|+ All day battery||- Underpowered|
|+ Hands-free Google Now||- Expensive|
|+ Innovative notifications||- No microSD|
|+ One-handed camera|
|+ Solid build|
"The Motorola Moto X is full of bright ideas but hobbled a little by a steep price tag and underwhelming specs. Still, if you value innovation and ease of use over power it comes recommended."
The Motorola Moto X has been a long time coming. It launched in the US in August of last year and created a bit of a buzz thanks to a few innovative twists on the smartphone formula and the fact that it was enormously customisable, giving user’s complete control over the look of their phone before buying it.
Months later the Moto X has finally made it across the Atlantic, but unfortunately those customisation options haven’t come with it and it’s a different world now with the Nexus 5 and even Motorola’s own Moto G providing steep competition, so can it still impress? Read on to find out.
The Moto X is clad in plastic and while US customers had endless colour and customisation options, users in the UK can only choose between black and white. So those are the first two strikes against it, but it’s not all bad news. Despite being made of plastic it’s not got the flimsy, cheap feel that many plastic handsets have. Instead it feels quite solid and well built and the plastic itself has a textured design that’s actually quite pleasing.
It’s designed to be held too, as its slightly curved back fits nicely in the hand. At 129.3 x 65.3 x 104mm it’s not the slimmest phone around, coming in a little fatter than either the Nexus 5 of Galaxy S4 Mini, which are likely to be two of its closest rivals, but at 130g it’s got the right amount of weight to it, not feeling too heavy but not feeling like a toy either.
With a 4.7 inch 720 x 1280 display with a pixel density of 312 pixels per inch the Motorola Moto X has a good but not great screen, coming in at 720p rather than 1080p. It’s a good size though, big enough to comfortably use without falling into phablet dimensions.
Text and images generally look quite crisp and unless you’re holding it side by side with an HTC One or similar you won’t likely miss those extra pixels.
The Moto X is a solid but not spectacular performer. It has a 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB of RAM, which is enough to ensure there’s not much in the way of slowdown of judder when using the phone, but there is a slight delay when launching some apps and games.
So it’s not bad by any means, but then the Moto X costs around £380 and for that money we’d hope for a little more, as the Nexus 5 offers quad-core performance for £80 less and Motorola’s own Moto G isn’t too far behind in performance terms yet can be bagged for under £150 if you shop around.
Even big names like the HTC One mini and Galaxy S4 mini offer similar performance for slightly less money.
The Moto X runs the closest thing you’ll get to stock Android 4.4.2 outside of a Nexus device. That’s a good thing as it avoids all the bloat and complexity that manufacturers like Samsung love to put on their phones, leaving instead a simple and elegant interface which can be still be cluttered up as much as you like with a visit to Google Play.
The few things that Motorola has added are genuinely useful too. The phone has a dedicated natural language co-processor which is permanently listening for three little words- “Ok Google Now”, which once said will then launch Google Now and make it ready for additional voice commands, which could be anything from making a note, to searching the web, to calling someone, all without ever having to touch your phone. It’s a great idea and it works really well.
The Moto X also has an ‘active display’, which means that when a notification comes in a small part of the screen will light up with an icon alerting you to it and then a tap or swipe can action or dismiss it. Plus simply tapping the screen when it’s off will briefly display the time and any notifications, so there’s no need to press a button and fully wake the phone up, saving time and battery life.
The Moto X comes with a choice of 16 or 32GB of storage but unfortunately there’s no microSD card slot to expand that.
There’s a whole suite of connectivity options though, with support for Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE and NFC.
On the camera front the Moto X has a reasonable quality 10 megapixel snapper, along with a 2 megapixel front facing camera. It can also shoot 1080p video at 30fps. There aren’t a huge amount of shooting options, but it can easily be used one handed, as a twist gesture will launch the camera and then tapping anywhere on the screen will take a photo.
The Motorola Moto X has a 2200 mAh battery and has better battery life than most smartphones we’ve tested. With moderate to heavy use it should easily last a day, but there’s still room for improvement as unless you’re being very careful with your use it won’t stretch to two days. Motorola claims that with mixed use it will last up to 24 hours, which sounds about right.
The Motorola Moto X is a curious creation. On the one hand it has a handful of innovative and genuinely useful features which really help it stand out from the crowd, but on the other hand it really is a bit underpowered given the £380 price tag. If you want a future proofed, powerhouse phone it’s hard to recommend, as you can get a lot more power for less money.
On the other hand if you want something a little different and something which could make your day to day life a little easier through smart ideas then the Moto X is for you.
|Dimensions: 129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4mm
Screen size: 4.7 inches
Screen Resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
Pixels per Inch (PPI): 312
Processor: 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4
Battery capacity: 2200 mAh
Onboard Memory: 16 / 32GB internal memory
Camera: 10 megapixel / 2 megapixel (front-facing)
Operating system: Android 4.4.2
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes / Yes / Yes
Bluetooth / NFC: Yes / Yes
Colours: Black, White
Launch Date: Out now
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