Motorola One Fusion+ Review – A harmonious blend of the right mid-range features
For the last couple of years, Motorola has given its undivided attention to its portfolio of budget and mid-range smartphones. With a shift away from its flagship Moto Z line, Motorola dedicated even more of its efforts to the mid-range segment and launched the Motorola One series in 2018. While the Moto G and E Series continued to exist, the Motorola One has led the charge in the Motorola brand regaining ground among consumers, especially in parts of Asia. Each device in the series, such as the Motorola One Power or the Motorola One Action, is furnished with one stand-out feature that is reflected in the device’s name. Every new Motorola One smartphone comes with more tweaks, more optimizations, and a more convincing price than the last one. The Motorola One Fusion and the Motorola One Fusion+ are the newest entries to this series.
Last month, Motorola announced the Motorola One Fusion+ for India and Europe. According to Motorola, the One Fusion+ is the culmination of all its experiences with the Motorola One series in the last two years. The Motorola One Fusion+ is a well-balanced mid-range smartphone, and from my very first impression of the device, it feels like the brand’s efforts have come to fruition. Although down in the game, Motorola is no rookie when it comes to crafting excellent value-for-money mid-range smartphones, and the One Fusion+ definitely feels like Motorola’s return to form.
Motorola and the history of mobile phones are inseparable. Not only are they credited for the world’s first mobile phone, but they are also a pillar of smartphone design and innovation in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Unlike the 2000s, however, the following decade did not unfold in the company’s favor as they went through several episodes of acquisitions and restructuring. Despite financial troubles, Motorola had a good jumpstart in the budget segment when they launched the first-generation Moto G back in 2013. This $180 phone not only offered unprecedented value for the time but also did so without really feeling lackluster. Its middling single camera and lack of LTE support did not bother many buyers at the time, especially in then-emerging smartphone markets such as India. But over the years, Motorola lost its touch while facing competition from growing Chinese brands (Lenovo has owned Motorola since 2014) in India, eventually getting sidelined by the competition.
The Motorola One series has slowly turned things around for Motorola, and the company has been pushing back to regain its lost market share. With the One Fusion+, Motorola appears to have relearned what makes an excellent mid-range smartphone. I have been using the Motorola One Fusion+ for about a month now, and here is my review based on that time.
Before starting with the review, here are the specifications of the Motorola One Fusion+.
Motorola One Fusion+ Specifications
|Specification||Motorola One Fusion+|
|Dimensions and Weight|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 (global) and Snapdragon 730G (India):|
Adreno 618 (700MHz)
|RAM and Storage|
|Battery & Charging|
|Front Camera||16MP pop-up f/2.0 selfie shooter|
|Android Version||Android 10 with Motorola Experience|
Design & Build
The Motorola One Fusion+ is unmistakably similar to other Motorola devices that have previously launched. Even without the brand’s idiosyncratic “M” logo that is placed over the fingerprint scanner, anyone who’s followed Motorola’s lineup through 2019 can determine the brand simply by looking at the quad-camera module on the back of the device. This is because the Motorola One Fusion+ follows the same discontinuous camera arrangement as seen previously on the Motorola One Action, Motorola One Macro, and the Motorola Moto G8 Plus.
The back of the phone is made of a unibody polycarbonate shell that also wraps around the sides of the phone. Despite being made of polycarbonate, the back is sturdy, durable, and does not flex or bend when pressure is applied from the top. It has a dual-tone color gradient on the Twilight Blue variant that we have for review. The back also has a texture underneath the smooth and glossy transparent layer on the top, and the pattern in the texture resembles a peacock’s feather. This is even more evident when the texture shimmers under light.
The back has tapered edges that make the phone feel easier to grip despite the heft. Because of the phone’s large footprint and battery, the phone weighs 210 grams and thus feels (justifiably) heavy in the hand. Using Moto Actions – including the chop-chop gesture for activating the flashlight or the wrist flick gesture for switching between the front and the back cameras – feels like a serious drill for the wrist.
Moving away from the back and to the side of the phone, we see the power button and the volume rocker located on the right side along with a dedicated Google Assistant button. Placing all of these buttons on one side of the phone does have one drawback – the volume rocker is smaller than on most phones and feels crammed between the two buttons on either side, making it more prone to accidental presses. Although Motorola has added different textures to each of the keys, I have found myself accidentally hitting the Google Assistant button multiple times while trying to increase the volume. Although the volume rocker does not feel very ergonomic, the power button is easily accessible. The buttons feel wobbly but that can be fixed by covering the phone with a case such as the one included in the box.
A major design change from the previous Motorola phones is the new pop-up selfie camera. The Motorola One Fusion+ is not the first Motorola phone with a pop-up selfie camera – it was the Motorola One Hyper that first introduced the concept to Motorola devices. The placement of the Motorola One Fusion+’s pop-up camera, however, is different. The pop-up mechanism is not the fastest we’ve seen in this range and takes a couple of seconds to lift. The phone features fall detection to protect the pop-up camera by retracting it automatically when it detects that the phone might have fallen out of your hands. However, the slow retraction speed might cause the camera to get damaged if the phone hits a hard surface before the camera has fully retracted. The SIM slot lies on one side of the pop-up camera, while the secondary microphone lies on the other side. The left side of the phone is empty while the bottom is home to a 3.5mm headphone jack, the primary microphone, a USB Type-C port, and the mono loudspeaker.
With the Motorola One Fusion+, the brand has meticulously lifted elements from its recent phones and combined them in an amicable fusion (pun intended) of all the essential – or conveniently marketable – features. The build quality isn’t top-notch, and the weight may be an issue for some picky users. But the fact that you can just use the protective case bundled in the box will ease other concerns. Overall, the Motorola One Fusion+ feels pragmatically designed. The company has diverted away from its experimental and hyper-focused mindset and has – once again – successfully created a mid-range smartphone for the masses.
The Motorola One Fusion+ is equipped with a 6.5-inch Full HD+ LCD panel. This is a notchless display complemented by a pop-up camera. While the topic of notches has been debated ad nauseum, it’s hard to argue against the fact that notchless displays offer a better viewing experience. Despite its notchless design, though, the Motorola One Fusion+ has a screen-to-body ratio of only 84%. This is because of the thick forehead and even thicker chin padding the LCD. But considering you’re getting the full real estate of the display, this may not concern most people looking at the Motorola One Fusion+ as their next smartphone purchase.
The display supports the DCI-P3 color gamut, which in theory is 25% wider than the standard sRGB gamut. However, support for the DCI-P3 gamut does not solely guarantee a vivid viewing experience. Motorola does not specify the percentage of the gamut covered by the display, so I can only offer my subjective judgment on the display quality. In practical use, the display that Motorola uses on the One Fusion+ appears well-calibrated.
It is unlikely to beat an AMOLED display in terms of saturation, but you can choose one of the three preset modes – Natural, Boosted, or Saturated – to reap its full potential. Unfortunately, you cannot tweak settings such as the color temperature, but I doubt you would need to since Motorola has already done a remarkable job with the presets.
Another attribute that adds to the quality of this display is HDR10 certification. HDR10, however, does not add much value apart from being able to play HDR videos on YouTube. You’re still limited to only Full HD and not HDR content on Netflix. The Motorola One Fusion+ is Widevine L1 certified, allowing you to watch video content in Full HD resolution on a wide range of OTT apps. However, it doesn’t meet Netflix’s HDR certification.
The display on the Motorola One Fusion+ shines in comparison to the Redmi Note 9 Pro (AKA the Redmi Note 9S) in terms of brightness and is comparable to the POCO X2. Daylight readability is not an issue for the display but colors do seem washed out. We wish that Motorola had opted for a panel with a higher refresh rate than the standard 60Hz. There are a few other options in the same price bracket that offer this feature – including the Realme 6 and the Realme 6 Pro with 90Hz panels and the POCO X2 with a 120Hz panel.
Just like with other Motorola devices, the Motorola One Fusion+ also gets Peek Display, also called Moto Display. The setting wakes up the screen when you receive any notification. This is not exactly an always-on display – since such a feature on an LCD would increase battery consumption significantly – but it serves the intended purpose of an AOD very well. The screen wakes when you lift the phone to show you the current time, weather, and battery level. In the lower half of the display, notifications are shown by their app icons. You can simply tap on the icons to take a brief look at the notification or drag the icons to expand notifications.
Overall, the display is sharp and matches up to my expectations of a phone in this price segment. Motorola has traded a higher refresh rate in favor of better screen clarity, brightness, and responsiveness, all of which together lead to a brilliant viewing experience. On top of that, the unobstructed view without any notches or cutouts makes the display even more appealing for those who spend a lot of time watching content online. Besides the display, what makes the Motorola One Fusion+ an excellent device for binge-watching is the massive 5,000mAh battery, which we talk about more in the next section.
The Motorola One Fusion+ features a massive 5000mAh battery. While the battery is one of the culprits behind the phone’s heaviness, it allows for long-lasting battery life. The massive battery easily powers the phone for two days with basic usage and over a day with demanding tasks including streaming online videos continuously and gaming for hours.
The battery on the Motorola One Fusion+ is a champ and allows for hours of entertainment.
On top of that, Motorola has barely enforced any hard-and-fast rules for killing background apps. We checked for any aggressive app killing on the Motorola One Fusion+ using a benchmarking app called DontKillMyApp and were surprised to find negligible app terminations.
Motorola has added support for 18W “Turbo” charging on the device, and it takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to charge the One Fusion+ from 10% to full capacity. The long duration for recharging the phone makes sense given the large battery, so it would ideal to charge the phone at night. In fact, that is the reason Motorola has been using to defend not providing faster charging.
The battery life of the Motorola One Fusion+ is incredible. It is in fact on par with the Redmi Note 9 Pro (Note 9S) we reviewed in March earlier this year. What’s better about the Motorola One Fusion+ is that it provides similar battery backup without aggressively killing background apps and activities.
Good performance is one of the demands for users in the price segment that Motorola is trying to conquer with the One Fusion+, and the smartphone delivers. The phone comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 mobile platform globally and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G in the Indian variant. The chipset also powers some of the most compelling choices in the sub-Rs. 20,000 (~$270) segment including the Redmi K20, POCO X2, and my favorite mid-ranger from 2019 – the Realme X2.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 is an 8nm chipset with an octa-core CPU. The CPU architecture consists of two Kryo 470 Gold cores based on Arm’s Cortex A76 design clocked at 2.2GHz and six Kryo 470 Silver cores based on Arm’s Cortex A55 design with a clock speed of 1.8GHz. It also features an Adreno 618 GPU at 500MHz frequency. While the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G shares the same CPU configuration as the non-G model, the GPU on the chipset has been overclocked to 575MHz for higher graphics performance. Furthermore, Motorola claims to have unlocked the graphics potential of the chipset even further by overclocking the GPU to 700MHz.
We expect the Motorola One Fusion to perform on par with other Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G devices we’ve tested in the past. We’ll also be including devices running on the more recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G mobile platform that was launched only earlier this year but is on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G in terms of performance.
We ran a series of synthetic benchmarks to compare the performance of the Motorola One Fusion+ to similarly priced devices. Our comparison includes the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Realme 6 Pro powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G as well as the POCO X2 and the Realme X2 running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset. The two mobile platforms share an almost identical microarchitecture but their performance in synthetic benchmarks may also vary with the level of software tuning, physical heat dissipation mechanisms, amounts of RAM, etc.
Starting with Geekbench 5, all five of the devices score similarly in our test run. Out of the bunch, the Motorola One Fusion+ does have the lowest score but only lags behind the highest performance in the group – the Redmi Note 9 Pro – by approximately 4% in the single-core and 2.5% in multi-core scores. In real life, that difference may not translate to any noticeable impact on performance.
CPU Throttling Test
Next, we take a look at the amount of throttling the CPU undergoes when the same task is repeated multiple times over a period of 15 to 30 minutes. Many manufacturers and chip makers resort to CPU throttling algorithms to restrict the performance of the CPU if it starts generating heat. This throttling causes the CPU to cool down and thus avoids any potential damage due to overheating of the silicon. However, it comes with a drop in performance that can be felt especially during performance-intensive tasks and gaming. We tested the Motorola One Fusion+ for throttling in three different scenarios – first running the test for a duration of 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, and finally, when charging.
In all three cases, there is a major drop in the performance of the Motorola One Fusion+ within the first ten minutes of the test. As you can see in the images above, the performance of the smartphone is throttled to 78% of its peak performance during the 15 minutes test and decreased further during the 30 minutes run. Meanwhile, charging also has similar effects on the performance, causing it to be throttled to 80% of the peak output. This suggests that the Motorola Oe Fusion+ may actually disappoint by throttling the performance if you intend to use it for prolonged periods of gaming.
PCMark Work 2.0
Next, we test the different phones on PCMark Work 2.0, a synthetic benchmark that emulates day-to-day tasks like web browsing, photo or video editing, word processing, or data handling, and grades the different devices on the basis of their performance in these tasks. Unlike the neck-to-neck CPU performance in Geekbench 5, the devices vary significantly here, and that definitely speaks about the level of software optimization and ease of use. In our test, the Motorola One Fusion+ lags behind all the other contenders in four out of six tasks, scoring about 21% less than the peak performer, the Realme 6 Pro, in the overall score. The difference may simply be because of the fact that the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Motorola One Fusion+ feature 6GB of RAM compared to the rest that come with 8GB of RAM.
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme
When it comes to tasks that demand more performance of the GPU, the Motorola One Fusion+ is slightly behind the Redmi Note 9 Pro and the Realme 6 Pro but is far better than the Realme X2. Meanwhile, the POCO X2 is not part of this comparison as 3DMark fails to load on our review unit. Notably, even though all of these devices feature the same Adreno 618 GPU, the GPU is clocked at different frequencies in all devices. Motorola claims that the Adreno 618 is clocked at 700MHz as compared to the other devices on which the GPU has a clock speed of only 575MHz.
Despite a supposedly overclocked GPU, Motorola One Fusion+ lags behind the other two devices running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G mobile platform by a margin of nearly 10% in tests relying on OpenGL and Vulkan APIs. The culprit behind this may be the poor heat management on the smartphone.
Lastly, we move on to Androbench to test the data transfer rates supported by the Motorola device. All of these phones come with UFS 2.1 storage chips, and we don’t see much deviance from the average in the sequential read and write tests. In random read and write tests, the Motorola One Fusion+ is among the highest scorers despite its lower RAM. This may indicate good storage optimization on the Motorola One Fusion+.
Motorola has included an Adaptive Performance feature on the device that is suggested to improve the performance and battery backup by optimizing the allocation of resources.
I did not notice any difference with the feature turned on. It is likely that the feature requires more time and data to understand your preferences in order to improve the performance.
On paper, the Motorola One Fusion+ appears to be an excellent device for gaming – and it rightly feels so during the initial minutes of running any power-hungry title like Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile, or Shadowgun Legends. However, the throttling issue we saw above starts to lower the performance, resulting in frequent frame rate drops and consequentially, lagging. Of all the mid-rangers we included in our comparison above, the Motorola One Fusion+ appears to have the poorest response to performance-hungry games.
The Motorola One Fusion+ also comes with the Moto Gametime app that prevents notifications from bothering you when you’re inside a game, blocks Moto Actions, and disables automatic brightness controls. You can also use the feature to block calls either completely or selectively by adding exceptions. Unlike game modes from other brands, Moto Gametime does not have any real impact on gaming performance or battery consumption.
The single loudspeaker on the Motorola One Fusion+ is pretty loud and the audio coming out of it is easily audible despite ambient noise. The smartphone also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack and is claimed to relay Hi-Fi music over this port. In our review, however, the audio output from both the mono loudspeaker and the headphone jack was limited to a maximum sampling rate of 16-bit as opposed to 24-bit output on some competitors including the POCO X2.
Motorola has stepped up its photography game by using a quad-camera setup on the back of the Motorola One Fusion+. The array includes a 64MP primary camera featuring the Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor and an f/1.8 aperture lens. The Samsung sensor in the primary camera has a pixel size of 0.8μm and supports 4-in-1 pixel binning. This results in a pixel size of 1.6μm for the resulting 16MP images. The auxiliary cameras include an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera with an f/2.2 aperture lens and a pixel size of 1.12μm resulting in 118º wide images, a 5MP macro camera with an f/2.4 aperture lens and PDAF, and lastly, a 2MP depth camera.
Had Motorola also included its peculiar action camera from the Motorola One Action, the Motorola One Fusion+ would have been the ultimate combination of all of Motorola’s prior experiments of different camera configurations in 2019. But, I have no qualms here as the action camera would have also potentially increased the price of the smartphone.
When it comes to video, the Motorola One Fusion+ can capture up to 4K UHD videos at 30fps and 1080p Full HD videos at 60fps using the primary camera. The ultra-wide-angle and the macro cameras can also capture videos but at Full HD resolution and 30fps frame rate as the highest settings. Videos from all three cameras can be stabilized using EIS.
Among other features, the Motorola One Fusion+ supports Manual mode and RAW photography on each of the three cameras, allowing creative users to get the best color and optimal lighting in all images. Besides the regular 16MP mode, you can also shoot in the high-res 64MP mode. In addition, the camera app on the Motorola One Fusion+ comes with interesting features such as Spot Color, Cinemagraph for making partially moving stills, Night mode, Cutout for removing backgrounds from images after capturing, and a whole lot of live filters.
Here are some of the images taken with the Motorola One Fusion+ in different modes. We’re refraining from a more comprehensive camera review due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
16MP vs 64MP
Here’s a Flickr gallery with full resolution images taken with the Motorola One Fusion+.
The Motorola One Fusion+ is limited to 4G LTE connectivity. Besides LTE, the Motorola One Fusion+ supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands as well as Bluetooth 5.0. For positioning, the phone supports GPS, A-GPS, LTEPP, SUPL, GLONASS, and Galileo, but lacks support India’s NavIC. In addition, the phone also lacks dual-frequency GNSS that is supported on devices with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G.
Even though Motorola is continuing with the “One” branding, the Motorola One Fusion+ is not part of the Android One program. Despite that, the Motorola One Fusion+ sports a clean Android UI just like most of Motorola’s Android phones. It runs on top of Android 10 out-of-the-box. Even though there aren’t a lot of visual additions on top, Motorola likes to call this “My UX.” The pre-installed Moto My UX app allows you to change the icon shapes, accent colors, and system fonts with an interface identical to the Pixel Themes app introduced with Android 10 on Google’s Pixel devices.
In addition, you can also find the company’s characteristic Moto Gestures, including the chop chop gesture for flashlight or wrist flick for quick-launching the camera and switching between the front and the rear cameras. Motorola has also included features like “Flip for DND” and “Pick up to silence” ringer for further convenience.
The current Android security patch level on the Motorola One Fusion+ is May 1st, 2020, and that may irk some users cautious about security. Motorola ensures they will release at least one major OS update, ie Android 11, for the phone. Even though previous Motorola One phones like the One Power have received up to two OS updates, the company is shying away from making any solid claims that it may not be able to fulfill.
Motorola One Fusion+: The price makes it exceptional
The Motorola One Fusion+ feels like a complete bundle of everything that you essentially need to make a good mid-range smartphone. It looks like a success story from the surface. With all that packed in a well-specced phone that costs just ₹17,499 (~$235) in India and €300 (~$350) in Europe, the Motorola is an easy choice for people looking for well-rounded performance. It has a powerful processor, a large display with an uninterrupted viewing area, a 5,000mAh battery that breezes through two days of usage, and a decent quad-camera setup with a 64MP primary sensor.
But it’s not all perfect, and one can easily see some corners being cut in terms of the build quality and internal heat management. On top of that, the 18W charger cannot really be considered fast by today’s standards. So, while the Motorola One Fusion+ will appease the majority of users, it will fail to entice tech enthusiasts who want to squeeze the maximum performance from their smartphone. In that respect, the POCO X2 is a better option for buyers in India, even though it is slightly more expensive. For the extra ₹1,000 that you pay for the POCO mid-ranger, you get a better 120Hz display, Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back, 27W fast charging, and a very well-tuned 64MP camera sensor from Sony.
If you’re someone who is more concerned about entertainment than gaming, want a (seemingly) eternal battery life, and stock Android experience without any unwanted bloatware, then the Motorola One Fusion+ is for you.