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Moto X Review: Motorola’s First Smartphone On T-Mobile In Years

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For a extended time I’ve sought to receive my hands about an Android smartphone which is the proper mixture of size plus specs. Many might (plus will) argue which the Moto X doesn’t hold up about paper to the Galaxy S 4 plus HTC One, in my real-world experience it’s only because advantageous. It remains surprisingly unpleasant which, for any cause, T-Mobile has decided to not provide, at smallest initially, the Moto X from their own retail channels. Currently, the device is just accessible by Motorola.

That begs the query of whether T-Mobile as well as its retail couples may continue to work to bring the no-contract equipment payment program choice to all sales channels. And there are alternative unanswered issues regarding how T-Mobile plus Motorola usually market the Moto X. (As of yet the carrier has produced no public announcements found on the matter).

Suffice it to state which, for the cause of the review, I utilized an AT&T Moto X variant. That signifies no T-Mobile speed tests or T-Mobile certain associated signal tests, call standard etc…otherwise the hardware plus software ought to be the same. So, without further ado, the Moto X.


My favorite aspect of the Moto X? Its hardware body. I won’t conceal my adoration for Motorola’s approach. The device looks ideal tailored to conform to the hand, 2013-08-28 09.19.39 HDRand it feels definitely ideal. There’s no query Motorola could make top-notch hardware, plus whether or not the actual information doesn’t feel because “high-end” because the HTC One, I not felt the device was going to break, fall aside or melt inside my hand. It has a soft information touch from the more plasticky Samsung or aluminum HTC One.

That mentioned, the Moto X won’t stand out inside a crowd. It’s not a conspicuous shape, plus that’s a superior thing. Motorola hasn’t revealed what components include the Moto X body, meaning it’s possibly adamantium.

Jokes apart, the Moto X arrives at 10.4mm at its thickest point plus slims to 5.6mm at the edges. The four.7in 720p show takes up about 70-75 % of the front of the device, nevertheless it comes inside a package which feels plus is far small than the same four.7in show found on the HTC One. The 2-megapixel camera, earpiece plus ambient sensors take up the rest of the front, with completely no branding. (Hooray for which last part).

On the back of the device rests the 10-megapixel “ClearPixel” camera with LED flash right under it. The speaker sits to the appropriate of the camera as well as the Motorola “M” logo is dimpled appropriate under the camera. For any cause Motorola went with all the addition of the dimple, it appears like a all-natural spot to stick the pointer finger whenever chatting.

The amount rocker plus force switch rest found on the right-hand side of the device. I wouldn’t call them the many strong shape, at smallest not the amount rocker; it had a slight provide inside my review device. 2013-08-28 09.14.54 HDR

The 3.5mm headphone jack is found on the top of the device, plus I detest it is. I don’t recognize why, nevertheless for me the all-natural location of the headphone jack ought to be the bottom of the device. We may disagree, nevertheless I find headphone jacks found on the top of any smartphone to be irritating.

The left-hand side of the device is where there are the nano-SIM tray, that needs the paper-clip like tool which arrives inside a Moto X box to open. The Moto X is the next device to arrive inside the US with all the nano-SIM; the initial was Apple’s iPhone 5.

There are no hardware buttons found on the Moto X. With the Android soft keys, the front of the device is clean plus smooth. As for which 720p show? In a planet where 1080p has become more of the norm inside “flagship” handsets, the average consumer might not see. The AMOLED 720p show packs inside 316ppi plus looks fantastic. Viewing angles are barely affected plus hues pop. Unless we completely, definitely need a 1080p show as well as the resulting impact these a show has about power lifetime, the Moto X may suit we really fine.



The Moto X software is inconspicuous, yet good enough to bring complete reassurance. To the chagrin of numerous, the Moto X arrives from the box with Android four.2.2 plus not Android four.3. Remembering which Motorola is a Google business, I actually can’t see why this device arrives without the newest Android software. However, we receive a almost pure adaptation of Android four.2.2 Jelly Bean. It’s virtually identical to stock Android, protect for certain customizations Motorola created to the camera UI, notifications along with a limited additional voice-command functions.

It’s these Motorola-specific additions which set the Moto X aside. While we’ve absolutely watched these qualities duplicated by different programmers, Motorola has a leg up found on the competition at the moment. That brings you right into Active Display, or because Motorola describes it:

Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

Knowledge is force, plus Moto X offers we simply which – at a glance. It constantly showcases what you ought to recognize, whenever you ought to recognize it. Information quietly appears found on the screen, thus we don’t need to wake it as much as consider the time or see a messages. Before we recognize it, which itch to check a telephone is gone forever.

That’s almost what it happens to be, plus it’s fantastic. While secured, the center of the show may show fresh notifications plus an icon to unlock the device. Motorola calls them “battery-friendly notifications,” that circles back to their X8 core hardware story. Active Display won’t appear when the telephone is within the pocket or purse, face down or about a call. It usually, though, permit we to manage that icons appear plus whenever they show up or avoid them from showing up completely. Is Active Display a novelty? Sure. We don’t NEED it, plus it won’t result in the difference between selecting the Moto X as well as the Galaxy S 4. But it is actually clean plus practical.

Next up is Touchless Control, or the feature which kicks inside each time we state “Okay, Google Now” to the telephone. It’s a good addition. Many are absolutely phoning it gimmicky plus finicky, however, it’s undoubtedly a consider what’s to come from Android inside the future. I’d be shocked—shocked, I tell you—if you didn’t see this arrive about more smartphones inside the close future. Setting up Touchless Control demands we to be inside a pretty quiet area plus repeat the phrase “Okay, Google Now” many instances. If you will drive by which, you are able to create calls, release apps, send messages, set sensors plus reminders, find instructions plus more. It takes a time to respond–more thus than merely the standard Google Then approach–since the telephone has to queue Then initially. However, the additional next is value the wait merely for the sake of without to touch the device. There’s been a amount of instances whenever the telephone has been upcoming to me when I’m playing with my small 1 plus mentioned “Okay, Google Then, remind me to take a nap inside 1 hr.” It’s a fun feature which usually hopefully receive greater plus hit more equipment over time. In truth, it could discover itself because a good utilize case situation for hands-free whilst driving. We might vocally transcribe a content without taking a eyes off the road or the hands off the wheel.


Motorola additionally packed the X with Migrate plus Assist. The initially is an application which installs about the past smartphone plus permits you “transfer media, call plus text history, in addition to SIM contacts, from this Android telephone to the brand-new 1.” I had earlier been utilizing an HTC One, plus Assist worked well. Naturally, I’d like it transfer everything, including my house screen setup. However that’s merely my Android dream. There are absolutely certain apps which do this, like Helium, nevertheless a built-in application will be good.

That leaves Motorola Assist. With this application, Motorola assists we be a safer driver. Moto X knows whenever you’re driving. It could read out whom is phoning or texting, to keep a attention found on the road. Driving mode is enabled utilizing the accelerometer plus GPS to identify whenever you’re behind the wheel. Next, the telephone can then read a messages plus telephone calls from the speaker. For the many element I found it to be worthwhile, nevertheless there’s nevertheless several tweaking Motorola may do.


Cores. That looks to become the word you focus about with each launch. Whenever drive comes to shove, how a telephone works is much more significant the 1 piece of its makeup. Yet, te X8 architecture makes the Moto X a really special device for Motorola. First, let’s highlight which the Moto X combines a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro functioning at 1.7GHz, quad-core Adreno 320 GPU plus 2 more specialized cores. This 2nd set of cores is utilized for 2 reasons. One is chosen for all-natural code processing (“Okay, Google Now”) as well as the different for contextual processing. The Moto X’s 2GB of RAM make certain the device runs buttery smooth. The 2 more cores force the Moto X specialized qualities like Touchless Control plus Active Display. All of the is made to prolong the power life  when providing good real-world performance.

Motorola has produced anything from the idea which the industry must refocus about real-world performance, plus not on-paper specs. Motorola’s latest device doesn’t hit the same benchmark numbers because the Galaxy S 4 or HTC One, nevertheless that’s ok. The bottom line is the fact that performance is wise. Not just which, however I truly didn’t see the difference amongst the HTC One, the device I had put right down to utilize the Moto X.


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Given Motorola’s buzz of the ClearPixel experience, I expected more from the camera. With early reports absolutely panning the experience, I had low expectations going inside, plus to several extent, they were right. The camera isn’t horrible; it really is much better than the Nexus 4. But if a smartphone camera is the top goal, look elsewhere.

You may jump into the camera from the fast flick of the wrist, or you are able to go directly into the application from the menu. The Moto X attributes the company’s “ClearPixel” development. Motorola states which their ClearPixel tech “collects more light plus snaps images as much as twice because quick because alternative phone’s cameras. So it will capture the darkest scenes or stop motion blur inside bright light.”

I’ve mentioned it before, plus I’ll state it again. I’m not a expert photographer, plus I don’t have a wise eye for white balance, purple fringing, “soft” photos or any pic jargon. What I care about is how a shot looks to my nude eye. Even there, I may tell we the Galaxy S 4, HTC One as well as the iPhone 5 are better options when a camera is excellent up about a list of factors to purchase a smartphone.

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Shots might look a small greater should you follow HDR. Outdoor shots at close range are wise, nevertheless the further out we go the worse off you’ll be. Macro shots are advantageous, plus inside certain instances even much better than alternative equipment I said earlier. But, don’t even bother zooming in every the method for shots; you’ll be sorry we did. As for which 1080p movie recording? It’s manageable, however I wouldn’t consider it to par with different equipment marketing at the $199 cost point. One bright place is the sound playback. It functions well, because of Motorola’s 3 noise-canceling mics.

On the flip side, Motorola has presented you with a specific plus simplifed camera app. The shutter switch is gone; the whole screen is today the shutter switch. That signifies which the device is absolutely set to autofocus. We may be chosen to pressing the show to focus, however, in the event you touch the screen when you’ve got oneself a pic. This can cause deleting a some accidental shots, nevertheless the idea itself is very good when the telephone does autofocus correctly.

You are left with 2 on-screen buttons: 1 to shoot movie plus 1 to change to the front-facing camera. Swiping within the left may enhance the circular menu, that qualities HDR, flash, tap to focus, slow-motion movie, panorama mode, location-tagging, shutter sound toggling plus “Quick Capture.” This menu is well thought out, plus I hope it’s anything you see more producers adopting inside the future. (Considering we, Samsung).

Here’s the silver lining: Many of the issues appear to be associated to software, plus that’s anything Motorola will better down the line. If Motorola may fix the issues, this might be a top performer. The Moto X absolutely has the goods. However now, I’d place the Moto X firmly inside the middle-of-the-road for smartphone shooters.

Battery Life

With a 2200 mAh power, we may anticipate the Moto X to be really another smartphone with so-so power existence. However Motorola claims consumers can receive 24 hours of all-day-use. This really is supposedly supported by their X8 architecture. However, for many force consumers, which sounds completely impractical.

I consider me the energy consumer. Tweeting, browsing, emailing plus messaging for hours on end nonetheless enabled me to drive by 7 the.m. to 11 p.m. without burning by the power. If you commence messing with signal or we have the opportunity to play about WiFi many days, which usually affect a power for greater or worse. (A phone trying for signal or bouncing between HSPA+ plus LTE for hours on end may definitely drain faster).

Motorola’s Active Display is made to help save you power by permitting we to receive info without really bouncing into the telephone. You are able to check the time plus see notifications without really powering up the show, plus that’s beneficial for extending power existence. But, the DROID MAXX this might be not. Twenty-four hours of real-world utilize won’t arise, nevertheless I found it to be much better than either the Galaxy S 4 or HTC One.


Motorola has furthermore integrated their Motorola Connect feature, that ties a computer to a Chrome extension. You are able to see incoming calls, missed calls, voicemails plus text messages all from the computer. One of the factors I love my iPhone is the chance to iMessage for hours on end from my MacBook Air. Motorola Connect takes it a step beyond iMessage, plus it’s awesome.

There’s furthermore “Motorola Skip,” a clip which attaches to the clothing. If you pull the telephone from your pocket, you are able to “unlock a telephone with a single tap.” Okay, thus unlocking is a bit simpler than really swiping found on the show. However without any real-world experience with all the Skip, it appears like more novelty than need.

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And then there’s MotoMaker. MotoMaker is regarded as the coolest choices we’ve enjoyed from a smartphone OEM inside certain time. Want to create a uniquely styled smartphone? Purchase the Moto X plus employ MotoMaker to shape it the technique we desire. Unfortunately, this really is exclusive to AT&T now, however it is coming to different carriers “soon.” It’s an awesome method to personalize the fashion of the device utilizing different colors from cool to neutral to warm. Personally, I’d go with a turquoise back plus white front. What could I state? I reside inside South Florida, thus turquoise plus white might fit proper inside with all the art deco fashion. Motorola states there are 2,000 possibilities for we to create by mixing plus matching all accents, front plus back hues, wallpaper, memory plus matching accessories. Will designing the telephone with a special personalization color scheme be enough to persuade we to buy it? Maybe. It’s anything you haven’t certainly enjoyed much of inside the industry. It’s cool, nevertheless not a “must have.”


As a mostly-stock Android experience, we don’t receive anything which resembles TouchWiz or Sense UI. Save for a some pre-installed AT&T apps as well as the death star logo found on the back of the device, it’s largely free from branding. I imagine the T-Mobile edition, but it’s sold, can equally come with several pre-installed software plus T-Mobile logo. However again, it ought to be 99 % pure stock Android.

Final Thoughts

Ah, the Moto X. We are a secret wrapped inside a riddle. I wish To love we, plus I do love a shape element. However I merely can’t receive behind a camera. Hardware-wise the Moto X is my ideal Android device, whether or not it doesn’t play the pound-for-pound spec game up against the loves of the Galaxy S 4, HTC One plus Xperia Z. And then, the MotoMaker personalization way is fantastic; it absolutely adds a small intrinsic value.

The bottom line is the fact that the Moto X runs everything plus additional top-notch Android equipment available. It’s hard to not compare the device to the Galaxy S 4 plus HTC One, because of its $199 cost point. But, when this telephone were priced at $99 or $149, it will be a ridiculously advantageous deal.

The real issue with all the Moto X is how it compares about paper. It’s unpleasant which numerous whom could otherwise take pleasure in the telephone is moved towards additional equipment due to which. Specs don’t plus shouldn’t matter anymore, plus focus about quad-core, dual-core, Snapdragon, NVIDIA plus all which is merely nonsense today. There is too much focus about specs inside a planet where many Android equipment (barring the entry-level) is over adequate for daily jobs.

The end of the conversation is the fact that Motorola has a well capable smartphone about its hands. Plus, you are able to purchase a wood-back variant sometime later this year whenever MotoMaker is available to all. Really, a telephone with a lumber back? How are you able to state no to this?

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