Motorola Moto X hands-on
Hello Moto! We were just talking about you just last week, when Verizon introduced the world to its latest set of Motorola DROID branded smartphones. This time though, we’re getting a look at something that seems to have far more reach than its DROID siblings. In a very quiet affair in New York City, Motorola officially outed its next big thing – the Moto X. Rather than having that upscale announcement that we’re typically accustomed to experiencing with flagship devices, this one actually was more laid back, as Motorola took the time to meticulously go into detail regarding the key selling points of its upcoming smartphone.
Naturally, the Moto X is heading into the thick of battle, as many flagship smartphones from various companies are vying for supremacy in the landscape. And after being introduced to the new line of Motorola DROIDs, it would seem as though some of the Moto X’s thunder would be lessened. Well, that’s certainly not the case, seeing that the handset is going to be made available through all four major wireless carriers in the US, plus regional carrier US Cellular, when it launches in the comings weeks.
The hardware might not be its strongest aspect, but rather, it seems as though Motorola decided to hone in on the experience and assembly process. To tell you the truth, though, it shares many of the software experiences we’ve already seen with the new DROIDs, but the creation and assembly process attached to the Moto X is entirely alien – not only to us, but in the industry as a whole. Let’s see what the talk is all about!
Meh, it’s no monster on paper, but when you look at the Moto X’s 4.7-inch AMOLED 720p display, it still has that invisible power to reel us in with its iridescent glow. With 720p resolution and all, it’s obviously lagging behind the competition, but we really can’t count it out. For beginners, we’re just amazed that they’re able to keep the relative size of the handset extremely confined – so that it doesn’t feel like you’re holding to a phone with a 4.7-inch display, but instead, something smaller. Details are naturally okay, which is something expected from its size and resolution. Colors on the other hand, continue to mesmerize us with its prominent glow and saturated tones, which are the hallmark qualities of AMOLED displays.
Just like the DROIDs, it features an Active Display that delivers relevant notifications to a small section on the display – thus, lessening its power consumption. In order to view them, you can either nudge the handset when it’s asleep, or simply flip the handset from its back to its front. After all is said and done, it’s great for not being obtrusive. Overall, the display itself isn’t astounding, especially when pitted against some of the monster sized 1080p displays out there, but it’s still one of the handset’s visual appeals from a first glance.
Whereas the new DROIDs are cutting edge and aggressive with their designs, Motorola opts for a more humble and laid back approach with the Moto X. Above all, it’s just the size of the handset that really catches our attention. It’s a phone with a 4.7-inch display, but it feels as though we’re holding something with a 4” or 4.3” display. Adding to its compact size, the curved nature of its rear casing enables it to feel ergonomically correct when held in the hand – so it simply comes off as natural. In terms of materials, Motorola says that it’s comprised out of this composite material, which is plastic in nature, but there’s this nice rubbery finish to it. Throw in a specific pattern design, everything comes together quite well.
Taking a quick tour around the device, all the usual suspects are all there. On its right edge, we have the dedicated power button and volume control, which are thin in size, but still very distinct to the touch and responsive. Along the top edge, we have the 3.5mm headset jack and noise cancelling microphone – while the bottom hosts its microUSB port and standard mic. Oh yeah, this utilizes a nanoSIM slot, which is placed on its left edge and is accessible with the included SIM removal tool.
We don’t have the customary Android capacitive buttons beneath the display, since they’re incorporated into the interface. Rounding things out on its façade, we have its earpiece, light/proximity sensors, and front-facing 2-megapixel camera. Flip it over to the rear, its 10-megapixel Clear Pixel camera with LED flash are all flush with the surrounding surface. Unfortunately, this doesn’t feature expandable memory, which means that you’ll need to be a bit more conscious about using up its 16GB of storage (there will be a 32GB option as well).
Going with a different approach, Motorola is going for something new when it comes to the design process of the Moto X. Of course, you can pick up the handset in its usual black and white color options, but they’re adding something entirely new to the mix – Moto Maker. What is it? Well, it’s their online portal where prospective buyers can customize their handsets. Impressively, there’s a lot that you can modify – such as the rear casing’s color, pattern, color accents, startup greeting, and physical etching. So yeah, it’s pretty wonderful that there’s this fine level of detail when it comes to the creation process. However, it should be noted that AT&T will be the exclusive carrier in the US to take advantage of Moto Maker. Furthermore, you can even purchase other accessories, such as cases and headphones, which would match the color scheme of your phone. Frankly, the unified experience is very different from what we’re traditionally exposed to, but we really hope that all carriers will get in with this new process too.
The hands-on continues on the following pages