“You get good performance, great battery life, and a nice big display. But below-average cameras and a short software life have harmed the One 5G Ace. ”
Excellent battery life
Below average camera for the money
Only one software update guaranteed
Motorola recently unveiled the 2021 Moto G Series, which is solid value for money for those looking to spend no more than $ 250. In addition to the Moto G, the company has also launched a new model in its high-end One line: the Motorola One 5G Ace.
At first glance, the Motorola One 5G Ace is a bit confusing (and an awkward name), but it’s important not to think of it as a replacement for last year’s Motorola One 5G. This device has a lower-priced processor, a poorer display, and other cutbacks – but it costs $ 400 or $ 150 less than the standard Motorola One 5G.
However, there is no lack of competition in this price range. Does the Motorola One 5G Ace compete with the Pixel 4a and iPhone SE among its competitors? We put it to the test to find out.
Design and display
Motorola has done well at offering relatively modern looking phones for the price, and the One 5G Ace is no exception to that rule. It’s a large phone with a large 6.7-inch display with a 20: 9 aspect ratio that is great for scrolling Twitter, seeing all of your emails at a glance, and seeing more anytime. Of course, there’s a tradeoff: don’t expect to be able to reach the top of the display without the help of a second hand.
While the original One 5G had a double front camera, the Ace has a single centered cutout for the selfie camera. And there’s a tiny chin at the bottom of the display, although not overly intrusive, and you probably won’t even notice it in everyday use.
At first glance, the back of the phone looks metallic, but you won’t be fooled for long. It feels like plastic. Well, that’s not a big deal for the price – it doesn’t feel as premium as a glass or metal device, and its weight helps make it feel solid. Plastic makes the phone more durable against typical bumps and scratches, which is usually a solid selling point for those buying a device on a budget. On the back there is also a fingerprint sensor, which works relatively quickly and accurately, and a camera module with three sensors.
In addition to the standard power switch, volume rocker, and USB-C port on the edges, you also get a headphone jack. It’s nice that Motorola has stuck to the headphone jack on its budget phones for so long.
Thanks to its higher resolution of 1080p, the display is a clear step forward over the Moto G series. Unfortunately, you don’t get the 90Hz refresh rate that you get with the standard Motorola One 5G, but it still has decently vivid colors and gets relatively bright. It’s a good looking display for a phone in this price range.
Power and battery
Under the hood, the Motorola One 5G Ace is a clear step up from any Moto G device thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB or 128 GB of storage. It’s a solid setup, and the Qualcomm 7 series has proven to be a great way to get good performance over the past year without buying a flagship phone.
The phone is more than capable in everyday use. There were seldom problems even when used for heavy-duty multitasking, mobile gaming, and more. I have the 6GB RAM model and have never had issues with apps closing in the background before I was done with them. It even handled some Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends with ease. Sure, load times can be a little longer than the Snapdragon 765G-equipped Motorola One 5G, and it may slow down sooner, but in normal use they feel almost identical at this point.
The phone has a 5,000 mAh battery (yes, just like a Galaxy S21 Ultra) which is more than enough for a full day of heavy use. Although the Moto G Power doesn’t last quite as long as the Moto G Power, most people can still use it for two days, as Motorola has announced. If you can charge your phone well every day, no need to worry here. Unfortunately there is no wireless charging, which is a bit disappointing. It’s still tolerable that a $ 400 phone doesn’t offer it, but it won’t be long – and it would have been nice if the One 5G Ace had been ahead of the curve.
As mentioned earlier, the Motorola One 5G Ace has a triple camera system with a 48-megapixel main sensor with a f / 1.7 aperture lens, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera with a f / 2.2 aperture and a 2 megapixel macro camera. I still don’t think people really use macro lenses (more than just to check them out), but Motorola disagrees, arguing that in the era of COVID-19, more people than ever are taking photos of things up close At home. I would have preferred a telephoto to a macro.
The One 5G Ace’s camera is fine, but not much better than fine. In good lighting conditions, a solid shot can be obtained even though the colors are not very vivid and the details are not as sharp as they could be.
The pictures are far worse in poor lighting conditions. There’s little detail and a lot of noise – when you can actually lock the focus and even get a blurry picture. Highlights are often widely overblown, which is common on low-end phones in low light. So while you can tell what you snap most of the time, don’t expect much more.
The same is more or less true of the front of the phone. The 16-megapixel front camera can take fine selfies, but nothing will fake someone like you have a high-end phone.
The Motorola One 5G Ace’s main problem in the camera department has more to do with competition than anything else. The fact is that great phone cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper and this fee is charged by Google. The Pixel 4a costs $ 50 less, but it offers a camera that is an order of magnitude better than the One 5G Ace. When you’re ready to make the move to iOS, the iPhone SE has a better camera too – although it’s not as good as the Pixel 4a. After all, the OnePlus Nord may not have the best camera, but it’s still better than the One 5G Ace’s.
Software and functions
Motorola has been offering near-production software for its phones for years, and the Motorola One 5G Ace is no exception to that rule. The software is pared down, easy to navigate, and well designed.
Motorola’s My UX also has a number of additional features and gestures that can be turned on or off at will that can help make using the device more natural. Things like pressing three fingers down to take a screenshot, rotating your wrist to jump to the camera, and a lot more are useful.
There are also mobile game settings that can be customized. My favorite thing with all of these features is that they are all included in the Moto app and not distributed via Android like other manufacturers do. That said, if you don’t want to use or see it, you can hide the Moto app and essentially use the phone as your standard Android device.
Motorola’s commitment to software updates is incredibly weak.
Well, almost a standard Android device. While other standard Android phones like the Pixel series update quickly for at least a few years, the Motorola One 5G Ace does not. It ships with the already dated Android 10 (Android 11 has been out of stock for months), and although Motorola has announced it will bring Android 11 to the Ace, it hasn’t specified exactly when. And that will likely be it for the phone. Motorola has promised “at least one” operating system update, but I wouldn’t expect more than one – its track record in this department is poor. Fortunately, you will receive security updates for two years.
It’s really disappointing to see old software paired with a lack of updates. With a $ 150 Moto G game this is more acceptable, but at $ 400 it’s hard to deal with and we really hope Motorola will improve their game in the near future.
Price and availability
As mentioned earlier, the Motorola One 5G Ace is priced at $ 400 available now from Amazon. 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage are available in the US.
The Motorola One 5G Ace is a solid phone. It works well, has a nice display, and great battery life. But in 2021, phones under $ 500 have to go a step further – and it just doesn’t. The advantages of the Pixel 4a are years of software updates and a camera in flagship quality. The iPhone SE offers flagship performance and even longer updates. The Motorola One 5G Ace, on the other hand, is “good” in just about everything, but “great” in almost nothing – expect a battery.
Of course, we didn’t really mention the “5G” aspect of this phone, but there’s not much to talk about there. I would caution against buying this phone for its 5G support – get the Pixel 4a instead, fix the lack of 5G, and when you are ready for your next phone, getting something that will be more important Is 5G capable. Alternatively, you can get the Pixel 4a 5G, which has an even better camera and improved performance for $ 60 more.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes. If $ 400 is a hard limit on your budget, then you can save $ 50 and get the best Google Pixel 4a. If you can just stretch a little and are interested in 5G and prefer a large display, then go for this Google Pixel 4a 5G instead.
How long it will take?
The Motorola One 5G Ace has a plastic back so it should withstand most drops – however, it’s not waterproof, so you’ll want to stay away from the wet. Given the lack of software updates after Android 11, the features may be out of date within a few years – but this hardly prevents them from actually working.
Should you buy it?
No, go for that either Google Pixel 4a or the Pixel 4a 5G instead.