The new Moto X is the follow-up to the smartphone of the same name. While last year’s Moto X was priced cheaper than flagship phones from the likes of Sony, HTC and LG, the next generation phone is more expensive. With prices starting at £419.99 it’s competing with the likes of the One M8, Galaxy S5 and the LG G3.
Key Features: Android 4.4 Kitkat; 5.2-inch AMOLED Full HD 1080p screen; 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor; Adreno 330 GPU; 13-megapixel camera with Dual Flash; 4K video capture; 4 mics; optional wood and leather models; 2,300 mAh battery
The extra spend does get you a vastly more superior phone compared to its predecessor and some interesting features that could potentially draw your attention away from going with Samsung, HTC, LG or Sony’s big phones.
It’s not dramatically different from the last Moto X in many respects. It still has a curvy body, which helps to mask the stature of the phone and there’s plastic up front with a slim bezel around the screen. A check of the dimensions shows it’s wider, and taller than last year’s Moto X albeit slightly thinner as well.
There’s now a metal frame around the edges but it’s the back where things get more interesting because now Motorola is bringing its Moto Maker customization program. This means you can add wood or genuine leather finishes. You can also get laser engravings, pick different homescreen wallpapers and even set up a Google Sync so it’s ready to use straight out of the box.
Going for the more premium materials comes at a cost though. A 32GB version with either wood or genuine leather backs can cost up to £479. The wooden Moto X is surprisingly not as tacky as I initially thought it would be once you get your hands on it. It’s smooth but not slippery to touch and is actually nice and comfortable to hold.
Up front, Motorola introduces two front-firing speakers just as it has done with the new Moto G but again they don’t really make a good impression. There’s 4 mics to enhance call quality and four IR (infrared) sensors to promise improved gesture support.
The screen is bigger jumping to a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with toughened Corning Gorilla Glass to provide extra protection. It’s also moved from a 720pHD to a Full HD 1080p display with an impressive 423 ppi pixel density. It’s a bright, sharp screen although playing some YouTube videos and dipping into some game time with Asphalt 8: Airborne, colours don’t seem as punchy as they do on Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays.
There’s some big changes in the power department. Out goes the now aged Snapdragon S4 processor, now replaced by a 2.5GHZ Snapdragon 801 processor. That’s a big upgrade although still a generation behind the Snapdragon 805 processors currently packed into the One M8 and the Xperia Z3.
Motorola uses pure Android 4.4 KitKat and hasn’t confirmed whether it will get the Android 5.0 L treatment at the same time as the Moto G. There’s the usual array of applications like Moto Assist plus some new additions like Moto Voice, which means you can now customize voice search to say something other than, ‘Okay Google’ to launch it. There’s third party integration too with the likes of Facebook and WhatsApp so you can tell the Moto X to post photos directly to Facebook.
Moto Action is new as well and uses the array of IR sensors to activate features like switching off an alarm simply by waving your hand in front of the screen. The most interesting new addition is Moto Display evolving the way notifications can be viewed in greater detail when still in low power mode.
Taking care of photos is a 13-megapixel sensor with Dual Flash and the ability to capture 4K video. That’s joined by a 2-megapixel front-facing camera that somewhat amazingly is also capable of shooting in 4K. So if you have a 4K TV or laptop to play it on, you can enjoy the ultra high definition footage. Motorola also includes some new modes we’ve already seen crop up in other top end smartphones like best shot where the phone analyses and suggests the your more impressive images and the montage building Highlight Reel.
Things haven’t changed in the battery department where it still has a 2,300 mAh battery Motorola claims will still last a full day. When you run out, the new turbo charging support will give you eight hours off battery life in just 15 minutes of charging.
The new Moto X is an improvement in almost every way on last year’s Moto X. Now that’s it’s more expensive, it’s up against bigger and better phones. When you compare the specs, there’s not a great deal of features that really bring anything new or cutting-edge to the table. While a wooden back and attractive metal frame will certainly help the Moto X stand out of an already busy smartphone crowd, it might not be enough to ensure it enjoys the same kind success as the Moto G.