by KATIE COLLINS
Motorola first announced the Moto X in August 2013, but at the time it was US-only device. Now the phone is winging its way to Europe to take its rightful place above the £135 Moto G in Motorola’s product range.
Prices start at £380 for the SIM-free model and at £25 per month on contract. The phone won’t hit shop shelves in the UK for a few weeks yet, but Wired.co.uk has been hands-on with the Moto X ahead of its 1 February release.
STORAGE AND PROCESSOR
The 16GB Moto X packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.7GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. This doesn’t sound particularly impressive when compared to innards of other mid-range to high-end Android phones, but Motorola claims this is because the phone relies on the X8 Mobile Computing System, which works based on a “tightly integrated system of eight processor cores”. We’ll be looking to see in our full review how this measures up against the competition in various benchmark tests.
We’ll also be checking to see how much extra value for money the £380 Moto X offers over its little brother the Moto G, which offers a quad-core performance for only £135. Like the Moto G, the Moto X also doesn’t have expandable memory, which is always rather disappointing to see on an Android phone. In lieu of this however, the phone does come with 50GB of free storage on Google Drive to supplement the 15GB of free Google Drive storage and the 16GB of built-in memory. Motorola and Google are clearly keen to steer users towards cloud storage, but this means you’ll have to be more careful about managing your storage so as to have local access to key files — music, for example — even when you’re offline.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The two Motos certainly look alike, with the main distinguishing feature being the silky, patterned back of the Moto X. It’s far from the most interesting phone you’ll have ever seen, although its rounded back does make it very pleasant and easy to hold. The shiny plastic on the front of the phone, doesn’t exactly scream “premium” in the same way that, say, the metal shell of the HTC One does, so if you want a seriously flashy phone, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
Even at its thickest point, it’s over a millimetre thinner than the Moto G, measuring 10.4mm across. Elsewhere the dimensions of the two are almost identical, but at 130g the Moto X is lighter than the Moto G, which weighs in at 143g. The Moto X weighs exactly the same as the larger Nexus 5 and is noticeably light to hold, while remaining solid and free of flex.
The 4.7-inch AMOLED display is clad in Corning Gorilla Glass and offers a resolution of 720×1,280 pixels, which equates to 316 pixel per inches. While not to be sniffed at, a 720p display is not the most impressive screen real estate you’ll see on the front of more expensive Android phones, many of which boast 1080p displays.
The Nexus 5, for example offers a 5-inch screen at 1,080×1,920 pixels, making it preferable for watching videos and playing games, even though the phone costs around £80 less. The Moto G also packs a 720p display, but with an LCD panel rather than a superior AMOLED one.
FEATURES AND CAMERA
As you’d hope from a company owned by Google, the phone is running the latest version of its Android operating system: 4.4.2 KitKat. Superficially, this will provide a similar experience to the Nexus 5 and the Moto G.
Motorola has packed a few nifty party tricks up the Moto X’s sleeve though. One feature that worked particularly well in our brief hands-on time was Quick Camera Capture, which allows you to boot up the phone’s camera at high speed by twisting your wrist twice while holding it in your hand (a motion that’s a bit like repetitively turning a door handle).
Motorola has put a lot of effort into perfecting its “Touchless Control”, which is basically voice control to the uninitiated. The Moto X can apparently learn your voice and be taught to respond to you without you touching the phone, allowing you to find directions and set alarms completely hands-free. Voice control is rarely perfect, so we’ll be keen to see how well this performs in our review.
Motorola is also keen to emphasise the Moto X’s “Active Display”. When this is switched on, you don’t have to wake the phone up to see the time and any notifications — much like the display on Nokia’s Lumia phones.
Where the Moto X really does set itself apart from the Moto G is in the camera department. It offers double the number of megapixels — 10 in total — of its little brother. As we’ve already said, the camera is very quick to start up and shoot, and is equipped with an LED flash, 4x digital zoom and 1080p video recording. We’ll be testing how well it performs in practise — as well as the front-facing 2-megapixel snapper — when we conduct our full review.
Powering the phone is a 2,200mAh battery, which should provide plenty of juice for the screen size, although this again is something we’ll be testing at the first opportunity.
The challenge the Moto X will face, no doubt, is whether it will manage to stand out among its rivals in the same way the way the Moto G does. At £380 it’s hardly a snip, and consumers may well see the value in buying a Nexus 5 for £299, or even a Moto G for £135, over this pricier handset As devices at the bottom end of the Android phone market offer increasingly better specs and features, manufacturers are going to have to work harder to justify the prices of their more costly offerings. The Moto X is a decent, solid phone and Motorola seems to have enough confidence in it to bring it to Europe, but how it will take in this overcrowded market remains to be seen.
The Moto X will be available in black from 1st February from Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse, O2, Amazon and Techdata, and will be available in white exclusively from Phones4u for the first few months. Keep an eye out for our full review over the next few weeks.
full story: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-01/14/motorola-moto-x-hands-on