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Moto X Style review

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Sharp display
  • No ugly skins
  • Turbo Power is great
  • Fantastic performance

Cons

  • Camera app is disappointing
  • Low-light photography isn’t mind-blowing

Key Features

  • 5.7-inch QHD screen
  • Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB RAM
  • 21-megapixel rear camera
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Fast charging
  • Stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £359.00

What is the Moto X Style?

Sitting at the top of Motorola’s 2015 line-up, the Moto X Style (or Moto X Pure Edition if you’re in the US) manages to blend high-end specs with a sleek build and still come in at a price that won’t make your wallet cry. It isn't the flashiest or most feature-laden Android phone you can buy right now, but it’s certainly one of the best.

Motorola has again made a fantastic device – following on from the equally impressive Moto G (2015) and Moto X Play – by keeping things simple, tuning all the elements so they work perfectly well together and offering buyers the chance to customise their phone with Moto Maker.

If you have £360 (or £399, if you want to buy it direct from Motorola and add some of your own flare) then the Moto X Style is the best smartphone you can buy with your buck.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Moto Z

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Moto X Style review – Design

Motorola has stuck to a familiar design blueprint with the Moto X Style. I'd have liked to have seen a couple of new flourishes about the device, but the final look is both functional and sleek.

In many ways, the Moto X Style feels like a grown-up Moto G. Plastic is replaced with metal around the rims, the buttons are a little less loose and the rubbery plastic sits flush around the back.

Unlike the Moto G, however, this is a big phone. It doesn’t quite cross into Nexus 6 territory, and even though it has a larger 5.7-inch display it still has a smaller footprint than the iPhone 6S Plus.

If you’re coming to the Moto X Style from a smaller device then it will take some getting used to. Reaching to the corners of the display with one hand is virtually impossible – unless, you’re a basketball whizz – and there have been numerous times when I've fumbled with the phone after scooping it up off a table.

Related: Best Smartphones 2015

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The addition of a metal rim adds rigidity, but it doesn’t feel quite as solid as last year’s Moto X. This seems to be one of the minor changes made for in order for the price to come down.

Flip the phone over and it still bulges out towards the middle. It’s about as far away from the flat backs of the iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy S6 as you can get. Regardless, the phone is a pleasure to hold and so easy to slip into a jeans pocket.

The classic Motorola dimple remains, although its smaller size means it’s a less satisfying spot upon which to rest your finger. This area is screaming out for a fingerprint reader and I’m surprised Motorola didn’t add one in. Again, I guess it was to keep the price down.

Related: Best Value Smartphones

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Like in previous years, Motorola isn’t only selling one or two versions of the Moto X Style; anyone can design their own handset using Moto Maker. You can change the accent colours, pick between a white or black front and replace the durable rubbery back with various leather or wood offerings.

My review unit was a fairly standard white device with silver accents – but being able to add some personality to make the handset your own is one of Moto’s killer features.

Which back should you opt for? Well, the rubbery finish certainly is tough – it’s like always having a case on – but bear in mind that the white model picks up marks easily. Both the leather and wood options are flashier, but how either finish will wear over time is questionable.

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Note that the front of the white model looks particularly "busy". Along with the camera and front-facing speakers, there are three, very visible sensors for the Moto Display feature (I’ll get onto this later), a duo of ambient light sensors plus the front-facing camera and flash. I understand all are necessary, but they're less obvious on the black model.

Moto X Style review – Display

Although it's been just over a year since we started seeing quad-HD panels appear on phones, they’ve already started trickling down to the cheaper devices.

What’s more impressive here is that Motorola hasn’t skimped at all on the Style's IPS LCD display. The 1440p, 1,440 x 2,560 display is predictably sharp – pixels are indistinguishable no matter how close you get – but it’s also super-bright and viewing angles are excellent.

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Colours do have a tendency to pop a bit too much and therefore look oversaturated. Unlike the Nexus 6, however, it doesn’t suffer from a dominating yellow tint. On the whole, colours are accurate – whites are bright, while red and yellows look good. If it falls down in an area it’s the black, as these pale in comparison to blacks reproduced on the Sony Xperia Z5's LCD panel.

If you have a particular dislike for vivacious hues, then colours can be made to look more realistic by switching the colour mode to normal. Head to Settings then the Display option.

As is the case with many Android phones, the auto-brightness is overly sensitive and creates a juddery, uneven movement when you move from a dark room to a light one.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

lucas

July 29, 2015, 10:44 am

LCD or Amoled display?

John

October 23, 2015, 9:28 pm

IPS. Trusted Reviews incorrectly refer to the screen as AMOLED but it's IPS-TFT. (See the specs on the Motorola website).

toboev

October 23, 2015, 11:19 pm

Trust Trusted Reviews. A quick edit to cover their blushes but nary an acknowledgement of your post.

Dead Words

October 24, 2015, 2:40 am

Well they are human. They make mistakes. Plus I don't expect them to answer to every comment, or even to answer to any of them. It'd be nice but we, the readers, can't have everything. Just articles written by other humans.

Dead Words

October 24, 2015, 2:41 am

I like this phone but Motorola has been kind of iffy on updates recently which is really strange considering their software is so close to vanilla and they're so true to Google's vision.

toboev

October 24, 2015, 8:17 am

I'd like to think that TR holds itself to a higher standard than you seem to, else why bother reading it.

Yes, we are all human and make mistakes. Some also have the common decency to acknowledge those who kindly help us overcome those shortcomings.

Dead Words

October 24, 2015, 1:18 pm

I'm not saying they make any more mistakes than most. Any other news site on earth makes just as many mistakes. When you're pumping out the latest news as fast as you can you don't have much time for proof reading. And when you are pumping out the latest news as fast as you can, and reviewing the latest technology and gadgets, and traveling around the country/world to go to technology events, and still have to be there for your family and your life outside of Trusted Reviews, answering to people in the comments section doesn't seem all that important. Sometimes they find time, but I don't blame them for not answering every comment directed at them.

toboev

October 24, 2015, 2:13 pm

I never implied they should answer "every comment". However, if, as you are suggesting, their task is so onerous that they are unable to discharge it correctly without jeopardising their very family life, then the least they could do is have the manners to acknowledge those who lighten their burden.

As to the fact that TR does not even find the time to proofread its own output, I'd have to agree with you there.

Dead Words

October 24, 2015, 2:35 pm

You do have a way of twisting words to make them sound harsher then they are, friend. I'm just saying that every member of the Trusted Reviews team has a life outside of Trusted Reviews and that this can't be an easy job, having to constantly keep track of the latest news in technology (one of the fastest moving and constantly changing areas in the world), and shooting out well written, informative articles for everything that matters. If they take the time to proof read, people complain that they are way too slow putting stuff out. If Trusted Reviews puts their work out fast, people complain about how they make mistakes. It's a pretty vicious cycle. You can never please everyone.

adrianeds

December 25, 2015, 7:02 pm

If the kitchen is to hot then get out, that's what I say.

Dead Words

December 26, 2015, 2:14 am

But sometimes it's fun to play with fire.

andyvan

December 26, 2015, 8:04 am

toboev and Dead Words – Only just came across this conversation. Someone should have responded and I don't know why they didn't. As toboev said, it only takes a moment. In any event, I appreciate your efforts (both of you). The site would be a poorer place without insightful readers.

Dead Words

December 26, 2015, 2:01 pm

Thank you.

Espinosidro

March 5, 2016, 5:40 am

I wish motorola had stuck with "meh" camera and put a fingerprint scanner and a slighty better battery

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