Motorola Moto X ReviewMotorola Moto X (2014) 8.8
Reinventing itself last year, Motorola struck a chord in the Android community with the launch of its Moto X smartphone. It was a bold venture indeed, especially in light of the competition that it had to fight against in the space. Competing valiantly to stay relevant amidst the heavy spec’d devices that existed at the time, the Moto X proved that a good phone doesn’t need to conform to the preconceived notions of better, faster, and stronger. Rather, it delivered a resounding experience that didn’t overwhelm us with its set of features – while providing a higher level of customization to its design than anything else.
One year later, one year wiser. Its successor, one that bears the same name, receives all of the evolutionary upgrades typical of any successive device. From the looks of it all, the same recipe from last year has been used again with the new Moto X – so you have the same level of customization with its design, simple features that aren’t redundant, and it’s not so specs-conscious. Going with this mentality, it’s unclear at the moment if it’s going to be enough to sway consumers away from the other handful of models already making noise in the space.
The package contains:
- microUSB cable
- Wall charger
- SIM removal tool
- Quick start guide
Sticking with the same foundational design language, the Moto X is able to sport a more aggressive design that gives this mostly plastic bodied thing some serious appeal.
There’s no arguing that the new Moto X bears the same foundational design characteristics we saw last year, but it’s now sporting a more aggressive design that we like – and sophistication too, depending on what rear casing option you choose to go with. What’s most apparent, though, is the increase of size, which makes it tougher to try and operate with a single hand. Even though it’s wider and taller, the Moto X maximizes the real estate it has to work with, as it’s able to offer more display area than the Samsung Galaxy S5 while being slightly shorter and having the same width.
When Moto Maker for the new Moto X launches, prospective buyers will have the same level of control in designing the phone as they had with last year's model. From choosing the colors of the front and rear casings, other additional goodies, such as selecting the color accents to custom engravings, help to continue giving the new Moto X an unprecedented level of customization. In addition to the bevy of colored plastic casings and wooden ones, this year’s model can also be outfitted with genuine leather options from the Horween Leather Company – giving it that sophisticated appeal. Our particular model bears this new finish, but as much as we appreciate its added appeal, we’re reluctant to say we’d go with it again because it’s prone to being scuffed more easily. After a few days of using the new Moto X, we already have some blemishes to its leather finish.
One new change to the design that we really dig is the aluminum frame that wraps around the entire edge of the phone. Of course, it contributes in giving the phone a more premium quality, but it certainly helps to give it a solid construction as well. In contrast to last year’s model, this new one is undeniably more sturdy. Just as before, the new Moto X also packs a “splash guard” water-repellant coating to ensure it’ll be protected against minor things like using it in the rain, but don’t expect this to have the same resilient water-resistant qualities of the Galaxy S5 or Xperia Z2.Although mostly comprised out of plastic, the new Moto X definitely has a design that’s more attractive than other plastic cladded smartphones. Throw in its sturdier construction and supreme design customization, the new Moto X has the eye-catching looks to make bystanders perk up and take notice of it.
On the right, the power and volume controls are rigid, allowing us to feel their springy responses. Along the rear, the only item found here is the microUSB 2.0 port. Sure, we would’ve liked it upgraded to a microUSB 3.0 to match its rivals, but we’re not entirely heartbroken about it. The left edge is completely clean, while the top is home to the nanoSIM slot and 3.5mm headset jack.
Yes, the Moto X offers two front facing speakers, but the top one is strictly for calling – whereas the bottom one is for blasting music and other things. Although it’s tough to make out with the black color front casing of the Moto X, there are actually infrared sensors on the corners of the front panel that are used with the phone’s new gesture features. However, they’re plainly evident if you opt to go with the white colored front panel.
In terms of cameras, the new Moto X receives its fair share of upgrades, since it now bears a higher count 13-megapixel rear camera, which features an f2.2 aperture lens, dual-LED ring flash, and 4K video recording. Complementing it is a front-facing 2-mgeapixel camera. Noticeably absent is a microSD card slot.
140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)
142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
5.11 oz (145 g)
146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm
5.26 oz (149 g)
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)
The 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED display might not have stellar qualities in all areas, but the entire package is a pleasant one.
Last year’s 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display didn’t really scream flagship status, but this time around, Motorola has graced the new Moto X with one that’s better able to match its contemporaries. To be more exact, it’s flaunting a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 (1080p) AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3.
In the details department, its pixel density count of 424 ppi is more than sufficient to give everything a crisp look to it. Nowadays, quad HD resolution is springing up more frequently, but Motorola again takes the approach of going with something effective for the occasion. Honestly, we have no complaints about it.
Going with AMOLED technology once again for its display, there’s no hiding the fact that it’s super saturated with its color reproduction. Very recently, AMOLED technology has proven to be able to be just as accurate as today’s LCD displays – evident by devices like the Samsung Tab S and Note 4. However, this is not the case with the new Moto X – it has a profound bluish tone, with color temperature of ~7000 K. Indeed, our eyes glaze over with awe thanks to its over-saturated tone, but in reality, the Moto X’s display is far from the most accurate, but has that wow factor.
Unfortunately, the screen becomes almost unviewable outdoor with the sun present. Therefore, this is something that frequently requires shielding – a bothersome method, but nonetheless a required one. Looking at the big picture, one can argue that the display has some milder qualities to it, but quite frankly, it’s still an attention getter thanks to its vivid colors.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||385
|Samsung Galaxy S5||442
|HTC One (M8)||490
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||54%
|Samsung Galaxy S5||62.7%
|HTC One (M8)||79.6%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I agree, it is the BEST phone ever made by Motorola, but it's weakness is it's battery. Just for that I need to pass on this device.
I was looking at the Galaxy Note 4 but it's too similar to my Note 3 for my liking, so I was STRONGLY considering this phone, but the battery is what is screaming NO to me.
So now it's the Nexus 6 or the Sony Xperia Z3. REALLY leaning towards the Sony Xperia Z3. Just an EPIC phone with GREAT battery.
Once the Moto X gets a boss battery then I will check it out. I must admit, I am disappointed that the battery on the Moto X '14 edition is weak. (-_-)
I really wanted to customize it, the way I wanted it...
19. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)
True, the battery is a big letdown for me, otherwise the perfect phone for me, despite other imperfections.
29. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
In late 2014 we all know what works & the Moto X fails in battery department miserably. To me this makes an other wise sweet phone, just plain old bad.
Motorola really has no excuse here, they just ROYALLY f'ed up the Moto X '14 edition. To me this breaks my heart cause I REALLY wanted this phone!
35. pulkit1 (Posts: 354; Member since: 03 Jul 2014)
maybe nexus 6 will have a bigger battery this time around then will be a perfect phone .
59. latinojuan (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Sep 2014)
I agree..... this was going to be my next phone. For me, i'm on verizon, maybe the verizon moto maxx or whatever will fill in the battery that I need.
31. chengsae (Posts: 64; Member since: 10 Dec 2013)
Hey, if they didnt made the curved back design, then you will be happy with a bigger battery just like all the other phone out there.
61. uzimafioso (Posts: 326; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
It's quite evident why they chose a smaller battery, they have 8 phones for this year apparently and the 6 after this may have Moto X Maxx models equipped with 3500+ mAh batteries...
15. deacz (Posts: 162; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)
thats not saying much, weak screen weak battery, middle of the road cpu, weak audio why would you give this phone a 8.8?
37. Spedez (Posts: 450; Member since: 29 Aug 2014)
Also, not so great display either. Looking at the figures in the table, it looses to all of the other flagship phones.
22. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 13548; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)
There's far too many shortcomings and consistently minor things that says otherwise. Motorola is taking too many liberties here where it appears they didn't learn from the first X.
24. troutsy (Posts: 311; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)
What are you comparing it to and why do you still come to these articles to post your negative BS?
Droid Bionic was years ago dude, move on with your life.
27. Scott93274 (Posts: 4826; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)
Mxyzptik is still butt hurt that Apple's stock dropped after they unveiled the new iPhones & Apple Watch. Even though I'm sure he thought that it was a strong showing, he's sad to finally realize that many people excited about the phones were disappointed by the "Historical" event. He goes into Motorola articles to talk crap because he knows damn well they're of superior quality to Apple branded products.
30. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4847; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Look Mxyzptlk is right here. I can admit when someone is right.
The Moto X has lot's right here. Their camera is better, the design is better, the stereo speakers rock, the 1080p AMOLED is cool, the 4 mics are awesome, & the customization is bananas... I mean REAL Leather, & Wood, it just doesn't get any better.
But the battery is just a cardinal no no. He is right, Motorola DEFINITELY stepped in dog sh*t... There is no denying it.
33. Scott93274 (Posts: 4826; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)
No, Mxyzptik did not point out any specific feature, he simply said far too many shortcomings. No mention was made on the battery. He's simply making an uneducated opinion on the quality of the device as he's never use it before as a result of his biased attitude towards anything without an Apple logo on it. And if you read comment number 25, you'll see that I do actually do agree with you about the battery, and pretty much the phone in general. But I don't agree with the ignorant statement made by Mxyzptlk.
58. plcline (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Sep 2014)
The X has a front facing speaker, see motorola's spec sheet (I can't post a url), not stereo speakers like the G.
2. ledzeppelinpage (Posts: 14; Member since: 13 Jun 2014)
really amazing phone. hope to see nexus 6 in motorola's skin.
3. Anchorman86 (Posts: 17; Member since: 08 Nov 2013)
Sheesh...this is such a better looking phone than the iPhone 6. Was actually considering the iPhone 6 but nah, this sexy beast is so much more worth it.
4. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)
I'd wait for possible Nexus 6 before buying this. Especially bad outdoor visibility is huge nope for me.
5. nohatenofanboy (banned) (Posts: 515; Member since: 15 Jul 2014)
battery life is meh. waiting for nexus 6
7. NexusPhan (Posts: 625; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
Unfortunately, if history in any indication, the Nexus 6 will suffer from similarly underwhelming battery life.
14. JC557 (Posts: 1540; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
Not unless they learn from their mistakes, ie. reviews.
Hopefully Google will set a battery guideline for the next Nexus.
41. strudelz100 (Posts: 644; Member since: 20 Aug 2014)
Sorry buddy. All stock devices suffer poor battery life because Google's stock kernel prioritizes overall smoothness; OEM's use Qualcomm's settings which prioritize peak performance, and race-to-sleep which enhances battery life.
6. bucky (Posts: 2606; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
I'm really glad moto is stepping it up. I have always liked their phones. They are keeping things simple and very clean.
8. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
I think this is a very ugly phone. The Moto X look doesn't scale well to the bigger size just like the new iPhone.
Also, the a Moto X 2013 was pretty much equivalent to the LG G2 in terms of bezels so they took a few steps back since this is much larger than the G2. This should have been only slightly larger than the G2. The metal band crap adds nothing unless it doesn't affect the sizing.
9. DRO_ID (Posts: 40; Member since: 20 Feb 2014)
The screen to size ratio of the new Moto X is actually better than original Moto X. I suggest you read the article posted by this site today on that topic.
20. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)
I got a chance to check out that article. Strange the Moto X 2013 seemed far better than that ratio suggests. And this seems far worse.
Still, it doesn't change my belief that this should be closer to the LG G2 size rather than the GS5 size.
34. DRO_ID (Posts: 40; Member since: 20 Feb 2014)
It should be, but sacrifices had to be made obviously. A lot of trade-offs have to be made when building a device. Look at the amount of sensors on the front. The speaker is also on the front now. Cut them some slack for doing all that while making the phone just barely bigger than the G2. My only complaint is the battery should've been bigger. I wish they would've made it a lil thicker just to accommodate a much bigger battery.
12. foreverjin08 (Posts: 73; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)
I remember they said the max brightness of G3 was also only 370 nits when they firstly reviewed the phone.