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Moto M Review - Affortable Premium From Moto?

When we heard that Moto returned to the Philippine market after Lenovo bought the mobile division, we were so excited that this may mean that the Filipinos will finally have the latest and greatest from Moto. Several months later after the international release, one of their affordable options have been released locally and that is the Moto M. This is our review.
Moto M Review - Affortable Premium From Moto?
Affordable premium?

For the review part 1: Moto M Unboxing And First Impressions

Display Quality

The great 1080p screen
The great 1080p screen

The 5.5 inch 10 point multi-touch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution at 401 ppi is wonderful. It is bright, sharp and well saturated.
One of the few IPS screens with deep blacks!
The blacks and the dynamic range is good for an LTPS screen. The viewing angles are great.
Multitouch result
Multitouch result

The max brightness could be brighter because at max there were times where  we were having a hard time viewing the screen under direct sunlight which is a problem for most phones anyway.

Battery Life

Low battery score
Low battery score

PC Mark battery benchmark clocked in at 5 hours and 15 minutes. That's definitely lower than the 6 - 7 hours average we normally get from other midrangers. For a 1080p 5.5 inch display and 3050 mAh battery, it may need some more optimization to get the most out of it.
Battery life should be better
In real life performance, the 3050 mAh battery would last at least 7 hours with our normal day to day workflow of unplugging the phone at 7 AM and spending the day texting, calls, browsing, YouTube video streaming and navigating with Waze. We would reach 20% at the end of the work day at 3 pm.

The powerbrick is equipped with 2A of charging power which helps charging time to around less than two hours from 0 to 100 percent. The charging time is inconsistent with Tronsmart USB hubs with  our spare Huawei branded USB 2.0 to USB-C cable. So off brand cables and charging hubs may give mixed charging times.

Audio Quality

It's just a single speaker below
It's just a single speaker below

There are two speaker grills for symmetry but only the right side works. It gets relatively loud that is able to compete with our home TV's speakers at max volume without distortion.

Once we plugged-in our personal RHA S500i in-ear monitors and the stock VR One headphones the audio remains consistent with good bass, mids and highs and powerful volume, in fact, it gets to ear drum bursting loudness at max volume. This isn't for audiophiles but for most people this is more than enough!

It can handle FLAC files with relative ease with some damage to the battery consumption. You will have to watch the battery every now and then.

The microphone on the phone and on the stock earphones the other hand is good. I have never experienced complaints from calls I made with the Telco providers or with Facebook messenger or Viber.

Camera

Main camera
Main camera

The phone is equipped with a primary 16 MP f/2.0 with PDAF and LED flash. The main camera app is equipped with the following modes: Pro, Panorama, Art Nightscape and effects.
The camera modes!
The camera modes!

The Pro mode is robust with the ability to control focus, ISO, white balance, shutter speed, exposure compensation and flash fire. What surprised us is the strobe feature that enables control of 50 to 60 hertz frequency. 
Camera settings
Camera settings

The Panorama and Nightscape mode works relatively well if done with a tripod or if you can keep your hands steady for a considerable amount of time.

The LED flash on the other hand isn't that powerful giving only a feet of illumination which is acceptable for very low light but we wish it was more powerful.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample
Indoor shots
Indoor shots
Night shot 1
Night shot 1
Night shot 2
Night shot 2

The secondary 8 MP f/2.0 camera is good with sharp details, bright colors and decent dynamic range. We feel that this is one of the better selfie cameras in the market today. We just wish there was a selfie dedicated LED flash and not a screen type dedicated fill flash that has either the pink color or chrome color.

Selfie Camera Samples

Groufie test
Groufie test
Beautify selfie
Beautify selfie
Indoor lowlight
Indoor lowlight

The main camera can be customized for the video's resolution but the secondary cam, there is no option to do so along with there no option to for any form of optical image stabilization or electronic stabilization. Videos end up shaky and less appealing when shooting in low light.

Performance

Benchmark scores!
Benchmark scores!

With an Antutu score of at least 53K, it is above a lot of phones in its price range. It will rip through most tasks like a hot knife through coca cola! And it shows as we almost never experience lag from this phone. The 4 GB of RAM also contributed to the high endurance to multiple chrome tabs and applications in the background!
Near stock skin!
Near stock skin!

It is running a near stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow with minor additional features. The OS feels snappy with no noticeable lag duty to the light weight near stock experience. The icons that they use for some apps could use some work. They feel out of place with Android 6.0's design theme. That is a personal preference.

The icons are beautiful and the layout of Moto feels at home with most apps using the material design concept. 

One of our favorite Moto added feature is the double tap the power button to quickly access the camera which is important when capturing fleeting moments. 

Pros - Beautiful build and design, great colors and blacks on display, great selfie camera, pro camera mode is robust, performance is great
Cons - No built in image stabilization, battery is only okay, display could be brighter, it gets hot when LTE is on

Verdict

From our Pros and Cons, you will see that each category has pros and cons because each part is good but had to compromise certain aspects for the price. These compromises however doesn't stop this phone from being good. We recommend it for people who want the best looking phone for its price point. We hope Moto can improve on its fault for it to be the best phone of its category next time.

Build / Design - 4.5
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4
Battery - 3.5
Camera - 4
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.25 / 5
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