There's still nothing out there like a Moto X, so if you're going to upgrade it makes sense to want to keep it in the family.
Motorola's software is remarkable in its simultaneous uniqueness and familiarity. No other major Android OEM keeps the UI as close to the Nexus experience as the Moto X line, and at the same time no other Android OEM has a feature set as functional and seamless as the Moto line of features. What was once dismissed as a series of gimmicks that could probably be reproduced in software when the first Moto X was announced has become an unparalleled experience, and Moto X users who love these features find it hard to switch to another Android phone as a result.
This makes answering the yearly upgrade question a little simpler than with other Android phones, because if you're a Moto X fan looking to upgrade there's a good chance the first place you're going to look is to another Moto X. With that in mind, lets take a look at whether the Moto X Pure Edition is enough of an upgrade to justify leaving the Moto X 2014 behind.
Comparing the physical hardware
If you've looked at the Moto X 2014 and thought "I really wish this was substantially larger," you're in for a treat. If not, there's some bad news ahead. The Moto X Pure Edition is substantially larger than the Moto X 2014. The basic shape is the same, almost as though Motorola stretched a Moto X 2014 out. The big rear dimple has been replaced with the small dimple from the original Moto X, but it still exists as a natural place for your finger to rest as you hold the phone with one hand. There's no doubt about it, though, this is a big phone.
The added girth made room for all kinds of new tech. Motorola has upgraded to a Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM and bumped the display up to a 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 resolution IPS TFT LCD panel, so on top of being plenty fast everything looks great. Powering that new hardware is a 3,000mAh battery, which can be turbocharged just like the Moto X 2014 through the microUSB port. Compared to the Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, and 1080p display on the Moto X 2014, the new Pure Edition is quite the upgrade, and not just on paper.
If you're concerned about Motorola switching to LCD over the AMOLED display, stop. Motorola's new display looks amazing and delivers Moto Display without issue. It's one of the better displays on any smartphone today, in both color reproduction and clarity. These new displays are second only to the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S6 displays, so you're absolutely getting a great experience here.
There's basically nothing new to learn about the software
Just about every smartphone manufacturer out there creates some kind of visual distinction in the software as it grows from one major release to another, and with that update usually comes some new features to check out. Motorola has taken a different approach, opting instead to constantly update their software and constantly add new features to their products. This means your Moto X 2014 not only has a lot of cool new things it didn't have when you first bought it, but if you decide to upgrade to the new Pure Edition you'll find a nearly identical software and feature setup as the phone you just left.
Moto Display, Moto Gestures, Moto Camera, Moto Voice, and all of the other Moto features have continued to grow and improve through the Google Play Store, so there's nothing really to learn on this new phone. Like the Moto X 2014, you can expect the Moto X Pure Edition to grow and improve as you use it through feature adds to these experiences. This is separate from the visual and functional changes to Android itself, which you can expect eventually when the phone is updated to Android 6.0, but the core Motorola features will be there for you to enjoy on the new phone just as they were on the old phone.
You'll no longer have a potato camera!
There's no two ways about it, the camera on the Moto X 2014 is just not very good. Motorola tried to improve the experience through software updates, but the phone constantly struggles to capture a great photo. If you're looking for a reason to upgrade to the new Moto X, the camera is a huge reason, as photo quality is something you'll almost never have to worry about on the Moto X Pure Edition.
Motorola packed a 21MP sensor in the back of the new Moto X, and has worked hard to make sure the software is good enough to help you take great photos. It's not the best camera in a smartphone today, but it's easily in the top 10 and will be for quite a while. The Moto Camera app still lets you quickly grab the shot, and the only environment this camera truly struggles is in low light photography.
Should you upgrade?
Motorola has thoroughly upgraded the hardware, taken special care to keep the software just the way you like it, and like before you can build one with your own personal flair on Moto Maker. If you decide to do so, you'll notice the Moto X Pure Edition starts at $399, which is $100 less than the Moto X 2014 started out with.
The only real downside to upgrading to the Moto X Pure edition from the Moto X 2014 is the size of the phone, which doesn't matter to everyone. If you had trouble adjusting to the size of the Moto X 2014, or if you thought the Nexus 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 were too big, you may want to touch one of these before making a purchase. Otherwise, you should absolutely make the upgrade. Especially if you've got an abandoned AT&T or Verizon Moto X 2014.
- Our comprehensive review
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