Motorola Moto X Smartphone 

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Motorola, Google and Lenovo sounds as if it could be a pop group of the sixties while Moto X might well be the name by which a high profile political figure, of the same period, might be known. However the technology associated with these names is most certainly of the current era.

motorola moto x android smart phone
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While the Motorola Moto X smartphone has a similar appearance to the company’s earlier Moto G offering, there is enough difference between the two models to mean that the accessories launched with the Moto G are not compatible with the new Moto X – a mistake in my opinion.  As the last smartphone developed under the ownership of Google and now part of the Lenovo family of products, the Moto X will be available in a choice of Woven Black or Woven White.  My review sample is of the former colour scheme.

Weighing 130g and with dimensions of 65.3 x 129.4mm (W x H), the Moto X has a curved back which means its thickness various between 5.7 and 10.4mm.  The curved back does help give the handset a comfortable fit in the hand.  Access to the inside of the handset is denied which means you could have a problem if the installed 2200mAh battery gives up the ghost and needs replacing. 

There also needs to be another method of inserting the SIM card into the device.  This task is achieved using a small holder which slots into the side of the handset.  The Moto X requires a nano SIM card (this was certainly a surprise to one member of my local EE store when I went to get a SIM card.  He was of the opinion that only Apple phones used this type of SIM until I put him right.)  Motorola has included a special tool in the box that you need to use in order to eject the SIM card holder before inserting the nano SIM.

The SIM card slots into the left side of the handset.  On the opposite side are the power button and volume rocker.  Situated on the base of the unit is a micro USB port for charging purposes.  Located on the top of the handset is a 3.5mm jack socket for attached your favourite headset.  Positioned just below the headset connection is the front-mounted 2MP camera for video calling and those increasingly popular “selfies”.  The main camera, which is a 10MP unit, is on the rear of the unit along with a LED flash.

In true smartphone fashion, the most visual aspect of this handset is the screen which takes over most of the front of the device.  This is a 4.7-inch AMOLED screen that reaches edge-to-edge while delivering HD 720p resolution that is bright and clear in various lighting conditions.  Protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass, the screen is responsive to touch and, through its Active Display capability, can provide information even when in sleep mode when the notification icon is dragged in certain directions.

With this model, Motorola has opted for a Qaulcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.7GHz dual-core processor accessing 2GB of RAM for driving the company’s X8 Mobile Computing System.  As standard, memory is set at 16GB of which approximately 12GB is available to the user after Android KitKat and various pre-installed apps have had their fill.  Unfortunately there is no option to add a memory card and increase local storage.  However you do get 50GB of free storage with Google Drive for a period of two years to add to the initial 15GB offered by Google Drive.

Following a three-second depress of the power button, a further 27 seconds is taken up before you arrive at the smartphone’s lock screen.  The usual touch-sensitive buttons for Back, Home, Recent Apps options are arranged across the bottom of the screen.  Just above this arrangement are icons for the popular assortment of Phone, Chrome Browser, Apps, Messaging and Camera options.  Several apps come pre-installed while other can be added from the Play Store.  You can also transfer data wirelessly from your old handset to the Moto X using the Motorola Migrate tool.

While the Moto X features a direct link to its camera facility, this handset also has a “shake and go” feature to access the camera.  You just need to give the handset a shake and the camera will become available.  You can then capture images by touching the screen or access either settings or your Gallery by swiping from the left or tight edge of the screen.  With setting you can set HDR to auto/on/off, enable Geo-tagging plus adjust the focus and exposure as well as set video to operate in slow motion mode.  The Gallery option lets you quickly check on the content you have just captured.  The camera uses Clear Pixel technology to enhance lighting conditions as you capture both still and 1080p video content.  Zoom and flash facilities are available and you can easily switch to the front-mounted 2MP camera.

While the photographic aspect of this smartphone adds movement as a method of giving access to its functionality, information access is enhanced through the handset’s touchless control feature.  Turned off by default, this feature allows you to use your voice to ask for information and set up certain actions.  By using the code phrase of “OK Google Now”, you can ask questions of the smartphone or request actions to be implemented.

Some care will need to be taken when framing questions otherwise the answers might not be relevant.  For example when I asked “Where are we?” this brought up a response regarding a David Bowie album.  However when I asked “What is my location?” a map of Balham in South London appeared.  When appropriate the answers are delivered by an efficient female voice. 

As a tongue-in-cheek requested, I asked “Which is the best smartphone?”  Three models were mentioned but none of them had the Motorola brand.  I do not think this answer had anything to do with Google’s decision to sell Motorola to Lenovo.  This is an excellent smartphone.  Initially it will be exclusive to Phones 4u for three months before appearing on the shelves of Carphone Warehouse, O2, Amazon and Techdata.  It is expected to be priced at £380 SIM free or from around £25 per month depending upon contract.

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