Moto X Play

The addition of Google Now on Tap for Marshmallow preview testers isn't the only new feature in the latest Google App update. Lollipop folks also get a re-vamped app drawer, complete with a selection of predicted apps under the search bar. And there's an even more important change for Moto X Play owners.

The latest Google update underscores the importance of launcher performance in how quick a phone feels.

The new Google App version 5.3 makes the Google Now Launcher — the default launcher on Moto phones — significantly smoother on the Moto X Play. The crippling lag we experienced under the past two versions of the Google App seem to be a thing of the past — the launcher no longer skips frames opening up the app drawer, and the frequent stuttering while swiping to the Google Now pane has been all but eliminated too. It's a "night and day" difference.

These performance improvements go a long way towards making the Moto X Play a more usable phone; as we mentioned in our review, frequent animation lag was one of our pet peeves with that handset. And with these issues mostly eliminated in the launcher, the Moto X Play is a more enjoyable device to use.

The update doesn't affect anything outside of Google Now or its associated launcher — for example we're still seeing occasional stutters when pulling down the notification shade — but there's no denying it's a big improvement. And it underscores the importance of launcher performance in how quick a phone feels.

If you're rocking a Moto X Play, drop by the comments and let us know how you get on after the Google App update.

MORE: Moto X Play review