Motorola One Action vs. Moto G7: Which budget phone is your best bet?

Motorola One Action-Hands-O
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola releases a lot of phones, so it can be tough to tell them apart. The Motorola One Action is similar to the recent Motorola One Vision, but that phone is not coming to the U.S., whereas the One Action is. With an aggressive price, there’s a risk that the Moto One Action will cannibalize sales of the best budget phone in the $300 space — the Moto G7.  There are lots of differences here, so let’s compare these two Motorola phones and find out which is the right pick for you.

Specs

Motorola One Action Moto G7 
Size 160.1 × 71.2 × 9.2 mm (6.3 × 2.8 × 0.36 inches) 157 × 75.3 × 8mm (6.18 × 2.96 × 0.31 inches)
Weight 176 grams (6.21 oz) 172 grams (6.06 ounces)
Screen size 6.3-inch IPS LCD 6.2 inch MaxVision LCD
Screen resolution 2,520 × 1,080 pixels (432 pixels per inch) 2,270 × 1,080 pixels (403 pixels-per-inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie
Storage space 128GB 64GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services (NFC) Google Pay No
Processor Samsung Exynos 9609 Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
RAM 4GB 4GB
Camera Triple lens 12-megapixel, 16MP wide-angle, and 5MP rear, 12MP front Dual 12-megapixel and 5MP main camera, 8MP front
Video 2,160p at 30 fps, 1,080p at 60 fps 2,160p at 30 fps, 1,080p at 60 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 4.2
Ports USB-C,  3.5mm headphone jack USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes (back) Yes (back)
Water resistance IPX2 Water-repellent coating
Battery 3,500mAh

Charging 10W

3,000mAh

Fast charging 15W

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support TBA T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Denim Blue, Pearl White, Aqua Teal Ceramic Black, Clear White
Price 249 euros (around $278) $300
Buy from Motorola Walmart
Review score Hands-on  4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Motorola One Action-Hands-O
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Motorola has gone with a Samsung processor in the One Action, though it’s the Exynos 9609, rather than the slightly better 9610 it used in the One Vision. That chip still performs slightly better than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 you’ll find in the Moto G7, but there isn’t a big gap here. Both phones have an ample 4GB of RAM. The One Action offers more storage — 128GB, compared to the G7’s 64GB — but both have room for a MicroSD card.

The Moto One Action boasts an extra 500mAh of capacity in the battery, so it should have more stamina than the Moto G7. However, the Moto G7 supports faster wired charging at 15W, while the One Action charges at a surprisingly slow 10W. The One Action should be a little zippier in most tasks and have more stamina, so it takes the win, but this is a close one.

Winner: Motorola One Action

Design and durability

We see evidence of cost-cutting in this department, with Motorola opting for a plastic body on the One Action, while the G7 is finished in curved glass. Motorola has also ditched that signature, round camera module with the One Action, going for a vertically stacked camera suite off to the left instead. The M logo on the back, which doubles as the fingerprint sensor, is there on both phones. Around front, the G7 has a teardrop notch to accommodate its front-facing camera, while the One Action upgrades to a hole-punch at the top left. The newer phone also boasts slimmer bezels and a taller screen.

The One Action is likely more durable in the event of a drop, since it isn’t all-glass, but both phones only have basic water resistance and can’t be submerged without damage. This is a tricky one — we prefer the back of the G7, but the front of the One Action.

Winner: Tie

Display

The Moto One Action has a slightly taller screen at 6.3 inches, with a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio — the format most movies are filmed in. The G7 has a 6.2-inch screen with a similar pixel density, though it’s slightly less sharp. The front-facing cameras eat into the screens a little, but you’ll soon get used to them. There isn’t a big difference here, but we prefer the slightly larger, taller screen of the One Action.

Winner: Motorola One Action

Camera

Motorola One Action-Hands-O
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While we weren’t blown away by the camera in the Moto G7, which comprises a 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary lens for depth, we did like the portrait mode and some of the extras. The Moto One Action adds a third lens to the back, and it’s a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture. Not only does this wider angle capture more, but the extra lens also automatically films in landscape, even if you hold your phone in portrait. It’s a smart idea and it works well. The One Action also boasts a superior 12-megapixel front-facing camera.

Winner: Motorola One Action

Software and updates

Moto G7 review
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Despite the One in the name, Motorola has decided that the U.S. version of the Moto One Action will not be a part of Google’s Android One program, which guarantees three years of monthly security updates and two years of operating system upgrades. Color us disappointed. Manufacturers don’t provide enough support for budget phones and we can’t see the sense in this move. However, the Moto G7 offers much the same experience and is just as unlikely to get many updates. Both run Android 9.0 Pie with a few extras on top. We’re calling this a tie, but if you’re outside the U.S. and you can get the Android One version of the Moto One Action, then it definitely wins out over the G7 here.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Motorola One Action-Hands-O
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

You’re not going to find many special extras in these phones, as is generally the case at the budget end of the market. Both have Moto Actions, which are gesture shortcuts for things like launching the flashlight. The One Action takes the win because of the Action camera, which allows you to shoot in landscape even if you hold your phone vertically.

Winner: Motorola One Action

Price and availability

The Moto G7 is widely available now and costs $300. The Moto One Action should land stateside in the fall and may come in cheaper — current European pricing works out to around $278. We’re not yet sure which carriers will pick it up.

Overall winner: Motorola One Action

Newer tends to be better with smartphones, and Motorola is getting faster at adopting recent trends for its affordable lineup. The Moto One Action offers slightly better performance, more stamina, a better display, and a more versatile camera than the G7. If it comes in cheaper, too, then it’s hard to see why anyone would choose the G7. That stylish glass body and the slightly faster charging are not enough, though we wouldn’t be surprised if Motorola drops the price of the G7 when the One Action lands. If you can get the Android One version of the One Action, then the win is even more convincing.

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