Moto X

Motorola is back with one of the best designed and built phones we've seen in a while — and it's customizable. (Eventually with wood!) But it's got one seriously disappointing feature, too.

Once a year or so you get one of those smartphones that’s supposed to change everything. Maybe it’s so full of features it’s hard to know where to start. Maybe it beats the price of every other phone available, but it’s just not a mainstream device. Maybe it does one or two things extremely well but lacks in other areas.

Moto XFor many, Moto X is supposed to be that phone in 2013. The rebirth of Motorola, under Google’s umbrage. Android for everyone. Pick your platitude, attach the “Moto X” name to it and watch the excitement build.

Thing is, it’s just a phone, folks. Moto X is a damn good phone, too. It’s comfortable. Familiar. Beautifully designed. And deceivingly simple. It alleviates some concerns we’ve had with other devices — battery life, namely — while falling short in other areas. But at the end of the day, does it really represent some sort of paradigm shift in the Android smartphone space?

We’ve spent three solid weeks with Moto X as the only phone in our pocket. Will it ride out the rest of the year there until the Next Big Thing?

Let’s dive into it — this is the Android Central Moto X review.

The Moto X hands-on video

Moto X Design and hardware

Moto X

Moto X looks great, it feels great, and it doesn't fall into the trap of "skinny at all costs."

Let’s not beat around the bush here. We’re madly in love with the shape of Moto X. We’re in an age of oversized smartphones, with huge displays that were never meant to be one-handed. We're all for more screen real estate, but things quickly got out of control.

Moto X found the sweet spot with that 4.7-inch display in a body that belies its size. Moto X is smaller than the Nexus 4 — another of my favorite phones of the past year or so — despite the displays having the same diagonal measurement. It’s plenty big, but not too big. Nor does it feel big.

Moto XThe glass on the display smartly rolls over to the side of the phone. Or, rather, that’s what it feels like, playing tricks on your eyes as well with your fingers. There’s a seam where the two halves of the phone come together. You can plainly see it, and feel it if you try, but it’s oh-so-subtle to the casual touch.

We’d defy you to find a more perfect rear end on a smartphone. Moto X probably has the best backside we’ve seen on an Android phone. As has been the trend on a few other phones (Galaxy Nexus to some extent, but more like the more recent HTC One), Moto X has a bit of an upside-down teardrop shape to it. Curving downward from the spine toward the edges. A little thicker toward the top, tapering off at the bottom. Motorola wisely didn’t fall into the trap of “thinner at all costs.” In fact, at its thickest, Moto X measures 10.4mm. The taper, however, makes it feel thinner.

Moto XYou’ll quickly learn to love the dimpled Motorola logo as well, giving your index finger a perfect resting place. (And that helps keep it out of the way of the camera lens if you’re shooting in the portrait orientation.) Speaking of finger placement, the volume and power buttons are easily reachable on the right-hand side.

Have more questions? Check out our Moto X forums!

Moto X also won’t win any “World’s lightest” awards, and we’re OK with that. At 130 grams it’s got just enough heft to it that it feels substantial, but not so much that your hand will tire out.

Of all there is to like about Moto X, the design leads the list for us. Simply put, this is the best-designed and most put-together smartphone we’ve used in some time. 

Customize with Moto Maker, and how to buy the Moto X

Moto X

Here we come to one of the cooler — and simultaneously frustrating — things about Moto X. You can design your own, it’ll be assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, and be on your doorstep within four days. Moto Maker, they call it. And with the service you can choose from a number of colors for the back of the phone. And either white or black for the front. And accent colors for the power and volume buttons, and the ring around the camera lens. And you can get an inscription put onto the back of the phone — or, rather, you'll be able to once Motorola irons out a few bugs —  and have a custom message display as the phone boots. We’ve tried it. It’s great.

AT&T getting the initial exclusive on Moto Maker shows it's still business as usual in the smartphone world, even at the new Motorola.

And it only works if you’re in the U.S. And are on AT&T.

Being landlocked to America we get. The custom phones are assembled in Texas. You need to get them into waiting hands quickly. But the AT&T exclusive on custom designs while everyone else has their choice of either white or black has the stench of “business as usual” in a time in which Motorola is trying to experience a rebirth. Verizon says it’ll have custom designs later — but that doesn’t do much for folks now.

Anyhoo. That’s not Moto Maker’s fault. We got to take Moto Maker for a test run, and it works just fine, so long as you don’t freeze up at having so many design choices. And we’re only half-kidding about that. You’ll be spending a lot of money on this phone. Moto does provide some example colors schemes, though, if you need some help.

Choose wisely.

Moto X in wood

By the way, if none of the colors you see at Moto Maker at launch does it for you, it might be worth holding off for a bit. Motorola’s actively soliciting ideas for new designs. And those fancy wood designs? We still don’t know which one or two Moto’s going to go with, or when they’ll be available. “Later this year” is all we’ve got for now.

So … how to purchase. You’ll be able to get Moto X in the U.S. the same way you pick up any phone — to go to the store or order online. It’ll cost $199 on contract. (The 32-gigabyte version at AT&T is an extra $50. We’d recommend splurging.)
If you’re going the custom route and want to use Moto Maker, you’ve got two options. The first is to design and pay directly through Motorola’s website, providing your AT&T account details in the process. (We haven’t tried that one yet, but the intricacies of smartphone plans aren’t something we’ve generally had success conveying to nameless computers.)

The other option is to pay at an AT&T store, at which time you’ll receive a coupon code to use at the Moto Maker website. Pump in the code, design your phone, and you should have it within four days. This is what Motorola had us demo, and it worked easily enough.

[video:http://youtu.be/videoseries align:center]

What’s under the hood

There’s been a bit of a to-do over the internals of the Moto X, but in actuality we’re looking at the same as what’s in the new Droid line of phones.

Moto X is using what it calls the “X8 Mobile Computing System.” Oversimplified, you’ve got a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro at 1.7 GHZ (and with an Adreno 320 GPU). That’s two cores for Application Processor, and four for the Graphics Processor. Tack onto that a Natural Language Processor core, and a Contextual Computing Processor core, and that’s where “X8” comes from. Eight cores. On one hand you’ve got your regular powertrain, and on the other are the final two cores that allow the system to offload all the voice recognition and computation stuff we’ll talk about in a minute.

And that does two things: When you speak commands to Moto X, it’ll (theoretically) recognize and execute them quicker, and it’ll help optimize power usage.

Moto X

Not under the hood, strictly speaking — just over it, we suppose — is that 4.7-inch, 720x1280 Super AMOLED display. Color reproduction is pretty good. Interestingly, the pre-production unit we used for most of this review time tended to shade toward a pink tint. But a newer unit — customized through Moto Maker, and delivered two days before the official launch on AT&T — has much whiter whites and is far more enjoyable.

Don't obsess over the specs on paper. Moto X is greater than the sum of its parts.

We were concerned about resolution. In fact, coming from months and months of using a higher-resolution, 1080p display, we were very worried about stepping back down to the lower-resolution Moto X. (Going back to the 720p IPS display on the Nexus 4, for example, has been tough.) But, as it turns out, we readjusted just fine. Other screen technologies still perform better outdoors. If that's a deal-breaker for you, Moto X might not be the phone for you.

And, remember, it’s easier to push 921,600 pixels than it is 2.07 million. Better battery life, don’tcha know.

On the storage side, Moto X will mostly come in 16 gigabytes (though AT&T’s got dibs on a 32-gigabyte model), with about 11GB available to the user. There’s no microSD card storage, but Motorola and Google are throwing in 50GB of free Google Drive storage for two years. (Log in to the Google Drive app to get it.)

Never mind what some folks are saying about this being a "mid-range" phone. That's just specs on paper, and benchmark numbers that don't actually mean anything. In real life, we've not seen any lag in daily use — and it runs graphically intensive games like Riptide GP 2 just fine. (Perhaps there's a secret ninth Riptide core at work?)

Battery life

Moto X battery

So let’s talk battery life. Motorola’s made great strides in this department the past couple years, and that trend continues in Moto X. On paper, it’s got a 2,200 mAh battery, which in and of itself isn’t all that impressive. Consider, though, that the battery, likely sourced from LG Chem, uses a new “stepped” design that allows for a better use of space and thus greater overall capacity — an extra 31 percent additional capacity, actually.

Moto X has impressive battery life. But just like any other phone, the more you use it, the more battery it uses.

Motorola claims you get “all-day use” — well, “mixed-use all day,” whatever that means — with Moto X. And when they say “all day,” they mean a full 24 hours.
It’s possible. On Wifi, with good cellular signal coverage and not with heavy use, yes. You can eke 24 hours of use out of Moto X. And that’s a great number to throw around.

In real life, though, most of us aren’t up 24 hours straight. Plug your phone in at night and get some rest. It’s OK.

That said, we’ve been mostly impressed with battery life on Moto X. The combination of hardware optimizations — Qualcomm’s done well with the S4 platform on forward — and software tweaks (more on that as you keep reading) has led to some pretty impressive usage time, especially when you consider that we’re not looking at a monster battery capacity.

Our real-world findings:

  • Sitting on Wifi most of the day, with light to moderate use, we’re seeing between 14 and 18 hours, easy, usually getting us down to around 30 percent or so by bedtime. After that, we plug in and catch some shut-eye.
  • Getting out into the wide, wide world of LTE (we’ve been using the AT&T model, remember), 10 to 14 hours is a pretty solid number. Sometimes a little more. That varies a bit depending on your local network, of course. A phone that’s struggling for a signal or constantly bouncing between LTE and HSPA+ will simply use more battery. Using Moto X in Manhattan yielded basically the same results as in the quieter town of Pensacola, Fla. (That’s a testament to AT&T as much as Motorola, we suppose.)
  • A couple hours of 720p video playback for us used around 20 percentage points of battery. Your mileage may vary.
  • Before anyone starts screaming for “screen-on time,” remember that a big feature of Moto X is that you can quickly and easily get information without turning on the screen in the usual manner. Check the clock, and check on notifications — all without powering up the display. That in and of itself perhaps isn’t a game-changer, but it is a big deal, and combined with all the other optimizations, it makes a difference.

Moto X accessories

Motorola wisely has partnered up with a few accessory manufacturers, and you’ll have a host of products for your Moto X, available directly through Motorola. Not having to wait is huge from a customer-service standpoint — it’s great to have the phone, but accessories provide a complete experience — to say nothing of actually making some money from sales.

Moto’s high-profile deal is with SOL REPUBLIC, which has brought a set of on-ear headphones ($99), earbuds ($39) and Deck — a $199 Bluetooth speaker with a five-person “heist” mode for you and your friends (or enemies, we suppose) to play deejay.

Incase is on board for a couple cases, and Moto’s got screen protectors from Power Support on tap. Listed at launch from Griffin are a desktop dock and car dock.

We don’t yet know how close to launch these will be available, but Moto is showing the importance of at the very least positioning accessories alongside the phone at the time of purchase. It’s smart business, and it’s better for the consumer as well.

Moto X software

We all have our personal preferences for smartphone software. You’ve got the HOLOYOLO crowd that prefers “stock” Android above all. You’ve got the folks who enjoy HTC’s Sense or Samsung’s TouchWiz or Sony’s or LG’s customizations. Motorola has gone both routes over the years. The original Droid kept things largely as Google intended, and the more recent RAZR lines and now the Droid Ulta and pals have mostly walked back the bad old days of Motoblur.

Moto X softwareMoto X, as far as the user interface is concerned, is nearly as “stock” as a Nexus. There’s no heavy “skin.” Just custom wallpapers and ringtones, of course, and some options in the settings. For better or worse, Moto’s not tacked a lot on here. We’re fine with that, and it fits the overall theme of this phone — do a few things really well and don’t let the rest get in the way. For as much as we’re going to say in the next two sections of this review, Moto X really is a simple phone, insofar as the user is concerned.

So, at launch, you’ll have Android 4.2.2 and all the lockscreen widgets and under-the-hood improvements we’ve been used to for months. An update to Android 4.3 probably won’t be too far down the road, but such things still have to be approved by the operators.

On AT&T's version, there's not all that much bloatware. The myAT&T account app and Visual Voicemail are on board, and that's about it. Fine. They're useful. What we'd love to see nuked is AT&T's own contact syncing service, which you can't easily disable as if it were any other application. And, yes, AT&T's version shows the operator's name in the nav bar. Just in case you forget.

There are a couple major additions from Moto, however. They are Active Notifications (also referred to as Active Display), and Touchless Control.

Touchless Control

Moto X Touchless Control

With Touchless Control, it really comes down to ease of use. Voice commands have been around for years, but traditionally they’ve required you to perform some sort of physical act to implement — touch an on-screen button, toggle a Bluetooth trigger — something that requires action. Moto X can be trained to listen for the phrase “OK, Google Now” — as in Google’s predictive information service. Train the phone, then say the magic words, and you’ve got

  • Make phone calls: “Call Jerry.” One downside here: Even in “Drive mode” (see “Moto Assist”), placing a call through Google Now doesn’t actually turn the speakerphone on, and you’ll still have to pick up the phone to talk. If you're connected to a Bluetooth hands-free device, it'll properly make the call through that.  (Update: As commenter paisley99 points out, the option to automatically use the speaker was added when Touchless Control was released in Google Play.)
  • Get directions: “Driving directions to Jerry’s bar.”
  • Send messages: “E-mail Jerry, subject: I’m coming to the bar” or “Text Jerry: Are you at the bar?”
  • Set reminders: “Remind me to go to Jerry’s bar.”
  • Ask questions: “Where is Jerry’s bar?”
  • Schedule a meeting: “Schedule an appointment to go to Jerry’s bar on Tuesday for breakfast.”
  • Play music or movies: “Play Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.” (This may require a little extra action on your part, depending on how you do your media.”
  • Set alarms: “Set alarm for 6 a.m.” or “Wake me at 6 a.m.”
  • Web searches: “Show me pictures of cats.”

Moto X Touchless Control

Setting up Touchless Controls takes just a few seconds. You’ll need to be in a nearly silent room or it balks at you. Then just speak naturally. If you find that the “OK, Google Now” phrase isn’t working as well as you like, you can re-train from the settings menu.”

Real-life usage tends to vary, depending on the noise level around you. In a quiet room, you can trigger Touchless Control from a good 10 or 15 feet away. Noisy environments mean you need to be closer to the phone. We’ve gotten it to work on airplanes, but only when held right next to our mouth, and even then not without complaining that it sounds like we’re on an airplane and that it might work better if we were somewhere more quiet.

You might not want to talk to your phone all the time, and you don't have to. But it's a great feature to have when you need it.

And none of that changes the fact that it’s still a bit … odd … talking at your phone. Five years from now we might all have a different opinion. But today, it feels forced. It’s neat at parties, and kids get a kick out of it. And it’s absolutely useful in the car. Not having to touch the phone means not having to take your eyes off the road at all.

But the tech’s still in its infancy. It can still take a few seconds between the time you stop talking and the time Moto X performs the action. That’s not a big knock, and the latency should only get better. Nor are we all that concerned about the “always listening” aspect of Touchless Control. Those who wear tinfoil hats will continue to crow, but it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between “always listening,” and “always listening for the same three words.” And, yes, it is possible for someone else to trigger your “OK, Google Now” phrase. But how likely is that to happen? Depends on whom you’re around, we suppose.

Motorola also has released Touchless Control as a standalone application in Google Play — meaning that it can be updated just like any other app — without a full software update to your phone. That's a good thing.

It does needs to be said, however, that the Touchless Control feature is entirely dependent on having an Internet connection, even for tasks that you’d consider to be offline. “OK, Google Now — set an alarm for 5 p.m.,” for instance, won’t work if you’re not online. Moto X is smart enough to recognize if it’s in Airplane Mode or simply doesn’t have a data connection. It just can't do anything about it.

Active Display/Active Notifications

This may be our favorite new software feature introduced in Moto X. (OK, OK. This is on the new “Droid” phones, too, as is a lot of what’s in Moto X.) Moto X has a Super AMOLED display. And unlike an LCD display, in which all of the pixels are either on or off, individual pixels can be fired up on SAMOLED. That’s where these “Active Notifications” come in.

When the phone’s simply resting, it’s not actually “sleeping.” You’ll see the time and a little lockscreen icon flash on every few seconds. That’s what Motorola calls “breathing.” It recognizes when you pull your phone out of your pocket and starts breathing. Or when you otherwise pick it up. And it’s smart enough to not do it in your pocket, or when the phone’s face-down. It’s black-and-white, and it uses less battery than waking up the phone with the power button, because only the pixels used to show the time are used, instead of waking the entire display. (Thanks, SAMOLED!)

This subtle, simple feature works great — and saves battery life.

Showing the time of day is just small potatoes, though. It’s notifications that really matter here. And the gist is that any app that uses notifications can show them on Active Display. First you get a little notification icon. E-mail, text message, Facebook, whatever. Tap, and you’ll see a preview of the notification either at the top or bottom of the display, depending on how much is going on. Some notification previews look cooler than others — Gmail can show thumbnails of the sender, for instance, while most others are straight text.

Read our in-depth piece on the Moto X Active Display

You’ve got a handful of options when it comes to Active Notifications, which is good. For instance, you can turn them off altogether if you want. You also can check off which apps you want to be able to use Active Display. (That’s some nice, granular control there. Kudos, Moto.) If you have a PIN or password lock on your phone, you can choose whether you want Active Notifications to bypass the lock show their details, or if the should stay hidden. You also can set sleep hours, during which you’ll not see any notifications. No breathing. 

Active Notifications and Active Display (that’s a mouthful and really should be under a single name) remove the need for an LED indicator light, and we’re just fine with that. They’re more sophisticated and ultimately more useful.

Trusted Bluetooth devices and Motorola Skip

Trusted Bluetooth devices

You really should have a password of some sort on your phone. Your life is in this thing.

You no longer have an excuse not to have a password on your phone. Period.

But passwords are annoying. We get that. Moto X has implemented a cool little feature that makes having a secured phone be a little less of a pain. You can treat a connected Bluetooth device as a “trusted device.” And so long as that trusted device is connected to your phone, you won’t have to enter a password to unlock it.

It’s ridiculously handy.

If you always use a Bluetooth headset, for instance (and we’re not judging), you can use it as a trusted device. If you were to lose your phone, or if it’s stolen, it’ll stay locked unless the headset went along with it and was still connected. Or if you use a Bluetooth speakerphone or stereo in your car, the phone could treat it as “trusted” and forgo the lock in that case. We’ve been using the Pebble smartwatch as a trusted device. It’s something that’s on our wrist, and therefore we’re pretty attached to it and not likely to walk off with the phone.

Motorola Skip

Motorola also is offering up the “Motorola Skip” clip, which is a sort of NFC tag that you clip to your clothes. Pull your phone out of your pocket, tap the Skip, and your phone unlocks. It’ll come free (for a limited time) for those who order a custom Moto X through Moto Maker, and it also comes with three “Skip Dots” that will create trusted zones in your home or office or car — wherever you place them. Motorola is making unlocking easy.

Is this foolproof? No. If your phone and its paired trusted device are stolen together, you’re potentially insecure. (That’s assuming the trusted device is still connected and has power, but you get the point.) But Motorola also as a locate-and-wipe service through your Motorola account, and Google’s got its own locate-and-wipe option. Redundancy is good. And we’ve not seen a marked impact on battery life.

We’d love to see this sort of “trusted device” service become standard on every phone. Ain’t Bluetooth Low-Energy grand?

Motorola Assist

Motorola Assist

Motorola’s old “Smart Actions” may not be on the Moto X in name, but they’re certainly here in spirit, rolled (partially) into the “Assist” app. It handles three use cases — driving, meetings and sleeping — giving options for each.

When you’re, say, driving, you can choose to have incoming call information and text messages read aloud. If you like, you can have Moto X send an automated reply that you’re driving, can’t type and that you’re not one of those inconsiderate rubes who has a phone in one hand and a 72-ounce soft drink in the other, putting us all at risk. There’s also an option to have music playback resume once the phone realizes you’re driving. We suppose that’s useful to some folks.

Note that placing a phone call via the Google Now voice controls does so through the earpiece and not the speaker, even while in Drive mode. We’ll have to see if the car dock fixes that once it’s available.

The meeting option will silence your phone when it realizes you’re, well, in a meeting. It “checks your calendar for events with others” and shuts down the noise. You can silence the phone altogether or set it to vibrate only, and you can whitelist contacts to get through, or if someone calls twice in 5 minutes.

The Sleeping option does the same thing — setting quiet hours while whitelisting your favorited contacts or if someone calls twice in 5 minutes.

Motorola Connect

Motorola Connect

Another fun little feature is Motorola Connect. This ties your Moto X into your computer via an extension for the Chrome browser. Notifications for incoming and missed phone calls, voicemails and text messages will pop up on your screen.

Signing in is simple, and the extension is nicely designed. It’s worth a look, though it’s a bit superfluous if you’re a Google Voice user.

The Moto X camera

Moto X Camera

You’d be hard-pressed to hear a manufacturer talk about its camera without mentioning any of the 72 ways it’s one of the best shooters available, how it lets in 257 percent more light or has the largest pixels of anything this side of the Hubble or can take pictures quicker than the last guy.

Never mind the megapixels, 'Clear Pixels' or any other specs. The end result of the Moto X camera is the most disappointing feature of this phone.

Motorola’s just as guilty of this as anyone else. And that’s not to say the particulars aren’t important. Because they are. And the particulars in this case are 10-megapixel rear camera (there’s a 2MP shooter out front) that adds in a “clear pixel” along with the red, green and blue pixels to let in more light and alleviate motion blur. Pictures are shot in 16:9, and video records at 1080p.

All that said, we’ve not been overly impressed by the quality of images we’ve shot with the Moto X camera. Perhaps we’re used to the oversaturated pictures from other phones we’ve used this year (namely the HTC One, LG Optimus G Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and its cousins), but we’ve seen too many dark and dreary results. Colors seem muted. Images almost appear to be underexposed. And we’ve strugged with getting the proper focus in far too many shots.

That’s not to say we haven’t gotten some pretty good shots from Moto X. Because we have. It just feels like we’re having to work at them, or that it takes some post-production from something like Snapseed or the auto-enhance feature in Google+ to end up with something presentable.

Moto X Camera App

We are, however, a little intrigued by the direction Moto’s gone with the camera app.
Whereas so many camera apps are filled with features and buttons and filters, Motorola has simplified things. Launch the camera app, and you don’t even see a shutter button. Because there is no shutter button. The entire screen is the shutter button, with the idea that it’s easier to tap anywhere than worry about a small button. And there’s something to be said for that.

But what about focusing? On most phones, you can tap the screen to focus on a specific point. On Moto X, the default is to autofocus and then trigger the shutter when you tap the screen. You can change that in the settings, but even then it focuses and then shoots on its own, and that’s led us to delete more pictures than we’ve had to with other phones.

Back to the app itself, though. It’s nicely thought out. The only two buttons you see on the screen are to flip over to the front camera, and to shoot a video. Simple. Easy. (And, yes, you tap the screen any time while recording a video to get a still picture.) Swipe from the left edge — and this works whether you’re holding the phone horizontally or vertically — to open the options menu. It’s a ring, actually, done in a half-circle on the edge of the display, and you grab and pull to flip through all of the options.

Like we said, things are kind of sparse, mostly in a good way. Here’s what you’ve got:

  • HDR: Interestingly, there’s an “Auto HDR” mode in which Moto X decides whether to shoot in high dynamic range all on its own. But we’ve no idea how it decides that. And with the regular shooting mode being so disappointing, we’ve on occasion just left HDR mode on and hoped for the best.
  • Flash: Auto, on, off. What you’d expect.
  • Tap to focus: This is where you choose whether you want Moto X to refocus where you tap before shooting the picture. But the timing of the shutter still seems a little wonky. We love the idea of the entire screen being the shutter button, but we’re not sure the trade-off is worth it. We need more control over when we take the picture.
  • Slow motion video: For when you want to slow things down.
  • Panorama: On, or off. The act of taking an pano shot is just as you’ve done on other phones. Missing, however, is the “Photosphere” feature we’ve enjoyed on the Nexus 4 and LG Optimus G Pro. We’d love to see it in Moto X.
  • Geo-tagging: On, or off.
  • Shutter sound: On, or off. (Nice to see that option — not all operators allow it.)

There’s one last option that needs a little more than a bullet point. (If only so we can use this gif again.) ”Quick Capture” is the name Motorola’s given to the shortcut of launching the camera app by twisting your write twice. It’s about the same motion as turning a doorknob. And we’ve found it surprisingly useful. On paper, it sounds silly. But in actuality, it’s great. And it works most of the time.

It's gimmicky, yeah. But twisting your wrist to launch the camera quickly becomes second nature.

There’s an option to turn Quick Capture off, if you’re not into the whole motion thing, and you can still open the camera app via the phone’s lock screen (swipe from right to left) or the home screen or app drawer.

A couple more things: You can hold down on the screen to take multiple pictures in burst mode — the phone gives you a running count. Drag up and down to zoom from 1x to 4x. Swipe to the right to see your pictures in the gallery and to share them.

Look, the Moto X camera isn’t the worst in the world. We’re impressed by the simplicity of the camera app, and it’s certainly not been designed without purpose. Quick Capture is a fun feature. Images are passable, and you can clean them up in post-production. But we just don’t have the same sense of confidence in Moto X as a consistent camera as we do with the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4.

Is that enough to merit carrying a second phone, or a decent point-and-shoot? It’s a tough call, because the rest of the phone is so good. Here’s to hoping a software update improves things at some point.

Moto X video recording tests

[video:http://youtu.be/videoseries align:center]

Moto X sample pictures — warning: all thumbnails open in full resolution in a new window 

Let's start with some regular old pictures. Nothing too terribly exciting here. Some of them feel a little hung-over — like things are gray when there should be a little more life to them.

Moto X sampleMoto X sample

Moto X sampleMoto X sample

Moto X sampleMoto X sample

And now a few HDR shots. 

Moto X HDR sampleMoto X HDR sample

Moto X HDR sampleMoto X HDR sample

Moto X HDR sampleMoto X HDR sample

A panorama.

Moto X Panorama

And, finally, from 15,000 feet or so. A pic at 1x, and zoomed in at 4x.

Moto X sampleMoto X sample

Moto X sampleMoto X sample

Other odds and ends

  • Moto X has Bluetooth tethering capabilities. Or, rather, it’s supposed to. We couldn’t get our review unit to work — and neither could others. Hopefully just an early software thing.
  • Speaking of Bluetooth, a bunch of what you just read about was brought to you by Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. We haven’t really worried about what’s using Bluetooth LE and what isn’t — it just works.
  • Hey, it’s a phone! Call quality has been fine on AT&T. The phone’s got a trio of microphones to help with noise-cancellation.
  • Moto X is Miracast-capable, for what that's worth — which isn't a lot. Sadly, our MHL adapter's non-functional with the phone.
  • Use Google Wallet? Well, not on Moto X, you don't.
  • We've had nary an issue with GPS. Play Ingress to your heart's content.
  • Motorola has long been a leader in speakerphones, and that continues with Moto X. For a traditionally designed phone (as in with the speaker on the back), it sounds pretty good. It’s tough to call a traditional smartphone sound “rich” or “full” after using the likes of the HTC One, but Motorola’s done good here.
  • For the tinkering types, Motorola has said there will be a developer version of Moto X. It didn’t give a time frame. It'll also have an unlockable bootloader on some carriers.

The b​ottom line

Moto X box

At the end of it all, maybe personalization and personal taste really is the story of Moto X. On one hand — OK, literally in one hand — you've got a slick piece of hardware.

Moto XDon't worry that it doesn't max out the spec list. It runs as well as anything else out there —- maybe better, actually, and the battery life claims are largely to be believed. Moto X is beautifully designed. It fits your hand the way a smartphone should, not some shapeless slab that ignored design for thinness. It's a little reminiscent of the HTC One in its curves, but it's more compact and easier to hold. (Unknown is whether it'll have more consistent build quality than HTC has had with the One.) 

Moto X isn't without its faults, of course. No phone is perfect. We're not 100 percent in love with the display, but going back to 720p resolution wasn't as tough a switch as we feared. (And it's tempered by having a 4.7-inch display in a smaller body.) Other displays fare better in sunlight. And the camera is lacking. Maybe not woefully so, but it's definitely a step backward from every other top-shelf phone we've used this year.

Stylish, not too big, with great battery life and speed software. And a so-so camera. Moto X isn't the best phone out there, but it's easily in the top tier.

We asked before whether a lackluster camera would be enough to make us consider carrying a second device with a better camera — and it's a tough question, as there's so much to like in the rest of the phone. Moto X is among the best designed smartphones we've used in some time. The software is light and nimble, and we have to believe that it'll be updated in a relatively timely manner. (Motorola showed a renewed effort in that department in late 2012 and early 2013, and figure with Google behind it now, that'll only increase.)

We haven't really touched on price because, frankly, that's a pretty personal concern. Is $199 on contract too much for what the phone looks like on paper? Perhaps, but a spec sheet is just one part of what makes up the consumer price of a phone. Throw in the ability to customize your own device (and the likelihood that you'll see discounts at some point anyway) and we're not all that concerned.

No, the bottom line is this: Motorola's got an extremely capable phone on its hands with the Moto X. Save for a ho-hum camera, we've very much enjoyed it. It feels great, it looks great. What software has been added on by Motorola is mostly very helpful. It'll be available on every major U.S. carrier, and a regional or two as well. Custom designs being locked into AT&T are disappointing, but having to wait for the exclusive to lift should mean more designs will be available when it does.

Moto X indeed marks the rebirth of Motorola under Google — and it's one hell of a phone to start with.

 

Reader comments

Moto X review

250 Comments

+1

Definition of UMBRAGE

1

: shade, shadow

2

: shady branches : foliage

3

a : an indistinct indication : vague suggestion : hint

b : a reason for doubt : suspicion

4

: a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult

The new Motorola phones do a great job of bringing a great phone experience to a computing device

Posted via Android Central App

Oooo fresh off the press. Might wait until the Nexus5 release to decide, but I'm liking this phone more and more.

Posted via Android Central App

Lol. I'm sure Phil spent a hell of a lot of time working on this review. The least you could do is read some of it.

Posted from the AC app

You've been looking forward to a review for three weeks. Did you expect him to write a single page in three weeks' time?

We're adults. Read. It won't kill you.

-Your mother

So after reading the review I still don't get the total love.

THe battery life is what I would say is typical at this (or last years) point. I get similar numbers out of my SGS3 (not stock, but none of my phones will ever be).

The back was done by the rezound so it is not new by a long shot.

An improved camera which is to be expected on any new phone

I do like that the skin is light and it appears that most of the stuff that is normally included in a skin is an app instead. I hope other manufacturers see and do this. Great for the industry, most won't care. It actually may annoy the consumer (what I have to update again?!?!)

There was no way the phone was gonna live up to the hype. It could not happen. I just didn't expect it to fall this short.

One thing, maybe before anyone starts screaming about price, it was never going to be priced like a Nexus. That was another expectation that was unfairly put on it. This is motorola that is owned by google, not a google subsidized phone

I was one of the misinformed miscreants that expected this handset to be subsidized by Google, lol.

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Well let that be a lesson :-)

If an OEM says flagship, and the word Nexus doesnt accompany it, you are paying full price.

And let that be a lesson for Moto when they don't have as great amount of sales cause of this. As much as I like this device,I won't be buying it anytime soon. Get the price down then maybe.

At this point this is still a Big MAYBE.

Google can afford to subsidize other OEMs devices for the Nexus line. They can't afford to subsidize Moto's as well if they want to make money with the acquisition.

Exactly. Phones are not Google's bread and butter like Motos. Honestly if I remember right, Moto would more than likely be worth more to Google dead than alive(patents), but you gotta give them a chance to turn it around.

It's pretty well known by now that Motorolas patents are not very useful as they have been beaten by Apple and others in court every single time.

Why? So they can close down? They still have to be on the positive side of the ledger or they will close down and just be a patent shell.

Google is not going to hold their hand and just give them money. Econ 101

So they can close down? So they can close down????

iSupply has estimated flagship phones like the GS4 cost in the neighborhood of $240 to produce - components AND labor.

Can we PLEASE stop furthering this idea that companies are barely scraping together a profit on smartphones? They are making an absolute *KILLING* on these things, and will continue to do so until people stop shelling out their hard earned dollars so damn easily.

I'm all for companies making a profit, don't get me wrong, I've sold a thing or two over the years. But there's a difference between a profit and profiteering.

As for the Moto X, it's a nice phone, but absolutely not worth the price when compared to other phones. The camera, the decidedly un-boundary-pushing storage, the carrier locks and exclusivities, these are corner cutting measures that would have been fine if it priced like a Nexus, but not when it's amongst the most expensive phones on the market.

As per the last quaterly earnings report, and I quote "Motorola Mobility has lost $1.25 billion since Google took control."

Last quarter was their lowest loss at $179M.

Now tell me that they can afford to run a subsidy and that right now the patents are not worth more than the entire company.

Exactly who is asking them to "run a subsidy"? And Motorola's loss does not justify overcharging for a product.

If you loose your shirt in Vegas over a weekend, do you go into work on Monday and tell your boss you need a 175% raise for that week to make up the money you lost? No. Because your value to the company doesn't change based on your financial situation - it is what it is. Likewise, the value of a product isn't based on the financial situation of the company - it is what it is.

And why have you taken a black or white position on this? I criticize a premium price on a decidedly non-premium device, and your response is "they can't sell it at subsidy costs". As if there's simply no middle ground between $575 and $240. In fact there's 335 middle grounds between those two numbers (in whole dollar values).

You people are shockingly naive. This reminds me of all the assertions that Google was subsidizing the Nexus 4, some even claiming to the tune of $400 per unit. FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS PER UNIT. Let's see, $400 + the $300 selling price would mean the Nexus 4 cost $700 to produce. Wow. When the SGS4 cost $244 to produce, did people truly believe the Nexus 4 cost $700? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Agreed. Google was very clear they are NOT subsidizing their Nexus devices. They are simply selling them at a price point that is much closer to cost than your typical "analrapist" OEM. Another point I find extremely annoying, is the idiots who follow the "Nexus susidy" fallacy with "Nexus have never had cutting edge specs." No, they've had bleeding edge specs. Sans "official" LTE on the Nexus 4 (it sure has it), there hasn't been a device on the market with superior specs when any Nexus device was released (that was not its cousin OEM device).

I believe a bit more money goes into making a product than just labor and material costs. Design, engineering, advertising, support etc. Does iSupply take those into account?

Typical manufacturer profit margin average between 25% to 35%. How about a little math class?

If a product costs $240 to make, a company would sell it at $324 earning a 35% profit margin. Let's say a retailer also wants a 35% profit (which is on the high end of typical for consumer electronics), so they sell the product at $437.

Assuming the retailer's maintains a 35% profit margin, a manufacturer of a phone which costs $240 to make and sells for $575, is getting roughly $427 per unit - a 75% profit margin.

So yes, there is a "bit" more that goes into making a product. But other manufacturers are somehow able to cover those costs AND make a profit with a mere 35% markup.

So I'll ask you - why exactly do you feel smartphone manufacturers deserve a more than 210% greater profit margin than other device manufacturers?

I don't want to drag this out for too long but it's highly likely that Motorola spent more money developing this phone than they will producing every single Moto X they sell. Some of the developmental costs will be allocated to the new Droid lineup but R&D and everything else involved in the production, distribution, and promotion, of this product really start to add up after a while. There are plenty of manufacturers out there (in the consumer electronics industry as well as others) that have products selling at 400% of the per unit production cost. Don't forget that the final price you pay also includes the cost of the people cleaning the floors at night.

Clearly you have no idea the other costs that go into bringing a product to market. You have to pay engineers to design the product. Then you have to pay engineers to design the equipment to build the product. Then you have to pay someone to build and install the equipment for you. Then you have to train employees to build the product. Then you have to hire employees to keep the equipment running. Then you have to pay the bureaucracy that controls all of the work. Then you have to test the product and pay governments for the right to use the radios. You have to appease the carriers. And then after all that you have to advertise and get the product in the hands of the consumer so you can sell them. And you have to provide benefits for employees, taxes, and insurance just in case your product kills someone.

Producing a product is only one piece of the puzzle. Plus the market decides the price. If it was too much ppl would not buy it.

Assuming that the Moto X would be subsidized by Google seems intuitive, but I believe it would violate the terms set when Google purchased Motorola, which basically stated that Moto would have to continue to operate as a separate company for a set number (five, I think) of years. So we won't see Moto selling handsets at a loss to be cushioned by Google, or Moto getting Android code earlier than other OEMs so that they can release updates faster. Not for quite a while, anyway.

It is counter-intuitive. Motorola is a separate company under Google.

GM does not give price cuts for Chevy's to under cut Ford.

Besides, the actual contract is that they cannot do anything for Moto to give them a competitive advantage. Subsidizing phones would be a clear advantage.

Yeah I don't get all the battery talk about this phone. With a good cell phone signal and mostly wifi all day I can get 24 hours out of Nexus 4 as well -- big deal. I think they overhyped the battery life of this phone, it's basically the same as any other Android phone.

I do not think "they" did, but we always have Maxx expectations but in reality that is the exception to the rule

I have to agree. I was expecting to see 18 plus hours of fairly heavy usage. With my ONE Google Edition I can get 25 hours of light to moderate and a good 10-15 on fairly heavy usage.

I really don't see where this phone fell so short to you. It runs basically stock android, it has cool new features like always listening, active display and a quick way to launch the camera. It runs very fast and the battery life is satisfactory to impressive. Of course it doesn't sure cancer or anything like that but it functions extremely well and has loads of customization that can be done (on AT&T for now). This is exactly the kind of device that will sell to the mainstream audience. Just to give an example, I try to do things for my dad to make his droid DNA feel easier to use and its a friggin nightmare. And please, don't talk to me about touchwiz. It is by far the most unorganized and disfunctional skin to grace gods green earth. If anything, I think Motorola has finally started to get the ball rolling to start taking the steam out of Samsung. Just my .02

"I really don't see where this phone fell so short to you."

I think it's more probable that the people like him (who say things like "There was no way the phone was gonna live up to the hype. It could not happen. I just didn't expect it to fall this short") were never really going to like the phone. They were just waiting for some concrete reasons to proclaim it as not as good as what some people were saying it was going to be. I mean, some people deliberately make the effort to be contrarian. Look at his username, for example.

I've been trying to figure out whether this phone supports the apt-x Bluetooth codec for better quality audio? I believe the Droid Max does so I'm hoping the Moto X does as well. But it's nowhere to be found in any specs I've seen of the Moto X. Anyone?

Otherwise great review as always!

The hype has largely been generated by the media.
That said, it is the first Motorola phone developed under Google's oversight. It does some really cool stuff. It doesn't throw a ton of bloat or skinning on the UI and it IS Motorola's current flagship device.

This. The need to repeatedly bash this phone by people who likely have never used it is getting pretty old.

The issue that a lot of Android people have is that they don't want to pay extra for "user experience" like Apple makes you do. Android is customizable enough that, in general, we like to pay for the hardware and customize the software to our liking.

That being said, Moto X is clearly targeted towards regular users (people that would probably get an iPhone otherwise) and not so much towards hardcore Android nerds.

What do you mean "pay extra" for the user experience? The iPhone is the same price as the GS4 and HTC One and every other flagship.

Why now?!?!??! I'm busy for the rest of afternoon.... I can't wait to read it.

Thanks Phil for all of the time you put into this.

I don't know much about photography or cameras, but that photo with the little girl's hands over ears looks very good.

Hmmm, I've not really been following the hype for this phone close enough, but what I read right and like all the other Google devices before it, there is no SD card expansion? No wonder you are saying "it is just a phone, folks", yeah, it really does because just a phone at that level.

When you have no space for a varied music collection, space for collected pictures of all your travels or a couple DVD's for those plane trips...yep, it proves to be an over priced phone. So F'n what if you get 50GB of Google Drive space. They are not giving you a 100GB of bandwidth deal on AT&T when you are not on your wifi at home. Or even when you are 10,000ft up flying between states.

No doubt this is a great phone, specs and usage seem to show that it is a great contender. But, I honestly do use all 32GB of space of MP3's, PodCasts, and misc data of my SG3. I was hoping that this was going to be a great Samsung competitor. This was going to be the phone I recommended to a few friends that wanted to jump to a new device.

Funny how we used to say, "this will be an iPhone killer", but now it seems like we have to hope Samsung doesn't run the field for the next decade.

Because it's still important to some folks. Some folks just want want SD support, but there are some who truly need it. The powers that be have done their best to sell us on the self-serving notion that we don't need SD support. Many of us have chosen to go quietly, others will be dragged kicking and screaming.

Well no SD card and only 16gb hasn't stopped apple from selling iphone 4/4s/5 at alarming rates. So if Moto can get the same no SD card success I think they'll take it.

But conversely, Samsung outsells them all and they have a slot.

Just playing devils advocate. I will be done with the SDcard slot when 32/64 is the norm. Not 16/32

Very little of Sammy's success is due to SD slots. Marketing is their reason for success.

Posted via Android Central App

I agree with you that that very little is due to the SD slots, but in addition to the marketing, they make and have made great phones.

The reason a couple of my friends finally jumped to an iPhone5 was because of camera issues with the iPhone4 and also, running out of space, as they had with the iPhone3GS. By keeping people locked into a small box, when it is filled and slows down, people will opt for a new model.

You saw this time an again with the uninformed PC shopper years ago. Their PC was running slow, so instead of adding more RAM (pre-Win64 days) they would just buy a new computer, not knowing to reinstall the OS and it was fast again.

If people can upgrade their external storage needs with an SD card slot, the stock phone itself just needs to be there for apps and system cache. I look at my SG3 and feel that I will not have to upgrade to the SG5, wasting $250 (after buying the phone and misc contract fees/tax) when, I could have simply bought a bigger 128GB SD card when it hits the market and kept my phone for another few years if I take care of it.

Maybe for the average person, they don't need an SDcard. But for a so-called "Flagship" phone...it certainly is outgunned in the storage department. 50GB in the cloud is like saying 'I have $50k in gold in a foreign bank', so what? If you can't get to it when you really need it, who cares? It is not like having $50k cash in hand.

Bigger is not always better, but it is nice to have options and flexibility when you need it, when it really counts. People can argue "well, you just need to keep up with your phone's space" No, that doesn't cut it when you are on vacation and recording videos now and then with your phone, along with lots of photos, your travel music and some movies.

For the price...there are other options, better options. God I do love Google, but I'm getting so tired of being told that how I want to live is wrong when all I'm looking for is more flexibility in their products in terms of local storage.

Phil - Can you comment on the power / volume buttons and the fit / quality? Some reviews have said they are loose and rattle around, while others have said that the buttons are solid.

For the two you have, how is the fit / finish of the buttons?

Thanks.

Yeah, The Verge Mobile podcast mentioned the buttons on their pre-production review unit felt slightly better than the Motomaker version.

I still think if MotoGoog really wanted to enter with a bang, they should have insisted/forced the carriers to a $99 price point to the consumer. ATT makes it up with the monthly subsidy anyway so thats just being greedy. At $200 there are simply better choices for so many important reasons, camera among them. My N4 gets similar battery life with mixed use, my camera is likely just as good, if not better, so its essentially a more ergonomic nexus. Again don't care one bit about customizations or LTE so that adds zero value. I really like where they went with the MX in many respects, but they don't need to act like it's some sort of super powerhouse of a device when in some of the more important areas it falls short of modern 2013 phones.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

Until you forget that Google ='s Motorola you will always be disappointed
Motorola is a part of Google but still its own company

Until you get that Google does not own Motorola, but Motorla Mobility, you will not fully understand. You're on the right path though buddy (except for the NoNexus part ; P ).

I'm surprised it didn't debut at a cheaper price too. I didn't think it'd get a Nexus price point but considering the specs I expected it to come in under $199 subsidized.

Alas, this won't be my next phone, but that's because I have Sprint and I won't be buying anything that isn't tri-band LTE.

Far better than I expected. This review is amazing and makes me simply want one.
To be honest. Google/motorola is being very smart. Dont add all the gimmick stupid features like other companies. They are simply making an everyday, every person, everywhere kind of phone. With features that work and fit perfectly with everyday life.

You sold me

PS I had that Idea about the Bluetooth watch unlocking the phone before this phone was released.... I think I need to work for Motorola

What kills this phone for me is the paltry internal storage with no SD card and only customizable on one carrier. Carrier exclusives need to die!

Posted via Android Central App

1000% agree. For me, in the end, the reasons i cant get this phone are as follows:

1. Storage. i can deal with 32, but 16 will just not do (it didnt on my one s either)
2. Not customizable on anyone but att now (by the time it is, this phone will be old news and there will be the G2, nexus 5, and note 3 out... move along)
3. Camera. There hasnt been one image taken with the phone in any review that i have seen that made me say wow.

So is the T-mobile version going to be available tomorrow with the AT&T release? Best Buy selling them for T-mobile?

Seems like MotoMaker is really going after girls with the color options. Just a bunch of random pastels. Doesn't seem like you could get many team color combos on there, pros or college.

Fluorescent green text on a white background hurts to read.

All the words in black and blue were awesome though! Great job!

Awesome, except ... Why can't android get cameras to work. Original iPhone was better than most and iPhone 5 is better than all at pics. They need to address colors, low light, and anti-blur. Also, no NFC/Google Wallet ... WTH. Oh, would have been nice to make it water resistant as well.

Dude... dont know what low end phones you have had lately, but Everything from my one s which i bought a year and a half ago, to my S3, and now the One all have amazing cameras. I haven't been disappointed with any of those and i am sure there are others that are great too (s4 G2, etc) those are just the ones i have owned.

It's got NFC, enough to work with the skip and skip dots accessories. So is it lacking the secure element, like the new (2013) Nexus 7?Could that be the reason Google Wallet isn't working, or is it a simple matter of the app or play store needing to be updated for compatibility? Has anyone tried to side load the app?

Well... Definitely confirms my initial thoughts of.. MEH.

I do LOVE the way the phone looks, and the size, but i am just not blown away like i wa with the s4 or the One. I bought the one a month ago and seriously have never been this happy with a phone... there is no way i would be able to say that with this just for the camera alone.

Moto... love where you are going but maybe next time you can earn my dollars.

Good review but there was one sentence that isn't correct:

"And unlike an LCD display, in which all of the pixels are either on or off, individual pixels can be fired up on SAMOLED."

This is not quite correct. LCD pixels can be turned on or off individually as well. That's not the issue. LCD isn't suitable for the Active Notifications feature for two reasons:

1. A majority of a LCDs battery usage is from the backlight. When a LCD display is on, the backlight is also on regardless of what's being displayed on the screen. There is no backlight in SAMOLED screens.

2. When an LCD pixel has a charge applied to it it goes from transparent to opaque. Thus a completely black LCD screen has all pixels active. This is the opposite of SAMOLED where a black pixel is the default, unpowered state and a lit pixel indicates one that is consuming power. A black LCD screen consumes the maximum amount of power, whereas a black SAMOLED screen consumes no power.

I have a feeling this is as close to a nexus phone as Sprint will ever get again. My galaxy s3 is still more than capabe so I will not upgrade this year but would consider the moto x2 if there is one.

I am speaking subsidized as well. It is foolish to pay full price for something like an htc one or galaxy s4 developer edition on a carrier that doesn't offer lower prices for buying your phone outright.

Yeah, considering:

Samsung had it for two years in a row, and manufactured last year's Nexus 10.
Asus had the Nexus 7, two years in a row.
And Google doesn't want to/can't play favorites with Motorola, due to the OHA.

Posted via Android Central App

"What we'd love to see nuked is AT&T's own contact syncing service, which you can't easily disable as if it were any other application."

In what way is AT&T's contacts app annoying? If you don't use it, does it natter at you anyways (or something like that)?

Excellent review.. But it isn't clear from your review if what is unique about this phone sets it enough apart from higher end phones like the G2.

Other then reading specs, what makes the G2 a higher end phone and no one used it to see if it actually works smooth. I have a S4 and used my brother's droid maxx and if the maxx and x are suppose to be the mid phones cause of specs and S4 high, I'm ready to downgrade cause that maxx is smoother then anything I used android.

I agree. I played with the maxx in store and that phone was every bit as smooth as my nexus 7. Definitely one of the smoothest androids I've used and I've used a lot. So it being "mid range" is only for those who go by specs and specs alone.

That's for you to discover for yourself. I'm sure you can decide for yourself what setsythe X apart from other devices. Noone can do that for you. What you value is unique to you.

Just picked up the HTC One over this for Verizon. I'm just sick and tired of these manufacturers allowing exclusives to a certain carrier. I mean how dumb does motorola have to be to allow this. Motorola lost my interest along with a lot of other people, Because the Motomaker isn't available on other carriers. Motomaker was the one thing that really set this phone apart from others, but when you take that away, plus a horrid camera and the thickness its just a ordinary phone. Verizon has the Ultra and Maxx, So if you can overlook the usual droid design, You get a durable phone with a larger display and battery (even larger on maxx) and it's available today.

Better late than never for the HTC One on Verizon, But the bootloader is unlocked and theres GE roms available.

I bought my HTC One (T-Mobile) the day the Moto X was announced. Given equal pricing I found the One to be a better fit for me.

I would have been really impressed with this device.....in 2011 or 2012.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

First off, thank you for the great review. I am a big fan. The Moto X seems like a beautifully designed phone with lots to like about it, but, hype aside, it was supposed to deliver something superior both for the battery and the camera; statements were specifically made regarding these, so I am a little disappointed. Nice features overall, but maybe not enough to make it a compelling buy.

Posted via Android Central App

If you aren't an AT&T customer you are unable to buy a phone with 32gb of int memory. Total bull shit. To even limit the other Carriers to only 16gb of int memory is a slap in the face. That is why I didn't buy a Nexus and still won't unless they step the fuck up and start giving their customers more internal memory. Try downloading a few games on that new 16gb int memory phone that in reality only has about 10 or 11gb of space after the OS. All of a sudden the phone starts to slow down. Piece of shit. When will Android start building quality devices. I am so frustrated, put all these great specs into a phone and then cripple the fucking thing with a pathetic 16gb of int memory. What a joke. I refuse to settle for anything less than 32gb with sd-card support and without sd-card support a minimum of 64gb of int memory. Start selling phones like Apple, this year I understand they are raising their int memory to 128gb for the max and then 64 and 32. They are eliminating the 16gb version on the expensive iPhone 5. They will be selling these phones in all versions to all Carriers at once. Maybe Android could learn something from Apple. 16gb is like castrating a bull. What a freaken joke and a waste of great hardware.

What? My 16GB Nexus 4 doesn't slow down even with 21 games on it and 78 apps total. Please explain how loading an app on a phone will slow it down.

Posted via Android Central App

This. I have 2.5 gb free on my Nexus 4. 70 or so apps and a bunch of music. I am running a relatively stock experience and I am noticing an exact experience as when I booted it up the first time.

First, calm down
Next, you are going to be waiting awhile if those are your minimum specs
Lastly, Apple is more than likely going to put out a mini this year so of course they want to do away with the 16 on their "normal" phone. Cuts down on the competition for it.

I will believe 128GB when I see it. If I see it this year, it is going to be 400$ subsidized.

I sold my Nexus 4 thinking this was being released on Aug 1. Now I'm stuck on my Nexus 1. Let's get this Sale on!!

Great review! I'm convinced. Hurry up, VZW

one exception: "under Google’s umbrage?" umbrage? perhaps you meant tutelage?

Regarding your below comment
"Make phone calls: “Call Jerry.” One downside here: Even in “Drive mode” (see “Moto Assist”), placing a call through Google Now doesn’t actually turn the speakerphone on, and you’ll still have to pick up the phone to talk. If you're connected to a Bluetooth hands-free device, it'll properly make the call through that."

Motorola updated touchless control app yesterday on playstore, that added an option to allow you to make phone calls in speakerphone phone mode directly. Exactly what you said was missing in your review.

Wait. This was one of your voice commands:

'Schedule a meeting: “Schedule an appointment to go to Jerry’s bar on Tuesday for breakfast.”'

You go to a bar for breakfast? Is an intervention in order?

I'm super disappointed by the camera. Otherwise this would be a sure buy. In fact, I had a Droid MAXX on preorder for a while but canceled once I saw all the bad press on the camera.

Question for Phil/Anyone else - do you think the camera issues are software or hardware driven?

I know there is some marketing mumbo-jumbo going on with the clear pixel stuff, but perhaps the software just isn't optimized for it and the sensor itself is great?

Hope for a future software upgrade fixing the problems in that case...

Thoughts?

It is more than likely as good as your gonna get.

Sounds like the phone for you (and maybe me) is the Honami

Quick question, comparing to nexus 4, is it worth to upgrade?? Mainly concerns, camera and battery. Thanks

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I like the moto x, but I don't see much that would really make me ditch my Nexus 4 for it. I don't need LTE on att, cameras are probably a wash between the two. That leaves the active notifications, which I already use a notification app that I like with the N4. So, just my opinion that other than a more ergonomical phone to use, there isn't much to attract a N4 owner. But then again, I really don't think N4 owners were the target market anyhow. :)

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4

Condensed version of this article

AT&T getting the initial exclusive on Moto Maker shows it's still business as usual in the smartphone world, at the new Motorola. Moto X is among the best designed smartphones we've used in some time. No, the bottom line is this: Motorola's got an extremely capable phone on its hands with the Moto X. Save for a ho-hum camera, we've much enjoyed it.

Waiting for the Motorola X L. Motorola XL. Gimme the same phone with 1080p with a 5.5 inch screen and I'm sold. Hello Moto?

So I will admit, I was skeptical, but Mercdroid talked me off my high horse and I was able to be objective, and even said I wanted to see what it was going to be like in "real-life" use.

After your review, I feel that you have convinced me that this is a phone to be reckoned with. I said that "the sum being greater than its parts" would be the deciding factor on whether it will be a success. And I am not disappointed. It is an excellent phone as a whole.

My concern is still the competition, and hoping that the average salesman will be able to convince the average phone buyer that the Moto X may not be the biggest, baddest and flashiest phone, but quite possibly a better phone overall.

But an excellent review as always. Love the site and the people on it that make this awesome :)

+9000 This review has helped me, too. I use my phone, most of the day. So, the experience is very important. Being able to talk to my phone will be very useful, as I drive a lot.

Hopefully, a 32gb, unlocked version is sold directly through Motorola, sooner rather than later.

I'm sure, we'll both be more than satisfied, brother.

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"Simply put, this is the best-designed and most put-together smartphone we’ve used in some time."

You're entitled to your opinion of course, but I believe essentially all of the AC writers agreed that the HTC One took this title. Do you really mean to say the Moto X is better in this regard? Hard to believe, and I have to think this is being written to draw eyeballs to the review with hyperbolic statements like this.

The HTC One WAS the the best-designed and most put-together smartphone we’ve used in some time... that time has come and gone. Some people have found in the time that the aluminum unibody design can be uncomfortable after an extended period of time. It's a bit bigger than the Moto X (from the pix I've seen. I obviously don't own it) though the screen is the same size. As nice as the screen looks, the bezel of the HTC One is as thick as the HTC EVO 4G.... from 2010.

Forgetting specs...this phone looks like the best-designed and most put-together smartphone I've seen in some time.

Phil, I have three questions for you, if you please.

1) They mentioned that the phone had dual LTE antennae. In your three week test, did you notice any kind of signal boost or a more consistent connection to LTE on the AT&T device?

2) If you did notice any better reception, were the speeds any different? Or was it more or less comparable to other phones you have on AT&T

3) Do you know if Verizon will offer a 32GB model at launch or ever?

As always, great review and awesome podcast.

I can answer #3

No not at launch and more than likely never. The 32GB could happen but I am guessing the odds are very low. 30/70

ATT has the exclusive on it. It was announced at launch.

Verizon never getting it is a guess, but with history behind it. Most of the time the carriers will not essentially re-release a phone like that

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It wouldn't surprise me if the 16 gb is sold in stores, and you can get a 32gb Verizon phone down the line by ordering it through MotoMaker.

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I'd be willing to bet that motomaker will be on Verizon with 32 GB model just in time for the holiday. Probably with promo pricing or an advanced data plan or something. Or maybe just a free case or some bs like that.

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If that's the case, I'm more than happy to wait.

Even if it's a few months to wait and see, I'm happy to wait for a chance to get rid of my S3.

Don't get me wrong, the S3 is great with a stock OS; but it absolutely blows with the factory image on it. Unless Samsung goes back to basics, like Motorola did, I will never buy another Samsung phone again.

Can the camera shortcomings be overcome with the installation of some other third party camera app?

There are a couple in the play-market that allow you to set for over/under exposure and color saturation and retain those settings.

Apps couldn't fix the RAZR MAXX HD camera so I doubt it can fix his one. Moto cameras blow. I would have bought this phone but the camera is just that bad....

Does anyone know if the 32GB will also be on other carriers in the future? I can't possibly use this phone if it's only 16GB. Having the colors on one carrier is stupid but ok, whatever. But having unusable versions on the other carriers because 11GB just doesn't cut it is a dumb move by moto.

Just like the Moto Maker is AT&T exclusive for now, the storage exclusivity shall pass as well. There won't be a developer edition of the phone with only 16 GB, so it's gotta lift sometime. -Ara

I must say, that of all the recent articles by people who are iOS evangelist providing two cent reviews on a device they could not understand, I finally am able to read a real review. Not just any review, but Phil, you have taken the time to write and compile a great article. Great write up. I hope that when it arrives on Sprint, Sprint will hopefully have pushed out LTE service here in Las Vegas, because this is definitely a phone I would love to get my hands on.

This phone really appeals to me being a female. I love the colored backs as I don't put cases on my phones. It's unfortunate that the camera isn't very good. I'd like to know if it's worse or better than the HTC One's camera?

Considering you got decent pics SOME of the time, have ya'll put on a third-party camera app and seen if results have improved? 'Cause this Texas girl wants to support a phone made/assembled/whatever here at home, and if all I need to do to fix the camera is spend five or ten bucks on one of the many camera apps out there, I'm prepared to do that...

Just as soon as this phone is available carrier-bloat-free. The AT&T bloat I can deal with if it really is just those three things, but I'm sick of getting games like Asphalt that I can't get off my phone despite how much I hate them.

-Ara

I strongly believe it is the software that hampers the camera.

Can someone else more knowledgeable chime in?

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I was at target today looking at screen covers for my One and went to check out all their phones. The guy had a Moto in a drawer and I got to handle it for a bit. It felt small, like the size of my old 4s. and the back had that same S4 plastic feel to it and despite the little bumps or ridges it had on the back it was smooth and slippery. He said it was a demo unit he got from the company they buy phones from so I dont know if its different. Either way it didnt have a feel of a $600+ phone.

Sad that this does not come to Europe :( the phone looks nice and I like it

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+1
I'm not screaming, but definitely noticing the way this detail seems to be deliberately shuffled to the bottom of the deck.

Have they announced the unsubsized price. Want to get this on T-Mobile when it's available from Moto Maker.

>"Never mind what some folks are saying about this being a "mid-range" phone. That's just specs on paper,"

Well, with no SD card and only 16GB of storage with a measly 11GB available free on any non-AT&T carrier, it is completely "mid-range" if not "low-range" to me. Stupidest move, ever. Approaching 2014 we should have 32GB *STANDARD* with an option for 64. Oh well.

Everything is all about it coming to AT&T, does anyone have any idea if it is also coming to verizon on the 23rd (tomorrow)? i personally don't care about the moto maker, i am fine with just a black or white one. If anyone out there has any clue i would really appreciate it

WOW, thats quite a review for a phone that Phil himself said he wouldn't pay $199 for(Podcast). Now I guess we are expected to forget that. If you use a case the backs are useless. You can talk about specs not mattering, but a year from now they will. The camera and 720P alone is reason enough to bag this phone. I would recommend the S4 or the One over this in a heartbeat . This is the weirdest positive review I think I have ever seen AC do. I don't get it ??....

I'm on AT&T and I still think the 32GB and customization exclusive are BS.

Lets tell it like it is guys...Blast Motorola for the shortcomings...Or they are going to keep missing the boat till they end up like BB. Take off the rose colored glasses. Mark my words...this phone is going to be forgotten about within 6 months...

Nice, but no matter what, it is decidedly mid-range and should be pitted up and priced against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, HTC One Mini and Sony Xperia SP and older phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nexus 4.

A lower un-subsidized price point (closer to Nexus 4 territory) would have tempted me away from my HTC One that I just converted to Google Play edition, but all in all, a great review. Just wanted to chime in my $0.02.

"Make phone calls: “Call Jerry.” One downside here: Even in “Drive mode” (see “Moto Assist”), placing a call through Google Now doesn’t actually turn the speakerphone on, and you’ll still have to pick up the phone to talk. If you're connected to a Bluetooth hands-free device, it'll properly make the call through that. "

But Moto X instructions say there is a setting for it to open to speaker. Here's what their instructions:

"How do I set up Touchless Control to turn on the Moto X speakerphone automatically when making a voice call?

To use speakerphone instead as a default when calling simply go to Settings -> Touchless Control -> Use Speakerphone - just check it. If you don't have a setting for Use Speakerphone, please go to the Play Store and update Touchless Control to the latest version."

All this talk about AT&T has me a bit miffed. We (customers) resent carrier exclusives. It does nothing but create ill will from customers from other carriers. Nobody switches carriers for a single phone these days.

Thanks, Phil, for a very comprehensive and informative review.

I didn’t think this would be much of a phone and your comprehensive review confirmed my opinion. Your review was not only very detailed, but it was very gracious –especially to Motorola.

While we must recognize your work on this and thank you for investing so much time in that review, I have to say that for a mediocre phone, with a so-so cpu, so-so screen, so-so battery, no-go missing sd card slot and a so-so camera you did hype it too much with positives that would make a salesman blush.

You suggestion not withstanding, I can’t see why I would fall in love with the “dimpled logo.”

Nor do I feel very comfortable reading about the phone’s backside, which you promise is the best you’ve seen. . . Hmm. Maybe my phone is just a phone. . .

Also, your comment that the mediocre specs “don’t mean anything in real life” does not hold true.

These “specs” that we’re reading about are not home-grown Antutu benchmarks here. We are considering the phone’s capacities & its capabilities, and how it will deliver even after I’ve put my 30 gigs of songs movies and “stuff” on the phone. (oops! can’t do that without $50 buck more. . no SD card slot!).

Your suggestion that “Moto x is greater than the sum of it s parts,” sounds too much like all of those reviews we’ve chuckled about for the rather mediocre iPhone! Yet here we are reading the same words for a so-so moto phone.

Oh, battery life. . . I routinely “eek out” 24 hours of use or so on my relatively new “slab of plastic” Galaxy S4 (i337). This slab with a better screen, faster cpu, nicer size (5” vs. your self-decided “sweet spot” of 4.7”). Anyway it doesn’t matter –if I were to run out of battery, I just would take my spare and pop it in.

Kind of puzzled about how much you focused on the cover(s). The draw of the phone is the cover? Wood? Custom engraved words? (just like when I buy an Ipod for someone’s graduation?) . . .Good grief –Motorola’s descended into marketing hell with the likes of Apple!

The touchless control section of the review was fascinating. It is technology of the future (sort of like Siri, not quite right yet). While I appreciate the innovations, I won’t be shouting at my phone across the room. If I need my phone, I will pick it up, and if I need to talk to it, it will be in my hand. S-voice works nicely enough to call folks, google search and all that. So having my phone listening for my voice in a quiet room is not so much of a draw.

Anyway, why do I want to spend top-quality phone prices ($199) for mid-range quality phone that offers touchless control technology that you yourself describe is “still in its infancy”?

Finally, I hate to pile on (well, almost hate to;-), but your spell checker let you down. It probably changed your original word to “umbrage.” I say this because unless Google hates Moto, it was “reborn under Google's tutelage...” (not umbrage).

(Of course I don't know your original word! The nearest sensible word I could think of was tutelage. On the other hand, it might have been: “Umbilical cord,” or “Umbrella,” or even possibly “Utter.”

Maybe we could have a contest for the best replacement word for umbrage . . and the winner gets a small token prize like a Moto-x ;-)

Anyway, thanks for the review, I now know (and have heard) enough about the Moto x!

I want first say great well written review, despite many of the apparent editors leaving comments. I have seen many reviews throughout the Android Community, and I am always impressed with how in depth you and the Android Central team are with reviews. I have had a lot of Motorola devices and was contemplating moving towards the Samsung line of phones. However i think Motorola has made me rethink that decision. I know on paper it's not considered a nerds dream phone. However, I am often asked often advice about what phone do i recommend for the average user and I always point towards iPhone only because it's simplicity and minimalist approach. Now that Motorola has made a phone with that approach I find myself wanting something simple and mainly that just works without tweaking. Although I would never buy an iPhone I now know the Moto X is a phone I can recommend for people who desire simplicity as well. This review shows pros and cons and I think for me the cons are less than the pros. I currently have the Droid Razr Maxx and it has served it's purpose now I want something I can carry with a more personal style.

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MetalMike901 says:

I would have been really impressed with this device.....in 2011 or 2012.

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4
___________________________________________________________________________

Thank You Metal Mike.

What BS!!!
I see so many of you.. SO QUICK to Talk Sheet about this phone and that phone about "Last Year's Tech" and "Oh It Does Not Have A 1080P Screen" and "Oh It's Just A Dual-Core"

And now you have the NERVE to praise this OVERPRICED PIECE OF MID-RANGE #!@#$!

1) Colored Back Plate Phones are for Girls.. To Match Their Purses.
2)No SD Card Slot AND 16 Gb Storage = FAIL.
3)$600.00.. Really? Even $200.00 Down.. REALLY?

$349.00 Out The Door Free & Clear.. AT BEST.. It's SUPPOSE to have more tech than the 2012 Nexus 4... It's 2013 now.. but IT' IN THE SAME "MID-RANGE" CLASS!
You know it.. and I know it.. Stop Kissin A$$..

I agree 100% except for the colors bit. The Moto Maker thing actually intrigues me since I like having a unique looking phone but I can see your point.

I was actually considering buying one and went to the AT&T site and was shocked to see that it was the same price as the HTC One. Sorry but it's not even in the same ball park as the HTC One. It LITERALLY has half the specs. I think it would be more successful if it was priced somewhere around $450. Even a Nexus 4 would still be cheaper but i'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Nice write up Phil, but I just don't feel your excitement....With the likes of the Samsung S4, the HTC One, various Sony devices and even the Droid Max in the mix, with a subsidized price of $199 and straight sale price in the $600 range, this phone just don't make the cut.... Honestly, the only reason I would even remotely consider this phone is because it is made in the U.S. Nothing else about it is groundbreaking or enticing to me including the fact that Moto is now division of Google(which I feel is the biggest reason some folks are "all about this phone").

I was pleasantly surprised to see this review up. Makes the decision harder for me, but still think I'm in the "Nexus or bust" camp after owning a GNex. Awesome review, read every word.

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I got to play with the Moto X cousins at Verizon. Yes they are quite smooth and there is a lot to love there. That said I can't shake the thought of not now but 2 years on with this.

I have a bad feeling that there is going to be a load of butt hurt when that time comes. I might be quite wrong and they will surprise me. I'll take a One please.

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Man, people have really become spoiled with some smartphone cameras. I guess my level of expectation in a smartphone camera is too low. I had the Droid X then the Galaxy Nexus. 2nd better than the 1st, but this Moto X camera looks great to me. Love the pic of the kid on the beach because I've got 2 kids and that's what I'll be taken pics of too, for memories. Great pics, i don't go clubbin so I'll never need low light shots. This part of the review made my mind up for sure. Moto X is mine when it's available through Moto Maker on Verizon.

EDIT: As i read through the comments i kept seeing so much of the same ole crap about "last year's specs", "mid range", "priced too high". To all the commenters using those excuses to hate, tell me when and how long you've had the device in hand to judge it properly like Phil or the other bloggers.

And the no SD card slot rant is old folks. those phones that have it can't get it perfect (i'm looking at you S4. sources below) because the OS is now specifically built to avoid its use. Spend $50 more, get the 32GB.

http://forums.androidcentral.com/general-help-how/276489-samsung-galaxy-...

Manual move to sd card? how is that not "last year". more like "last gingerbread".
http://www.androidcentral.com/moving-apps-sd-card-samsung-galaxy-s4

Most would love to get the 32 GB but it is only on ATT
Something is better than nothing sometimes

Agreed. That extra 16GB of usable storage makes a world of difference, especially when you're not in an area that has the greatest LTE reception.

Whether or not Verizon releases a 32GB version will determine whether or not I get this phone, sad as it sounds...

Also, you can't blame manufacturers for not including more storage when it's the carriers holding it back. Verizon would far prefer every phone not have 32GB and have to move more data per month for $.

Notice how the carriers who don't charge for data are also the ones more open to larger storage?

I thought Bluetooth 4.0 came with Android 4.3. Did Motorola/Google introduce it in 4.2.2 for the Moto X?

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That was a great review Phil! Thanks for your time in writing the review. It was worth the wait!

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I actually really want one. I need to move away from Samsung and their crap features that only drain the batter and are not really that helpful. Stock android or as close as I can get is the next waybill heading.

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The video would not play for me. Maybe my Verizon data connection was having issues or just doesn't play. When I got down to the part about no SD card slot that's when I stopped reading.

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Excellent review! I believe the Moto X will be my next phone. By the time I'm able to upgrade from the Atrix HD, the kinks should all be worked out of the X.

This is a great android phone for the average consumer which Motorola is directing it at.

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A phone I couldn't care less about. It's not available outside of US-of-A. So, no point wasting time over this (for me). I must admit I didn't even read a single sentence of the review before commenting.

I am really surprised exclusives are worth it in the Android world. I can understand why ATT paid a shit ton of money for the iPhone exclusive but how can it possibly be worth it paying for one of many Android phones to be exclusive. Will people really switch to ATT just to customize this phone? ATT must have paid a ton of money to get an entire company to go with only them for a period of time, which in the phone world makes all the difference. After that exclusive period is over there will probably be something bigger and better released. Is that really worth it to Motorola? To me it seems like they will lose more sales than ATT would have covered.

Can you clarify the lack of Google Wallet support? Is that an issue with the phone, or an issue with the carrier? Will it possibly work on non-AT&T versions?

Thanks for taking the time to actually use the phone before writing the review. Great job. I'm just about sold on this phone, except for that camera. Does Moto have a tendency to update camera software after releasing a phone like HTC and Nokia? If this camera is not worse than my current SGS2 in terms of image quality, then I think I'll be ok.

Nice review. It helped me make my decision to get one. I hate huge phones, and usually use tiny phones, but decided I needed more power more than the smallest form factor. It was interesting to see that the Moto X is smaller than the current crop of "minis" and has better specs. It should really be compared to those phones, and probably have a lower price as well.

Good luck ordering one. I bought my 32GB Moto X card at lunch today, came back to the office, and was confronted with issues putting in my PIN on Chrome, Firefox, and IE. A call to the listed support number resulted in a transfer to (what sounded like) a possible foreign support center. Assembled in the US, but support is not? An hour later they said there was a problem with the website and they would call be back within 24 business hours (next week) regarding a possible solution.

I kept trying it, on all the browsers, until I left work for the day. Firefox would actually display the captcha, but the other browsers wouldn't. All day long.

I got home, and was able to do it on Chrome at that point (7 hours later). Now, it says it will ship in 12 days. So much for the 4 day custom phone in your hands... There was some unknown problem with my address, that it wanted me to correct but never actually said what was wrong. After entering in the same address three times, it finally took the order. I was on the phone with support during the shipping issues as well, and once they decided it was a problem with the Motomaker, they transferred the call to a special Motomaker support person, but by that point my order had finally gone through. It just took almost 9 hours from the point I purchased the Moto X card until I finally had an order.

It is troubling that the phone isn't expected to ship for 12 days. Not because it is unreasonable for a newly released phone, but because I have been reading about this groundbreaking 4 day turnaround for a fully custom phone. Four days is great, outstanding even. 7 days is understandable. 10 is a little while (2.5x the loudly declared time). Twelve days, a full 3x the stated turnaround, is quite long. No wood or engraving is not such a bad thing, although if they weren't going to make the release they shouldn't have made such a big fuss over them either. I probably wouldn't have chosen those anyway, so it isn't a huge deal to me personally.

Be prepared to tell each support person that you talk to what colors you picked. They have obviously been coached to ask, and tell you how great it will look with those choices. That was a little cheesy, but it was fine. I happened to agree with them :)

Now I just hope they actually get it to me in twelve days. The support person mentioned, at least 6 separate times throughout my 3 calls today, that it was quite possible that there would be further delays from the listed shipping time.

I am excited for the phone, and think it will be worth it to wait a few weeks to get the 32GB one. The custom choices are great, but I would have taken a black one if these options didn't exist. My wife and children probably care a lot more about that part than I do.

Desperate-to-sell review. I'd say that we are probably looking here at the next "Windows RT unsold units" fiasco. May I suggest please that Google will sell this in Asia? We are very much into colorful and mid-range Android phones. That's all I'm saying.

I really like this phone , the design is outstanding and comes in many colors.

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I went to AT&T to see this phone yesterday. The specs are NOT impressive.
Dual Core not Quad Core
720p not 1080p
4.7in screen not 5in+ ....blah blah blah

In hand the phone looks and feels amazing. I'm VERY IMPRESSED.
I think everyone needs to see and feel this phone in person before they make any judgements.

And I'm happy that Moto was smart. In real world use there isn't much need for a quad core, 1080p 5in screen phone. It's mostly overkill.

That said, since the phone isn't over-powered it should not be over-priced. If this phone was $450 off contract, $100-150 on contract it would make more sense. They could still over charge for their Droid phones...

I hesitate to comment, but will throw this out there... Within a given architecture, once you have two cores, clock speed becomes more important. This is because demanding applications tend to exist as a single thread which requires a lot of resources, leaving the remaining cores underutilized. More cores are for parallel tasks, like what you see in a server environment. Plus having more cores working on general computing is not power efficient, which is why they added special purpose cores for the things that push CPUs, like voice recognition.

I just had a thought for those bemoaning the perceived lack of general purpose computing cores...

Think of cores as shovels, and the application you're running as a body you need to get rid of. I won't ask where the body came from, that's your business. More shovels is not going to help you bury that body any faster.

Debbie: Hi, my name is Debbie. How may I help you?
Dori Adams: HI, I have a straight talk sim card in an unlocked iphone right now. Can I put my sim in this phone?
Debbie: I apologize for the inconvenience, Dori.
Debbie: Unfortunately, we only support Motorola products.
Debbie: You can contact your service provider or your phone's manufacturer.
Dori Adams: No, I'm asking is this phone able to come in unlocked form? Does it have a sim slot and can I use it that way, or do I have to have a carrier.
Debbie: I'm sorry, I wont be able to answer your question since iPhone is out of our scope.
Dori Adams: Ok So if i throw my iphone away and buy this phone, can I take out my sim card and put it in this unlocked motorola phone? Or do I need a contract with a carrier
Debbie: What Motorola phone are you trying to insert your sim card with?
Dori Adams: I was wanting to buy the new Moto X and use my straight talk sim in it. Is that possible? I want to know before I buy:)
Debbie: Thank you for your interest in Moto X.
Dori Adams: it seems like a nice phone
Debbie: As of this moment, Straight Talk is not supported by Moto X yet.
Dori Adams: Aww dang it!
Debbie: You can purchase an unlocked version of the Moto X through Verizon.
Debbie: I believe they have the unlocked version of it available.
Dori Adams: I dont like them they raped my income for too many years. I will tell Straight talk to get with moto X !
Debbie: You can check it on our website, http://www.motorola.com
Debbie: Okay. You can ask your service provider for more info.

Just ordered my Sprint Moto X today on Amazon, only $99 ... That price and the fact that they quickly pushed out a fix for the camera sealed it for me. Mainly I love the almost vanilla Android UI, and the few things Motorola did add seem genuinely useful.

Specs be damned! It's not about having the "most powerful" cell phone anymore, it's about usability.

Also, this phone may have "mid-range" specs but it's no slouch. Making your purchase decision solely on specs is silly.

I was trying to decide between the incredibly spec'd LG G2 and the Moto X and I just can't deal with LG's heavily skinned bullcrap.

An almost vanilla Android UI also means faster updates.

This phone is amazing, but the durability they advertize is non-existent. I had this phone for three weeks and loved it, but then a drop from my lap to a carpeted floor has rendered the touchscreen completely inoperable. It dropped on it's side and the screen seems to have cracked on the inside. Just a heads up that though this phone is amazing, I find it less durable than an iPhone.

Perhaps this has all been marketing and the Moto X is just an amazing cheap phone and will totally be worth it for $99 once they lower the price in 4 months.

Long time past your comment on durability, but I've dropped my X about a dozen times on a carpeted floor. Stock X, black (no MotoMaker). Not a scratch, and still going strong. Haven't dropped it on anything harder than that (yet). I do have the Ghost Armor coating on my screen, but that likely wouldn't ameliorate damage from a drop.

And now the version branded moto g available for $99.9(for report gadgetridedotcom), but it only support 3g network. Anyways, i like the device with customization options.

After a friend got the Moto X in Canada from Rogers in early Sept, I researched the heck out of it. Compared it to all the current "flagship" phones for about 2 months. Got it from Fido Nov 2 for $0 down and a $50 credit and a $50 gift card from Future Shop (also available from Best Buy at the time, but the sales staff there didn't have a clue). Got the minimum "SmartPlan" at $45 a month for 2 years.

This is my first cellphone ever in my life. I've been waiting for years for a cellphone that fits my needs. I don't really need a phone, per se, but did want the features that a smartphone could have (I cancelled my landline Nov 20th). All current flagships fit my needs, but the Moto X has a few features that impressed me that no other phone, flagship or not, has (so far). Here are those features, in no particular order:

Voice control without touching the phone. OK, I don't use it all that often, but to set an alarm by saying "set alarm for 30 minutes from now label laundry" sets an alarm labeled Laundry. Cool.

Trusted Bluetooth device! I have my JayBird BlueBuds X headphones set as a "trusted" device and set a pin code. Now I have a pretty darn secure smartphone. Since I don't go anywhere without my "Buds" for listening to music, it's ideal as a phone unlocker while within about 40 feet. Good range on the Buds, BTW. Very expensive headphones, but great battery life and fantastic sound. Get a set of aftermarket tips like the Comply T/Tx500s for a unparalleled seal. Obviously you can use another BT device as "trusted". I'm just so impressed with my headphones :)

Get time and notifications without turning phone on! Just pull out of your pocket (or move the phone if it's sitting in front of you, or turn it over) and there's the time and any recent notifications about email, text, gmail. Touch a notification and you see who it's from and what it's about and decide if you want to know more/respond.

Form factor/ergonomics. Just about the best available. The comfort level of how it fits in your hand and therefore one handed use was another major factor for selecting it.

Motorola Connect. Covered in the review, but to have the functionality of texting from your computer with no extra apps needed is great. Albeit you need a wireless connection with your Moto X. Caveat: you need Chrome installed on your computer! Didn't like that aspect, but to get full functionality of the X requires Chrome/Google connectivity.

Downsides, again in no particular order:

Not impressed with the camera, even after software/firmware updates as of last update. Adequate, but not anything to get excited about. If you want fabulous pictures from a smartphone, this is not the one to get.

Needs more work on Motorola Assist. I found inconsistent "damping" of notification sounds/vibration for Sleep and Meetings. I turned Assist off. So I just set to Airplane mode when I don't want to be disturbed.

You must be prepared for a transition to the Chrome/Google environment. Not all people will like this. However, it's not THAT bad. If you have an Android phone, you are already at least halfway there anyway.

To summarize: I don't think I could have picked a better "first" smartphone! Except that Rogers/Fido are taking far too long to update to KitKat!

Note: I have used computers for work and play for almost 40 years. I started on VAX mainframes in the middle '70s in high school. Yep, punch cards!

Likely no one will read this, but I feel better for posting it :)

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