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Difference Between the International and U.S. Moto X – All in the Speaker Grill and Plastic?


(U.S. variant)

As the leaks have continued to pour in, the number of readers who are pointing out the movement of the speaker grill on the Moto X has increased as well. For those not familiar, the speaker grill on the Moto X seems to jump from the left side of the camera lens to the right side depending on the leak. We have seen the speaker move from left to right on both pictures of the phone itself and in replacement or custom back plates. So what’s the deal? Well, one reader of ours has a theory that the speaker on the right, along with higher-quality plastic, represents the U.S. variant, while the speaker on the left coupled with cheaper plastic, represents a lower-end model that is headed internationally. He even whipped up a fancy PowerPoint presentation (yes, they apparently still exist) to present his facts, some of which we have included.Β 

As you’ll see in the photos below, one of which is the original Moto X leak from months ago, we’re seeing what appears to be a high quality plastic, almost like what we saw on the HTC One X, along with a speaker grill on the right. You can see in the FCC filing for the AT&T version of the device (pictured above), that the speaker grill is on the right side as well. And last, the version that Eric Schmidt was caught using today also has the speaker on the right. And since Schmidt works for Google and is based in the U.S., it would make sense that he would have the U.S. variant.



(U.S. variants)

In terms of this international version, we have a couple of things working for us. First, a report surfaced within the last week suggesting that Motorola may push a cheaper (or low-cost) version of the phone to international markets. While the U.S. Moto X seems like it should be a low-cost device as well, knowing the specs, that’s a conversation for a different day. If we go with this talk of the international variant being cheaper, then our reader points out that the pictures of the Moto X with left-placed speaker grills simply look like they were made with cheaper materials. I’ll admit that it’s tough to tell from the pictures, but they do look moreΒ plasticy, if you will.

But to further the discussion of their being both international and U.S. variants, you need to look no further than the picture directly below which shows dual-SIM slots. On rare occasions (if ever) do we see U.S. phones with dual-SIM slots because the carriers here probably hate them, but they do exist and are great for traveling abroad. Typically though, it’s an international thing. And since the international version has dual-SIM slots, that means they had to move the speaker grill from the right to the left (also seen in the picture below) because of the top-right location of the 2nd SIM.



(International variants)

Follow all of that? Of course this is just a theory, but it makes a lot of sense to us. Plus, since many of you have pointed out the fact that the speaker grill keeps moving, we wanted to at least address it. If you have other thoughts, be sure to let us know.

If you’d like to download this lovely PDF, you can find it here.

Cheers Matthew!

  • mmmmmbop

    Am I the only one that actually likes the textured look of the “cheaper” plastic?

  • NoBullet

    Maybe you can choose which side the speaker grill is on. FREEDOM!

  • shecalledmejay

    This brings me back to the Droid-Life days when we were amazed by a 30 second video of the Gnex’s notification light lol I can’t wait for this phone.

  • DroidJ


  • Michael Quinlan

    As someone who’s stuck with an ill-fitting Otterbox Defender for my Galaxy Nexus, because it’s designed for the CDMA variant and I’ve got the Play Store variant, this multiple firm factor issue really ticks me off. Multiple form factors means fewer protective case choices since most manufactures will design for one or the other.

  • zurginator

    International version looks to have a removable backplate (hence thinner/cheaper plastic plate), US version seems to be a permanent back.

  • Darren David Brooke

    As an engineer, I assure you: Powerpoint is still alive and well.

    • mmmmmbop

      Yeah, makes you wonder what the actual expertise of the author is here. He clearly doesn’t have much experience in the real world.

      • vitriolix

        I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess he experience the last few years is writing for and running a blog…

  • acey_zero

    Another option is that the one with the speaker on the left is a Chinese clone and not the real thing. I think those usually have dual sim.

    • zurginator

      That’s actually not a bad idea… would explain the cheaper look as well.

  • arthur2142

    While it’s a good theory, the phones are definitely not mirrored. The FCC filing is obviously not mirrored because you can read the text at the bottom of the phone. If you zoom in on the rumored international variant, you can read “sim 1” and “sim 2”, so they are also not mirrored.

  • Alex

    I’d agree that the “international model” is the cheaper one.. Not only because of the cheaper plastic, but also look at the size of the speaker holes. Theyre not finely machined like the US variant. This was obviously done to save money.

    Overall I think they just wanted to keep the cost of the international version down because everyone on the other side of the globe buys their phones off contract. The cheaper the off contract price, the greater the appeal.

  • Detonation

    Is it possible some of the pictures are just mirrored (for whatever reason)? Though the speaker grill on the US version is square while the other one its got a diamond shape.

  • TJWaterskier

    The speaker grill always seems to be on the opposite side from the power/volume-rocker buttons. In both the Eric Schmidt picture and the dual sim picture.

    I feel like some of the images are just mirrored..
    EDIT: Either that or do the buttons appear to move on the international variant?

    • zurginator

      International variant doesn’t seem to have a spot for a volume rocker…. so it’s possible the power button moved as well.

  • kynyrd synyrd

    MR. THOMASSOULO: But your speaker grill is on the wrong side.

    GEORGE: Oh well, that’s, uh, that’s just because we’re, uh, standing on opposite sides.


    GEORGE: Yeah, see, uh, when we met, I was over there and, uh, you
    were over here, so the image, uh, the image was reversed, like, uh,
    like in the mirror.

    (They walk over to a mirrored wall.)

    GEORGE: See? This looks right to you, doesn’t it?

    MR. THOMASSOULO: Uh, yeah, I guess.

    GEORGE: (passes moto X from right to left and back a few times)
    But, see here. Right. Wrong. Right. Wrong. Right. Right. Wrong–

    MR. THOMASSOULO: Will you stop it, George? Just stop it! I think I can see what’s going on here.

  • Jeff Tycz

    Its Moto X day at Droid Life!!!

    • MikeCiggy

      Happy friday πŸ™‚

  • EC8CH

    Can I just say that it good to see this level of Hypebeatin’ finally return back to Droid-Life.

    • It really is back in full effect. Feels kind of good. Hopefully the phone isn’t terrible, though. πŸ˜›

      • BTLS

        I hope it isn’t either, however I definitely am not even close to being as geeked as I was months before I got my Gnex… I remember when many people thought the 4.65″ screen was a fake leak & was way too big, but it surely sucked me in even more to all the Hypebeasting because I wanted it ASAP!

        • Verizon

          I was sold on the Gnex the second I saw it at the Google event.

          • EC8CH

            No where close to a perfect phone, but I think it’s been a good choice for those of us on Verizon who have limited options available to us.

            Hopefully these new Moto phones (non droid branded) will give us more the choose from.

          • Verizon

            I would have stayed with it if it hadn’t been for the muted call issue I had. The Razr Maxx has been really good though and brought me back to Moto.

            I’m hoping that Moto can put out something impressive with the new X line. Good cameras, close to stock, long battery life, nice screen with smooth, even performance. It doesn’t have to contain lightning in a bottle as far as the processor goes, I just want it to perform well and consistently.

          • EC8CH

            I’d be more interested in this one, but I don’t think I want to go back to a smaller screen than my G-Nex, so I’ll wait for the bigger X-Phone.

          • Verizon

            I gave away my upgrade earlier this year to my wife. πŸ™ So I am either waiting until next summer for a new phone or I’m going to add a line for my son this Fall/Winter. So waiting is my only option right now.

            The bigger X does sound like the way to go though, from what I have read and seen.

          • michael arazan

            Full retail over the payment plan and you don’t lose unlimited on vzw with out contract extension, was reported. If it’s over $450 full retail, that’s what I’ll do. My Gnex contract isn’t up till January ’14 for 2 yrs, but doesn’t matter because I’m going to milk 30$ unlimited as long as I can

        • hkklife

          Yeah, not even close to excited here either. Now, 2010 (Droid X) -2011 (Bionic, all versions of it + Xoom and the first real Android tablets) were the real height of hypebeastin’ here! I think it’s just that 2013 has managed to somehow top 2012 as the most depressing (at worst) / most boring (at best) year ever for Android that we are making a ton of hoopla out of a rather ho-hum midrange device that can never live up to the hype. And Google and Moto are not helping matters by naturally trying to hype up the customization aspect. What would be a novel extra is going to end up causing them severe backlash when customers walk into carrier stores and see a $199 4.5″ 10Mp Moto X next to a newly-discounted $199 5″ Galaxy S4 with a 13mp camera.

          • Verizon

            Considering the facts that we have not actually seen this phone or the “hero” phone yet along with KLP or anything else that may pop up by October/November I don’t know if I would go that far.

            Either way, there is going to come a point with phones, just like with computers where everything is about even. 1080p screens, multiple gigs of ram, 32+ gigs of storage, quad-core processors, high MP cameras, super batteries etc. are all becoming pretty standard now. Further advancements without breaking the bank aren’t going to just jump out there right now.

            Just be happy in the knowledge that you (along with most of us) aren’t as easily impressed as some iPhone owners who find simply moving the headphone jack to the bottom, mind blowing.

      • EC8CH

        Hopefully Moto is skipping the gimmicky tricks and spending their resources on improving things that really matter like the battery life and camera performance.

        I don’t need my phone to track my eyes and pause videos for me.

        Aside from the “advanced sensors” it sounds like their focus has been on the basics, so I have high hopes.

      • NexusPhan69

        Haha. I can’t believe you used my crappy power point complete with horrible capitalization and everything. But, thanks for the shout-out!

      • Butters619

        Bionic round 2? Hahaha. Seriously let’s hope not. I have my hopes up for Googlerola.

    • Ian

      “Hypebeatin” …sounds like a beats audio feature πŸ™‚

  • Mitch Joa

    Best readers in the world here at DL.

    • BTLS

      Some recent comments, with many being sparked by the Moto X like in yesterday’s poll, have been quite good! More users here actually know what they are talking about & they help shed light on the other side of popular views… I rarely find such depth on any other site!

    • NexusPhan69

      Thanks. Finally my first “Cheers” from Kellex. Even with that crappy power point I sent him. I’m guess I’m just easily amused.

    • No doubt about it.

  • Walter Partlo

    Maybe the international version has the mid range processor that has been seen in the benchmarks too then?

    • Verizon

      I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

      • Walter Partlo

        Lol, you can’t stop me!!!!!

        • Verizon

          LMAO! I wouldn’t try even if I could.

          This is the first in the series and will have the lower specs. The “Hero” device will show up in October (always subject to change). That is the phone that the spec junkies will be more interested in.

          • Walter Partlo

            I have read that as well, but the truth is that we don’t know. Even if the first phone is lesser spec’ed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the US version is dual core.

          • Verizon

            Always a possibility. Then again, not all dual-cores are created equal and there is a lot to be said for software optimization.