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Motorola Moto X review

Ageing specs mean smartphone struggles to match the competition
Thu Feb 06 2014, 16:23

Product Motorola Moto G
Specifications 4.3in 1280x720 resolution AMOLED display, dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera with LED flash, 2MP front-facing camera, HSDPA and 4G LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2,200mAh battery, microUSB port, headphone jack, Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system, 129x65x10.4mm, 130g
Price £380 SIM-free

MOTOROLA'S Moto X smartphone has finally arrived in the UK as the more powerful and more expensive alternative to the Moto G.

Unfortunately for us Brits, the Moto X doesn't boast the same Moto Maker customisation as its US counterpart, instead being released in only black and white models, arguably lacking one of its main selling points. However, unlike the US model, it does arriving running Google's latest Android 4.4 Kitkat mobile operating system with Motorola opting for a largely vanilla user interface.

That said, the Moto X is on the market for £100 more than the least expensive Google Nexus 5 model, which boasts similar if not more impressive specifications, and it remains to be seen whether it can manage to win over smartphone buyers.

We feel a little let down by the design of the Moto X smartphone. Buyers of the device in the US get to choose from hundreds of different style variations thanks to Motorola's Moto Maker customisation programme, which goes as far as letting customers pick a wooden back for their Android smartphone.

Here in the UK however, we have no such luxury, and instead the Moto X will be made available in just black and white. We got our hands on the black Motorola Moto X, which struggled to win us over with its matte-black design, which is almost idental to that of the cheaper Moto G.

Motorola Moto X design

However, Motorola has reduced the size of the bezel surrounding the handset's display, which makes the handset smaller than the HTC One that also features a 4.7in screen.

While it's unlikely to turn many heads with its uninspiring design, the Moto X is comfortable to use. At 10.4mm thick and 130g, it's chunky for a flagship handset, but we found this bulk means the handset sits nicely in the hand, aided by the handset's slightly arched casing. The textured soft-touch plastic feels nice to the touch too, although it proved a nightmare for picking up fingerprints.

For a flagship smartphone, the 4.7in 720x1280 resolution AMOLED display on the Moto X seems disappointing on paper.

Despite that, we found the screen on the Moto X pleasant to use, although not on a par with the higher resolution displays found on the iPhone 5S, HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4.

Motorola Moto X has a 4.3in 720p HD screen

It's among the brightest displays we've used thanks to its AMOLED technology, and we found ourselves having to lower the display brightness on occasion. The screen is plenty sharp too, with text appearing crisp and clear, and images looking vibrant and full of colour. However, given its 720p resolution, text lacks some of the perfect lines and and smooth curves of text found on similarly priced, higher resolution handsets.

Another feature of the screen worth mentioning is Motorola's custom Active Display feature, which displays notifications and alerts on the phone's lock screen when the phone is on standby. Thanks to Motorola's decision to use AMOLED over LCD, this doesn't overly drain the battery, with the notifications only lighting up a small portion of the display.

Next: Performance, software.


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