It is at all times enjoyable to root for the underdog and the brand new Moto X is nothing if not a surprise champion.
No, hype. No, world firsts. No, gimmicks. No queues across the block. And but, this is without doubt one of the best Android smartphones ever made.
How? Virtually pure Android. A beautiful 5.2in Full HD show. 13MP digital camera. Touchless voice controls. And – how may we overlook – much more customization than final year’s unique X.
Can all its touches, tweaks, and specs add as much as a big win for Motorola? Sure, sure they will.
DIY DESIGN DONE RIGHT
With the iPhonification of Samsung (see Galaxy Alpha) and the Samsung station of the iPhone (see the iPhone 6 Plus) the Moto X stands out. It has persona – if you’d like it to.
Moto Maker, Motorola’s pre-order customization service, has bought greater and higher due to extra choices, worldwide orders, and photograph reasonable renders. With beautiful mushy-contact plastic, actual leather-based and FSC-licensed wood rear panels to select from, plus hundreds of accent color mixtures, three iPhone choices begins to look stingy.
No matter you select, you get an impressively engineered smooth and strong construct, white or black front panel, the Motorola brand dimple and a brand new aluminium body that is lighter on the white mannequin and a darker titanium on the black model. When you’ve actually transformed to Moto this year, meaning you may pair your Moto X with an equally hued Moto 360 smartwatch. You style darling, you.
It is value noting that the common black resin mannequin is a little bit of a steal at £420, however, different supplies value extra. The actual leather-based model begins at £440 and the wooden Moto X begins at £460. You will not remorse it when you splash out, although we hear that the leather-based mannequin wants a little bit of TLC to maintain it tidy.
It is a big phone that does not really feel big. From the front, it seems a bit like an LG G3 – one other smartphone that is severe about not wasting space. Neither are really “edge to edge” however with bezels this skinny we’re not complaining. The G3’s display screen is a contact larger, at 5.5in, however, the Moto X does are available each barely smaller and barely lighter at 145g. And as Moto factors out, it is the identical width because the Galaxy S5 with a much bigger display.
As with the primary Moto X, it feels nicely made. It is also splash-resistant – not fairly waterproof, however, higher than nothing. Because of a shallow curve it sits properly within the hand even if the 2014 version is larger in each dimension.
However, this might be the primary 4.7in plus phone that smaller arms discover manageable. You’ll be able to nearly get a thumb throughout to the highest corners. It is completely secure and balanced within the hand and the microUSB socket, nanoSIM slot, and headphone jack are situated high and backside, leaving the tapered sides litter-free. Solely the power button and volume rocker grace the right-hand edge, with the facility button textured to make it simpler to determine with solely your digits.
So Motorola outclasses each Samsung and LG within the design division. And boy does it compete on elements, too.
There’s simply no weak hyperlink in the Moto X’s spec sheet. Not like last year when the Moto X’s admittedly beautiful 720p show was outgunned by Full HD display after Full HD display, this year it matches lots of the flagships on pixel depend on.
OK, LG and Samsung have raced forward with 2K screens on the G3 and Word four. However, many others together with HTC and Sony have caught with 1080p and these under no circumstances really feel like second class screens. The Moto X is 424ppi so textual content appears to be like severely easy and pics look sharp. The LG gives more detail in hello-res pictures and video however you will solely discover it together with your face proper as much as the screens, eyeballs flitting from one to the opposite. Wherein case you might get odd glances on the practice.
That is an AMOLED show and it is best to know what meaning. Colors are on the punchier aspect of the spectrum, without wanting too alien; deep, deep blacks put the iPhone and LG to disgrace and viewing angles are nice. The pixels look very near the glass too – not fairly iPhone-shut however shut.
The drawback of AMOLED colors is that from sure angles whites can look a bit yellow. In the event you spend a whole lot of time on emails and web pages this can begin to grate, although we now have heard promising whispers on the net of various items having barely completely different color temperatures.
Our favorite bit in regards to the display screen, although? What it does when it is off. Actually.
READ MORE: Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review
THIS IS THE FUTURE: SIMPLE, SMART, AND SENSORIFIC
Motorola’s at all times on sensors, controls, and software program debuted on the primary Moto X, however, it have actually come into their very own on this year’s specced-up hardware.
For those who love Google, you’ll love the Moto X. This phone is all about making Google’s powerful services always accessible and helpful. The scarily intelligent Google Now launcher may be accessed with a swipe to the correct from the primary homescreen, as with the Nexus. Motorola (in contrast to Samsung and Sony) retains issues easy by not doubling up on media companies – there’s simply the Play Store, Play Music, Motion pictures, and Books. Nothing here is as fairly because the likes of HTC’s Sense 6 however with the incoming Android L update, Google’s new Materials Design will spruce the aesthetics up.
Aside from just a few extremely helpful, ahead-thinking apps, that are helpfully bundled collectively within the Moto app, that is just about pure Android KitKat (until L arrives). You select what to arrange. There are just a few tutorials that pop up on finding out how to activate options however these are simply ignored.
As we simply hinted, our favorite of the bunch is the battery-saving Moto Show, which exhibits monochrome notifications on the lockscreen when your hand approaches it, triggering as much as three app icons. Touching every app bubble reveals a preview of notifications at a look and swiping down unlocks the handset. Being an AMOLED display screen the black pixels, which fill the vast majority of the display, don’t draw any energy and it will probably’t be activated in pockets or face down. Mixed with the Moto X’s refined haptics, checking Moto Show makes for a type of addictive little habits very like Contact ID on the iPhone.
There’s extra. Motorola makes use of its sensors very like Samsung does to show the display off whenever you’re not taking a look at it – right here it’s referred to as Attentive Show. Calls and alarms will be silenced and snoozed with a wave of a hand, too. That’s nothing completely new but it surely’s value confirming that each work completely.
Motorola has its personal distinctive methods. Touchless voice controls return in order that the X picks up your voice instructions even when the display screen is off and also you’re as much as three ft away. A really cool tweak is that you may now change the command phrase from ‘OK Google’ to something you want – so long as it’s a sure variety of syllables. ‘What’s up doc?’ is just too brief, as an example, however ‘Hey Samantha’ is okay.
READ MORE: Apple Iphone 6 review
Probably the most spectacular thing is how seamlessly all of it works together. The motion sensors register your hand hovering over the phone each single time in order that by the point you’ve picked it up, Moto Show is onscreen. Voice works properly with the completely different modes in Moto Help, together with dwelling, sleep, assembly and driving – say ‘Good evening’ to the cellphone and it’ll change to a ‘don’t disturb’ sleep mode. There’s loads of additional customisation to discover but it surely by no means descends into chaos. A number of cellphone makers declare their Android pores and skin is easy however right here’s the factor, Motorola’s truly is.
ALL DAY BATTERY WILL GET BETTER WITH L
Now, we’re not saying smartphone makers ought to cease making an attempt to enhance on Android. For example, we would not flip our nostril up at a power saving mode (Extremely or in any other case).
However with an all day battery life, helped by Moto Show, and Android L’s battery saving software program on the way in which, the truth that the Moto X goes with out for now is not a dealbreaker. We have been getting round 12 hours a day trip of it and that is together with a mammoth three hour commute.
In our HD video rundown take a look at (looping a 720p video with the display set to half brightness and WiFi and sync switched on) the Moto X’s pretty small 2300mAh unit places in a really respectable exhibiting with 10 hours half-hour.
That is an virtually equivalent rating to the iPhone 6 and higher than the LG G3 by an hour – it is nonetheless hours behind the unimaginable battery of the Sony Xperia Z3 but it surely’s lots to be getting on with. Dependable then however nothing to swoon over. Transfer alongside.
YOU CAN’T GET SMOOTHER THAN THIS
We have not seen something sooner than the Moto X for transferring round Android, opening and shutting apps and customarily getting issues executed. Even on powerhouses such because the LG G3 you get tiny bits of lag right here and there – on the X Motorola has principally eradicated it.
Leaping round from Chrome to open apps to messages it is even a break up second sooner than the close to flawless iPhone 6. The one factor Apple’s best is faster at than the Moto X is firing up the digital camera app and discovering focus. Extra on that in a bit.
Why is it such a pleasure to make use of? And the way does Moto carry out that a lot smoother with comparable silicon? We reckon that’s the mixture of Motorola’s very restricted and thought of tinkering with Android and the Snapdragon 801 chip that is powering practically each flagship smartphone value shopping for in 2014.
It isn’t one hundred% ‘Pure Android’ – Moto has added voice and contextual ins and outs right here and there, as detailed above. But it surely’s as shut as you will get on a non-Nexus, additionally keep in mind that the brand new Nexus is big, and in day-to-day use it shines. The benchmarks again up our findings with the Moto X scoring an S5 and One M8-beating 44698 on AnTuTu – solely the Word four bests it.
In brief, there’s a choose few devices that everybody trusts to only do the job reliably each time – the iPhone, the iPad, the Pebble, the Moto G. The Moto X joins that checklist.
How about the remainder of these specs? More megapixels. Ring flash. 4K video. The second-gen Moto X pulls out all of the stops with its new camera and is … nearly, almost, very near matching the perfect superphones. So it is outsnapped by the most effective. However that does not imply the Moto X is not able to taking very, superb phone pics.
There is a new 13MP sensor with an f/2.25 lens, which is a giant enchancment on the primary Moto X’s respectable however not jaw dropping photographs. It takes clear, detailed photographs in good gentle, has a useful fast-entry HDR mode and reproduces colours accurately. That mentioned, it could actually battle with tough exposures and miss focus once in a while. In these cases, it is best to decide on the handbook faucet to focus choice within the fundamental camera app fairly than counting on autofocus. Then for the most effective outcomes, simply maintain snapping both by tapping once more or utilizing the amount button. The perfect smartphone cams are barely faster to autofocus, too. That is no S5 in terms of fast fireplace shooting and actual fans will need extra controls to play about with.
Autofocus is better when capturing 1080p video – with a most of 32GB storage, we wouldn’t suggest shooting much 4K footage, though it’s an possibility. Slow mo video, at 120fps, is simply as straightforward to play around with – as on the iPhone 6 there’s an fool-proof slider to pick out the slowed down portion of your clip.
At night time and indoors, it’s a combined bag. The styled-up LED ring flash round the main camera is a brand new addition, designed to offer softer gentle than common flashes. You’re left with pictures which can be much less clearly taken with a flash than the equal samples from rivals such because the G3 and iPhone 6 – it’s undoubtedly kinder to your friends’ faces.
Nonetheless, each of those phones do a greater job in low gentle with out flash. And that’s far more helpful. Pictures taken with the Moto are usable, if a bit of desaturated, however can look noisy and a bit smudgy at instances, which is a bit of disgrace. A software program replace to tweak picture high quality, a la the Nexus 5 final year, could be very welcome right here.
For now, the Moto X detects faces and other people/objects in movement (two tough topics) and robotically takes a number of pictures earlier than selecting which one it thinks is the very best – in focus, no blinking and many others. It doesn’t end in excellent photos each time however in a single or two cases, it’s confirmed its price.
Elsewhere, Moto joins HTC and Sony with its personal auto video creation device, Highlights Reel, which is a bit hidden away however lets you change the clip size and use audio from the movies or a selection of music tracks. Across the front a 2MP camera takes 1080p video and will be commanded by voice to ‘take a selfie’, finishing the set-up. And the wrist-twisting Fast Seize characteristic returns from final yr. It really works effectively, once you give it a second, and helps to maintain your eyes on the scene.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOTO X EVEN BETTER
If we had one plea to Motorola it might be this: convey out a 64GB model for the Android fanboy and fangirl power users. The severely related Nexus 6 will get a 64GB option and we reckon the Moto X wants it too.
Failing that, on the very least stick a microSD card slot within the next version. 16GB and 32GB are nice for low entry costs however not sufficient for everybody after 12 months of offline Spotify playlists, video games and photographs.
Whereas we’re at it, push Android L out as quickly as is humanly potential please. You’ve got been superb at getting the most recent model of Android onto your phones sharpish so hopefully Lollipop will likely be no exception. If the Moto X will get the replace quickly and drops in value, the Nexus 6 might have a really tough time certainly.
MOTOROLA MOTO X VERDICT
When you had been doing a smartphone shortlist based mostly purely on specs, the Moto X would most likely make it on there but it surely wouldn’t be on the prime. In use it’s a really totally different story.
As a result of after the Moto X you will not wish to return to some other Android. It is good, it is quick and it is the form of superbly crafted handset you end up selecting up for no cause in any respect.
Motorola’s software program works seamlessly with Android to make your life that bit simpler, whereas Moto Maker permits a mass produced cellphone to be personalised like by no means earlier than. App fiends may desire an iPhone and severe phone photographers maybe the Xperia Z3, however the Moto X feels prefer it’s constructed for everybody.
It’s just about priced for everybody, too. It is no extremely-bargainous Moto G, however at £460 for 32GB (or £420 for 16GB) and round £10 cheaper a month than an iPhone on contract, it’s very affordable worth subsequent to the present superphone crop. All over the world, together with within the US, the comparability is much more in favour of the Moto X.
Display: 5.2in 1080×1920 (424ppi)
Processor: Quad core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801
OS: Android 4.4.4 (KitKat)
Camera: 13MP rear 4K video, 2MP rear 1080p video
Storage: 16GB, 32GB (non expandable)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3G/4G, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions: 140.8 x 72.4 x 10mm