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Motorola Moto X review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

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Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Motorola Moto X
  • Moto X camera
  • Moto X rear
  • Moto X Real Racing 3
  • Moto X Facebook
  • Active Display

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Classy, simple design
  • Neat 'active display' notifications
  • Excellent HDR shots

Cons

  • Out-of-date processor
  • Poor low-light camera shots
  • Slightly overpriced

Key Features

  • 4.7-inch 720p AMOLED display; 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor; Adreno 320 GPU; Android 4.3; 2200mAh battery; 16/32GB storage
  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Review Price: £379.00

What is the Motorola Moto X?

The Motorola Moto X is the more expensive, more powerful brother of the Moto G, our favourite budget phone of 2013. It's a totally different proposition, though. It costs £380 SIM-free, similar to the current best deal for the Samsung Galaxy S4. If you want a relatively small phone with good specs the Moto X is solid, but tumbling SIM-free prices of phones from the big names make it a slightly tough sell.

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Motorola Moto X Video Review

If you don't fancy reading our full review or want to see the phone in action for yourself, watch our Moto X video review below.

Motorola Moto X – Design

The Motorola Moto X looks very similar to the Moto G. It’s a curvy phone with a plastic shell that has a clear seam where the rear battery plate connects with its frame.

In the US, people buying a Moto X get to choose from thousands of different style variations, including a wood finish. However, this has been dropped for the UK. You can pick between ‘woven’ white and black finishes, designed to look like they are made out of something fancier than plastic. The smooth, soft finish feels better than a basic plastic shell, but it’s still a polycarbonate case. And unlike the Moto G, the back is non-removable.

Where the Motorola Moto X design excels is in fitting quite a large screen into what feels like a small body. The screen bezel is very slim, particularly towards the bottom of the phone. You get the same 4.7 inches of display as the HTC One, but this is a significantly smaller mobile.

It’s the height of the phone that's most notable. The Moto X is 129mm tall – petite compared to the 137mm HTC One, 138mm Nexus 5 and 136mm Galaxy S4. This is the least obtrusive, least showy ‘high-end’ phone you can get.

Your pocket will thank you for buying a Moto X, but it means this is likely to be confused for a lesser phone by many people.

Squashing down the footprint of the phone has also ensured that it’s not all that thin. At 10.4mm it’s quite chunky for a £400 phone – at least 1mm thicker than the phones it competes with. However, the curvy back is most similar to the top-notch HTC One’s, giving a smooth and easy grip.

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Another comparison you can’t help but make here is with the Moto G, a phone that looks the same but costs a third of the price. While they look similar, the Moto X is finished more gracefully in a number of places. The most obvious is the screen surround. Where the plastic juts out beyond the screen a fraction in the Moto G, it curves around to form a much tighter join in the Moto X, avoiding the rough feel of its cheaper brother.

Its backplate is also glued on, for a zero-creak body, and it’s significantly slimmer. The Moto X also uses a pop-out SIM tray on its side, rather than a slot hidden under its battery cover. It’s the unusual nano SIM type, used in the iPhone 5S.

A final little hardware improvement, the Moto X also has superior, tighter vibration feedback motors. That the Moto X and Moto G are brothers is unmistakable, but those claiming the Moto X is merely a Moto G with some upgraded insides are wrong. It’s at least five per cent classier. And it has the 4G and NFC connections missing from that budget phone.

Moto X rear

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Motorola Moto X – Connectivity

The Moto X comes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal memory and, like many top-end Androids, there’s no memory card slot to let you add storage. Its USB port is MHL-compatible, though, enabling you to plug the phone directly into a TV if you have the right adapter. One isn't included, but they are available for as little as £10 online.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Prem Desai

January 21, 2014, 3:27 pm

Decent enough phone. Shame about the price.

I was hoping that the Moto G was the shape of things to come but alas, sound like it was a 1-off.

Ripping off the brits

January 21, 2014, 6:01 pm

Amazon uk are seling it for 350 quid which improves the value proposition a bit. Still more expensive than in the US where the cost work out to roughly 290 quid after including 20% VAT.

CodeMonkey

January 21, 2014, 7:09 pm

Based on how it has sold in the US, I'd expect to see the price drop gradually over the next couple of months.
It's also worth noting that it's already listing on Amazon for £349.99 rather than the £380 indicated here.

Prem Desai

January 22, 2014, 8:37 am

Still too high. I think the Moto G has set an expectation for quality/price - for me anyway.

I suspect this phone will do well on the contract market where it will be heavily subsidised or free.

CodeMonkey

January 22, 2014, 2:20 pm

I agree but I'm hopeful the downward trend will continue. I can't think of many devices that were listed at less than RRP before they were even released.

mothergoose85

January 22, 2014, 3:48 pm

No mention of the "always listening" voice stuff - is that not working in the UK model?

I seem to remember one of the big things was you could have a glass-esque experience and say "okay google [action]" and it's do that for you?

Castel2012

January 30, 2014, 2:53 am

The Moto X is now selling for $300-$350 (~£180-£212) in the US. Is that enough to make it a better value than the Moto G?

moggsy

February 23, 2014, 10:46 am

I actually own this phone, and I think the performance issues are more of about what's on a spec issue than what an owner will find with day to day use, even power use. The way Motorola has configured the hardware and lightly skinned Android means that for most users, this phone will work as well if not better than phones loaded down with loads of bloatware.

What Motorola has added to Android is brilliant. Touchless control, Motorola Assist (lets you configure situations where you don't want to be bothered or who can contact you), and the few other additions Motorola has laid on top of KitKat really are things that the majority of people will find useful. In addition, the screen and optimisation has allowed for superior battery life.

Where it falls short is the camera. The updated app is meant to be an improvement, but it is a very basic camera with HDR and a couple of other additions. Being basic doesn't mean user friendly. I'm constantly misfiring it and the phone lacks a dedicated camera button. I've not been able to get the twist to launch to work, but people who have seem to like it. Low light photos are slightly better with HDR enabled, but this is not going to compete with this generation's best phone cameras. Rather than the photos being washed out, however, I'd say that when HDR is enabled, the colours are truer to life than the poppiness we've become accustomed to expecting. I am hoping that the remaining camera issues will be addressed with a software update.

You can get it sim free for around £300 now, and we were able to pick them up free on EE's lowest 4G contract. It's a shame that for now, MotoMaker isn't available in the UK. I considered the Moto G for my husband as he is traditionally a light phone user, but we both picked up Moto X's. He's coming from a Windows Phone and has adapted quickly. I'm a long time Android user and I can honestly say that this phone is the most satisfied I've been with an Android device, including a vanilla Nexus 7. I think most people, even power users would be pleasantly surprised by this piece of kit.

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