The mid range Smartphone race is hyper competitive which is great for the consumer. Motorola has come out with it’s latest Moto X, Pure Edition which and the third time really is a charm, because this phone is worth checking out. Motorola upped the size to 5.7 inches which, with it’s Quad HD display is built to do battle with any phablet that dares to step into the ring.
Display – Bright & Beautiful
It has a 5.7-inch, 1440×2560 screen that looks perfect. It’s bright, beautiful, has great viewing angles, and it is usable in direct sunlight. Colors are plenty vibrant and saturated. But while it’s a very pretty screen, it’s also bound to be a disappointment to owners of the previous-generation Moto X. The move away from AMOLED technology has made it much less striking in terms of contrast: IPS LCD screens just can’t replicate the inky blacks of OLED. The main issue with this move is that the LCD backlighting makes its version of “black” more like a dim gray-blue. This could be dismissed, but it does it makes the Active Display harder to see outdoors, and most importantly it likely contributes to the phone’s unimpressive battery life
Hardware & Design
The great thing about the Moto X hardware you can change before you buy it – with Moto Maker. Motorola’s bespoke design system makes ordering a Moto X Pure Edition less like picking a boxed item off the shelf, and more like custom-building your own car. You obviously can’t change the base specifications of the handset, but apart from that pretty much anything goes.
There’s no other phone out there with the kind of customization options you get with this device. So many phones are a variation on a boring black slab, but the Moto X continues to be different.
|DISPLAY SIZE||5.7-inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel display (515 ppi)|
|DISPLAY TYPE||TFT LCD|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Android 5.1.1 (at launch)|
|PROCESSOR||1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808|
|EXTERNAL STORAGE SPECS|
|MAIN CAMERA (BACK)||21MP|
|SECONDARY CAMERA (FRONT)||5MP|
|WI-FI||802.11a/g/b/n/ac + MIMO|
|BLUETOOTH||Bluetooth 4.1 LE|
|HEIGHT||153.9 mm (6.06 inches)|
|WIDTH||76.2 mm (3.00 inches)|
|DEPTH||11.06 mm (0.44 inches)|
|WEIGHT||179 g (6.31 oz)|
|COLORS||Black, White base colors, 18 options of back shells|
|SUPPORTED AUDIO FORMATS||AAC, AAC+, Enhanced AAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MIDI, MP3, PCM/WAVE, FLAC, OGG/Vorbis|
|SUPPORTED VIDEO FORMATS||H.263, H.264 AVC, MPEG-4 SP, VP8|
Camera – Does Not Disappoint
The camera doesn’t suck, the 21-megapixel camera takes clean, sharp photos in most situations, and even does well enough in low light that I wouldn’t fear taking this phone anywhere. Same with the 4K video, it looks great but the mid range processor has trouble handling the load and the phone heats up and slows down. The shooter itself is fast and the autofocus is very quick, having said that there is no tap to focus in video mode. The other down sides are that it’s not easy to shoot with one hand because of the way the interface is set up, it’s not easy to change setting quickly and there aren’t many manual controls if you want to try to tweak things if the lighting conditions suck.
The is a lot to love about the camera as you’ll see below, a big part of this is that the phase-detection autofocus makes it pretty easy to get a clear shot.
The front facing camera is 5MP with a wide-angle lens an LED flash which to be honest I didn’t see making much of a difference in the photo
Another feature that is pretty handy is the camera automatically detects bar codes, QR codes, and business cards within its field of view, allowing you to add the relevant information to your contact list, send it to someone else, or just copy it to the clipboard..
This has to be my favorite shot I’ve seen taken with the Moto X Pure Edition and I think it speaks for it self.
The Moto X, on the other hand, delivered punchy colors (even without HDR) while missing some of that extra detail. It’s an unfortunate trade-off, though in most situations the X is great. The occasional subpar photo only helps emphasize how well it normally performs.
Performance – Silky Smooth
It has a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3 gigs of RAM, and between 16 and 64 gigabytes of storage. It gets a full day of battery life, but really nothing more, and it charges really fast. For $399 you get a Moto X with 16GB of storage that comes with a microSD card slot for expansion.
We ran an AnTuTu benchmark test to assess performance and learned that the Moto X Pure Edition scored above the Asus Zenfone 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with 53,692 points.
Snapdragon 808 SoC capable of running even taxing games like Asphalt 8 and Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy just as smoothly as higher-rated processors like Samsung’s Exynos 7420. Also, the 3GB of RAM does a reasonably good job keeping apps active in memory during card-juggling.
The Pure Edition isn’t as strong a performer at graphically intense tasks like playing games, although it’ll still get you through a few laps in Asphalt 8 at the highest quality level without any trouble.
What Motorola might lack in number it does make up for with its ‘Mobile Computing System’, a bundle of contextual processing cores that pay attention to the device’s motion and your voice. So where brute force might fail the software shines through making this the most thoughtful smartphone on the market.
Software – Pure Android with Great Additions
Active Display is one of the software highlights, it makes the concept of a notification light all but obsolete: use it for a while and you’ll really miss it when moving to a phone that isn’t similarly equipped. Waving your hand over the phone or pulling it from a pocket will trigger the IR sensors dotting its faceplate, lighting up the screen to display the time and waiting notifications.
One of the big selling feature for going Motorola is the Motorola software experience, you get a pure clean Android experience with so many great add on that you wonder why they aren’t just included in Android. Moto Moto Voice is my favorite (after the display pulsing just a bit to tell you you’ve got a notification). Moto Voice let’s you to dictate voice commands and like the aesthetics of the handset it’s also highly customizable since you can create your own key-phrase. If you use your phone for navigation in your car since it’s always listening you can tell it to navigate anywhere with out having to even touch your phone. Very safe and really adding value to your daily life.
Motorola’s tried-and-true gestures are back too, so you can twist the X a few times to fire up the camera and karate chop with it to turn on the flashlight.
“Discreet Moto Voice” is a variation on the standard Moto Voice that requires no keyphrase: you just raise the phone to your ear like you’re making a phone call, and after a second the acknowledgement tone prompts you to speak. The raw functionality is identical –you tell the phone what you want and it does it– but it’s all carried out through the earpiece instead of over the speakerphone. Discreet Moto Voice only works reliably when raising the phone from waist height – it doesn’t always activate when picking it up from a desk
If you enjoy stock Android but wouldn’t mind a few extra perks outside of ‘true vanilla Android,’ you’re going to love it!
Sound – Dual Front Facing Speakers
The Pure Edition’s pair of front-facing speakers aren’t a match for HTC’s BoomSound, but they are miles ahead of any phone with a single speaker. If you’re looking to get the most out of the sound you’re handset is pumping out don’t hold the phone vertically, hold it horizontally. There is a detectable hint of channel separation when the X is sideways, this means slightly fuller sound.
BatteryLife – The Weakest Link
Battery life on the Moto X Pure Edition is average, which means it’s JUST good enough. On paper we should be breezing through the day since it has a hefty 3,300mAh battery. Even though I been able to get through an entire day on a single charge I will want to change up if I’m heading out for a night on the town. If you want a phone that will last all night long, the Note 5 is my favorite phablet beast for that feature.
The one saving grace to this whole situation is the new 25W TurboPower Charger from empty to 32% in just 15 minutes while powered off, with a full charge in a little over an hour.With this type of performance you may want to invest into picking another one if you don’t mind spending on it.
This might be the best $400 you can spend on a smartphone right now. Sure, the Nexus 5X is a little cheaper, but it has a lower resolution screen, less RAM, and no card slot.
Keep reading below the score card for my conclusion.