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Motorola Moto X Review – Good or Bad

Updated on December 10, 2013

The Moto X is the first major smartphone from Motorola since it was acquired by Google. Motorola used to be one of the major brands among mobile phones, but has drastically fallen off in recent years. Its market share is a fraction of what it used to be and the company is in need of a turnaround.

The Moto X is the first step towards regaining Motorola's past glory. Apparently, a lot of effort was spend on putting together the Moto X and Google seems to be willing to provide it with strong support. Now that the phone has finally been released, it is possible to find out if the Moto X is good or bad.


Good: the cameras of the Motorola Moto X are better than most

The 2 cameras of the Moto X are somewhat better than most of the other smartphone cameras out there. No, they're by no means the best, but better than the average camera you'll find on a smartphone. For instance, the front camera supports 1080p Full-HD video which most smartphones do not.

The rear camera supports photo sizes up to 10 megapixels which is also more than most smartphones. For the exception of a few smartphone models with really exceptional high-end cameras, the Motorola Moto X has the advantage over other phones when it comes to pictures and video.


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Good: the Motorola Moto X can be customized

The Motorola Moto X can be customized in a way that is not possible with other smartphones. There are over 18 different colors to choose from, which is far more than is available with other brands. It is possible to have something engraved on the back and other custom options will be made available in due time.

On the other hand, these options may not be available everywhere. If you're outside the United States, you may not be able to customize anything at all. In this case, the Motorola Moto X does not have any advantage over other smartphones.


Good: the Motorola Moto X is made in the United States

The Motorola Moto X is unique in that it is made in the United States. This is very rare to see, especially for a mobile phone. If you're from the United States, you get to support the local economy by buying a local product, which is a very good thing.

However, if you're not from the United States, then this does not apply to you. The Moto X isn't any different from other smartphones and there's no incentive on your part to buy this phone.

It's also important to remember that many parts inside still come from outside the US. So while it's still an important benefit, it isn't that big of a difference compared to other phones. The Moto X needs to have more strengths if it is to compete effectively with other smartphones out there.


Neutral: the Motorola Moto X has added functionality for hands-free control

The Moto X supposedly includes a processor called the Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System with added functionality to better understand voice commands. It is supposed to make the Moto X able to understand people when they speak as they do naturally in everyday life.

If you ever had problems with a smartphone not understanding your voice, then the Moto X will be able to adapt to you. It is claimed that with the Moto X there will be fewer instances of the software misunderstanding what you want to accomplish.

However, I could not tell if there was any difference with other phones that also respond to voice commands. It is possible that there's a difference depending on the particular characteristics and nature of your voice. Some people may or may not benefit. I'll leave it in the middle.


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Neutral: the battery of the Motorola Moto X last longer

A selling point of the Moto X is that its battery is supposed to last longer under daily use. It is said that the phone has been designed in such a way to enhance battery life. Unfortunately, the Moto X did not seem to stand out in terms of battery life compared to what you find with other phones.

It's not bad, but it doesn't seem to last much longer than other phones. In my opinion, there is no significant difference or one that actually makes the Moto X stand out from the competition. Perhaps it depends on how you use your phones. Some other people may still see a benefit.


Neutral: the Motorola Moto X has lots of storage which can only be expanded via Internet

The Moto X comes with 16 or 32 gigabytes of internal storage, depending on which version you select. That compares very well against the competition, which often have much less available. However, there's also no MicroSD slot to use when you run out of space.

If you need more room, you will have to turn to the Internet to get it. Unfortunately, Cloud storage is more expensive than using MicroSD cards. If you own the Moto X, you are also eligible for 50 gigabytes of Google Drive cloud storage.

You can use Google Drive to store files using the Internet. It has some advantages in that it is secure from accidental damage, theft and so on. However, it is only valid for two years. You will have to pay a fee to continue the service.


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Bad: the screen of the Motorola Moto X is less bright

The screen of the Moto X is 4.7 inch and has a resolution of 720x1280, which is ideal for most people in my opinion. However, it seems to have less brightness compared to the average phone. Even when set at maximum, the Moto X remains somewhat dull in my opinion.

It is especially bad outside in the sunlight. To be fair, most smartphones struggle in the bright sunshine and it not unusual for this to happen. I also think that the picture isn't as sharp as some other phones when viewing high resolution photos from close-up.

The contrast of the Moto X is much better. The screen is in general not horrible, but below average when it comes to brightness. Still, the Moto X seems in need of a better screen, which is a significant weakness.

Bad: the Motorola Moto X seems very expensive for what it offers in practice

The Moto X is more expensive than equivalent phones in terms of specifications. Yes, it offers some unique features, but those do not apply to everyone. Some of the claimed features that are supposed to set it apart from other phones do not seem be there at this point, perhaps in the future.

Motorola or Google is supposed to be working on upgrading the software, which will improve the Moto X. However, it seems to me that right now what you're actually getting from Motorola is less than what you can get from other manufacturers.


3 stars for Motorola Moto X

Summary and comparison of the Motorola Moto X pros and cons

In my opinion, the Motorola Moto X is a work in progress. It may become better as time goes along, but at this point it does not really compare all that well to other smartphones. It does have several unique features, but they are paper promises that are yet to be fulfilled for the most part.

The Moto X seems to be targeted at the United States with features such as Made in the US. Unfortunately, that's not a benefit to most people in the world. The ability to customize the phone is also not something that everyone may want or need. Some of its promised benefits do not seem apparent in actual use, assuming they even exist.

Despite the hype, controlling the Moto X without using your hands through gestures or voice commands doesn't seem to be that different from what other phones also have. Even though Motorola emphasizes this as one of the benefits of the Moto X in some of their ads. Some people may also prefer to use their phone the old-fashioned way.

Taking into account what it offers right now, the Moto X seems very expensive for what it delivers in my opinion. The phone could become a better value, but it's really hard to recommend the phone at this point. Motorola will have to offer more concrete benefits or ask less money if its to become a major player again in the world of smartphones.

Pros:

  • Above average cameras
  • Curved back feels nice to hold, though it's plastic
  • Lots of storage space
  • Can be customized, but may not be available to everyone
  • Made in the US, although not a benefit to everyone

Cons:

  • Expensive for what you get in return
  • Not mature, still a work in progress
  • No MicroSD slot to expand
  • Screen lacks brightness


Motorola Moto X specifications

Type
Smart Phone
Operating System
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Processor
Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System
 
Qualcomm MSM8960Pro Snapdragon, Dual-core 1.7 GHz Krait
 
Natural language processor
 
Contextual computing processor
Graphics
Adreno 320
Band (AT&T version)
LTE: 700 / 850 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
 
HSDPA: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
 
GSM/EDGE: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
Style
Bar
Color
Black/white (front), custom-made (back)
Dimension (H X W X D)
129.4 mm x 65.3 mm x 10.4 mm
Weight
About 130g
LCD
4.7-inch Multi-Touch AMOLED /w Gorilla Glass
LCD Resolution
HD (720 X 1280, 312 PPI)
Rear camera
10MP CLEAR PIXEL, 1.4 µm pixel size, 1080p@30fps Full-HD video
Front camera
2MP, 1080p HD video
RAM
2 Gigabytes (GB)
Internal storage
16/32 GB
 
50 GB of storage free on Google Drive for 2 years
Memory card slot
None
Connectors
microUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5 earjack
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi a/b/g/n 2.4G/5GHz, NFC
FM radio
Not supported
Sensors
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, temperature, GPS + GLONASS
Battery
Lithium-ion 2200mAh

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