Finally, the device that has been the most famous despite not having the best of the specs, is in my hands and I am loving it already. Finally, there’s no huge screen, finally there’s some real personalization and finally, something away from the standard designs and panels of the smartphones, the Moto X has arrived and we’ve got the International retail package to review. Is the Moto X worth the price? does the specs make the user feel it’s enough for their usage? let’s see below.
Design, Form Factor & Display
Could majorly be a reason that I had become a fan of the device since it’s announcement, but still I like the Moto X after the overload of the devices with the 5-inch and 5+ inch screen sizes, which don’t deserve the tag of a smartphone but something else. In fact, we saw most of the big brands coming up with the devices keeping 5-inch screens as a standard, when the Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z were launched, and none of them looked at what the users might be asking for, but they were all into the competition in the same league. 4.7-inch is really quite enough, when you get a good AMOLED HD display, with the pixel density of 316 PPI. In fact, the iPhone 5 whose display too is well known around, has got a similar density of pixels with the 326 PPI.
Yes I would be missing the 1080p display which I got used to, in the flagship Galaxy and others, but does a normal user take advantage of the perfect display all the time by watching movies, captured videos? they would care more about the RAM, heating up and the battery while watching and that’s where the display quality doesn’t matter and even a 720p display looks quite enough.
When you hold the HTC One and Moto X side by side, it would be easy to see why the Moto X is getting so much appreciation. There’s no much wasted space on the sides of the screen, and thus although the lesser screen size, the Moto X looks too small and far more comfortable.
The front side of the Moto X has the AMOLED display, and just over it, the thin earpiece and the set of sensors just left to it, pushing the front cam to the right top corner. Just below to the screen is the mic, appropriately placed but that looks a little different, as most of the smartphones have got it at the bottom panel, and the space where this mic is, is taken by the touch sensitive buttons.
The back looks excellent, and that is what is going to keep the buzz going for the users because there are hundreds of color and panel options that you are going to get in the Moto Maker website while ordering the phone. The one we have is the standard white one with the matte-cloth look but it’s smooth and that’s a sticker from top to bottom, which although is smooth, provides a little friction preventing the slipping from hands.
The Moto X looks quite solid although the material that is said to be used is composite, but why would one want to risk it and test the fall and break? it could be quite sensitive if seen that way. The screen, back panel are all well resistant to the fingerprints and dust.
Internal Powering, Performance & Software
Applause for the 2GB of RAM, that’s where the Google’s proper concern about the user experience starts. Many would ask, is it a computer for that much RAM? but that’s what is needed when you are using some heavy apps in the background and playing a good memory using game on the front. It’s just a Dual-core processor though, which one would be really concerned about, and the processor clocks at the speed of 1.7 GHz.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU comes along with a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU and along with these, there are two low-power processors which are dedicated for the natural language and the contextual computing. In the end there’s a lot of cores, but the final question would be – Is it strong enough to run without lags? A couple of hours of testing resulted in no lags, it was all quick with some active apps but that won’t be our final conclusion. It’s just the start and the actual issues usually start after we install some heavy gaming apps and play around with the device for a few days. In the end you are bound to use the device for months or years, right?
When you expect a speed just like what you see in the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One, and you actually see it in the device having a Dual-core processor, that’s quite fascinating.
Software side, it’s Android 4.2.2 where one would have expected to see the Android 4.3 (the latest right now) right out of the box as the Moto X just started shipping, but the stock Android of 4.2.2 version doesn’t disappoint at all, and the 4.3 didn’t come with any interface changes anyways, as it was some improvement in the performance and support for the Bluetooth 4.0 low energy.
The Apps that you get to see in the stock ROM, include the basic Google ones, and apart from that the Assist, Migrate apps would come handy in enhancing the experience of the user in assisting in different functions like driving etc., and to migrate the data, contacts etc. from any other devices.
Touchless Control – An Apple Siri Competitor
This one gets a special mention, for what it provides and recognizes. Of course the personal assistant you get in the Moto X fails to recognize the accent of an Indian English talking person, we are fine with it and with the American English accent, the response is awesome. It first records your voice when you activate it for the first time, and then keeps it in the memory and recognizes only that same voice when said “Ok Google Now” followed by the command.
The things you can do using the Touchless Control includes the following:
- Navigate instantly: For directions to any particular place
- Calling your friends by mentioning name and the type: home, mobile
- Ask and get Google to search and answer it
The assistant would also make calls for you even when the screen is locked. One of the best advantages with this is, that even Siri needed the user to press the Home button to activate it. But here, when the screen is locked, you just need to say “Ok Google Now” and it would promptly respond to it.
Camera – Front and Back Lens, Capture Comparison
We’ve seen the 13 MP sensors from the Galaxy S4, the new “Ultrapixel” camera in the HTC One, the waterproof 13-megapixel one in the Xperia Z, but now it’s something else in the Moto X – the “Clear Pixel technology” powered 10-megapixel camera. It’s basically something to do with the throwing of light in the photos, and here’s a competitor to the Lumia devices which claim to have the best low-light photography cameras and it’s where the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Xperia Z doesn’t hold an authority.
The camera of the Moto X has got the RGBC where C means Clear. According to the smartphone maker, there are two advantages with the camera – 75% more light in the photos, and 2x the capturing speed when compared to the other high-end smartphone cameras, combined with the F/2.4 in the Moto X camera. We’ve tested it and the photos are quite good at quality but the speed of the camera captures would need more time for testing because it would be too soon to say that the camera capture and response is blazing fast.
Now, when we actually test the cameras of the Moto X with that of the Galaxy S4, it’s the Galaxy S4 which impresses us but we are yet to do a dark-room capture to see which one is better.
Moto X vs Galaxy S4 Camera Comparison
There’s a lot more the camera of the Moto X can do, with the High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, Tap to Focus and Capture, Slow Motion Video capturing, Panorama capture, Geotagging, easy toggle for Shutter sound, Quick Capture (an interesting mode where you need to twist your wrist twice to quickly launch the camera anytime).
Both the back and front cameras are able to capture videos at 1080p Full HD quality, and the 1080p with the front camera is just a number as you wouldn’t get what is said with the number there. The 1080p HD video recording with the rear camera is excellent, and the slow motion video recording too is an added neat feature which was well appreciated in the Galaxy Camera from Samsung, and most of the other smartphone cameras haven’t provided that feature, basically for those who wanted to have some fun capturing slo-mo videos.
Battery & Benchmarks
The battery doesn’t ask much and initially you don’t have to optimize the device at all to save the battery, because it’s the Super AMOLED screen which doesn’t eat up much battery at least in this device, and thus we saw the battery serving the device on normal usage for more than a day. It’s the 2600mAh battery which is not at all less, and luckily you have the 4.7-inch display and a dual-core processor which is to be used, and not some higher-end ones, so the battery should be quite enough.
For the benchmarking, the score is 20k+ and it keeps itself in the top league, just below a few real good high-end devices such as the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 etc. but I wasn’t expecting the scores to be anywhere more than 15000 in the AnTuTu benchmark test.
Final Verdict – Is the Moto X worth it?
In the entire review above, you might have noticed a lot of praises, and a few factors where we said that you shouldn’t expect it to be more than this, but there’s one thing where Moto X did get criticized – Pricing of the Moto X for the unlocked device. And while we extend that, the price for the locked one too is $200, which is quite a bit high because when you have the Galaxy S4, HTC One at the lpricing with so much to provide, Moto (or Google) should have kept it at a $100 range.
Still, once Motorola decides to extend the customization to more than just AT&T, we would love to recommend this because this was my personal favorite as soon as the wooden panels were showcased, but it was disappointing when the Moto Maker offered this only for the AT&T subscribers. Overall, this one is an excellent smartphone which is not the best with the specs, but provides what an actual consumer would want from a neat Android smartphone.