Verizon Wireless’s new Motorola Moto X has all the makings of an entertainment powerhouse in your pocket without sacrificing its usefulness as a business tool.
Costing $199.99 with two-year contract, the Moto X clearly intends to compete with the high-end phones, and it stands out with its extraordinary 10 MP camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture (2 MP front-facing, also with full HD video recording). The device also includes a number of nifty options for editing photos and applying special effects.
Both the still camera and camcorder seem to do an excellent job of automatically adjusting for conditions, taking excellent shots whether in the outdoor sun or in fairly low indoor lighting.
The Moto X runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) and comes with 16 GB of onboard memory. It offers peppy performance in downloading, installing and running apps. The phone measures 5.09″ by 2.57″ and weighs a scant 4.59 oz. Its slightly curved thickness measures between .22 and .41” inches and makes for a nice feel in the hands.
Sadly, the Moto X lacks a microSD card slot, which seems to have become a disappointing trend in recent Android smart phones (iPhones have never had them).
This is the first time I’ve seen a phone that defaults to Chrome rather than the old Android browser. The Internet icon points to Chrome, and Web pages automatically open in Chrome. I’m not sure why the old browser existed for as long as it did, but perhaps it’ll stop showing up on new Android phones.
The Moto X features a gorgeous display which I measured at 4.5″ diagonally – excellent screen real estate for a phone that’s just a hair over 5″ tall. The phone wastes very little space on the frame, and its size makes it easy to carry in a pocket or purse.
Videos look and sound great on the Moto X, and text is easy on the eyes as well. Games like Words With Friends and Angry Birds look fantastic and play well with just the right amount of touchscreen sensitivity.
Much to my delight, and unlike other Android devices I’ve seen, the email app advances correctly after deleting a message, rather than always showing the next newer email in the list. This seemed like a longstanding bug that might finally be on the way out, along with the outdated Android Internet browser.
The Moto X has a rather unique “active” screen that shows the current time as well as alerts such as whether you have new emails, all without having to wake the phone. The information screen comes and goes quickly and without user interaction, and it doesn’t seem to impact battery usage.
The Moto X offers quite impressive battery life. It keeps going for two or three days on a charge with moderate usage. If you use Dropbox or Google Drive to auto-upload your photos and videos, I recommend disabling auto-upload when you plan to take dozens of pictures away from home. Uploading a bunch of large files can quickly drain almost any phone’s battery, so you want to be near the power charger when you re-enable uploading.
Auto-uploading can use up a good bit of your monthly mobile data allotment as well.
The phone’s onscreen keyboard works quite well, though it limits multi-function keys to just the top row and with numbers only, no symbols. You can do a lot with the Moto X without touching the keyboard or even the phone, though. For example, you can wake the device with your voice, tell it what to do (such as send a text message) and dictate the contents of a message.
The phone includes the Motorola Assist app for automating tasks, such as shutting down certain services at night to save battery. It also includes the standard Quickoffice app for working with Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets. Google has added its new Hangouts app for video conferencing, and you also get a video editing app called Magisto.
The demo Moto X which I tested uses Verizon Wireless’s zippy 4G LTE mobile network, which offers an extremely far-reaching and reliable mobile signal.
Marketed as the first smart phone designed and built in the U.S.A., the Moto X easily mixes business with pleasure in a sleek, entertaining and practical phone that runs circles around much of the competition.