Motorola MOTOLUXE Review

Introduction and Design

Back at CES 2012, we got the chance to check out this mid-range Android smartphone known by the name of Motorola MOTOLUXE. After getting up close and personal with it for a few minutes, we walked away with a generally positive impression as the handset was sleek and felt nicely made.

Today, the Motorola MOTOLUXE is once again in our hands, but this time we are giving it a full-blown review treatment. A 4-inch display, 800MHz processor, and an 8-megapixel camera contained within a slim, solid body are among the features that the smartphone has to justify its $380 off-contract price with. Care to know how it stood after we put it through its paces? Read along to find out...


Well, what do you know: the Motorola MOTOLUXE is actually one pretty good looking handset despite its relatively low price point. To start, it exhibits a slim profile, and although it is no RAZR, its waistline of under 10 millimeters is commendable. What makes the smartphone look even cooler is that it sports a soft touch finish, and the metallic elements that have been used in its construction add a dose of premium feel to the otherwise mid-range device. On top of that, the smartphone feels nice and solid, and its dimensions make it easy to operate with a single hand.

You can compare the Motorola MOTOLUXE with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Our fingers have no troubles locating the lock key or the volume rocker, which resides on the smartphone's top and right sides respectively. The capacitive buttons located underneath the device's display are also well positioned and accidental presses are pretty much absent.

It may sound silly at first, but the Motorola MOTOLUXE has a lanyard groove located at its bottom left-hand side. In all honesty, we don't think that many people would actually use it, but we don't mind its presence anyway as it does not spoil the design of the device in any way. However, the groove itself is not as neat as the notification light, which is hidden inside of it. Each time you receive a text message or miss a call, a pulsing light will bring the event to your attention.


Before we proceed any further, we have to give Motorola two thumbs up for managing to fit a 4-inch display on a smartphone with such a small footprint. It sports a resolution of 480 by 854 pixels (245ppi), which translates into clear, detailed images and sharp looking text. Unfortunately, the screen itself is nothing but your plain LCD type, so although colors may look pretty accurate when the display is viewed directly, they do get washed out after a slight tilt of the device. Also, its outdoor visibility is quite poor even when the brightness is set to the maximum. 

Motorola MOTOLUXE 360-degrees View:


When using a smartphone, or any kind of handset, for that matter, the interface can either make or break the whole  experience. Unfortunately, with the Motorola MOTOLUXE, the scales lean towards the latter side. That is because navigating around is accompanied by a fair deal of choppiness, not to mention that things tend to get laggy from time to time, most noticeably when there are more than a few widgets on your home screen. However, we have a feeling that the device's humble 800MHz processor simply can't perform any better, especially at such display resolution. So yeah, forget about using any live wallpapers on this, or playing anything more sophisticated than Angry Birds.

Looking at the bright side, the MotoSwitch UI, which runs on top of Android 2.3.7, has several neat tricks up its sleeve. First of all, its lock screen can hold shortcuts for up to six applications for quick access. Additionally, there are a couple of very useful widgets, namely the Activity Graph and the Social Graph: the former automatically populates itself with shortcuts to your most frequently used applications, while the latter does the same thing with your contacts. Last but not least, the on-screen virtual keyboard may seem somewhat crammed, but getting used to it is pretty easy.

Internet and Connectivity:

As the case was with the device's interface, the stock web browser on the Motorola MOTOLUXE is quite choppy with anything beyond moderately heavy web pages, and even fails to respond to touch input from time to time. Thankfully, its performance improved vastly after we disabled the Adobe Flash plug-in. In terms of features, the web browser supports pinch to zoom, tap to zoom, and text reflow – just like any mobile browser should.

When it comes to connectivity, the Motorola MOTOLUXE has all necessities covered: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n with DLNA, 3G at up to 7.2Mbps, Bluetooth 3.0, FM radio with RDS, and USB mass storage mode. The handset's GPS radio required less than 30 seconds to pin point our location from a cold start. Afterwards, the same procedure took it no more than a couple of seconds.


That megapixels don’t matter is something that we have reiterated countless times, and if you are still not convinced in our words, take the MOTOLUXE’s 8-megapixel auto-focus camera for example. When shooting outdoors, the photos that it takes are average at best: usable, but pretty dull in general due to their lifeless colors and the lack of fine detail. Furthermore, the camera struggles with finding the correct white balance on certain occasions, especially when shooting indoors, which produces cold-looking images. What makes matters even worse is that after taking a shot, the camera needs about three more seconds before it is ready to take the next one. Video can be captured at no higher resolution than VGA, and its quality is equally unimpressive. Oh, and by the way, that front-facing VGA camera is barely passable. It has a very narrow field of view, and the photos that it takes are awfully blurry.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Sample Video:

Motorola MOTOLUXE Indoor Sample Video:


The Music+ audio player on the Motorola MOTOLUXE was a very pleasant surprise as it offers features that we rarely get to see out of the box. For example, it automatically downloads a song's lyrics and album art when it is played, and it can search YouTube for its video at the tap of a button. Additionally, the player has SoundHound music recognition built-in and comes with a ton of online radio presets, courtesy of ShoutCast. In two words, it's awesome! Sadly, the 1GB of on-board storage is far from enough for storing all your favorite tunes, so using a more spacious microSD card is highly recommended.

Sadly, playing back videos is something that the Motorola MOTOLUXE is not quite good at, it could run only our MPEG4 samples of resolution no higher than 800 by 480 pixels. Support for DivX video formats is missing.


The in-call audio quality that the Motorola MOTOLUXE delivers is way over the average. Just like we could hear the other party loud and clear in the earpiece – with no hints of digitizing or background noise present, we were easily heard and understood on the other side of the line. The built-in loudspeaker is also loud enough for a pleasant hands-free conversation.

Out of the 1,400mAh battery that the MOTOLUXE comes with, one can expect getting four and a half hours of talk-time on 3G, or a little over 16 days in stand-by. The stand-by time figure does not bother us that much, but the amount of talk-time that you get is well below today's standards, which is quite disappointing.


So, is the Motorola MOTOLUXE worth the $380 or so that it retails for off-contract? Well, it may be a good-looking smartphone with a solid construction and a slim profile, but the poor performance of its hardware is something that we cannot overlook. Frankly, we think that you will be better off picking a smartphone from yesteryear. For example, the LG Optimus Black or Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, both of which have slim bodies, spacious displays, and better hardware specs, currently cost more or less the same as the MOTOLUXE.

Motorola MOTOLUXE Video Review:


  • Catchy looks
  • Solid feel
  • Notification light


  • Slow
  • Mediocre camera

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

4 Reviews

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