Moto's Latest Phone Has a Genius Solution for Preventing Vertical Video Syndrome

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Even though vertical videos are supported in platforms like YouTube and Instagram, watching them is still very annoying sometimes, and I’d prefer if these portrait-oriented clips never existed in the first place.

It seems someone at Motorola feels the same way because for the new Moto One Action, Motorola made a simple change that will stop vertical clips from ever being recorded.

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Like a lot of phones these days, the Moto One Action has a triple camera module. It’s got a 12-MP primary sensor, a 5-MP depth camera (for helping out with bokeh and depth of field effects), and what Motorola is calling a 16-MP “Action camera,” which is the feature that sets this phone apart from pretty much anything else on the market.

It might look a bit weird while recording, but your viewers will appreciate having a proper landscape video.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

That’s because unlike normal cameras, Moto’s dedicated Action Camera only captures video (not stills), while Moto’s enhanced video stabilization helps reduce any unwanted camera shake. On top of that, Moto has also reduced the Action Camera’s effective resolution from 16-MP down to 4-MP to help improve overall image quality and low-light performance.

But the most clever thing about the Moto One Action’s Action Camera is how Motorola rotated the camera sensor 90 degrees inside the phone, so that when you’re holding it in portrait orientation (which I admit is more comfortable and a big reason why vertical videos have become so pervasive), the phone still records footage in landscape mode.

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How sweet is that? Now you can capture clips like you normally would, and get better looking widescreen content when you upload to social media. For such a simple tweak, Moto’s Action Camera has a profound impact.

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Aside from its camera, the Moto One Action looks like a respectable mid-range handset. It comes with an octa-core Samsung Exynos 9609 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage (along with a microSD card slot), rear fingerprint sensor, and a reasonably sized 3,500 mAh battery. Motorola even included a headphone jack, which is something the new Galaxy Note 10 doesn’t have.

Meanwhile, in front, the Moto One Action features an elongated 6.3-inch display with a 21:9 aspect ratio so you can watch your videos in their full widescreen glory, and a nifty 12-MP punch-hole selfie cam.

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However, there are a few things that need clarification. While the sample units I checked out had Android One branding on their backs, that only applies to Moto One Actions sold in regions like Latin America and the Middle East. In the U.S., the Moto One Action will run full Android 9 instead, with Motorola claiming the phone will get at least two major updates for Android Q and R.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)
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Also, while I think the One Action looks particularly good in teal, we’re only going to get the denim blue and pearl white version in the states. The Moto One Action will go on sale first in Brazil, Mexico, and select European countries for around 260 euros (~$288), with unlocked models slated to arrive in North America (both U.S. and Canada) sometime in October.

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About the author

Sam Rutherford

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.