I had been hearing lots about the Moto X but it wasn't on my radar for phones to check out. Then out of the blue I had an opportunity to get my hands on one, so I figured why not.
The biggest thing to remember about the Moto X is that it is not a hardware monster. It wasn't desgined to take on the Note 3 or similar top of the line phones in benchmarks, it was designed to be unique, be extremely well optimized and provides a great user experience. So lets see what Motorola have brought to the table.
The Moto X is a smaller phone by todays standards and has a 4.7 inch display. At that size you can get away with a 720p and get the benefits of reduced battery consumption. That's what they did and I think it was the right choice. The screen is repsonsive, bright and looks pretty good overall. To make sure their phone is durable they went with Gorilla Glass to keep the front safe.
The biggest asset the Moto X has, is its software. Motorola have obviously taken the time to think about what would enrich the users experience with a mobile device. It’s the small things they have worked in that all add up to leave a noticeable impression at the end of the day.
The phone does a good job walking you through its unique extras, teaching you what functions are available and how to use them. I really liked the always listening access to Google Now. Even when the device was asleep, Google Now was accessible. Turning your wrist twice will activate the camera, and only a single touch on the screen is required, making it easy to take pics with the phone in one hand and using your thumb to snap the pic. The list goes on, but you get the point. Add in the fact that the phone is incredibly optimized allowing far better performance than the hardware would indicate, and you have a solid offering.
The Moto X has 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz Wifi. I tested them by taking a reading directly beside the router, another reading at the furthest point on my upper level, and a 3rd set of readings at the furthest point in my basement.
-27 mbps at the router
-14 mbps upper level
-4 mbps basement
-30 mbps at the router
-27 mbps upper
-25 mbps basement
These are fairly descent speeds as I've had some devices get almost unusable signal upstairs, and no signal at all in the basement.
I’m not a big talker, I would much rather text. From the calls I did make, I can say the phone is fairly clear. I listened from my end and then had someone call me using the phone while I listened. I would definitely give the phone a thumbs up.
The speaker in the Moto X really surprised me. It wasn't the loudest or clearest speaker I’ve heard but it was pretty darn good. It had just enough volume and remained crystal clear even when maxed. I could even feel a little bit of bass in my hand while testing, something many mid to lower end phones lack.
I tested the playback with HD clips from YouTube as well as a movie played through VLC player. The phone handled both situations well, as would be expected with a phone using an Adreno 320. Although it’s last years GPU tech, it still has more than enough grunt to play media with ease.
The Moto X wasn’t the snappiest device for browsing but it held its own. At no point did I say “Man , these pages are taking a long time to load”
You can check out the Vellamo HTML5 scores further down in the review.
The GPS was on par with other Qualcomm device testing I’ve done. It locks quickly and holds its connection at all times.
I put the phone into Airplane mode to eliminate data assistance and got a cold lock in 20 seconds.
Subsequent locks were less than 5 seconds.
The 2 MP front facing camera proves you don’t need huge mega pixel numbers to produce a nice image. The selfies I took were really nice and more than expected from the device. The rear 10MP camera was ok in well-lit conditions but suffered from a green hue in lower light conditions when the flash was used. Overall, I would say the rear camera could have been done better and needs an upgrade.
This is where I feel the optimization came into play. For an older tech processor that was bumped down to a dual core, the Moto X did ok.
Antutu = 22,083
CPU Prime = 3377
Nenamark 2 = 60.8 fps
HTML5 = 1445
Metal = 730
It was pretty easy to get a full day out of the Moto X with moderate usage. It also did ok in regards to screen time. I played movies on the phone taking it down to 9%. I put the screen on auto and I managed about 6hrs 45 minutes but forgot to start a new movie a couple of times, so the device probably could have handled over 7 hours of playback.
I tested the phones gaming abilities with Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8. The games defaulted to a mid-range graphics setting but I manually set them to high graphics. The phone played both games fairly well thanks again to the Adreno 320. It wasn’t as responsive and smooth as my Lenovo Vibe Z which uses an Adreno 330 but hey, that’s to be expected.
Many people say the Moto X is way overpriced for what it is. To a certain extent I agree. In regards to hardware and specs it’s hard to justify spending the asking price. What makes the phone worth taking a look at, is its uniqueness. Motorola have tried to do something a little different and in my opinion succeeded. There are rumblings about a new updated version coming this summer named the Moto X+1. I would hope they take a look at a better camera/flash combo, and add an expansion slot for extra memory. I am interested to see if the Lenovo purchase impacts Motorola’s strategy and direction or if they will leave them to continue their own course.
Do you think anything will change?
Also check out my video review