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The New Moto X: 5 Things I Want to See

moto x2

At the end of 2013, we called the Moto X the best phone of the year. Even though it had a pretty terrible camera and a not-even-close-to-class-leading display, the overall package of software features, size and feel, quick updates, and customizability through MotoMaker made it the phone to have, at least in our opinion. But here we are, weeks away from the unveiling of the new version, whether that ends up being called Moto X+1 or new Moto X or something else, you can imagine how excited we are to see what Motorola has in-store.

Still, Motorola needs to step their game up even further if they want to hold onto that “best phone of the year” title. The LG G3 is currently topping the charts (our review), with the OnePlus One and HTC One (M8) close behind it.

There are some specific things we would love to see Motorola address in order to make the next Moto X an amazing phone. Here are five of them. 

A Better Camera

I used the original Moto X more than any other phone released last year. Loved almost every moment with it. I can also tell you that I went through a period where I took very few pictures and was scared to share anything on Instagram. The camera on the Moto X really is as bad as Ron makes it sound regularly on the DL Show. Motorola may have built in a handy wrist-twisting gesture to quickly access the phone’s shooter, but the lack of detail, consistency, and quality in the photos taken were a major disappointment, even after a handful of supposed software fixes were issued.

In the new Moto X, Motorola better get the camera right. I can’t tell you the last time that Motorola put a good camera in one of their phones, but now is the time to change that. Almost anyone who has used a Moto X loves it, except anyone who has used it will also tell you how terrible its camera is. Fix that, Moto, and you may yet again have the best phone on the planet.

moto x camera

A Better Display

I can live with a sub-par display for the most part. Hell, I’m using an LG G3 and love it. But the 720p AMOLED panel used in the original Moto X just wasn’t very good. Clearly, Motorola went with AMOLED technology so that their Active Display could be used without draining battery, but the quality needs to be stepped up this year. Last year’s panel was often too yellow, too warm, and lacked the crispness seen in the 1080p panels used by HTC and Samsung. I’m not saying that Motorola needs to match the best-in-class AMOLED used by Samsung in the Galaxy S5, but let’s see if we can’t get close.

The new Moto X is rumored to have a 5.2-inch 1080p display, which is pushing the limits in terms of being a manageable one-handed phone like last year’s Moto X. However, if the quality and color accuracy can step up a notch, you won’t see me complain about the added size.

Bring Back a Bunch of the Same

While Motorola needs to improve the camera and display of the new Moto X, the rest should go mostly unchanged. In the new version, I want it to feel as good in hand as the original. The general design also shouldn’t change, as it was one of the most attractive phones of the past couple of years. There was something special to the original Moto X in terms of size and appearance. Motorola wanted to make a phone that fit perfectly in the palm of your hand that was also capable of being used with that same single hand. Moto avoided the bigger-is-better-so-lets-make-this-next-phone-massive trend that all other manufacturers bought into starting last year, and we appreciated them for it.

I also want to see Motorola continue to focus on making their phones tell me information or let me access it without much work. Features like Active Display, Touchless Control, and the twisting camera shortcut better all return. These three features helped shape the Moto X into the best phone of last year, so if Motorola can bring them all back with slight improvements here or there, we may even be able to overlook a potentially sub-par camera. OK, that might be a lie.

moto x design

No Exclusives

Last year, Motorola screwed up big time by exclusively releasing one of the most important features of the Moto X for two months to AT&T. I am talking about MotoMaker, Motorola’s customization process for the Moto X that allowed you and I to make a phone that was all ours. With the new Moto X, Motorola better open up MotoMaker to all carrier variants from day one. We aren’t exactly sure how MotoMaker is going to work going forward, since they closed the Texas plant that pumped out custom devices, but since Motorola assured us that MotoMaker is here to stay, this needs to happen.

On the day that the new Moto X becomes available, I want to order a custom-made device that day, off-contract, on my carrier of choice. Waiting two months again would only hurt the launch, annoy loyal Motorola customers, and give customers from carriers who aren’t a part of the exclusive to look elsewhere, at devices like the LG G3.

Make My Life Even Easier

When Motorola showed me Active Display, Touchless Control, and quick action camera at least year’s press unveiling, I’ll stop short of saying that my mind was blown, but it was close. After playing with any of these three options for any amount of time, you could tell that your life with a smartphone was going to be easier. Information was there when you needed it, yet you didn’t have to press a button. You could ask it commands without ever even having to wake your phone. You could even launch your camera from sleep-to-camera-open in a matter of seconds, again, without ever pressing a button.

While I don’t know what Motorola can do to add to this suite and make my life even easier, I want them to. Make it even easier, please, Motorola. Whether that be through some sort of combination of the phone talking through the Moto 360 to new Bluetooth accessories teased in your press invite to showing more information through Active Display, impress me again.

Those are my five, now it’s your turn. What can Motorola do to the new Moto X to make it your next phone?

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  • 1. Camera improvements (I didn’t hate it as much as you did) — 2. MicroSD (Moto G/E can do it, please put it in the X) — 3. Keep other features same (or improved), features are amazing!! — 4. wireless charging — 5. improved display resolution, but keep AMOLED

  • mikewelch5

    I recently went from a Moto X to an LG G3. While I like the G3, it is just too big. I can honestly say the Moto X was the best phone I’ve ever owned. It felt the best in my hand and the notifications were amazing. I want to take the G3 back to Verizon, but I bought it with the loophole and the new X won’t be out until after the loophole is supposedly fixed. Depending on how the phone feels in hand, I may have a G3 to trade for the new X later haha.

  • Sal Collaziano

    I have an iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, Nexus 4, One Plus One, HTC One M8 and Moto X. The Moto X is my favorite phone. The iPhone is too small, the S4 is a disaster loaded with junk, the Nexus 4 lacks LTE, the One Plus One is too big and the One M8 is too tall. I have a feeling the new Moto X will be too tall also. I don’t need two speakers. But I love the ease of use features of the MotoX.

  • I think people deride the camera a little too much, while it’s not the greatest phone camera ever, it’s certainly on par with many other flagship cameras with the software adjustments Motorola has made. My father had a Moto X for over a year and loved it, he was forced to “upgrade” to a Galaxy S4 when he permanently lost root access on one of Verizon’s forced updates. He thinks the camera is much better on the Moto X than his Galaxy S4, because he has shaky hands and almost all pictures tend to come out blurry on all phone cameras he’s ever had with the exception of the Moto X which took ultra sharp pictures even with his hands.

    The display is a Moot point, The AMOLED display on my Moto X is better than any AMOLEDs I’ve seen on any phone as far as color vibrancy excluding maybe a Note 3. I would consider any increase in resolution on a phone with a screen this size to be a downgrade not an upgrade. The simple matter of fact is that the 316 PPI that the Moto X is better than any eye can see unless you’re using some sort of magnifier or looking at it from an inch away.

    By increasing the pixel density you accomplish two things, you decrease the overall subpixel matrix surface area by introducing more gaps between them, meaning less light per square inch of the phone meaning that the display has to use more power to make the same smaller subpixels shine brighter to get the same level of brightness. You also need a more powerful GPU onboard to drive the greater number of pixels which means you’re getting less perceived performance with a more powerful GPU at the cost of increased battery drain for not real benefit. The idea that a 720p display is somehow sub-par on a screen this size is an idea about people who only care about specs and don’t actually think of the real-life consequences.

    What I’d like to see in the next Moto X:

    – Bigger battery, the MAXX line of phones is probably the best idea Motorola has had since the original RAZR line. I’d like to see them continue their dominance in battery life.

    – Removable Battery, less important than a bigger battery but would be very nice to have regardless. I could live without this if we had 50% more battery life than the current Moto X.

    – SD Card slot. This goes without saying, but I have a suspicion we won’t see this happen this generation, as it seems Google is opposed to SD Cards.

    – Better Speakers. Looks like this will happen if the rumors are true! !e might have stereo speakers to hopefully match the wonderful sound quality from the days of the OG Droid.

    – More kevlar. This possibly one of the best materials Motorola has ever used and I’d like to see it used more. It’s durable, grippy, feels premium and generally looks nice, without making the phone overly heavy or prone to denting or cracking and without creating the potential problems of signal interference as with using metal.

  • Trysta

    I agree with everything on this list. The Moto X wasn’t my personal favorite of 2013 but I’ve had one around the house for a while and certain things are very nice.

    I would actually love to give Motorola a try as my next phone (when my Nexus 5 finally dies – it was still the better phone for me)

    If they can keep the good things (near stock, fast updates, wonderful in hand feel, good reception, active display) while fixing camera, screen, AND buttons (they feel terrible but at least you don’t have to use them) I would strongly consider motorola.

    Of course a 2015 moto nexus that isn’t phablet sized would be perfection but I won’t get my hopes up.

  • Droidrazr

    Cloud storage is a JOKE. Give us at least 32/64gb or an SD card slot. Heck I’d even take another 720p display if they made 64gb standard (I know it’s unpopular opinion but oh well.) Switched from HTC one M7 to a Droid maxx and I can barely tell the difference in screens.

  • Kree Terry

    Besides what we already know from leaks my list is:

    Better camera
    Better battery life
    Improvements to motos software suite
    Wireless charging
    customizable Dev edition with the same price as the locked edition.

    Bonus: headphone jack on the bottom

  • Same physical size and screen size as Moto X. If they make it larger, that’s a deal breaker. If I wanted a larger phone, I’d have bought a Nexus 5, or an S5, or a HTC One, or a MAXX, or a OnePlus One, or a G2, or a G3, or an Xperia Z2, or … Seriously, the rumors of a 5.2″ phone make no sense. It would be just another “me too” phone.

    So, assuming it’s 4.7″…

    A faster processor. Faster (or no slower) internal storage. A 64 GB option. And a bigger battery.

    Everything after that is gravy, but I really hope the camera is better and it does wireless charging.

  • Tom

    First, I would like a PHONE. Make reception a priority. I’m tired of dropped calls 5 miles away from a tower. Then give it an Micro SD card, I really really don’t want to use the cloud, they sold all my info and didn’t give me a dime, NOW they want more stuff to sell … I’m thinking NOT. And lastly, how about a really great removable battery.

  • should work

    It would be cool if we could pay extra for unlimite customized so like if I’m tired of how my phone looks in like 6 months just call send it redesign another and there you go

    • tdizzel

      They offer that with the Moto X. You only have to pay about $349 extra and you can get a new one in 6 months. Occasionally they’ll run a special and you’ll only have to pay $299. Cool, huh

  • David Verba

    I just can’t wait for this phone to drop so I can hopefully pick up a white front, bamboo back & gold highlighted Moto X to replace my current black on black Moto X. This phone really is perfect aside from the poor camera and could be better battery, but I’m one of those old school folks who carry a DSLR when pictures are to be taken anyway. Perfect size, comfort and styling. Meowing it’s getting Android L, I’m definitely getting another.

  • macdaddybuff

    Better camera, sd card and I am sold. Already getting the 360 when it comes out…

  • Simon Belmont

    Heh. The camera in my sister’s old Droid X was pretty decent for 2010.

    Of course it pales by today’s cameras, though. Motorola should throw better optics in there, and fine tune the image processing.

  • jim

    Terrible camera and bad display and you rank it best of 2013 ? Really. ??? Sounds like someone is smokin something bad

    • guesswhat

      thats why its a special phone ..the whole package of moto x is what makes it awesome ..by the camera is not that terrible anymore with software updates and display fine.

    • Simon Belmont

      Well. Ever here of the pros outweighing the cons?

      That’s probably why that conclusion occurred. The Moto X’s pros outweighed its cons.

      • jim

        And no removable battery and no SD card , with those 4 problems it shouldn’t even have been in the running

  • BoFiS

    How about having MicroSD slots again please, and huge, removable battery

    • tdizzel

      Nobody cares about MicroSD slots or removable batteries, although a high capacity battery would be nice.

      • Simon Belmont

        I keep hearing that no one cares about that. But then I see a gaggle of people flipping their wigs about it when a device doesn’t have that (probably the enthusiasts).

        The funny thing is, when a device does have that, they just go “Oh….okay *shrug*.” Sort of funny.

        • CoreRooted

          Exactly. I used to scream about SD cards, but now, I actually don’t want them. I don’t care if the slot is there or not, to be honest. There are enough cloud storage options (including ones that are encrypted end to end) and WiFi hotspots that I don’t need to have anything more than 32GB of storage on any of my devices.

  • chris_johns

    wish they wouldnt mess with the size…all i want is a bigger battery better camera 1080p screen and an sd card would be nice all in the same form factor…stero speakers and wireless charging be a bonus

  • cns2007
  • RoboCop

    Touch less control and active display are the two reasons why I won’t upgrade right now. I say Ok google now at least a dozen times a day and in the car. Saying that and “directions to” is fantastic.

  • CCCO

    I’ll play along…I’ve had my X since the Black Friday apocalypse when the Moto site crashed. Best phone I’ve owned so far. Also, I’d agree with most and say that I’ve found the camera to be perfectly acceptable. Now, to my list of demands; Moto Maker open to all at launch with more options. That was the dumbest exclusive I’ve personally ever seen. Keep the price low for off contract buyers. SD card expansion would be cool but not deal breaking. Camera bump up, again not that it’s been a problem for me. Make an affordable bundle with the 360 and I’ll be sold. I’m actually a little bummed that the screen size is bumping up. 4.7 is perfect for me BUT if they can keep the overall phone size down with thin bezels or through magic, etc then I’m game.

  • Antonio Stephens

    WTB pogo pins. I miss my Gnex car dock :'(

  • ithinkfresh

    In my oppinion, it needs wireless charging, 1080p screen, miro SD slot. Removable battery, and high end camera. Removable battery is not nearly a deal breaker, just a bonus.

  • Jonathan Ly

    The alleged leak of the 801, 1080p, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage better lead to a better price point. 32GB option should be available too or no dice from me.

  • William Gartee

    I’d like to be able to change the “OK Google now” phrase to something more personal.

  • DanSan

    ugh another phone face down on a rock. killing me here.

  • RoyD77

    1. With the invite focused on “choice”, I’d LOVE (but not really expecting) a choice of screen sizes, a.k.a. an “X line”. Offer the phone, with the same exact internal specs & features, in 3 varieties – 4.7 inch 720p model, 5.2 inch 1080p model, and phablet (and Shamu inspiration) 5.9 inch QHD. Brand each as Moto X, with that being just another option or customization, and price accordingly. This would allow non-contract to maybe start in the $350-400 range for the 4.7, the $400-450 range for the 5.2, and the $500+ range for the 5.9.

  • BobbyG


  • Chris K

    I would like to see a better vibration motor. You’d think this would be a gimme. I’ve had two X’s and had to turn vibration and haptic feedback off because the rattle drove me nuts.

  • Teddy Chen

    What kept me from getting a Moto X was the MotoMaker exclusivity. With how fast a new Android phone comes out, a 3 month exclusivity is just too long to wait.

  • David Roche

    I’ve gotten some fantastic shots with the camera in my Moto X… I’d even go so far as to say that most of the shots I’ve taken have been great. I must be lucky, or have a really steady hand, but I’ve been very happy with it.

  • Higher_Ground

    1. Must have wooden back available on Verizon from launch.
    2. Must not cost more than other off-contract devices.
    At this point in time, those are probably the only two things that would prevent me from buying the phone when it arrives.

  • Gfame103

    Get rid OF THE NANO SIM— PLEASE LET THERE BE A MICRO SIM. I use other phones and that is the Only reason besides the Moto X camera that I got the G2.

    • Isn’t it likely that every new phone model from now on uses a nano SIM? Going backwards seems strange to me.

      • Gfame103

        Going backward? What is your definition of “new phone model from now on uses a nano sim?” GS5 and LG G3 does not use nano sim?

        • The natural progression has been from large to small: SIM, mini SIM, micro SIM, nano SIM, …

          Apple , Motorola, and HTC have all adopted the nano SIM. Interesting that Samsung and LG haven’t.

  • M3D1T8R

    Great signal/reception/call quality.
    Front facing speaker(s) with great sound quality.
    Good camera.
    64GB option for Verizon at launch at a reasonable price ($50).
    SD slot.
    Larger battery (3Ah).
    Improved OLED display, 5.1″ max, 1080p.
    Not huge, 68mm wide max.
    Qi wireless charging.
    Dev.Edition or unlockable bootloader.
    $500 off contract for the above, and I’ll buy it.

  • enigmaco

    All I want is wireless charging, bigger screen. and more memory as standard. I have a 16gb moto x and the memory is a little bit of a problem.