Motorola Moto X UK – Review

Motorola Moto X UK – Review

Moto X#1Moto X UK – Review


After 6 months of waiting, the UK got it’s hands on the first high end Motorola since the Razr HD . I say high end even though most people are calling it a “mid range” phone just based on internal hardware. This is where I think they are going wrong. The build quality is just beautiful. Even on the “Made in China” versions the UK gets. The screen is bright and sharp, the user experience flows silky smooth, the camera is rather good for a Motorola (who have never seemed to focus in this area before). All the right ingredients to be a high end phone. On top of all this, in the UK, it ships with 50GB extra Google Drive space and Android 4.4.2 which on other “flag ship” devices, you may be waiting a while for.

The Moto X is selling for £300 from Clove Technology  in the UK and £389.99 in high street stores.

As a reference Phones4U are still selling the Samsung Galaxy s3 at £359.95. Also if you are looking to get it on contract it is free from as low as £21 per month. Making it one of the most affordable high end phones out at the moment.


 Quick Specs


129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm



Screen size

4.7 inches

Screen resolution

720 x 1280

Screen type



2,200mAh Li-ion (non-removable)

Internal storage

16GB (11.88GB free)

Rear camera


Front-facing cam

2MP stills, 1080p video

Video capture





Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (MSM8960)


1.7GHz dual-core Krait


Adreno 320



Operating system

Android 4.4.2

Looking at the hardware I can understand why people are not too impressed, but when you think about it, everything has a reason behind it rather than just numbers to impress. Such as a 720p screen to not push the Adreno 320 too hard, an AMOLED screen so Active Display can show individual pixels, and a 1.7Ghz dual-core so as not to waste battery (as it doesn’t need the extra two cores to power Touchwiz).

Also, with the always listening core and contextual core, it turns the phone into an always ready device which no phone has been before.

 How this hardware is put together…simply, it’s amazing.

I have owned 6 Motorola Android phones and the quality just keeps getting better and better.

My normal checks are trying to bend the phone; it hardly creeks unlike other plastic phones on the market. Even the Nexus 5 makes a lot of noise due to space under the battery cover. My next test is to run my fingernail under the battery cover; I can hardly get it in the gap. USB and AUX both click in nicely. Where it does fail a little bit is the volume keys and power key wiggle but that is my only complaint. One odd thing is that the “M” logo on the back of the phone is indented but I find myself using this to place my finger on when pulling the phone out of my pocket. Small detail, but handy.


Moto X#2


Next, the user interface and user experience …. It may look pure, but it’s not.


This is a rather sensitive area of Android OEM customisation. Motorola seems to have made this a lot better than most, but it’s not perfect yet. They have kept the UI 99% AOSP and the only change I have seen is that the signal level indicator is different, so 3G and 4G look different. If that’s all they have changed, I’m sure we can live with it. UX has been changed via applications pre-installed and updated via the Play Store, a very nice touch, but these can only be disabled not removed.


Moto X#3

The main added features of the phone are Active Display,Touchless Control, Motorola Connect, Assist and the Camera. I will now go into a little bit of detail on these features:

 Active Display

This is a game changer. I can see more OEMs taking it on. Notifications show up as a pulse on the lock screen so without touching the phone, you can tell if you need to or even want to respond. I mainly use this when my phone is on the desk so that I don’t have to reach the power button to reply. It may sound lazy but once you start using this feature, you won’t want to go back. Also, when picking up the phone or pulling it out of your pocket the Active Display shows you the time… “Hey, who wears a watch now-a-days?”. This really makes the phone feel alive and ready for you, which sounds odd but is really nice – like a puppy waiting for you at the door.


Touchless control

This is a big feature of the phone that I haven’t explored much as of yet but it works  and I can see myself using it more and more. The always listening core waits for you to say (in your own voice) “Hello Google now” which to me doesn’t feel right. It should be “Hello Google” but at the moment you cannot change this command. Once the magic words are said you can say all the normal Google now commands such as “what’s the weather”, “send a text to wife mobile”, “directions to pub” and so on, all without unlocking the phone and tapping on the mic icon on the home screen to say your command. The Moto X, unlike other phones, learns your voice to make sure it gets all of the words in your command right every time.


Moto X#4

Motorola connect

This is like a lot of parts in the Moto X – pure battery saving! Using a Chrome extension you can text, see missed calls, view the battery level and turn your phone to silent/loud. This would be great in an office environment for seeing which clients are calling your mobile whilst in meetings and sending them a quick text. I can’t see the average user using this until it’s more like Air Droid, which lets you manage files, photos, contacts and much more.



From what I can tell, this is a slimmed down version of “Smart Actions”, found in the Razr i line up.

Smart Actions is much like “Tasker” and “Llama”, but due to being apart of the ROM it seems to work slightly better.

Assist only has 3 functions; Driving, Meeting, and Sleeping:


Driving knows when you are driving and will read texts to tell you who’s calling, so you can keep your eyes on the road.


This reads your calendar and if you’re in a meeting it will put the phone on silent and automatically reply to missed calls.


Simply put, during set times this feature will put the phone on silent. (I find this one handy as getting an email alert at 1am can be rather annoying!)


Moto X#5


This could be very handy for people moving to Android or if it is their first smartphone.

You can search for basic FAQs or chat to a real person to get answers right away.

Nice and simple extra.

Moto X#6


Motorola have changed the camera quite a bit from AOSP.

The UI has been made into an options wheel that can be pulled from the left had side so that the settings can be changed with just your thumb. They have added a slow motion camera function, which, when paired with G+’s “auto awesome”, I’m sure it will have great results. The phone comes with both a HDR mode and a panoramic photo feature but it has lost the 360 panoramic mode. One big change is using the contextual core when the phone screen is off – you can double twist your wrist and the camera will open, adding to the whole touchless feel. The camera is 10mp and seems to work well, however it isn’t great in low light like some other phones. Below are some HDR photos which seem to pick up colours rather well but quickly lose background focus.


Moto X camera sample#1 


Moto X camera sample#2 


Moto X camera UI

Overall Feelings

When I got this phone I already had a Nexus 5. My plan was to use them side by side for a week to see which one got my attention. It’s been 3 days and the Moto X is already my “go-to” phone.

Mainly due to the Active Display. I do not play games on my phone or flash ROMs, as I have a Nexus 7 for that purpose. So the lack of custom ROMs and games that attract people to the Nexus 5 were not a key point to me, but if you can only afford 1 device and want a fun phone then go for the Nexus 5. If however, you are after a phone to use for social media, calls, light games, music  and has such a premium feel that it makes the iPhone feel cheap, then go for the Moto X every time! Also, if like me, you recommend iPhones to older or simple phone users because you don’t want to explain why they have so much added bloat and terrible battery life, you can now recommend the Moto X.

Written by the guest writer Ashley Albans


Android Fan who loves tech Phone - OnePlus One Bamboo Tablet - Sony Z4 LTE

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