If you’re in the market for an Android phone that fits well in your hand and is filled with useful features, be sure to check out Motorola’s Moto X. Ever since Google, the developer of Android, bought Motorola’s handset unit, people have been eagerly anticipating Google’s first Motorola phone. Expectations were high and the Moto X delivers innovative features that make the phone easy and efficient to use. The Moto X is a 4G/LTE phone running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. I received a Verizon model of the Moto X for testing.
The design of the phone is intended to give you the best of both worlds, a large screen phone that fits comfortably in your hand. If you think that a phone with a 4.7″ screen is uncomfortable to hold, then you should try grabbing the Moto X. The phone is designed with a narrow bezel so the screen makes the most of the phone’s width. The width of the phone is 2.57″, only about 1/4″ wider than the the iPhone 5s with a 4″ screen, but more than 1/2″ narrower than the Note 3. The back of the phone is curved and made of a rubbery plastic to give you a firm grip on the phone. The feel of the phone is very different from a phablet.
The back cover of the phone is not removable so you don’t have access to the battery. The phone has 16 GB of storage space and there is no SD card slot so you can’t expand the storage. Included with the Moto X is an offer for 50 GB of free space on Google Drive for two years. You can redeem the offer within the Drive app. The extra space may suit your storage needs but be mindful of your data limits if you stream music or store your photos in the Cloud. The screen is bright with vivid colors. Viewing photos, watching movies and playing apps all worked well on the Moto X. Other phones, such as the Galaxy S4 and the Note 3 have higher resolution screens than the Moto X, but the differences seemed imperceptible.
It won’t matter how high quality your camera is or how many features it has if you miss the shot because you’re too busy fumbling with your phone to get to the camera app in time. The Moto X solves this brilliantly with Quick Capture that opens the camera with the flick of your wrist. Activate the Quick Capture feature and then when you move the phone from side to side the camera app will open, even when the phone is in sleep mode. Imagine never having to miss a shot. The Quick Capture setting is found within the camera app and you need to activate it to have this feature work in the future. But this is the handiest way I’ve seen to launch a camera app quickly. The 10 MP rear camera has an LED flash and the 2 MP front camera can take HD video. The camera has other features such as HDR mode, panorama, and slow motion video. Here is a sample of photos taken with the phone’s camera:
With all of these features that work in the background, you might wonder about the phone’s battery life. Surprisingly, the battery life of the Moto X was impressive, enough to make me recall when I had a flip phone and only had to charge it every few days. In my test, I found the battery life of the Moto X to be exceptional. I charged the phone on a Friday and didn’t have to charge it again until the following Thursday. I wasn’t a power user of the phone during this time, but I did use many features, including Google Now, the camera, email, phone and quite a few apps. The stated battery life of the Moto X is 24 hours of usage or up to 10 days of standby time. The 2200 mAh battery isn’t removable, so if you’re a power user who will be away from a power source for a long time, be sure to take along an external battery pack.
The most useful features of the Moto X may be how the phone responds to your commands even from sleep mode. No need to press buttons or swipe to put this phone to work. The way this phone springs to action from sleep mode may be the envy of even the earliest of risers. You can use this phone for many functions without ever having to touch it. The phone can also learn about you and adapt its settings to your lifestyle. The Moto X can become a virtual personal assistant with features such as Google Now, Motorola Assist and Connect. By taking some time to familiarize yourself with the phone and learning how to activate its features, you can have a phone that will be extremely useful for you. Yes, you can use the Moto X without these features but you would be missing out on some very cool and handy functions on this phone.
“Okay, Google Now.” If you get this phone, you will be saying this phrase a lot either to command your phone or to show it off to your friends. This is the “wow” feature that will spoil you quickly. Saying “Okay, Google Now” wakes the phone from sleep mode so you can give it commands such as making a phone call, sending a text message, displaying a weather report, playing music or many other functions. If you want a list of all the commands that Google Now can do, say, “Okay, Google Now. Help me.” Google Now will give you ideas about what it can do. Here’s a video showing you this handy feature in action: http://youtu.be/xXyCbrdQEyA Google Now can speak the response, so if you ask for the weather for Saturday, it will show you a weather report and speak the forecast. Ask for a location and it will show you a map and offer to give you directions.
The Moto X displays notifications on your lock screen which turns on every few seconds to alert you. To see more information about a notification, press the icon to reveal the details. You can drag the icon up to open the app that’s notifying you, or drag the icon to the side to make it disappear. To save battery life, the notification feature turns off when the phone is face down or in your pocket. In testing, I found this feature to be extremely handy, alerting me when I had a notification and letting me deal with it quickly and efficiently.
Motorola takes the term “smart phone” to heart and endowed the Moto X with Motorola Assist to figure out what you’re doing and make the phone behave appropriately. When you activate Motorola Assist, the phone goes into silent mode automatically during your sleeping hours. The phone also figures out when you’re driving and connects to Bluetooth automatically. You can set the phone to announce the name of the person calling you and to read text messages aloud to you. You can even set Assist to let someone know that you’re driving and will get back to them later. You can also have Assist check your calendar to see when you’re in meetings and silence the phone during those times. You’re given a choice of total silence, vibration or letting calls through from favorite contacts. The phone can also send a text message to callers alerting them that you’re in a meeting and will get back to them later. Here’s a video showing Motorola Assist in action: http://youtu.be/xY8FyFnSB78
Motorola Connect is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to send and receive text messages from your computer. Connect also alerts you on your computer to phone calls and tells you who is calling. If your phone isn’t handy or you want the convenience of a keyboard to type your text messages, you’ll want to get Motorola Connect. This video shows how Motorola Connect works on the phone and computer: http://youtu.be/7YmBu1fPdGI
The Moto X is available from Verizon in black or white for $199 with a two-year contract or $599 with a month-to-month plan.
What are your favorite features of the Moto X? Are you excited about using the phone without having to touch it? Do you like the quick access to the camera? Let us know in the Comments section below!