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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Smart pop-up camera
Large, crisp screen
Can fast-charge at 45W
Attracts dust and scratches
Ultra-wide camera isn't great
The Motorola One Hyper is a strong all-around smartphone at a great price, packing attractive perks and distinctive design.
In recent years, we’ve seen smartphone makers trade thick bezels around screens for notches and punch-hole camera cutouts—but there’s another way to minimize bezel and maximize screen real estate. Motorized, pop-up selfie cameras first emerged in Asia before making their way to the states with 2019’s excellent OnePlus 7 Pro, giving users a large, pristine screen and only raising the front-facing camera from the top of the phone as needed.
Now you can get the same kind of experience from a mid-range phone thanks to the Motorola One Hyper, which adapts that flagship design philosophy for a $400 handset. True, the Motorola One Hyper doesn’t look or feel nearly as high-end as the OnePlus 7 Pro, but thanks to flashy backing colors and the unique hook of the pop-up camera, it does a fine job of delivering that distinctive allure at a budget-friendlier price. I tested the Motorola One Hyper for more than a week, putting it through its paces as an everyday handset, mobile camera, and more.
Motorola has released a handful of different One handsets in recent months, but even so, the Motorola One Hyper stands apart from the rest of the pack—and it’s not just due to the pop-up camera. True, that kind of design decision gives the One Hyper a unique look from the front, with a large and unencumbered screen that isn’t diminished by a notch or punch-hole. There’s a little bit of bezel at the top and a smidge more at the bottom, but the face is still almost completely dominated by the screen. It’s a pleasing effect.
As the “Hyper” name suggests, Motorola compellingly opted not to deliver a subdued aesthetic with this handset. Flip the One Hyper around to the back and you’ll get an eyeful of color, whether you opt for Deep Sea Blue, Fresh Orchid, or the Dark Amber version pictured here. I always try to avoid plain-looking phone colors when possible, and with the Motorola One Hyper, I had three flashy options to choose from. The Dark Amber version especially stands out, looking unlike any other phone I’ve ever wielded.
The Dark Amber version especially stands out, looking, unlike any other phone I’ve ever wielded.
That’s not all, either. The glossy plastic backing has a distinctive visual pattern running from the Motorola logo at the bottom to the dual-camera module at the top, which is a bit bulkier than normal to also accommodate the pop-up camera mechanism within. There’s a speedy fingerprint sensor here right where your index finger would typically fall, as well, and a well-placed notification light ring around it.
Note that it’s a pretty sizable phone at 6.37 x 3.02 x 0.35 inches, thanks to the large 6.5-inch screen, and weighty at 7.1 ounces. The plastic backing and frame means that the Motorola One Hyper doesn’t necessarily feel top-shelf in build quality, and the backing picks up dust, scratches, and smudges with ease—although you can use the included translucent case if desired. Even so, it’s a very cool look. Motorola suggests that the phone has a “water-repellent design,” but with no IP rating specified, we wouldn’t risk introducing the One Hyper to a puddle or bath.
The plastic backing and frame means that the Motorola One Hyper doesn’t necessarily feel top-shelf in build quality, and the backing picks up dust, scratches, and smudges with ease.
As for the pop-up camera itself, it smoothly rolls up when you open up the camera app and switch to the front-facing camera—and then returns to its safe home inside the phone when closed. And like the OnePlus 7 Pro, the Motorola One Hyper relies on motion sensors to automatically disengage the camera if you drop the phone while it’s in use. That’s smart.
The Motorola One Hyper ships with 128GB of internal storage, and you can drop in a microSD card up to 1TB in size to add quite a bit more if desired. And like a lot of mid-range phones, the One Hyper bucks the recent flagship trend by keeping its 3.5mm headphone port intact. No dongles needed here.
There’s really nothing unique or difficult about the Motorola One Hyper’s setup process. It’s the same as any other Android 10 handset releasing right now. Just follow the on-screen prompts, which include logging into a Google account, connecting to a network, and opting whether or not to restore from a phone backup and/or transfer data from another phone. You should be up and running within 10 minutes.
Given the Motorola One Hyper’s price tag, it’s no surprise to see the phone packing a mid-range processor. The octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chip here is the same seen in the recent Motorola One Zoom, and with 4GB RAM alongside, it’s capable enough to keep Android 10 running pretty smoothly most of the time. I noticed sluggish little animation hitches when switching apps or interacting with parts of the UI, but actually getting around Android and using apps never felt compromised.
The Motorola One Hyper scored a 7,285 on PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark test, which is pretty close to the 7,478 seen on the One Zoom, as well as the Google Pixel 3a’s 7,413 and Pixel 3a XL’s 7,380. The Pixel 3a phones use the Snapdragon 675, but perform about the same.
Like the One Zoom, as well, gaming performance here isn’t mind-blowing—but it’s decent. Speedy arcade racer Asphalt 9: Legends ran solidly but wasn’t as smooth as it is on flagship phones, plus there were bits of slowdown here and there. Call of Duty Mobile, meanwhile, scaled down its graphics settings well to stay pretty smooth on the Hyper. GFXBench notched 7.9 frames per second (fps) in the Car Chase benchmark and 39fps in the T-Rex benchmark, and both marks are very close to what the Zoom showed (but behind the Pixel 3a models).
Motorola sells the One Hyper unlocked, but sadly it’s limited to GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile. That means you cannot use it with Verizon or Sprint, both of which run CDMA networks. On AT&T’s 4G LTE network just north of Chicago, I saw download speeds ranging from 14-46Mbps and upload speeds between 6-19Mbps, and the connectivity always felt pretty swift. The One Hyper can also connect to 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi networks.
The 6.5-inch screen of the Motorola One Hyper is pretty stellar. It’s quite large at 6.5 inches—and as mentioned, with no notch or camera cutout—and nicely crisp at 2340x1080 (395 pixels per inch). It’s an LCD panel, so it doesn’t have quite the richness of contrast and deep black levels of an OLED screen (as in the One Zoom), nor does it benefit from HDR support like on higher-end phones. Even so, for a screen this large on a phone this price, it’s solidly bright and close to the best you can get right now.
Like the One Zoom, the Motorola One Hyper has a single mono speaker, this time on the bottom of the phone. Even so, it does a solid job of producing loud and decently clear sound, even if it’s not as full as you’d find on stereo speakers on some other phones.
Given the design, the Motorola One Hyper’s selfie camera is the most intriguing snapper of the bunch—and luckily, the 32-megapixel front-facing camera takes crisp, detailed shots. Big fan of selfies? The One Hyper nails them with regularity.
On the other side, the camera quality is more in line with what we typically expect from phones in this price point. The dual-camera setup has a 64-megapixel main sensor that uses quad pixel technology to produce 16MP shots, plus there’s an 8MP ultra-wide camera alongside. With solid lighting, you can expect pretty detailed and well-judged shots from the One Hyper’s main sensor, although it tends to struggle in indoors and low-light scenarios. The Night Mode is decent, but certainly not on par with the Pixel 3a or flagship phones on that front.
The ultra-wide camera pulls back to allow more to fit within your frame, but you get less detail plus softer edges for less appealing overall shots. It can only shoot 1080p footage at 30fps too, unlike the 1080p/30fps and 4K/30fps options with the main camera, so ultra-wide footage tends to look a bit jaunty too. The ultra-wide camera is fine for social media shots, but stick to the main camera if you want the best results.
The 32-megapixel front-facing camera takes crisp, detailed shots. Big fan of selfies? The One Hyper nails them with regularity.
The large 4,000mAh battery pack in the Motorola One Hyper is built to keep you going through a heavy day, or potentially stretch well into a second day with lighter usage. On an average day, I’d typically hit the bed with 50% or more of a charge remaining, with extensive usage only pulling me down to about 40%. If you go hard on 3D games and streaming video, then you might get closer to tapping out the charge by the end of the night, but it’s pretty resilient.
While the Motorola One Hyper only comes with a 15W fast-charger, it can actually support wired charging speeds up to 45W with a USB Power Delivery 3.0 charger. That’s easily the best you’ll find in this price category, although you may have to buy a new USB PD 3.0 charging brick if you don’t already have one around.
The Motorola One Hyper is Motorola’s first phone to ship with Android 10 out of the box, which means you’re rocking the latest and greatest edition of Google’s mobile OS. The biggest benefit, in my view, comes with enhanced gesture navigation that’s more consistent than what Android 9 had to offer, making it easier to ditch the old three-button nav-bar and use a system that’s more akin to what Apple has done with its modern iPhones.
And while the Motorola One Hyper confusingly isn’t actually part of the Android One program, unlike some past Motorola One models, the Android build here is thankfully pretty clean and not bogged down by unnecessary apps and services. The only real additions come with Motorola’s own Moto Actions, which include gesture and motion-based shortcuts and other handy perks. That’s all beneficial and purely optional, too.
At its full asking price of $400, the Motorola One Hyper feels like a great deal. It has a bold design with the kind of pop-up selfie camera only previously seen on a flagship in the States, plus a large and capable screen, solid performance, and great battery life. You can get a better main camera on Google’s Pixel 3a, but with a screen that’s nearly an inch smaller; or go for the more premium-feeling Motorola One Zoom, which isn’t quite as flashy. But if you want a $400-ish phone with a big screen and some visual pop, this is a great option.
Motorola phone prices tend to drop pretty quickly of late, perhaps because the company has been continually rolling out so many different phones—and surprisingly, it’s already listed at $340 on Amazon as of this writing. That’s a fantastic deal if you can find it.
These are Motorola’s two upper mid-range options right now, and while they feature the same processor and storage and have similar-sized screens, there are some big differences between them. The Motorola One Zoom (view on Amazon) is big on camera versatility, with four rear shooters that provide a bigger bag of tricks (including a telephoto zoom lens) than the One Hyper. It also has a more premium-feeling build, with backing glass instead of glossy plastic.
The One Zoom’s screen has a small camera notch at the top, unlike the Hyper, but the 6.4-inch display is a brighter, punchier OLED panel. Overall, I’d rather wield the more premium-feeling Motorola One Zoom of the two, but only barely so. And with Motorola now selling the Zoom for $349 (down from $449), it’s a pretty excellent value for a capable mid-ranger.
Get hyped for the Hyper.
It feels like there’s a new Motorola One phone every couple months lately, but the company has done a good job of making them feel unique from one another—and the Motorola One Hyper is right near the top of the pack. This eye-popping phone pairs distinctive design with a great screen, stellar battery life, and solid performance at a price that feels right. Rear camera quality isn’t uniformly great and the plastic build picks up dust, smudges, and scratches in a hurry, but the Motorola One Hyper still makes a strong impression in the current mid-range class.