Motorola is definitely onto something, in adding a high-spec camera to a mid-range handset, but the headline-grabbing 8MP model here doesn't actually deliver the goods.
Starting with the good stuff, though, the presence of a proper button is great to see. Hold this down and it'll launch the camera app, half press it and it'll focus and a full press will take the snap. Performance of the app is also surprisingly good while overall detail level is reasonable too and the single LED flash does a reasonable job.
However, the app isn't very easy to use. A lot of features are hidden away from view and it can take some time to pick out the scene modes or effects you want. Worse is that you can't touch on the screen to pick a focus point. Without this feature it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what you want the camera to highlight.
Overall detail from your shots is okay but there's nothing outstanding here. Overall we'd say the iPhone 4's 5MP snapper easily gives it a run for its money.
As for video, only a max resolution of 800 x 480 (WVGA) and frame rate of 24fps is on offer so we're not talking Avatar levels of fidelity but it'll get you by.
In another surprise for a mid-range handset, you get a front facing camera too. As ever quality is only of video chat level but then that's all it's meant for.
Battery and Calling
The Motorola Motoluxe's call quality is surprisingly good all other things considered. The microphone is noise cancelling and the earpiece is clear and reasonably loud. The speaker's not all that great but is on par, as is reception.
More impressive is battery life. With only modest hardware onboard, and a still reasonable size battery we easily found this phone would last a day and a half or more of regular use, while it dropped an imperceptible amount of battery left in standby (and Airplane mode, it must be noted) over a weekend.
We're split on the Motorola Motoluxe. On the one hand it offers good build quality, design, screen and camera for its price but on the other, its performance is borderline not good enough. We hesitate to say it's outright too slow but we definitely found ourselves getting frustrated as we waited for apps to load or the interface to respond. We'd forgave this level of performance in the Motorola Defy as it offered ruggedness and waterproofing as a sweetener, but it feels more acutely lacking here. Were this phone running the same processor as the HTC One V it would be a much closer call but as it is we'd either grab the One V or think long and hard about whether to pick up a second hand premium model from last year instead.