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Moto M: Smooth operator


Economical choice: The Moto M is one of the cheapest smartphones you can get if you are looking for a stock Android experience. —Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Economical choice: The Moto M is one of the cheapest smartphones you can get if you are looking for a stock Android experience. —Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Go with the affordable Moto M if you are looking for a breezy, pure Android experience.

Affordable and mid-range smartphones are increasingly appealing today due to the challenging economic climate.

A flagship smartphone can easily set you back RM3,000 or more, so mid-range models like the Moto M we have on review today have found a new following.

Motorola phones are usually favoured by users who prefer a “vanilla” Android ­experience, as the company rarely tweaks the operating system.

This allows you to enjoy the phone as Google intended, just like with its own Nexus smartphone range.

With the Moto M you won’t even find any of the company’s apps installed on the phone – in other words, it has zero bloatware.

There are two colour mode available for the display, — Vibrant mode for enhanced colour and saturation, or Standard mode for realistic colour. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
There are two colour modes available for the display, — Vibrant mode for enhanced colour and saturation, or Standard mode for realistic colour

So you pretty much have to rely on Google’s apps such as Gmail, Photos, Messages, Calendar and Chrome for most tasks.

Some like this and some don’t but it can’t be denied that it results in a phone that ­generally runs faster and smoother.

One of the few additions Moto has made is Dolby Atmos which can tune the audio according to the content being played.

This feature only works with earphones and is great for watching movies and ­listening to songs.

Start shooting

The 16-megapixel rear camera performed pretty well, especially compared to other phones in the mid-range category.

It was fast and produced images with good detail but occasionally some photos suffered from strong noise.

Also, it lacks OIS (optical image ­stabilisation) so you have to be steady when shooting photos.

Motorola has modified the stock camera app to offer a few extra features, including a “triaxial levelling” meter which helps you keep your shots aligned to the plane of view.

This is particularly useful for those who like to shoot landscape photos.

The camera has an in-app triaxial levelling meter which is useful to keep the plane level for landscape shots. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The camera has an in-app triaxial levelling meter which is useful to keep the plane level for landscape shots.

We were more impressed with the selfie camera, as it has a number of interesting modes such as Snap.

With Snap you just have to make a peace sign or tap anywhere on the screen to shoot a picture.

It also has a choice of two fill lights – pink and chrome (which is yellowish) – to give your selfies a different hue.

Also, as the selfie camera is 8 megapixels, you don’t have to worry about the quality of the photos.

Colour choices

Although the 5.5in screen is not an Amoled panel, the colours are quite punchy especially for green and red.

If you are not a fan of that, you can tone it down by switching from Vivid to Standard mode to get more accurate ­colours.

The Moto M is among the rare mid-range phones to feature the next generation USB Type C connector. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The Moto M is among the rare mid-range phones to feature the next generation USB Type C connector.

Despite being a mid-range device, it has no issues running graphics intensive games such as Banner Saga and This War Of Mine, as well as casual games like Alto’s Adventure and Clash Royale.

As it’s running on mostly pure Android, the phone is fast so you don’t have to worry about it slowing down when running apps.

The Moto M’s 3,050mAh battery lasted around six to seven hours with heavy social media use (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and occasional photo taking.

Conclusion

The Moto M is reasonably priced for a mid-range device.

For RM1,199 you are getting a well-built smartphone with a full metal body and decent cameras.

If you are looking for a pure Android experience without having to break the bank, then the Moto M is a good choice.

PROS: Runs on plain Android; decent camera and selfie modes; built-in Dolby Atmos; solid build quality.
CONS: You may or may not like the punchy colours; runs on older Android.

Moto M
(Lenovo)

Android smartphone

NETWORK: 4G
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0
DISPLAY: 5.5in Amoled (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
CAMERA: 16 megapixels (rear), 8 megapixels (front)
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.1 LE, WiFi Direct
PROCESSOR: Mediatek P15 octa-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A53
MEMORY: 4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage (expandable up to 256GB with microSD)
BATTERY: 3,050mAh
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 75.4 x 7.9 x 151.4mm
WEIGHT: 163g
PRICE: RM1,199
RATING: Three and a half stars

Review unit courtesy of Moto Malaysia, 1800-81-7032



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