Motorola seems to be targeting the price-conscious smartphone market
with a vengeance. We already know that the budget Moto G has set cash
registers ringing around the world, but Motorola hasn't taken its eyes
off the mid-range smartphone market either.
Less than two months after
the release of the Moto G, comes the company's flagship, the Moto X.
The newest member of the Motorola family is squarely aimed at delivering
more in terms software, camera, and design without compromising on
When Motorola first announced
the Moto X in August last year following its acquisition by Google, it
seemed as though the company wanted to position this mid-range device as
a premium offering, relying more on design than hardware
The Moto X has only now made its way to the Indian
market, while people overseas are talking of its successor. Thankfully,
Motorola has priced it quite reasonably. If it wants to win back any of the market share
it has lost in recent years, this is a good way to begin.
was once known for its ability to churn out solidly built handsets that
performed and did not cost the Earth. The Moto X
is a blast from that
glorious past, with some neat OS features thrown in as well. Will the
Moto X be able to revive the mid-range segment? We try to find out.
Look and feel
clearly a family resemblance between the Moto X and Moto G. The Moto X
isn't a successor or variant, however, and was actually the first new
device launched by Motorola under its new leadership; months before the
Moto G. In our case, the
G came first, so we inevitably wind up comparing the X to it.
Moto X certainly has a premium look, when compared to the Moto G which
has a thicker profile.The Moto X features a body made out of PET
composite, a durable plastic; although feels rugged and is surprisingly
Our review unit was white, but this handset is also
available in Black, Red, Royal Blue, and Turquoise. It's worth
mentioning that Flipkart, the exclusive e-commerce partner of Motorola in India, is also
selling the Moto X with two wood finishes: Teak and Walnut.
Moto X set a new standard and identity for Motorola's design, which was
followed by the Moto G. However, the Moto X is different from its
cheaper sibling in a few ways. It's definitely sleeker, measuring
129.3x65.3x10.4mm compared to 129.9x65.9x11.6mm for the Moto G. At 130
grams, the Moto X is also lighter than the Moto G (143 grams).
front face is almost completely bare of any physical buttons or
branding. With the screen off, you can just about see the edges of the
screen that dominates the front panel. Above the screen, there's a
rather prominent earpiece grille alongside the regular assortment of
sensors, and a clearly visible front camera.
The Moto X's front
panel is dominated by a 4.7-inch screen, which is only marginally bigger
than 4.5-inch one on the Moto G. The front panel features a strip of
glass around the screen that visually differentiates the plastic front
and rear panels.
Unfortunately, the back panel on the Moto X is
not swappable, as it is on the Moto G. The curved rear panel is made of a
polycarbonate material, and is comfortable to hold. Notably, the rear
panel has a pattern to it, though it is not actually textured.
rear panel houses the primary camera accompanied by an LED flash and
the loudspeaker grille. A Motorola logo is also embossed in the middle.
key advantage here is ergonomics-the Moto X is easy to hold and use
with a single hand. The volume and power buttons are all in same
configuration as on the Moto G. The former Google-owned company seemed
to have focused more on the device's width rather than its height,
thanks to which the Moto X is actually easier to hold one-handed and
it's also possible to reach most of the screen with just a thumb.
like the Moto G, the Moto X has also used a nano-coating that acts as
light water repellent. This does not make the Moto X a waterproof
device, but it does protect the smartphone from light splashes of
liquids, which is an interesting touch for a smartphone in any segment.
The sides have the Nano-SIM slot, volume rocker, and power key.
Moto X impressed us with its slim, compact body. You get a feeling of
awe when you hold the Moto X in your hands. This phone radiates
Features and software
interesting thing about the Moto X is that despite using an out-of-date
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, the device manages to chug along just
fine. This 1.7GHz dual-core CPU is coupled with a quad-core Adreno 320
GPU, and what Motorola calls a 'natural language processor' and a
'contextual computing processor'. Motorola calls this combination the X8
Mobile Computing System.
The purpose of these dedicated
application processors is to allow the Moto X to constantly listen for
voice commands and manage notifications without wasting power. The Moto X
is thus definitely an example for those who have the wrong perception
that more cores are better.
It comes with 2GB of RAM onboard, and
there is 16GB of inbuilt storage, out of which only 11GB is
user-accessible. Sadly, like most Google devices, the Moto X does not
support expandable storage. Considering that the Moto X comes at a
mid-range price, the limited storage on the device is definitely a major
gripe for us.
Motorola is offering 50GB of Google Drive space
free for two years; however, cloud storage requires a fast Internet
connection with a generous download limit, so this doesn't impress us
The Moto X features a 4.7-inch AMOLED display with
resolution of 720x1280 pixels and offers a pixel density of 316ppi. The
company has also used Corning Gorilla Glass on the device to give it
The AMOLED screen on the Moto X was able to show full
colours and deep blacks like many of Samsung's high-end Galaxy
smartphones which also have AMOLED screens. Colours on the Moto X are
quite vibrant and consistently reproduced well. Thankfully, viewing
angles are never a problem. The display is not very reflective and
visibility under the sun was acceptable.
Text on the Moto X was
always crisp and clear against white backgrounds. Typing on the 4.7-inch
touchscreen would be comfortable for most people, and there's always
Swype for those with extremely large hands. After using the device for
some time we feel that although it doesn't comes with a full-HD display,
316ppi is more than enough for a screen of this size.
The Moto X
is a single-SIM phone with 3G but no LTE support. Connectivity options
include Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/b/n/ac, GPS/AGPS, EDGE/GPRS
and 3G (HSPA+).
One of the highlights of the Moto X when it
launched abroad was its customisability. Buyers could choose from up to
18 rear panels, different colour accents for the ring around the camera
lens, accents around the volume and power buttons, and have a personal
message etched at the back of the phone. However, this option is not
available in India. You'll have to choose from a few basic colour
combinations offered by Flipkart.
The Moto X comes running Android
4.2.2 Jelly Bean; however the company rolled out an update to Android
4.4.2 KitKat in November last year. Much like Google's Nexus devices,
the Moto X uses a stock build of the operating system, without any
additional UI skinning. Notably, the Moto X features on-screen keys for
Back, Home and Recents.
Thanks to the Android 4.4 KitKat, the Moto
X features a number of visual changes including a new launcher, making
the interface even more minimalistic. The first noticeable change in the
UI is the transparent status bar and navigation key area at the top and
bottom, which is reminiscent of the Nexus 5. The Moto X's lock
screen features a small camera button that can launch the camera app
Unfortunately the Moto X ships with an older app drawer
that shows a second tab for widgets, unlike the new launcher on Nexus 5,
which only features app icons.
Notifications on the Moto X can be
expanded by pulling down with two fingers. There are also quick
shortcuts for brightness, Wi-Fi, network, battery status, airplane mode,
Bluetooth, and location settings.
The Moto X features the
revamped Phone app that now automatically prioritises contacts based on
how often you talk to them. The Moto X also includes a new Photos app
that lets you to see and edit local and Google+ images. The new Photos
app features deeper integration with Google+ and can be used to enable
tagging in photos. The old Gallery app is still included as well. The
Email app on the Moto X is an overhauled version, which now displays the
pictures of contacts for emails.
The Moto X also features Google
Now, which can be launched by swiping up from the home button. For those
unaware, Google Now is voice-based information assistant and an
extension of Google search. It shows cards, which are essentially small
boxes, which show different sets of information like a weather forecast,
directions, traffic information, scores, appointments, currency
Some of the Google apps that come preloaded on
the Moto X include Google Drive, Keep, Play Games, Play Movies, Play
Music, Play Books, Play Newsstand and Quickoffice for creating and
editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Android 4.4 KitKat
has also added the Print option to the Moto X. You can print documents
through the Google Cloud Print plug-in, or via apps made by printer
In addition, Motorola preloads two other major apps
on the Moto X. Motorola Migrate can help move the contents of an old
Android phone to your new Moto X. Motorola Assist allow users to silence
the device while sleeping or driving. We tried it out, and noted that
the app automatically rejected calls and sent a text message to callers
at times when we told it we were busy.
The Moto X with its Android
4.4.2 KitKat OS is one of the most modern smartphones available in the
mid-segment in India, perfectly sandwiched by the higher-priced Nexus 5
and cheaper Moto G.
Active Display, Quick Capture and Touchless Control
real power behind Motorola's first device under Google, the Moto X, is
not its hardware but the software that runs on it. The Moto X features
Touchless Control, Quick Capture and Active Display, three features
which make it unique in its segment.
As teased by Motorola,
Touchless Control means "Moto X responds to your voice, no touching
necessary. And you can ask it just about anything."The feature was first
seen in Google Glass and then in voice search on Chrome. It lets users
control the phone with simple voice commands prefixed with "Okay,
Touchless Control also lets users access Google Now,
which is a voice-based assistant. The interesting bit is that you don't
need to touch the phone or take it out of your pocket. If enabled, it
always actively listens to the user and follows commands.
Control needs to be enabled in the settings. During the short setup
process, the phone needs to record samples of your voice for
recognition. After this, you can perform various tasks using voice
commands, just as long as there's an active Internet connection at all
Another feature is Active Display, which Motorola touts as a
new way to glance at the updates on your smartphone. AMOLED screens can
selectively light up small areas without affecting the device's battery
life much. This feature was earlier seen in some Nokia phones. You can
see notifications for messages, calls and other events, as well as the
current time, without having to unlock the phone.
Lastly, the Moto
X features Quick Capture, which is a shake gesture that directly
launches the phone's camera app. You can just shake the phone twice to
turn on the camera to capture something spontaneously.
made a big deal at the Moto X's global launch and claimed that its RGBC
feature in the primary camera can increase light sensitivity up to 75
percent. The 'C' in RGBC stands for Clear Pixel.
The Moto X sports
a 10-megapixel rear camera which packs 1.34-micron sized pixels, which
is considerably large when compared to some 13-megapixel sensors found
in similarly priced handsets.
The camera app on the Moto X, much
like the Moto G, is not stock and adds a bit of flavour to the otherwise
vanilla OS. It has a circular control bar that pops out from the left
of the screen when tapped.
It includes features such as 4X
digital zoom, slow motion video, burst mode, auto HDR mode, geo-tagging,
panorama, and tap to focus. The Moto X's burst mode allows users to
take up to 99 shots at once; users just need to long-press the shutter
release key on screen to start shooting. There are no ISO and exposure
control settings on the Moto X, a feature that we missed on the Moto G
Many compare the Moto X's camera with the one found on
the Nexus 5. However, a big difference is OIS (optical image
stabilization) - the X doesn't include it.
We did limited testing
of the Moto X camera in outdoor, dim and indoor conditions and found
that images taken outdoors during daylight came out well except that
colours were a little over-saturated, and at times had noise at the
edges of objects. You can also see missing details if you zoom in to an
image, especially on taken in low-light conditions. Other than that, we
found the quality of the images captured by the Moto X taken in
sufficient light to be satisfactory.
The same could not be said
for indoor and low-light shots. Quality did drop and pictures looked
softer than those taken in well-lit situations. Videos recorded on the
Moto X top out at full-HD (1080p) with at 30 frames per second indoors
and outdoors. Quality is comparatively better in outdoor conditions. The
2-megapixel front-facing camera shouldn't be relied on for anything
other than occasional self-portraits.
The Moto X
could easily handle games like Temple Run 2 and Subway Surfers which
are not that graphically heavy, but things get a bit choppy when playing
games like Dead Trigger 2, which has higher graphics and processing
On the sound front, the Moto X impressed us much
like the Moto G. You can play music loud enough to fill a small room.
However, the sound tends to distort at the highest volume level.
Obviously, we don't expect anyone to use their phone as a replacement
for a bigger music player.
The 4.7-inch HD AMOLED display is good
for viewing movies and videos. The device was able to play full-HD
videos and supported all popular video file formats.
on the Moto X was impressive and the device was able to latch on to
cellular networks even in weak signal areas which came in handy at
When it comes to performance in our benchmarks, the Moto X
was quite impressive, especially the graphics and gaming tests. We
achieved scores of 22,360 in AnTuTu, and 8,339overall in Quadrant.
3DMark's 720p Ice Storm Extreme scenario returned a score of 7,159
points, while GFXBench managed to run at 25.3fps. The benchmark scores
definitely indicate a better balance of power between graphics and core
processing than we are used to seeing.
The Moto X ships with a
2,200mAh non-removable battery that the company claims can deliver up to
24 hours of mixed usage; although based on our battery rundown test the
Moto X delivered less-than-stellar results.
We were able to get
about 6-7 hours with heavy usage on the Moto X, which included full
screen brightness, 3G turned on all time; clicking some casual shots;
Web browsing for about an hour; a few calls lasting for about an hour;
and the usual notifications for messages, emails, Facebook, Hike and
WhatsApp. With more moderate usage, the Moto X delivered 8-9 hours. This
included Wi-Fi switched on all the time, brightness level set on auto,
with the same level of usage.
We had reviewed the
Moto G (Review) and can
attest to the fact that the Moto X runs much, much faster and smoother.
Tasks like games, image editing and even routine switching between apps
The camera is not very inspiring, and battery
performance could have been better. However, the Moto X with its unique
software enhancements still comes out looking like a winner.
might not be a game changer with its specifications, as there are now
devices which boast octa-core processors and higher resolution screens,
but the Moto X is definitely a contender in the mid-range segment. That
said, it comes with a stiff price tag of Rs. 23,999 which puts it against
some tough competition.
Those looking for alternatives can
consider the Gionee Elife E7 Mini which packs a
rotating camera, an octa-core processor and is available at a lower
price than the Moto X. One can also go for Samsung's refreshed Galaxy
Grand 2 (Review). Those looking for a bigger screen can go for Sony's Xperia T2 Ultra (Review)
available at the same price as Moto X, or wait for the HTC Desire 816.
Moto X in pictures