Moto X (2nd Gen.)


The following unit has been sent by Verizon Wireless.

The first Moto X made me curious to see if it was a comfortable phone, and if I would buy if over competing devices. And yes, the phone was comfortable, however, I wasn’t compelled to prefer it over it’s competition. A new Moto X later and I still have the same question.

So many companies are buried with their primary focus on specs, which yields a difficulty in focusing on the users experience with their device. Motorola doesn’t conform to this practice. Instead, they try to focus on the experience customers have while buying and using their devices. Although it’s clear that Motorola tries to focus on this, I will attest to the fact that Apple is the best example of this kind of practice.

The new Moto X’s size is still comfortable and enjoyable to use. In fact, the only major difference I’ve experienced with the Moto X (1st Gen.) and it’s new brother is the hardware and battery life. The customisation that you get from the old Moto X is still present with the new Moto X, allowing you to choose various accent colours, as well as fitting your Moto X with a textured back such as leather.

A piece of satin aluminum wraps around the phones body. I’m fond of the fact that Motorola decides to use aluminium in the Moto X, however, the execution is left to be desired, especially after I noticed the numerous gaps in the phones construction. One similar hardware attribute the Moto X has with it’s predecessor is the button and audio port placement. But even so, the power and volume buttons feels flimsy and ready to pop out any second. When it comes to Android devices that allure a notable level of craftsmanship, the only two phones that come to mind are the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z3

The new Moto X introduces non-flush, front-facing speakers, which seemed promising until I used them. It offers the illusion that the phone has two functional front-facing speakers, however, there’s actually one functioning speaker. The speakers clarity is adequate with the hope of it sounding better in both speakers. This bothers me because the One produces exceptional audio quality with clarity, loudness, and bass in both of it’s front-facing speakers.

The difference between the Moto X and competing devices, such as the Galaxy S5, can be vividly highlighted with the Moto X’s minimal software enhancements. The Moto X’s voice commands allow you to command a Google Now function when saying “Ok Google Now” regardless if the phones screen is on or off. You can silence calls or snooze alarms with a simple hand wave in front of the phone. Correspondingly, the Moto X will briefly display notifications in black and white to preserve battery life.

Android 5.0, nicknamed Lollipop, is the most unified version of Android yet, and it’s incredibly fluid on the Moto X. While Motorola includes a few useful features in Android 5.0, they don’t inject a custom skin unlike other flagship manufacturers. Sure, they don’t bother with the software, but something I do wish Motorola bothered with more is the battery life.

The battery life on the Moto X isn’t amazing nor is it appalling, but it’s not desirable; it’s barrable. After being accustomed to the One’s battery life, I found myself compromising my time with apps on the Moto X to get me throughout the day. On days when I’d only have the Moto X with me, I’d be concerned if it would even get me through the day. Background sync is a must for me and pairing that with the occasional use of phone calls, brief video chats, and messages, the Moto X barely held its own balance.

On a more negative note, we’re going to briefly talk about the Moto X’s camera. I had more battles with the autofocus system than I had with the phones inconsistent exposure compensation. Sure, it’s 13 megapixels but you can’t use them correctly if you can’t capture a good, accurate image. It became a matter of déjà vu when I recalled my [horrible] time with the Moto X’s (1st Gen.) camera.

Sadly, this review resulted in another failed attempt at wondering if the Moto X is more desirable than its competition. Battery life, craftsmanship, and camera performance are three attributes I focus on with every phone I use, but Motorola missed the opportunity to deliver well on these basic traits. I know that Motorola is capable of achieving these things, so hopefully Motorola can brew something exceptional this year. 

The Moto X is the same dry wine in a different bottle.