Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: Moto X

Patrick Stafford /

When Google bought Motorola, the general consensus was that the business was on the way out – could a hardware business really help Google spread the Android word?

The Moto X is the first Motorola smartphone built and distributed under Google’s tutelage. So does it stack up to the hype?

Hardware and features

The Motorola X features a 4.7 inch screen, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.7Ghz processor. The device also features 16GB of storage, although another 32GB is available online. The entire gadget is powered by 2GB of RAM.

The usual connections are included, such as Wi-Fi and NFC, along with a microUSB port and Bluetooth 4.0. The device is powered by Android 4.2.2, and features two cameras – one 10 MP lens and another 2MP front-facing lens.

What’s the consensus?

As The Verge points out, the maturing of the smartphone market means one phone can hardly have a huge impact on the industry anymore. But that being said, one phone can certainly make others look obsolete.

As for the phone itself, the Moto X is “good-looking”, and “good-feeling”, with little metal and more plastic to speak of.

“The Moto X is terrific to hold and use, too. It’s a meaty device, thin enough to compete with its contemporaries, yet dense. Fully packed. The size is just about perfect for my hands, and I was able to reach across the 4.7-inch display to the upper-left corner with little difficulty.”

“The curved back feels right on. The button placement is not only sensible, but the buttons seem built to last: clicky, punctual, tough.”

The Verge also praised the ability for customers to pick the colour phone they want, although noted customisation “won’t make or break” the phone’s appeal.

Over at Gizmodo, the publication noted significant features such as Touchless Controls, saying “there’s a ton you can do without having to even touch the phone”.

Gizmodo also praised the Active Display, which displays icons for apps whenever you receive a message within that app. The icon “gently pulses” on the screen, and a quick press reveals the notification in question.

“Active Display will also light up whenever you turn the phone over or when you remove it from your pocket. This saves you from having to hit the power button every time you just want to see what time it is. It’s a little thing, but it actually makes a big difference in the way you relate to your phone.”

Finally at Engadget, the publication praised the Moto X’s battery life, saying it had a 28% charge even after a day of heavy usage.

“It’s sad, but I am that person at dinner or drinks who’s always staring at his phone. And that sort of behavior nets you a 28% charge on the Moto X after one day, two hours, 12 minutes and three seconds without battery saver enabled. That result bests even Motorola’s own conservative claim of 24-hour battery life.”

Who’s it for?

By all accounts the Moto X is a solid smartphone, with good features, fast processing power and solid battery life. The only barrier is the price – it’s a little on the expensive side for a phone that isn’t quite as good as the S4 or the iPhone.

 

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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