Channel 5

Motorola Moto X

Friday 31 January 2014


Rating of 4

The basics

The Motorola Moto X was meant to be the company's comeback phone, but it's taken its sweet time about it, as it's only just about to launch over here in the UK - just as the company's dumped into the awaiting hands of Lenovo. Its budget brother, the excellent Moto G, turned up here while the flagship Moto X was busy trying to turn heads over in the US first, but now that it's arrived on our shores at long last, can it stack up to the rest of the Android heavy hitters? And is its touchless control system just a gimmick? Let's find out.

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The good

The Moto X won't blow you away with top of the range specs: instead, it's the software smarts inside the phone that make it all the more desirable. The main draw is its touchless controls, all thanks to its smart voice recognition tech made possible with a custom mobile computing system, dubbed the X8. It consists of a 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, a quad-core Adreno graphics which combine together to deliver you speedy performance, top-notch voice recognition and brilliant battery life on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Once you've trained the Moto X to answer to your voice (a painless three-step process), its noise cancelling tech can pick out your voice from a busy room and you can ask it to do pretty much whatever you want. Need to schedule a meeting? Fire a text or email to a friend? Looking for directions? Just ask the Moto X with a simple 'OK Google Now', and it'll get you up and running with whatever it is you asked - you don't even have to touch the phone either and it even works when locked.

While the screen is the same resolution as Motorola's Moto G, it's slightly larger but it looks much better. Its 4.7-inch 720p HD AMOLED display boasts a brilliant pixel density of 316 pixels per inch, which means your text looks crisp and images look vibrant. The display itself is also made up of Gorilla Glass, making it much more robust than your standard screen, plus it's also water resistant to a degree too. Motorola has also made full use of the screen which comes with active display tech - you don't need to waste battery life by constantly checking your phone's screen every time the notification LED beeps, as the active display fades updates on and off the screen. You can interact with them even when the rest of the screen's off, making it simple to quickly reply to messages and emails. Many of today's phones aim to go as thin as possible, with flat backs and tiny bezels, but while the Moto X does well with the latter - its screen goes pretty much from edge to edge - you'll find that the phone has a curved back instead. That means it fits well in the hand, giving your palm something to grip onto, plus its plastic construction feels sturdy, even though it's not a single piece of polycarbonate like the iPhone 5c or Nokia's Lumia range.

The Moto X comes packing a 10-Megapixel rear camera, and while it might not boast as many pixels as the Sony Xperia Z1 family sensors, it produces some top-notch images bolstered by the camera app's quick access features. Simply tap anywhere on your screen to snap a shot, while a quick flick of the wrist will get you straight into the camera app without fuss. You'll also find features such as high-dynamic-range photography, flash settings, with panorama mode and slow motion video settings tucked away behind a slide-out menu, which is easy to access.

The bad

While the Moto X is a solid piece of kit, we can't help but feel it's also a tad bland. It doesn't scream premium: instead, it looks and feels more like a secondary phone, even though it should be battling for first place with its software smarts. It also only comes with 16GB of storage, and you can't boost it with a microSD card either - if you want more space, you'll have to spring for the pricier 32GB version, which is currently unavailable in the UK.

With a retail price of around £380, it's also more expensive than the Nexus 5, the current poster child for low-cost, triple A grade Android handsets, and unless you really must have Motorola's touchless controls, there's almost no point springing for the Moto X in its place especially when you get a bigger, sharper screen on the Nexus 5. While US users have enjoyed the ability to use the custom Moto Maker, which lets you make your very own personalised handset, we don't have the same liberty - instead, you'll have to do with either a boring black Moto X or a slightly glossy white that picks up dirt easily.

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The bottom line

Motorola has come up with a respectable phone in the Moto X, but it's far too late to the party, and it just costs too much. It's also too similar to its even lower cost sibling, the Moto G, sharing the same screen resolution, shape and nearly the same size, which makes the Moto X's far higher price questionable. It's a shame, as its touchless controls are brilliant and could signal the future for other Android phones, but for this particular blower, even with its flagship status, it's just too little, too late.

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Motorola Moto X is tagged with Motorola, moto x, Google, Android and Smartphone. Select a tag (Motorola, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (1)

Leave a comment

Jude Antony

I am not sure where you are getting your pricing on this phone? You are way off the mark. The phone is available for as low as £100

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