Motorola Moto X specs review
X literally marks the spot for Motorola latest creation - the Moto X smartphone. Having forgotten to actually drink some secret Chemical X, though, the Moto X seems to be a bit light in the specs department. In other words, it's not as impressive as other flagship devices out there (think Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One), at least on paper. Of course, that doesn't mean that Motorola hasn't tried to get away with it by coining an interesting catch-phrase - X8 Mobile Computing System - which is supposed to be an octa-core computing solution. But, just in case you're about to fall for that, be sure to read on, as you might find the following info of utmost interest.
You'll probably agree with us that the Motorola Moto X isn't going to take the crown in a beauty contest anytime soon. Built from two pieces of plastic, the body of the Moto X is designed to fit comfortably in the hand, rather than inspire anyone with breath-taking visuals. The phone is 129.3 mm high and 65.3 mm wide, while the thickness of its profile varies from 5.6 mm to 10.4 mm. This makes the handset slightly smaller than the Nexus 4, which is equipped with a screen of identical size. Meanwhile, the Moto X weighs 130 grams, which is slightly lighter than the Nexus 4, and as heavy as the Galaxy S4 - ultimately meaning that the phone is quite light.
The most interesting aspect of the Moto X's design are the numerous color options that you can choose from. While purchasing the Moto X, users can select from 2 front colors and a total of 18 (eighteen!) back colors, as well as 7 accent colors. Needless to say, there's going to be something for everyone. What's more, Motorola (should we say Google?) gives you the chance to have a personalized print on the back of the phone, which is a very cool feature — one that can also make the Moto X the perfect present for someone special.
Inches and pixel densities aside, the new phone will have an AMOLED screen, but thankfully, it's going to be with a standard RGB pixel arrangement, not the PenTile one. We can't make any conclusive predictions about the quality of the display right now, but chances are that it's going to sport vibrant colors and an extremely high contrast. It'll be interesting to check the color balance and daylight visibility, as those are usually the weak sides of AMOLED displays. Samsung is the biggest proponent of AMOLED screens right now, and to tell you the truth, those panels have been getting better and better with each new iteration. Whether Motorola is going to do a similarly good job, though, remains to be seen.
Processor and Memory
And this is where it gets interesting. Why? Because Motorola has installed the so-called X8 Mobile Computing System on the Moto X. And while the name of this system sure sounds scary, it's actually nothing that can make competitors feel bad about the chipsets installed on their own devices. The X8 does feature eight cores, only thing is that just two of those are CPU cores, courtesy of the Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.7 GHz Krait cores). The other six consist of the 4 GPU cores of the Adreno 320, a dedicated natural language processing core and a context computing processor. Sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping this to be a competitor to the Exynos 5 Octa of sorts, but there's no octa-core CPU in the Moto X. There isn't even a quad-core one, further cementing the fact that Google and Motorola aren't looking to wow us with specs.
Still, we do expect the Moto X to offer a wonderful user experience and performance. With the 2 GB of RAM on board, that certainly seems easy to achieve.
When it comes to internal memory, the Motorola Moto X is yet another proof that Google hates microSD cards, as there is no such slot on the phone. Instead, users will simply have to choose between a 16 GB and a 32 GB model. Thankfully, Google is at least throwing some cloud storage into the deal, with every Moto X granting you access to two-years of free 50 GB Google Drive storage.
So, Motorola has come up with a new fancy camera for its smartphones, called Clear Pixel. It's a 10-megapixel sensor that you'll find on the recently-announced DROID line-up for Verizon, as well as the Moto X. The thing about this camera, as almost every other smartphone camera, is that it's designed to capture good low-light photos and blur-free daylight photos. Whether it'll succeed in doing so, we can't say just yet.
It's worth noting that the Clear Pixel camera relies on 1.4-micron pixels, which is bigger than the 1.12-micron pixels found in 13MP shooters like those in the Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z. This should supposedly help the camera perform better in low-light scenarios. Motorola claims that the RGBC ('C' stands for 'Clear') technology in use by the Moto X is capable of capturing up to 75% more light than the traditional RGB Bayer sensors, but it remains to be seen if that's really going to have a positive impact on the images.
Naturally, the device also supports 1080p video recording using the rear, as well as the front-facing camera, which has a resolution of 2-megapixels.
The Moto X is introducing a new gesture shortcut allowing you to quickly launch the camera app. Simply pick up the phone and twist your wrist two times. At least, it's simple on paper, though, naturally, we can't be sure yet if it'll be so simple to do in real life. Thankfully, for those of us with inborn resistance to new things, there's always the camera app that you can use to start the camera.
If you've been hoping to find Android 4.3 on the Moto X, you're in for a small disappointment. The handset will be loaded with Android 4.2.2 out of the box, with an update to 4.3 expected soon. This actually isn't such a big problem considering that Android 4.3 is a minor update, but still, who wouldn't want their smartphone to be running the latest OS available?
Anyway, even though Motorola is owned by Google and all, the Moto X isn't going to run a pure Android build. There will still be some software customizations by Moto, and there's also going to be our favorite carrier bloatware. (Remember, the Moto X will be sold by the five biggest US carriers!) Thankfully, a Google Play Edition of the phone is expected, which should solve this issue for those users who can't stand having some junk on their devices.
When it comes to special features, the Moto X won't blow your mind, but it does seems to have a few handy tools that you won't find on many other phones. First off, there's Active Display, which makes a good use of the AMOLED screen technology, as it will light up only some portions of the display in order to show important notifications or the current time. Meanwhile, Touchless Control will let you issue commands by using voice alone - you won't even have to press an on-screen button in order to activate Google Now, or anything like that. You just say "OK, Google Now," and are ready to issue a command.
We can't deny it - Motorola has managed to get us really excited about the Moto X, despite the fact that the specs aren't top-notch. Sure, there isn't a 1080p screen, or a quad-core processor, but hey, it's really the experience that matters, and with a pixel density of 316 ppi, as well as a well-optimized user interface, we can easily see the Moto X offering a comparable or even better experience than the flagship phones out there like the Galaxy S4 or the One.
Design-wise, the Moto X is nothing fantastic, but the rich customization options make up for that, while the construction quality of the phone will certainly be at a very high level.
The Moto X is obviously lacking in terms of feature count, but we do like where Motorola is going with this, as it has aimed to enhance those areas of the phone that are most important to all - accessibility and battery life. It's not a phone for those looking for bragging rights, but a phone that will try to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. And we like that.
Stay tuned for our full review!
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1. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2927; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Wait carriers are going to offer this device for 200 dollars on contract? Whatever happened to this being a cheap phone to buy off contract? What a fail.
3. TheLolGuy (Posts: 483; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)
There was never an official statement saying it was going to have a subsidized pricing model. A lot of people just assumed that it would super cheap. If anything though, Motorola probably should've said something to stay people's expectations...
2. Danishs (Posts: 147; Member since: 23 May 2013)
I don't get it. Will this not be available off contract?
19. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6142; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
Buy it through direction on Motorola's website
35. Malique001 (Posts: 58; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
It will be available off contract but will not cost the $300-349 price point that everyone thought it would. AT&T's has been confirmed to cost about $575 for the 16GB and about $630 for the 32GB version.
4. softfurryanus (banned) (Posts: 232; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)
Funny thing is everybody is getting all pissy because it doesn't have 4.3 even though it will probably get it faster than some flagships that are already out. Either way, I wouldn't be buying a non nexus phone until 5.0 KLP is released.
5. Univice (Posts: 22; Member since: 15 Jun 2010)
I like that it is made in USA and the new voice stuff is intriguing, but NO SD CARD - NO SALE to me. Choice, openness and customizability are why android is as popular as it is. How can anyone feel that paying $(100?) for 16 GB more storage is the way to go when you can buy a fast 64 GB card for less than $50. Also performance specs do matter, as apps will continue to rise to meet the hardware and vice versa. Let's see something that beats or matches the GS4 category in all aspects and is waterproof and rugged. All the better if it comes in cool colors.
6. xpr3ss10n (Posts: 54; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)
What a dissappointment. I was so pissed when I saw the unveil that I actually, for a very small split second, considered looking at the upcoming iPhone! Motorola has completely screwed this up. The whole idea of even considering this phone was the fact that it would be around $299 and customizable. Motorola hasn't been influenced by Google at all! They aren't even shipping with the newest version of Android. Talk about throwing a mid-range phone out and hoping that your marketing hype gets enough people to think it is better than it is. At this point, I guess I am just going to wait for the Galaxy Note 3. I can't wait to see this thing crash and burn. Everything about this phone disgusts me. I would blame the media, but really EPIC FAIL MOTO
7. darkkjedii (Posts: 10127; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
I expected more from Moto, after being aquired by El Goog.
8. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2993; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
The customization is only for the looks and feel. This is no customization that i was expecting at all.
10. darkkjedii (Posts: 10127; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
I thought they were gonna bring it with this one Nathan.
11. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2993; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
I'm not so sure about this one, but the Droid trio might do good there in the US.
31. buccob (Posts: 1308; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)
I agree... I lost my faith in Moto after my experience with the original Atrix... and even after Google bought them, it does not seem like they can take full advantage of the adquisition.
I know some PA authors are really biased, but for this price and model range, I would rather buy the Sony Xperia ZR... (slight differences...
-smaller internal memory but microSD slot,
-a tad smaller screen,
-but better resolution,
-a tad bigger overall but IP58,
-similar processor and graphics,
-camera 10MP with 1.4um pixels vs 13MP with smaller sensor
Anyway, I am not falling for the hype that this particular device has created... a bunch of marketing but there is nothing that truly set it appart
9. jgmoto (unregistered)
What makes this device different then the Ultra and Maxx???
14. xpr3ss10n (Posts: 54; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)
The difference between this and the ultra/maxx is that the specs are crappier. Oh, but you will pay more for those crap specs. O and furthermore, they will screw you even more on all carriers instead of just Verizon.
12. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Outside of the display being 720P, I am not too worried about anything else. I would give this a look see.
Funny..... I can remember posting on a WP7 article when HTC was touting the 4.7" Titan that it was way too big. Who would want that monster of a device to contend with. Now, 4.7" is considered nearly small. Pretty amusing.
13. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
What articles have people been reading? We all knew they were focusing on the user experience over the specifications. We knew this was a "mid range" phone.
The contract pricing is definitely a let down, but that's the carriers doing, trying to push up their margins. They need to fix this marketing debacle with a good off contract price, otherwise they'll be DOA.
15. marbovo (Posts: 609; Member since: 16 May 2013)
c´mon, do not just buy motorola marketing lies, what experience can this phone offer other than prism always hearing what you say and screen notifications?? this phone is a complete fail
23. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
Oh, so you've actually had it in your position and used it for any amount of time then?
And PRISM? If you're worried about PRISM on any one phone, you may as well worry about it on all of them and boycott smartphones in general.
25. number29 (Posts: 185; Member since: 25 Jan 2013)
That's the problem with Android, it can't offer any novel experience that another device can't offer. Android is nothing more than a specs race. You have to take your business to another platform if you want better experiences. It's really interesting that Motorola are trying to focus on experience rather than specs (and I for one welcome this wholeheartedly since how the device operates in the hand is the most important thing, not how fast the processor is) but I feel that Motorola really need a different OS to be able to properply focus on this element.
29. Pedro0x (Posts: 271; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)
What about WP and IOS, they are all the exact experience on every phone, while on android you can have touchwiz or lg home on a htc device or visa versa.
And you are wrong about that with experience rather than specs, the best thing you can do is to focus on both and android is the best current platform that you can do it on.
33. PK1983 (Posts: 164; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
Each android manufacturer offers a different experience.
Touch Wiz is very different from Sense or Stock, or whatever LG uses.
Moto simply wants to charge more for a device that by the looks of it just adds a few features to Google Now which is on every newish Android and iOS device. They tout being able to shake it to launch the camera, yet is it really that hard to launch the camera from the lockscreen? They tout being able to control the device with your voice yet, I have yet to see it actually close any apps, just open them. This is to me less useful then being able to use air gestures. The device touts being customizable yet it has no SD card, and pretty much all you can do is change the color of it or make it woody.
16. DJ349GTX (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 May 2012)
I am excited to get the Moto x in black and green. If it comes out to be around 350-400 off contract, then I'm buying!
17. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 890; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)
when i look at a moto x,i see a nexus 4 nothing just no no.
18. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 827; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)
Honestly disappointed with this. They took away everything that was great about the RAZR's and made it all about the software.
21. scsa852k (Posts: 274; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)
I don't get it.
Why is there so much hype about this phone?
There's absolutely NOTHING special about it.
Specs, Design, Pricing.. You name it.
22. indianapple89 (Posts: 47; Member since: 28 Feb 2013)
So technically, the Nexus 4 is an octa-core device? With 4 Krait CPU cores and 4 GPU cores of the Adreno 320. Am I right? Correct me if I'm wrong..
Coming to the Moto X, it was definitely over-hyped as far as the announcement. Unless those 2 special cores really provide tremendous value, this is DOA.
24. itreday (Posts: 68; Member since: 24 May 2012)
I don't know why you guys are complaining. Who can seriously tell the difference between a 720p display and a 1080 display? Plus if the software is optimized to work good with the processor why does it matter if it's quad/octa core or not? The 4S runs great and it's only dual core.. Android has made you guys spec geeks.. I personally own a iPhone 5 & I know It's about the user experience, so don't criticize the phone if you haven't experienced it yet. I think the active display and touch less control features are awesome.
26. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2356; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Nice color palette. I want all...
27. solomonsteve (Posts: 73; Member since: 19 Dec 2012)
i think this phone has to be called "Motorola x Mini". its just a mid-ranger. After all the hype, this is wat we get ??
30. snowgator (Posts: 3188; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
I will spot you that. There has been a ton of build up, like this was improving on the HTC 1 and GS4 in some revolutionary way. I think Moto may have revved up the propaganda machine a tad much. The new Droids for Verizon are better or as good devices spec wise.
But this is a possible good option. Just not at the price point.
34. roldefol (Posts: 2858; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
Moto/Google would argue that this is a revolution in software and voice interaction. We've known for a couple months that there would be no hardware revolution with the X. If you want more groundbreaking hardware, the LG G2 will be more to your liking, but I doubt we'll see it on 5 carriers.
28. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 628; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
The magenta, blue & green look cool... Want to get one of those.... :)
32. PK1983 (Posts: 164; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
Looks cheap, has mid range features and is expensive anyway as a nice big FU.
Moto has become the new Blackberry.