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Moto X Review (2013)

moto x review

Now that the Moto X is official, priced, and ready to arrive on the five major U.S. wireless carriers, it’s our job to try and figure out if this “mid-range” device with its premium price tag and handful of tricks is worth every penny that Motorola thinks it is. We know that you have all seen the spec sheet – it tells a story of a device that certainly can’t compete on paper with the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. But that’s not what Motorola cares about. They want to win you over with a customized phone assembled in the U.S. that runs as smooth as butter, has a simple approach to Android, and carries a set of features that should make your life easier without confusing or overwhelming anyone.

After dedicating my life to the phone since it was handed to me at Motorola’s press festivities on August 1, I think I have plenty of thoughts to share on all of that. It’s time to talk Clear Pixel camera. It’s time to talk 720p vs. 1080p display. It’s time to talk performance. And most importantly, it’s time to talk about that damn price. Let’s do this. 

The Good

Design

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With the Moto X, Motorola tried to create a product that “skips the gimmicks and gloss” to instead focus on  “comfort, approachability, and warmth.” Have they done that? I’d like to think so. The Moto X is a beautiful little handset. With its curved backside that tapers towards its bottom to match the contours of your palm, it feels amazing in hand. It’s a two-part design, with both top and bottom casings, but thanks to an incredibly well-molded fit, it feels as premium as any unibody design. There is a soft texture applied to the back that is neither slippery nor sticky – it’s perfect. The lack of logos on the device is also welcome, something Motorola claims was done because the overuse of branding is “irrelevant” to the end user.

On the front you have an edge-to-edge 4.7″ display with as little side bezel as you’ll find on any smartphone. Even the top and bottom sections, sometimes referred to as the forehead and chin, are smaller than any phone I can recall. Part of the lack of bezel can be attributed to the lack of hardware navigation buttons. Motorola chose on-screen navigation buttons for the Moto X, so instead of taking up space at the bottom of the phone with Home, Back, and Multi-task, the display is used. But not only is this a space saver, it also matches up to Google’s approach to Android. If you were looking for a phone that is all display without the extra fuss, this would be it.

Accompanying the front panel, you also have a front facing camera, sensors, speaker grill, and a microphone. You’ll notice them on the white version because they are black against white, but since there is no carrier or manufacturer branding on the front, you won’t mind. On the black version, you get a 100% clean, almost infinite black appearance.

moto x vs. one

What amazes me the most about this design, is that when you hold it in hand, it feels like you are using a phone from years past when 4″ displays were popular and phones were smaller. But that shows you how amazing of a job Motorola did at making this phone really compact. For example, look at the picture above, with the Moto X sitting on top of the HTC One. The One is clearly quite larger when compared to the Moto X, however, they use the exact same size display. So, the Moto X meets the demand of users today by giving you an oversized screen, but manages to include it in a package that allows you to easily manage use of the phone. In most situations, you can use the Moto X with one hand, a note we can’t say we have said for many phones over the last year.

Last, the Moto X is made of plastic, yet somehow manages to feel like it’s a high-end device. This isn’t your glossy, slippery, fingerprint-heavy, Samsung plastic. This is a thoughtfully designed smartphone that emits class.

MotoMaker

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Motorola is trying to do something that no other smartphone manufacturer has ever done by allowing customers to custom order a phone online through a service called MotoMaker. The best example of a current service like this is Nike ID, which allows shoe fanatics to custom design their own shoe. With MotoMaker, you get to choose from 22 different colors or materials for the back panel, another two for the front, and a handful for the accents around the camera lens and physical side buttons. You can also choose the storage amount (16GB or 32GB), custom engraving on the back, optional case, boot-up message, and eventually which carrier you’d like the phone to work on. Motorola will pair matching color accessories to your phone, let you pre-sign-in with a Google account, and choose from a set of wallpapers that fit with your color choices. It’s a great idea, especially if Motorola can deliver on their promise to deliver your phone in 4 days or less.

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When you think about phones, you have to understand that phones have long been a way for consumers to show off their personality or make a statement. With MotoMaker, you no longer need a bejeweled case, set of protective stickers, or a mountain of cash to pay for something like ColorWare coloring. MotoMaker is free as a part of your phone purchase. I personally cannot wait to make a custom Moto X.

At some point, MotoMaker will be available for more than AT&T, but unfortunately at launch, AT&T models are your only option. More on that in a bit.

We went on an entire tour of MotoMaker that I suggest you check out.

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Software Features (Active Display, Touchless Control, Quick Capture Camera, and Assist)

moto x active display

Active Display is easily my favorite feature on the Moto X. What is it, you ask? Active Display is Motorola’s new take on how notifications should be handled when your phone is in a locked state or say, in your pocket. With Active Display, your phone automatically turns a portion of its display on when you pull it out of your pants, a bag, or simply flip the device over (and sometimes even by picking it up). But don’t worry, only portions of the display are active, so this doesn’t drain your battery like you may think that it would. Instead, Motorola shows you the time and icons for any notifications you may have with a minimal white text on black background. To quickly access these notifications, a single touch on your display will then give you a shortcut to your most recent or a quick peak at older ones. From there, you can decide to access your most recent or unlock your entire phone so that the rest of your notifications can be checked (pictured above).

It’s easily my favorite feature because I grab my phone probably 100 times throughout a day. With Active Display, I no longer have to reach for the lock switch or swipe down from a notification bar. All I have to do is pick up my phone and it’ll show me the time and if I have notifications. Thanks to the single-press option for quick viewing, I can also see if any of them are important or if I’d like to ignore them with a swipe to the right or left. You can imagine the amount of time this saves. But not only that, it also eliminates blinking LED notification lights that provide you with little information.

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Quick Capture is another of Motorola’s highlighted features for the Moto X that you’ll probably see in commercials and as talking points any time someone from the company is showing off the phone. Motorola realized how often users pick up their phones to take pictures, so Quick Capture allows them to do this much faster. Like Active Display, Motorola is eliminating steps to make a regular action much simpler. Instead of unlocking your phone, searching for a way to access your camera, and them fumbling over a shutter button, all you have to do is perform a double-twisting action with your wrist, so that the sensors in the phone know to fire up the camera. Once the camera UI loads, a tap anywhere on the display will auto-focus and snap a picture. While it’s not exactly perfect, and often times takes a couple of twists to get it right, it can be an incredibly quick way to launch your camera once you get the hang of it.

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Touchless Control is the Moto X’s third biggest software feature. Think of it as Google Now or Voice Search but with an added level of power. Through a series of spoken “OK, Google Now” commands, the Moto X learns your voice and then sits in an always-on state, waiting for your voice commands whether your phone is awake or asleep. Your phone could be sitting in a cup holder or on your desk, but would only require that you say “OK, Google Now” to have it fire up and complete a command. You could say, “OK, Google Now, remind me to do the laundry this afternoon,” and your phone would set a reminder. You could be driving down the highway and say, “OK, Google Now, give me directions to the nearest brewery,” to find a local watering hole without having to touch your phone. It can call people, text friends, and perform trivia dominating Google searches.

The voice detection works well, especially once you get your recorded voice the way you like it. It took me a couple of re-records before I found one that would activate easily, so you may need to play with your volume and pitch a bit. It’s one of those services too, that will only get better as Google continues to update Google Now with new actions.

Assist is probably the least talked about of the bunch, but is equally as important for those who travel a lot, regularly fill up calendars and need quiet time, or simply like to sleep at night without getting bothered. Assist is an app that when activated, gives you three categories to choose from:  Sleeping, Driving, and Meeting. In a way, they are like profiles that set your phone to a certain state depending upon your needs. If you are driving and you have Assist turned on, the phone will recognize that you are in a car and automatically start reading text messages and incoming calls aloud. If you set it to Sleeping, you won’t be bothered by notifications between the hours you select, unless you want to set an exemption for important people. In Meeting mode, your phone will silence itself based upon your calendar status, and even auto-respond to calls with a pre-set text message.

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All of these features can be found in action below in one of our videos. Be sure to check it out.

Mostly Stock Android

The Moto X runs Android 4.2.2 at an almost stock level. There really is no skin on top of it all, only a few software additions like Active Display, Assist, the Camera UI and Touchless Control. Motorola decided that Android has matured enough that it can stand on its own, and really only needs select additions like I just mentioned. So if you want a close-to-stock Android experience on a device, the Moto X delivers it as good as anyone.

Performance

Look, we got away from the benchmark game long ago, so we’re not going to bore you with screenshots of GFXBench or Vellamo. I’ll simply say this – the Moto X has zero performance issues. With Motorola’s X8 Mobile Computing System paired up with the dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, it’s clear that the entire system has been fine-tuned to be smooth as butter. It’s a bit of a downer that Motorola didn’t use the quad-core Snapdragon 600 that the rest of the world has taken too this year, but this is where we sit. I think the takeaway here, is that mobile processors are probably not being fully taken advantage of if a dual-core chipset can run this good. In fact, (and not to bring up benchmarks again), if you run any of the GPU tests, you’ll find that the Moto X outperforms its biggest competitors. Part of that has to do with the lower resolution display, but some credit should also be given to Motorola.

Things like accessing Google Now with a swipe up from Home happen instantly, multi-tasking between apps doesn’t hiccup, the camera launches quickly, and the phone never seems to get hot.

Again, we may be looking at a dual-core processor in a time when the rest of the world is looking for the biggest and baddest quad-core, but you won’t walk away from the Moto X disappointed.

Availability

Motorola accomplished something that few phone manufacturers have done in smartphone history – they produced a phone and convinced every single carrier that matters in the U.S. to sell it. The Moto X will be available on the 5 major U.S. wireless carriers:  Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile (not in store though), Sprint, and US Cellular. At a price of $199 on-contract, you shouldn’t have any trouble purchasing this phone by the time we hit early September. At the time of this review, no carrier has released specific dates for release, but Motorola insists that we’ll start seeing it on store shelves by late August or early September.

Bootloader and Developer Editions

Motorola was only minutes into their announcement of the Moto X when they confirmed to us that the bootloader on the phone was “not unlocked.” They weren’t specific at the time, but you could bet that they were referring to AT&T and Verizon’s versions of the phone. Thankfully, within a day, they clarified their stance by listing out the options of phone models for those who choose to tinker with their technology. Motorola will release the T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular Moto X variants with unlockable bootloaders out of the box. For those on AT&T and Verizon, you will have the option to pick up Developer Editions that will also have unlockable bootloaders. The only issue here is that the T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular variants will likely be available at reasonable on-contract prices, while the Developer Editions can be had at full retail.

Somewhere in the Middle

Camera

The camera on the Moto X is not an award winner, but it’s also not a bottom feeder – it’s somewhere above average, with times where it can be a rockstar. The Moto X houses a f/2.4 lens and 10MP RGBC sensor with Clear Pixel technology. It’s supposed to let in 75% more light than a typical RGB sensor, meaning it should produce great results in low-light situations and also in shots that have a lot of movement. My results were a mixed bag, though there were times when I couldn’t help but be impressed by the amount of detail that the camera was able to capture.

You’ll see in the few sample shots below that you’ll go from an extremely noisy shot (cat picture) to one that could be framed on a wall (flower picture). I don’t know if the Moto X’s camera is doing some wild overprocessing or what’s happening, but you’ll see this jump in quality regularly between shots. It’s almost as if you need to pull the camera app up, let it hang out for a 10 seconds to adjust to its surroundings, and then snap your picture.

I ran through a series of test photos today with the Moto X on a tripod (hope to post them soon), comparing it to shots taken with the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, and it came away as a success. I would say that the Galaxy S4 slightly bests the Moto X in terms of detail and overall image quality in good light, but the Moto X crushed it in low-light performance and was step-for-step with it in other situations. Well, aside from some weird discoloration that showed up every couple of low-light shots (see below). I also found that the Moto X outperformed the HTC One camera in almost every situation, but that could be due to the One’s low-resolution camera.

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I should point out that the camera UI is beyond minimal. There are no filters. There are no special action shot modes or GIF creators. You tap anywhere you want to take a picture. There are settings for touch-to-focus, Slow Motion video, Panorama, location tagging, flash toggles, and HDR. That’s it.

Overall, I’d say that the Moto X camera is a success, but that it needs some fine-tuning from Motorola over the coming weeks as we approach launch.

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Full resolutions:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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Full resolution

Battery Life

Like the camera, battery life has been mostly average for me, but had some highlights along the way to make it overall a positive experience. With Motorola choosing to go with a 720p display, paired up with a dual-core chipset that uses a couple of companion cores to help conserve power, I was expecting to hit 20 hours of battery life without having to worry about looking for my charger. That hasn’t been the case at all with the 2200mAh battery tucked inside. On four separate charges, I put the Moto X through a variety of situations, some that were begging for juice in under 6 hours, others that could have gone another 5-6 hours.

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On my first charge out of the box, with an hour or so of setup and general tinkering since it was still a fresh new toy, I was able to get through over 10 hours with some room to spare. My screen on time was 3.5 hours. The second full charge I put the Moto X through, I hammered on it as hard as I could. We’re talking 3.5 hours of screen on time in a 5 hour period that saw me drain the phone to 24%. I was testing it all from Touchless Control, to gaming performance for an hour with a heavy title like FIFA 2012.

On my next two charges, I backed off a bit. I took an entire day with what I would consider to be heavier than a normal day’s use, and saw almost 11 hours off the charger while still ending up with around 26% battery left. And then today, I went even lighter – 9 hours, with less than an hour of screen on time, leaving me with 57% left.

So again, the battery life on the Moto X is neither bad nor great. It’s really somewhere in the middle. I wouldn’t complain about it, but I also wouldn’t be bragging about it. It’ll get you through a day, which is about what any other phone outside of the new DROID MAXX can say.

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Display

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Full resolution

No, the display is not a full 1080p like you will find on the Galaxy S4 and HTC One. It’s a RGB 720p AMOLED with 316ppi, that Motorola claims to have chosen because it is battery efficient. With our so-so battery tests, I’m actually glad that they chose the 720p panel or this phone may not have made it through half a day. But aside from the resolution, the Moto X display is absolutely fine. We have been critical of Motorola’s display choices over the last few years, but find very few things wrong with this one in particular unless we really start nit-picking.

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It’s an AMOLED, so yes, you’ll get the crazy pops of color and what some consider to be over-saturation. I personally like AMOLEDs because of the vivid colors they produce, however, this isn’t one of those AMOLEDs that is so over the top that you are begging for an LCD. You do get a warmer tone than I would typically like (pictured above), so you do have to be careful with overly white objects looking slightly yellowish. In situations where I did find excessively white pages being displayed (like above), the contrast to the fully-white front of the phone didn’t help with that yellowish or warm tint. The black version of the Moto X may help with this.

Outside of the regular downsides to an AMOLED, I did actually enjoy this display. Text is sharp, video and games all looked great, viewing angles are fine, and since it’s not a PenTile pixel arrangement, there is no blurring as you jump in and out of apps or scroll down articles. With the lower resolution than what you find on the GS4 or One, you also may find yourself zooming less as objects will naturally appear larger.

The Not-so-Good

Price and Specs

After spending the last 5 days with the Moto X, I tried and tried to convince myself or least find some way to justify the $199 on-contract price that Motorola has given it. I hate to admit it, but I’ve failed to do such a thing. I cannot for the life of me figure out how Motorola came to the conclusion that this phone should be priced at the same level as the Galaxy S4 or HTC One. Look, I get that we’re trying to end the spec wars and simply provide an experience that is unmatched by any other phone. But as a techie who knows the prices of other top tier phones, seeing a 720p display and a dual-core processor in a phone, I can only think “mid-range.” But that’s not at all what Motorola is asking us to pay. And I know that Google is in a position unlike anyone else because they can make money off of content and ads, but they were able to sell the Nexus 4 with similar specs for $349 off-contract almost a year ago. At this point, you would think that 720p panels and dual-core processors would be shoved in back rooms of supply chain warehouses, with slashed prices, begging for some company to come buy them all up in bulk. But here we are with the Moto X and its premium $199 on-contract price tag.

And you know what, I’m sure that the majority of future Moto X buyers won’t care for a second what the screen resolution is or what processor is inside because they’ll be able to make it all pretty with MotoMaker (eventually). That’s great for Motorola. But tech enthusiasts like myself, who tend to be pretty damn vocal, are going to have a hard time swallowing this pill. Especially with the Snapdragon 800 arriving in a few weeks in devices like the LG G2, which will only further stress this situation.

With that said, the phone is being assembled in Texas, which will surely raise costs for Motorola. They are also allowing users to customize their phones with MotoMaker for free, something I would have guessed would have been an added cost. But speaking of added costs, why not sell the stock black and white versions for cheap and then charge an additional $50 or $100 for those who want their phone customized? No matter what, the price stings to someone who lives and dies with tech.

MotoMaker on AT&T only

Outside of price, there is one other massive disappointment. Hell, I’d even call it a failure on Motorola’s part. Yes, I’m talking about the exclusive deal they made with AT&T to be the launch partner of MotoMaker. For those not familiar, MotoMaker will only be available for AT&T customers for an undisclosed amount of time once the phone launches. Motorola has already announced that the service will come to other carriers (Verizon being one), but for the time being, only folks with AT&T service can customize a phone to their liking.

To me, MotoMaker is going to be the #1 reason that average consumers will choose to buy this phone. The price sure isn’t going to be it. The software features like Active Display are awesome, but those don’t sell a phone like giving someone the power to select a personalized set of colors and engraving will. I think I mentioned this above, but I cannot wait to customize my own phone. For years, we have moaned about the constant flood of black or white phones. Sure, Samsung has produced colors for its flagships, but never at launch. Motorola is telling us that you can customize an entire phone’s appearance for no extra charge, the minute it goes live on AT&T, and see it in 4 days or less. That’s awesome! Except that it’s only on AT&T. Ugh. I could go on and on.

Fix this problem, Motorola.

Other Notes

  • Wife point of view:  Every time I get a new phone to review, I always hand it over to my wife and have her give me her immediate impressions. With the Moto X, she initially thought, “This is a cool little phone. It looks nice.” But then I started feeding her the marketing spiel about Touchless Control, Active Display that would work when she pulled her phone out of her purse, and of course, MotoMaker. She thought all of the features were fun, but once she heard that she could customize her own phone, she wanted me to order her one immediately. I showed her the phone in the morning, and by the time she had come back home for the day, the first thing she said was “I want that phone. Let’s order one.” She was then crushed when I told her that it was an AT&T exclusive option, because she’s on Verizon.
  • Speaker:  Rear speaker gets plenty loud, but Motorola has typically been known for putting in quality speakers.
  • Battery tests:  During our battery tests, we always run 4G LTE only. There were a couple of moments that I had to toggle on WiFi to download a game or something, but 99% of the time the phone sits on LTE.
  • Active Display:  Have I said how awesome I think Active Display is?
  • Wallpaper and clock:  Because a number of you have asked, the clock I’m using in most screenshots is a UCCW clock widget skin called Flat Sense. The wallpaper can be downloaded here.

Video

Unboxing

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Software Features

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Moto X vs. Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One

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Gallery

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The Verdict

I really like the Moto X. In fact, I think you’ll like it a lot too. The entire package has few flaws, if any. We’re talking about an above average display, a solid camera, industry standard battery life, stock Android, buttery smooth performance, and a set of software features that will actually make your life easier. Motorola wants you to forget about specs and concentrate on the experience that a smartphone should deliver. With the Moto X, I can safely say that this is one of the first times in years that I have picked up a phone, used it for a week, and not really had anything to complain about. And keep in mind that I’ve only been using one of the stock, white models – the MotoMaker experience is still to be had!

So here are my final couple of thoughts. If specs mean little to you, you are willing to put your faith in Motorola to do you right, and you want to be able to fully customize the appearance of your phone, then you really can’t go wrong here. We’re talking about a premium experience in a smartphone package that is assembled in the U.S., something that can’t be said for any other phone on the market.

On the flip side, if you are a tech junkie on the bleeding edge, you may be somewhat let down by the 720p display and dual-core processor. Even though you may not notice a difference in performance or be able to pick out a pixel with your naked eye, it’s something that may always be in the back of your mind, especially at its $199 on-contract price. I know I’ve had trouble getting over it, but even as I wrap up this review, I have to admit that I’m looking forward to even more time with the Moto X.


Links:  Moto X deals at eBay | Amazon

  • You Jump First

    I’m pretty stupid, but it seems like it would take a large commitment on Motorola’s part to keep the phone up-to-date. Is it not reasonable to assume that in a year or 2 a dual core processor will be less than adequate to keep up with the new and best software such as a newer android os maybe not 5.0 but beyond. I am sure that is what those extra smart cores are for, but doesn’t that mean Motorola has to be committed to the update process. Using more time, money, and manpower than it normally would to get things to work right? And if it doesn’t sell like an iphone or at least top-end android phones will they really want to invest so much into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stopped offering support for it before the 2 year contract is up. Of course this is all conjecture on my part might be the best phone made in a while. All I know is I will not buy this phone… maybe I would if and when they drop the price considerably. But for all intents and purposes I will not be taking the leap of faith Motorola.

    • JeffColorado

      The Galaxy Nexus is running the latest version of Android, and well. So no, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect it to get support for a long time. And specs do not tell everything…engadget did benchmarks and this phone beat the quad-core Nexus 4 in virtually everything, often by a wide margin.

  • Drew Ciccotelli

    Made in USA is worth the extra cost.

  • kromeo

    good mobile

  • Scroat

    Lol. Lagdroid. I couldn’t have summed up android phones better if I tried.  true story™©®

    • JeffColorado

      Looks like someone has never tried a Nexus device. We forgive you.

  • Dave Whyte

    Here is my question. I hear nothing but good things about this phone but I cannot decide between this and the 4 month old HTC One now that they will both be on Verizon Wireless….. What do you guys think?

    • JeffColorado

      Unless it is the Google edition One, I would not even consider it. Skinned phones need to go away.

      The main reason I passed on the One was simply the HTC logo as the home button. Just looks tacky to me.

  • Gmax Mo bay

    I like the concept and execution, but what ever happened to 24 hours of battery life? Nobody has even gotten half what Motorola claims, I love the Nexus club and all, but after spending 2 years with my G-Nex plugged into the wall 3 times a day, I’m sour on battery life limitations and if the new Droid Ultras have any of the same X8 architecture in it, I’ll be lovin all up on the DROID MAXX baby. Can I get a hooah for big fat mAhs?!

    • Brassherald

      I got this phone for the Verizon network when it was first announced, and I fairly regularly go to bed with enough battery that it could last easily the 24 hours promised, provided I turn on airplane mode when I am underground for an hour or two during my commute. It can reach the 24 hour period, as long as you keep in mind where the battery will drain the most, I also turn on airplane mode in one classroom in the lower level because that room inexplicably drains everyone’s batteries. It doesn’t have the Droid Maxx battery, but if you are smart about your battery life, 24 hours is easily attainable.

  • SFOJFK

    Doesn’t the Droid Mini have similar specs and a $99 price.

  • Motto

    “During our battery tests, we always run 4G LTE only.”

    No f-ing wonder that you test looks so much worse than everywhere else.. wonder how you HTC ONE test went then.. I would not consider heavy use while only using LTE is a realistic test..

  • Alido

    Kellex, I haven’t been able to find it anywhere but since you have the Verizon model, can you talk and surf at the same time like with the Galaxy’s on Verizon?

  • Ed Williams

    I believe the one thing holding this up for me is the exclusivity with AT&T. As pointed out, that’s got to be one of the bigger highlights of the phone. I said back around Gingerbread that makes of Android phones would come to a point where we’d be able to customize the colors of our phones and put things on them. Now that it’s here, its only available through one carrier. I’m on Verizon. I’m not waiting around for them to lift the exclusivity and I don’t feel much obliged to hand over any money for such a air-headed decision.

    They really need to fix that.

    • steve james

      I wanted to come back to Moto I think they have the radio mojo & make quality devices. I won’t though as that exclusive deal is the straw that broke my back. They will be loosing millions because of it & it should cost someone their job.

  • Austin Cox

    Does anybody else think this looks more like a de-sensed HTC device?

  • http://www.yepi-yepi.com/ Yepi Friv

    Good design, good camera. But why they only sell at N.America

  • Sack Lunch

    So what about the radios? Been stuck with the VZW Galaxy Nexus radios for 1 1/2 years and always hear about Motorola radios being superior; can you add that to your review?

  • http://mayank.ws Mayank Raichura

    Motorola managers should visit India to see how many companies are selling quad-core Full HD 5-inch handsets for just 230 USD.

  • dmagicp

    As much as I HATE the way companies are shipping our jobs over seas left and right, I would be glad to pay more for this phone, but since I’m a galaxy note fan, it sux that I will be giving my cash to samsung, unless moto makes a nice 6in screen device.

  • DonGoncalves

    So, other the screen size, case size/design/material, battery, “Zap,” and price… are the Moto X and the new Droid Ultra and new Droid Maxx are identical in hardware and all the new Android software features (including touchless control, active display, etc.)?

  • florious80

    I’ve probably missed some discussion about this, but has someone figured out why Moto only allowed ATT Moto x to be customized? After all, most of the options are cosmetics, why can’t Verizon/Tmo version be customized as well? What’s the problem?

  • crazed_z06

    Wow.. Of All things.. they couldnt give it above average battery life… Jesus Christ. When does the Note 3 come out? The Moto X is a sideshow.

  • Bryan F. Fox

    Kellex,

    Does the Touchless control or any other feature bypass the lock screen? If I am required to use a passcode does that make all the cool features pointless?

    Thanks!

  • Jason B

    I’m betting the warm color tone (looks pinkish to me) is to keep the blue OLEDs alive longer. One of the downsides of AMOLED displays. Samsung did create that S-stripe subpixel arrangement for the Note 2 with the oversized blue pixel. Reduces the amount of current needed and extends life.

    Displaying a lot of white backgrounds, ahem – like DL, also KILLS battery life on devices with AMOLED displays (non-Pentile).

    You’d probably need a NASA wallpaper of a galaxy with a lot of blacks to notice some real savings.

  • Sasha Mirpour

    The battery test was done on 4G (LTE) network right? And I´m guessing this phone on 3G (HSDPA/HSPA+) should last longer more in range around 24H?

  • Jay Michael Headley

    To everyone who complains about the price. I am sorry I can not agree with ANY of you because unlike it’s counter-parts when I buy this phone I know that I am buying a phone that has actually created jobs here in AMERICA! The more people that buy this phone means more jobs and money we can create inside our own economy. That alone is what is worth the price to me.

  • mohammed kanan

    What clock is that

  • DanielP

    You slammed the nvidia sheild for a 720p display, this has a 720p display.

    I knew you would do this. site is just run by fanboys, not very academic.

  • KidFlash1904

    “you are willing to put your faith in Motorola to do you right”

    Droid bionic owner, not making that mistake again

  • mikeszekely

    I don’t think the Moto X is a bad phone. I just don’t think it’s a $200 on-contract phone. The Moto X looks like one of, if not the best mid-range phones available, and would be a no-brainer for people who want a cool phone and don’t care about bleeding edge tech at $99, but at $199 I think Motorola’s going to have a hard time convincing people that they should get a Moto X over an HTC One, a Galaxy S4, or (dare I say it) an iPhone.

  • MI95SHO

    Kellex; How well does the Active Display and Touch-less Control work when you set lock screen passwords/patterns?

  • Daven

    This looks like the phone for me… But I have read a lot of reviews so far and no one mentions how good the antenna is. I currently have a S4 and want to go back to a Motorola because of their strong antennas. Are phones still used to make calls anymore?

  • Taglogical

    If you are a tech junkie, I would say that you should love this phone due to the processor arrangement not the other way around per the article… I feel like DL is still missing why this processor implementation by Moto is ‘cutting edge;’ the competitors should be taking notes. Anyway, I really appreciate what Motorola has done here and if I had money to burn I would love to play with this sexy phone… This should get the Appl3 fanbois onboard in droves… However I need something that takes the place of my Bionic (SD card, HDMI, removable battery, a display that’s usable for GPS which means OLED is out) and this Moto X just doesn’t do it.

    • King Lo

      The Snapdragon 800 has a core dedicated to voice recognition. Moto is just the first to implement the next wave of flagships should have it.

  • Silver Veloz

    Thanks Kellan for the review of the Moto X. I’m sure you will have more to add as time goes by. What cracks me up about a lot of the responses to this and to Ron’s “Opinion” is that there are so many people hell-bent on not getting this phone, but still have the need to bash it. That’s good and fine and that is their decision. Yes, it’s not the phone they were expecting from Motorola right now, but how many of them have actually had their hands on it and tried it out? If they are that decided on not getting this phone, what is the desire to even read or keep responding to the posts? I guess it’s easier to bash than to be optimistic. I guess we were in the same boat just about 2 years ago when the Bionic came out. But has anyone ever revisited the Bionic on a review since receiving Jelly Bean. (I can actually say, it’s the most I’ve enjoyed the phone since, especially utilizing Google Now). I can understand people are curious and want to have knowledge about Moto X, as I am, but I don’t understand the bashing. Just move on, if its not the phone for you. I am going to decide by the time it comes to Verizon (with customization). I personally am thankful to you and Ron (and other reviews online) for information on this phone that might be in my future. Oh, this is going to be a great Droid Life show this week. Ha Ha! Thanks again.

    • Taglogical

      I love my Bionic – This Moto X doesn’t touch it though does it? It won’t run as long, doesn’t give me as much storage, doesn’t have HDMI out, and it’s display is functionally worse for GPS than the Bionic (heck these are cell phones and we use them outside in the sunlight; it’s time to stop with this OLED garbage)
      Oh, and Googlerola is reading this…

  • John Doe

    What app is the weather widget

  • Richard Jackson

    I think this sums up the feeling of the site.

  • skinja99

    This phone is such a shame. It would be fine except for the price. It just cannot compare to the S4. The S4 does so many things, and so many things better than the Moto X.

    Why ditch the notification light? It is such a cheap easy thing to include. And I like to know if I have a notification if my phone is just sitting there without having to pick it up or talk to it.

    It is painful when Kellex repeats the Moto X marketing “blinking LED notification lights that provide you with little information.”

  • aholland1

    Sigh, I wanted to love this phone, but the battery is a deal-breaker after struggling with the GNex for the past two years and this one only having marginally better results in real world use. I need my phone to go a full 24 day or two with no compromises so I’m not stressing while on travel for work or at a conference wondering if I’ll make it to the next outlet or not (spare battery or portable chargers notwithstanding).

    Looking forward to the review for the new MAXX but still on the fence as I’ve really come to love Cyanogenmod so tempted to just go with the best phone for that ROM. Any suggestions; keeping in mind battery life (sure many will say the S4 which is looking like the best contender once all the bloat is removed)?

  • Sacrifist

    Sigh. To paraphrase, ‘This is a well-made phone with genuinely useful, exclusive features. It has a good screen, rock-solid performance and good battery life. That can’t possibly justify a $199 price tag.”

    That seems silly to me. Comparing to the sold-at-a-loss-to-a-tiny-market Nexus 4 isn’t fair either. Moto needs to make money on this one, and it really seems like this phone is worth every penny of that $199.

  • BOB Dudek

    I don’t know about you, but when I plunk down over 200 (+ uprade fee ..! ) and sign away two
    years of my life to a carrier, I want to know that the two buttons used
    most on a phone will be sturdy and everlasting. Which doesn’t appear to
    be the case here.

  • joejoe5709

    I think the “Wife point of view” is exactly what I was looking for. My wife has an iPhone and I think she would really like this phone if she were to come to our side of the camp. This point of view also probably rings true for most average-to-slightly-techy consumers.

    Me? I love the size the most. I get all giddy when I see a 5″ screen but there’s little debate that the 4.5-4.7″ size fits much better in the majority of people’s hands. I think this was a good call on Motorola’s part. And with a 4.7″ screen, maaaaayyyybe 720p is alright. I get it. But my fear is this phone will quickly get left far far behind in the next two years with screen tech. This was a very bad call in my eyes. And… if you’re going to have a 1080p screen you’re probably going to need a quad-core processor to match. And therein lies our problem. Despite the adequate performance, this phone is definitely a step down from current standards. It has nothing to do with a supposed “spec war”. And I think Motorola knows that except their ego won’t let their “flagship” for less than the others. I think Kellen is right though. They could have maybe gotten a little more creative and offered cheaper versions.

    Anyway… there’s a lot to like here. I absolutely love the design and the barely modified Android. The design and software are dangerously close to a Nexus. And I love that. I feel like this is some lost cousin to the Nexus4 from a less well-to-do family. Of course I have no proof, but it seems that Google might use Motorola as a test bed of sorts for new ideas. And that’s a cool thought. So let me put it this way – if this Moto X spawns a Nexus with similar specs I’ll be the first in line no questions asked. But if Verizon never gets the next Nexus (which is likely) I’d say the Moto X is a worthy replacement to my GNex. My dream Nexus wishlist: The Moto X chassis with a quad-core processor and 1080p screen running Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie for $350 off contract. Perfect.

  • me

    So, crappy battery life, crappy camera, locked boot loader… Yeah, typical Motorola no matter who owns them.

    • me

      Edit: Buy battery life of course I obviously don’t mean things like the Maxx with a huge battery..

  • BOB Dudek

    As far as the X’s middling MEH specs..I.E.> in 7 months how would you feel like..having this parked in your “driveway” like the new 2013 car you bought that was a v6 and no sunroof or nav ..and now its really looks “old”..and you have to /use everyday and think .”.I should have not jumped the gun and got the V8 with all the option upgrades”. ..for almost the same price. And BTW that item is NOW being offered at heavily discounted deals..

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    My one takes better pics than those…motorola for the life of them just can’t produce a quality camera

  • Steven Vona

    Great article, I just wish someone would take the time to work with the cameras more on these reviews.

  • Frettfreak

    The lack of storage options on any carrier other than att (didn’t they get the exclusive on that too?) and no way to add more via sd is what’s losing me most. That and after using a 1080p panel on my one, I think it would be hard to step backward. I am excited about this phone and like the direction. But will be waiting to see what else they bring. Maybe a true tech geek flagship. That would be great

  • Sporttster

    Just not gonna jump. Need a sd slot….sorry, Moto, but you seriously blew your chance with me here….

  • Jorge Guaman

    One of the problem I see with paying $199 for those specs is that if this phone is a hit other companies might follow their lead and start making cheaper phones for the same price as a more powerful one and sell it for that price. This phone should had been cheaper than 199. The other thing I am concern updates, Moto might take a long time to get this phone running the latest software. 4.3 is already out and who knows when this phone is going to see it and with those specs who know if the Key lime might be able to run on it as it was meant to be.

  • DainLaguna

    Pretty much spot on. The specs thing is something I’m cool with given the other unique things about the device.

    But more importantly kellen…where is our nexus 7 review?

  • kay

    It’s so…pretty.

  • krouget

    As to the size of this phone, I often see it compared to the HTC One. Doesn’t the latter device have a taller profile, thanks to the functional front facing speakers?

  • Ahku Droid

    Could you possibly do a battery test with the Touchless “OK Google Now” Controls turned off? I imagine the always listening part is draining more life than they implied even though it is run by a lower power core. I was ready to order one until you said 10 hours. I have an OG MAXX and reducing that power would suck. I don’t want the almost phablet sized new Droid MAXX with bottom buttons wasting real estate.

    Honestly, in a time when people prefer to text than talk, except in the car, I don’t foresee me using that feature much, if at all.

  • Timothy Warne Jr

    I’d love to have a Moto X but its too pricey for me off contract as that’s how I’d have to buy it since I don’t wanna loose my unlimited data. I wanted to switch to T-Mobile but I’m not off contract until Feb. 2014 and don’t know how good of service I get in San Bernardino, CA. The moto X is the device for me IMO just getting it on a college student budget is one of many obstacles I’ll face in getting this device in my hands.

    • Sporttster

      Seriously, who’s gonna fork out $600+ for a phone with yesterdays specs?!? Insane….

      • Timothy Warne Jr

        It should’ve been $99 on contract $299/$349 off contract. That price would make the money well worth being spent. Hopefully the Google Play Edition saves us all.

  • Mark

    I used to be a big proponent of on-screen keys. Then I realized how often they are shown while using the phone. Take a look at the picture above. The HTC one and Moto X have the same screen size, yet look at the additional screen real estate on the One. Its even more (almost 3/4 inch) on the S’4 and the S’4 is only “.3 inches longer. The on-screen keys take away too much from the actual screen

    • NeedName

      whenever you really need that extra screen space the on-screen keys disappear.