The Motorola Moto X proves you don't have to pack a device with bleeding edge specifications, or pile on a slew of gimmicks to produce a good smartphone.
The Moto X is not biggest, sharpest, fastest or the thinnest. It doesn't have the most amazing camera. Despite all that, it could be the Android darling of the year.
With Motorola's Moto Maker, you pick from 18 colors for the rear shell. The front can be had in either black or white. For the buttons and camera ring, there are seven colors to select from. For AT&T's Moto X review unit, I requested a Cabernet back with a black face and silver accents.
Packaging internals into a thin device with the curved rear shell presented huge challenges for Motorola's engineers, but the payoff is a smartphone that is heralded by most as extremely comfortable to use. The matte finish looks and feels very nice. The Moto X doesn't look or feel cheap.
Text and images appear sharp on the 4.7 inch 720p display. Battery life is good for a full day for most users.
Focused more on the user experience than the spec sheet, the Moto X offers a delightful Android experience with some useful features like Touchless Control and Active display.
With either the default phrase "OK Google Now" or a custom one of your choice, you can wake the Moto X from sleep mode and request information or make commands with never touching it. From time to time, I did notice the Moto X would wake in response to unrelated dialogue in a noisy room, but with no harm.
A double flick of the wrist launches the 10-megapixel camera which does an acceptable job of snapping photos.
Room for improvement
The camera is adequate, but its color balance tends to make images appear cooler than I'd prefer.
Who should get it?
For those looking at buying their first smartphone, the Moto X is the best device on the Android aisle.
Despite not having the latest top spec hardware, the Moto X should satisfy most users except perhaps those that prefer more complex camera settings. Motorola has endowed the Moto X with enough clever tricks to stand out, but not so many that novice users would be overwhelmed.
Processor: 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
Display: 4.7-inch AMOLED, 1280x720
WiFi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
Price: $199 for 16GB, $249 for 32 GB with a two year contract
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer