or buy an aftermarket Motorola turbo power charger, in order to get the full recharging speeds.
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