A lot of (virtual) ink is currently being spilled by the online media in regards to the Motorola Moto X, the newly unveiled smartphone that some consider to be the start of a new era for Android, while others, and I quote, “the underwhelming cure that Apple may have been looking for”.
As usual, I like to take the cautious route when talking about a device that I’ve yet to handle or personally make the acquaintance of. In theory, I don’t think the Moto X has what it takes to challenge the Android big guys of today and tomorrow.
But just to be on the safe side and make sure I come off as objective as I’d like, I’ll give the floor to people who’ve actually gotten to test the thing out. Namely, people from reputable online publications such as Engadget, CNet or The Verge.
They’ve thoroughly reviewed the Moto X, and, because I know very well time is of the essence for most of you, here are their conclusions and impressions in short:
- Stellar battery life (over 11 hours of continuous use in video reproduction test and probably more than 24 hours in real-life);
- Silky smooth software, sans a lot of pre-loaded junk, but with plenty of killer Android features like Active Display;
- Excellently optimized hardware to take advantage of software features such as Active Display, Quick Capture or Touchless Control;
- Solid overall performance, in spite of the custom processor’s running of just two cores (18,000 AnTuTu score, close to 9,000 points in Quadrant, roughly 2,500 in Vellamo).
- Price is too damn high ($200 with two-year contracts);
- Moto Maker restricted only to AT&T version for starters;
- Obvious speed disadvantage compared with similarly priced phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, not to mention the expected oomph of the upcoming LG G2 or Galaxy Note 3.
Bottom line: “It’s the smartest smart object” around, but it can’t compete with devices rocking higher-res displays and faster processors. Not when it doesn’t offer customization options to all its potential buyers.
- Well-crafted design, with softly rounded curves, Kevlar backing and a screen that’s decently sized, but not colossal;
- Surprisingly capable 10 MP rear camera, both indoor and outdoor, in direct sunlight or in more challenging lighting conditions;
- Close to stock Jelly Bean interface, but with neat added goodies like voice command capabilities;
- Endless variety of customized designs;
- Solid battery life: 10 hours and 9 minutes of continuous use when playing HD movies (more than the HTC One and just 20 minutes less than the Galaxy S4).
- Fast enough for a dual-core device, but not screaming fast: 8,500 points in Quadrant, roughly 3,500 less than the HTC One and down almost 3,000 points compared with the GS4;
- No expandable storage;
- The 720p OLED display, while crisp and vivid, is not as sharp as Full HD screens used by Samsung or HTC on their latest flagships.
Verdict: It’s a definite contender, especially in respect to design, battery and software, but it’s obviously short of perfection.
- Moto X’s build quality is great, despite not rocking a metal chassis, and is as good-looking as it is comfortable to hold and use;
- It’s one of the first ever “clean” Android devices that will hit all major US carriers in that form;
- Aside from being pure and neat, the software includes enough exclusive features and functions to make the users feel special for choosing it;
- Day to day performance in gaming, multimedia or browsing shouldn’t be a problem, in spite of the using of mostly mid-range specs;
- It ran for more than 7 hours on a single charge in the website’s traditional battery test, which puts it clearly ahead of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 and it also lasted 15 hours of heavy real-life use.
- A middling 720p screen with over-saturated colors makes the Moto X look far from premium in this particular department.
- Despite being zippy and delivering crisp pics in no time, the phone’s “Clear Pixel” shooter suffers from severe post-processing issues;
- It feels underwhelming compared with direct opponents in its price range, lacking a certain “wow” factor.
Bottom line: “It’s not a perfect phone, but it’s pretty damn good”. The design and customization are what really make it stand out from the crowd, though they still don’t make it any better than the GS4 or HTC One.
- It’s sturdy, solid and, while it doesn’t breath elegance from each pore, it sits somewhere in the middle of the whole “metal or plastic” controversy, with build materials that don’t feel cheap in any way;
- More hand-friendly than the norm in terms of size;
- Runs almost pure Android, but it’s the “thoughtful” tweaks and special features that actually make it better;
- The battery lasted for over 21 hours of “typical use”.
- The camera, while overall pretty capable, has a couple of subtle flaws;
- It’s pricey;
- The speaker is often loud and suffers from distortions.
Verdict: The Moto X “deserves a chance to convince”, being in almost every way as impressive as its rivals, even if on paper that may not seem the case.
Four reviews are hardly enough to convince me the Moto X is this way or that way, worth its money or not, but a few things seem clear-cut nevertheless.
A. The battery life is stellar, B. The Moto X sports an award-winning design, even sans all the color options and so on, and C. If it would get a price cut tomorrow, it should skyrocket to the top of each and every one of your shopping lists. The rest is still up for discussion.