Motorola Moto X review

Motorola Moto X review

T3 3
  • Motorola Moto X review: The Moto X may come from Google-owned Motorola but don't be fooled. This phone is gunning for the Nexus 5

    Motorola Moto X review

    Love

    • Active Display + Touchless
    • Battery life
    • Design

    Hate

    • Screen could be better
    • Only 16GB storage
    • Quite chunky

    The Motorola Moto X is the first major smartphone to be launched by Motorola since Google bought the company. Launching initially in the US, the Moto X won over reviewers by compensating for its mid-range specs by offering a user experience as yet unseen in the industry.

    Using Moto Maker you could design the phone yourself, from the colour of the back to the colour of the edging around the display. You'd then upload your custom wallpaper and the phone would be automatically signed into your Google account. It'd then turn up at your doorstep just a few days later.

    When you take those factors into consideration the 720p HD display suddenly didn't seem so bad (indeed it isn't) and what you ended up with was a totally unique phone that would always run the latest version of Google's Android.

    The problem with all of this though is that it doesn't apply to us. Moto Maker is a US-only feature, which means that what you can buy over here is a Moto X in Black or White with 16GB storage and that's it.

    Can just that be enough against the likes of the Google Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4? Read on to find out!

    Motorola Moto X: Size and build

    Pick up the Moto X and you'll immediately realise that a lot of thought has gone into its design. The curved back is similar to the Motorola Moto G and just as easily held, trumping smartphones like the Sony Xperia Z1 and even the Nexus 5 when it comes to one-handed usage.

    Oddly the Moto X feels heavy in the hand. On paper it shouldn't, at 130g it weighs exactly the same as the Nexus 5.

    This could be down to the fact that the Nexus 5 is larger and thinner, so feels less dense but it's something to note if you're looking for an ultra-light phone.

    Measuring in at 10.4mm at its thickest point the Moto X isn't wafer thin either, arguably that weighs in as a positive for how easy the Moto X is to hold but considering what it contains you do wonder if they couldn't have shaved a few mms off.

    A rather neat addition to the build is that Motorola has covered the Moto X in a water-repellant coating, both inside and outside so should you get caught in the rain it'll be more than up to the task.

  • The Moto X launched in the US boasting complete customisation as well as Google's blessing. Can it succeed without Moto Maker in the UK?

    Motorola Moto X review

    Love

    • Active Display + Touchless
    • Battery life
    • Design

    Hate

    • Screen could be better
    • Only 16GB storage
    • Quite chunky

    The Motorola Moto X may have been the first Google-influenced smartphone to be announced by the company but it wasn't the first to arrive in the UK.

    That accolade instead went to the considerably cheaper and likely to be much more successful Motorola Moto G, a phone that at £130 SIM-Free has thrown a spanner in the works of what many of us consider a 'budget' smartphone to be.

    Thanks to its HD screen, fast processor and effortless integration of Google's services the Moto G has proven to be more than a match for even mid-range handsets.

    The Moto X then is the latecomer to the UK, with its HD display, thinner body and more powerful innards it should be leaps and bounds above the Moto G, even if we won't have the USP that everyone has been talking about oveseas, Moto Maker customisation

    Motorola Moto X: Size and build

    First up the Moto X is certainly thinner than the Moto G and indeed at its thinnest point it measures just 5.7mm, however the back is curved so in fact what you end up with is something similar to Nokia's approach to making phones.

    It's a great size, whilst we prefer the thinness of the Nexus 5 the Moto X is arguably better to hold in the hand, it fits to your palm and actually makes one-handed use more than possible.

    The build quality is all plastic, and while we appreciate there won't be the option to customise, the black and white versions are pretty unassuming to say the least.

    Motorola Moto X: Features

    Under the hood you'll find the latest version of Google's operating system, Android KitKat 4.4.2. With the Moto G becoming the first non-Nexus smartphone to get the update the Moto X carries on that tradition offering the latest Google OS straight out of the box.

    The Moto X runs pure Google save for some very subtle additions, the most useful of which is Active Display. Even when the phone is locked the Moto X will show you key notifications while using almost no battery.

    You'll also get the same cool camera operation that was shown off when the Moto X launched in the US, with two flicks of the wrist and the camera is booted up and ready to go.

    Motorola Moto X: Screen

    The Motorola Moto X has a 4.7-inch 1280x720 AMOLED HD display. The first thing you'll notice there is that it's not Full-HD like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or even the HTC One.

    The problem is that past a certain point, displays can vary so wildly that you will find 720p screens that may have a lower resolution but still end up being better overall than a 1080p display.

    From what we've seen on the Moto X, the AMOLED aspect makes a big difference, contrast levels look exceptional and colours certainly are incredibly deep. Of course whether or not we'll end up with pixel-envy will become clear when we do the full review

    Motorola Moto X: Battery

    Motorola has installed a custom-shaped battery into the back of the Moto X that gives it 31 per cent additional capacity without affecting the design.

    What that translates into is 2200mAh of battery with a claimed 24 hours of mixed usage time. Again, to have any hope of understanding that figure better we'll need to spend a bit more time with the phone.

    Motorola Moto X: Performance

     

    Once again Motorola has flown in the face of specs-junkies, the Motorola Moto X does not have a quad-core processor. Of course it's important to remember that technically the iPhone 5s doesn't have a quad-core processor, instead it has a custom-built dual-core chip with quad-core graphics.

    Motorola has approached the Moto X in a similar fashion. You'll find a custom-built 1.7Ghz dual-core processor with a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU which should mean that ultimately you won't notice the difference.

    From the short time we spent with the Moto X we'd say it felt nippy and quick to respond, but of course the real test will be heavy multi-tasking and gaming, which we'll do both of during the full review.

    Motorola Moto X: Verdict

    On paper, the Moto X is already fighting a losing battle, it has lost its USP in the form of Moto Maker so you'll only be able to buy it in either Black or White and specs-wise it's down against the Nexus 5 by a considerable margin, despite actually costing more.

    Of course what you buy isn't just a bunch of numbers and sales jargon, it's a device which you have to use every single day and night, and it's on that basis that we'll judge the Moto X.

    For now it's hard to get a full picture but the phone itself feels great to hold, the display looks vibrant and big while the reduced bezel makes the screen feel at the forefront of the user experience. The question is, can it justify the increased price tag over Google's own efforts, for that you'll need to read our impending review.

    Motorola Moto X release date: 1 February 2014

    Motorola Moto X price: £380

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  • Motorola Moto X

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