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Motorola Moto X: Battery Life, Sound Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Motorola Moto X – Battery Life

There’s a 2200mAh battery in the Motorola Moto X, and it’s designed to fit the phone’s curved rear. That’s just a little below the 2300mAh of the HTC One. The non-removable back means you can't take it out, and you can't carry around a spare.

Factoring in the lower-power processor and the lower-resolution screen, you might expect stamina to be strong. However, it is unremarkable.

The Motorola Moto X won't last for two days of moderate use. We found the battery level getting low by the evening each day, necessitating a daily charge for the majority of people. In fact, stamina is worse than the Moto G's, which is pretty disappointing given it's the more expensive of the two. Motorola has clearly stepped away from its previous focus on battery life.

Motorola Moto X – Call Quality and Sound Quality

Speaker quality is better, however. The call speaker is much better than average, with a louder, clearer and more powerful sound than most. Its ability to actually relay bass in particular is unusually good.

The main rear speaker, which fires mono sound out of a grille just to the right of the camera lens housing, is also a cut above in some respects. Sound quality isn’t particularly remarkable, but pure volume is. It is louder, and distorts less, than the Moto G speaker. And while it doesn’t have the bulk of the HTC One or quite the top-end sweetness of an iPhone 5S, it isn’t bad at all.

Should I Buy the Motorola Moto X?

The Motorola Moto X gets a lot of things right. It’s halfway to becoming a Nexus-style 'Google phone', with an interface that’s almost entirely vanilla – although you still won’t get updates as quickly as you would with a Nexus device. It’s also quite small for a phone that sits at the top of a company’s range. It has the same size screen as an HTC One, but it's a good deal smaller. This is a phone that's tremendously easy to get on with in almost every respect.

However, its SIM-free price does seem a little expensive when the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are available for the same price – and offer higher specs. And it's also shown up by the aggressively priced LG G2 – it sells for the same price but has a more impressive screen and a faster CPU. After the bargain-tastic Moto G, the Moto X is a minor disappointment, especially as its camera doesn’t quite perform as well as we'd hoped. However, as an alternative to the HTC One Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini, it’s a strong contender. It's all about the price you can buy it at.

Verdict

The Motorola Moto X isn't a bargain like the Moto G. And it doesn’t have the specs to be a true top-end phone. However, the streamlined approach it takes to Android is exceptionally easy to get on with.

Next, read our Best Mobile Phones Round-up

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Calls & Sound 8
  • Camera 7
  • Design 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Software 8
  • Value 6
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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