Review Motorola Moto X Smartphone

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 02/28/2014

Unique and suave. It will likely be the last smartphone that Motorola makes under Google's authority. The Moto X offers a few extraordinary features and rather conservative looks. Can Motorola score with it a last time?

In review: Motorola Moto X

For the original German review, see here.

Google's partnership with Motorola did not last for even two years. The traditional cellphone builder has been sold to Lenovo. The new Moto X will thus likely be the last smartphone that Motorola creates under Google's leadership. Motorola was never one of the big names on the cellphone market, but it repeatedly attracted attention with unusual products that advanced the market. For example, the ultra-thin Razr flip phone or the Razr i smartphone with an Intel Atom processor.

This tradition is naturally to be preserved in the new Moto X, and the tight relationship with the soon to be ex-parent company Google is, of course, to bring along advantages for the user, and also fuel sales - all at the same time. Therefore, Motorola installs two very economic processing cores that are activated in standby instead of the main processor. This is to save energy while allowing special features, e.g. Active Display with the most important information in standby, and the fully integrated speech control Google Now.

Interesting features, but the Motorola Moto X's doom could be that many exciting contenders are found in the 350 Euro (~$483) price range. For example, Google's Nexus 5 that convinces many users with its extreme performance, and the proprietary as well as easy-to-upgrade Android. LG's Optimus L9 II fuses high-performance with a low price. Alcatel's One Touch Idol X is very thin and colorful, and likely wins over many hearts just for its looks. Even Acer has a mid-range smartphone dubbed Liquid S1 on the market, and Huawei's Ascend G700 also offers a very good price-performance ratio. Users who do not insist on Android will find an interesting alternative in Nokia's Lumia 625 Windows Phone.

Case

The casing's back is classy and rubber-coated.
The casing's back is classy and rubber-coated.

Black and white are the only colors? In a time where even Apple breaks with tradition and offers a colorful iPhone 5c?  In a conversation at the press event for the launch, Motorola justified the rather classic color palette with the target audience who is more interested in technical innovations, and wants an unobtrusive device

Unobtrusive is a very fitting description for the phone. Our black review sample's back struck us most. Its roughened surface is pleasing, and the slightly submerged Motorola logo offers the index finger grip right away. However, the screen's bezel on the front is glossy, and thus inconsistent with the design. It almost seems as if the Moto X were assembled using two halves of different devices.

The touch buttons are integrated into the screen. This allows a low height. The casing's thickness is not as compelling. The smartphone's thickest spot is 10.4 millimeters, which is also due to the curved back that lies nicely in the hand. Alcatel's One Touch Idol X has a far lead with just 6.9 millimeters.

The casing's build and rigidness are absolutely satisfactory. Even strong pressure on the smartphone does not affect the screen, and the device cannot be warped either.

Connectivity

The connectivity of Motorola's Moto X is throughout standard for a mid-range smartphone, and lacks real highlights: a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor alongside the mentioned additional cores that are only activated when the phone is in standby. 16 GB of storage that cannot be expanded, and of which only roughly 12 GB is available in state of delivery. A micro-SD card cannot be inserted, and the battery cannot be removed. The physical interfaces, in the forms of a micro-USB port and 3.5 mm headset jack, are also standard.

Left: Nano-SIM slot
Left: Nano-SIM slot
Right: volume control, standby button
Right: volume control, standby button
Lower edge: Micro-USB port
Lower edge: Micro-USB port
Upper edge: 3.5 mm headset jack
Upper edge: 3.5 mm headset jack
Active Display can be customized according to the user's needs
Active Display can be customized according to the user's needs
Messages can be read and answered from a PC via Motorola Connect
Messages can be read and answered from a PC via Motorola Connect

Software

The user benefits from Motorola's still existing relationship to Google. The latest Android 4.4.2 version is installed in its original state. This has the advantage that software updates from Google do not have to be first modified, but can be installed directly.

As frequently said, the standby mode features a different design than that of standard Android smartphones. A very fundamental desktop appears when the phone is picked up, and displays the time, notifications about messages and calls. It is also possible to let the time and displayed information blink in regular intervals. According to Motorola, many users only look at their smartphone to see what time it is, and whether there are any new messages. However, this uses too much power because the processor has to load, the screen fully lights up, etc.

Motorola promises longer battery runtimes with its Active Screen since an especially economic, dedicated processing core is assigned to this desktop. Further details, such as the first words of the message or the caller's name, can also be displayed on the standby interface without booting the operating system. The entire bundle resembles basic secondary operating systems that are sometimes found in multimedia laptops, or even the second screen in flip phones. Basically a good idea that works smoothly and instinctively.

Motorola Assist is integrated as special software. It detects Bluetooth connections and Wi-Fi networks in the phone's vicinity. The phone does not ring when driving, and thus the driver is not distracted. Messages and calls can also be disabled in the night, but exceptions can always be selected.

Motorola Connect is an extension for Google's Chrome browser. It displays incoming messages directly in the browser, and can also be answered from there. The Moto X has to be connected with the computer via Bluetooth for this.

As a special bonus, the user receives 50 GB of storage on Google Drive for two years without charge when buying the Moto X.

Communication & GPS 

The variety of wireless communication options is agreeable: Motorola's Moto X enables quad-band GSM, hexa-band UMTS, and even tri-band LTE with up to 42 Mbit. Besides the latest Bluetooth 4.0 version, Wi-Fi is, of course, also installed. Wireless networks can even be used in the newest 802.11 ac standard.

The Wi-Fi module's transmission quality is satisfactory. Three-quarters of the signal strength was still displayed at a distance of 10 meters, and through three walls. The signal's quality fluctuated between one-half and one-quarter when another wall and two meters were placed between the phone and the router. Nevertheless, websites still loaded quite fast.

GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors
GPS indoors
GPS indoors

We tested the GPS module on a bicycle trip, and compared its accuracy with a Garmin Edge 500 navigation system. Overall, the GPS module in the Moto X proved to be quite accurate, although the measured rates were not always precisely on route. However, the pro navigation device also deviated occasionally. The GPS module also scored well in the test with the GPS Test app. Although it needs a moment until enough satellites were found for localization, the location was determined accurately up to a few meters. Localization was also possible indoors though not as precise as when outdoors.


Garmin Edge 500 total
Garmin Edge 500 total
Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 bridge
Garmin Edge 500 woods
Garmin Edge 500 woods
Moto X total
Moto X total
Moto X bridge
Moto X bridge
Moto X woods
Moto X woods

Telephony and Speech Quality

The speech quality is really good. Both the caller and the called party sound loud and clear. The volume is even sufficient for louder, public places. Users who use the hands-free feature will also be pleased about the very good speech quality, and the called party can even be heard across the entire room at maximum volume.

Low light picture: Moto X
Low light picture: Moto X
Low light picture: Samsung ATIV S
Low light picture: Samsung ATIV S

Cameras and Multimedia

The rear-facing camera of the Moto X offers 10 megapixels, which corresponds to a resolution of 4320x2432 pixels. In addition to the RGB colors, i.e. red, green and blue, the camera should also be able to process white pixels, which allegedly leads to brightening dark corners without noise. In fact, the camera manages to clearly enhance pictures shot in poor light conditions. Nevertheless, a distinct image noise is still visible, and the picture quality is rather weak. The additional contrasting color has quite a positive effect on the picture quality in normal light conditions though, as can be seen in the comparison screenshots. The pictures look brilliant and colorful even in dim winter light, but they also make a slightly unnatural impression. Generally, the picture focus is good, but sometimes varies with the automatic.

The front-facing 2 megapixel camera is intended for video calls, and an occasional self-portrait. Its Full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels is enough for that, but the pictures are often overall a bit unfocused, and the colors are too intense.


Motorola Moto X: plant
Motorola Moto X: plant
Motorola Moto X: scene
Motorola Moto X: scene
Motorola Moto X: surroundings
Motorola Moto X: surroundings
Apple iPhone 5: plant
Apple iPhone 5: plant
Apple iPhone 5: scene
Apple iPhone 5: scene
Apple iPhone 5: surroundings
Apple iPhone 5: surroundings
Nokia 1020: plant
Nokia 1020: plant
Nokia 1020: scene
Nokia 1020: scene
Nokia 1020: surroundings
Nokia 1020: surroundings
Samsung Galaxy S4: plant
Samsung Galaxy S4: plant
Samsung Galaxy S4: scene
Samsung Galaxy S4: scene
Samsung Galaxy S4: surroundings
Samsung Galaxy S4: surroundings
Sony A57 (reference): plant
Sony A57 (reference): plant
Sony A57 (reference): scene
Sony A57 (reference): scene
Sony A57 (reference): surroundings
Sony A57 (reference): surroundings


Accessories

The user will have to buy a headset because Motorola does not include one. However, there is an unusual charger with two USB ports - thus, two devices can be recharged simultaneously. No optional accessories are offered for the Moto X on the website.

Warranty

Motorola includes a 24-month warranty on the Moto X. The warranty is only applicable in the country where the phone was purchased. Fair: The warranty is valid for at least 90 days after a repair, even if this period goes beyond the actual warranty period.

Input Devices and Controls

Keyboard in landscape mode
Keyboard in landscape mode
Keyboard in portrait mode
Keyboard in portrait mode

The Moto X features Android in its original state, which also applies to the on-screen keyboard. Users who have owned an Android smartphone will get along right away. Everyone else will also adapt quickly owing to the keys' intuitive layout. The keys are relatively big and easy to hit in portrait mode due to the 4.7-inch screen. Using both hands is logical in landscape mode. The capacitive touchscreen also contributes to the pleasant handling: It is easy to use, responds to inputs reliably up into the edges, and is sleek.

As a highlight, Motorola fully integrates the voice control Google Now in the usage. The Moto X even monitors the microphone in standby using one processor core, and responds to the phrase "OK, Google Now." Pursuing that, a search request can be made, an appointment can be dictated, or a message can be sent - all via voice input. The phone answers directly to a few simple questions, such as, "how high is the Eiffel Tower?" The question is passed on to Google Search otherwise. Voice control works quite reliably overall, and it responds quickly to speech in standby.

The camera can be enabled by twisting the wrist with the smartphone twice, which is a slightly unusual gesture but which works reliably.

Display

An increasing number of smartphones with Full HD resolution are now also accumulating in the mid-range category. The Moto X is still a bit restrained, and only offers a resolution of 1280x720 pixels on its 4.7-inch screen. This is still ahead of Nokia's Lumia 625 that has a resolution of just 480x800 pixels.

The average brightness of only 314.1 cd/m² clearly places Motorola's Moto X at the end of the comparison field. Huawei's Ascend G700, for example, provides 542.6 cd/m². However, the illumination of the Moto X is distributed very evenly over the screen.

319
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 320 cd/m²
Average: 314.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 97 %
Center on Battery: 309 cd/m²
Black: 0 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1

The contrast is very, very high because the AMOLED screen is not illuminated from the back, and thus enables absolutely black pixels. The colors also look rich, and black makes a very dark subjective impression.

Consequently, the shifts for all grayscales are very low in the grayscale tests using CalMAN software and colorimeter. The color accuracy and saturation of most color levels also only deviate moderately. This is likely due to the extremely reduced blue part. The colors generally look richer than they should according to the reference color space, resulting in a very bright, but also a slightly unnatural color impression.

CalMAN CMS
CalMAN CMS
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

The screen's only middling brightness is noticed unfavorably outdoors. The reflective screen also barely lets anything be recognized on bright days. However, the brightness is sufficient for indoor use and shadowy places.

The AMOLED technology also ensures excellent viewing angles in all directions. No matter how the Moto X is held, the colors of the content are always seen properly.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoors (overcast)
Outdoors (overcast)

Performance

Motorola's Moto X sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960DT. The SoC features two processing cores that clock with up to 1.73 GHz. "DT" behind the model name indicates that two processor cores are installed, which only ensure that Active Display and Google Now voice control are active in standby. They have a low clock rate, and thus consume very little energy.

The synthetic benchmarks show that the system can even compete with Google's Nexus 5 on the whole. However, the pure CPU power of the Moto X is approximately 30% lower. All inputs we made in routine use were implemented quickly; working with the smartphone was agreeably smooth and pleasant.

Linpack for Android
Single Thread
Motorola Moto X
145.292 MFLOPS ∼21%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
73.089 MFLOPS ∼11% -50%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
133.919 MFLOPS ∼20% -8%
Google Nexus 5
95.049 MFLOPS ∼14% -35%
Acer Liquid S1
72.835 MFLOPS ∼11% -50%
Huawei Ascend G700
37.61 MFLOPS ∼6% -74%
Multi Thread
Motorola Moto X
332.676 MFLOPS ∼30%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
142.696 MFLOPS ∼13% -57%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
183.533 MFLOPS ∼17% -45%
Google Nexus 5
273.81 MFLOPS ∼25% -18%
Acer Liquid S1
149.263 MFLOPS ∼14% -55%
Huawei Ascend G700
128.264 MFLOPS ∼12% -61%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1
System
Motorola Moto X
2708 Points ∼43%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
2475 Points ∼39% -9%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
1815 Points ∼29% -33%
Google Nexus 5
2984 Points ∼47% +10%
Acer Liquid S1
2556 Points ∼41% -6%
Huawei Ascend G700
2371 Points ∼38% -12%
CPU Tests
Motorola Moto X
6979 Points ∼18%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
9975 Points ∼26% +43%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
4865 Points ∼13% -30%
Google Nexus 5
9380 Points ∼24% +34%
Acer Liquid S1
10615 Points ∼28% +52%
Huawei Ascend G700
8294 Points ∼22% +19%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Single-Core Score
Motorola Moto X
682 Points ∼19%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
399 Points ∼11% -41%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
454 Points ∼13% -33%
Google Nexus 5
521 Points ∼15% -24%
Acer Liquid S1
398 Points ∼11% -42%
Huawei Ascend G700
327 Points ∼9% -52%
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Motorola Moto X
1263 Points ∼10%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1337 Points ∼10% +6%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
457 Points ∼4% -64%
Google Nexus 5
1613 Points ∼13% +28%
Acer Liquid S1
1425 Points ∼11% +13%
Huawei Ascend G700
1081 Points ∼8% -14%
Smartbench 2012 - Productivity Index
Motorola Moto X
4727 points ∼46%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
3527 points ∼34% -25%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
3235 points ∼31% -32%
Google Nexus 5
4966 points ∼48% +5%
Acer Liquid S1
4603 points ∼44% -3%
Huawei Ascend G700
3535 points ∼34% -25%
Legend
      Motorola Moto X Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro MSM8960DT, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Alcatel One Touch Idol X Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      LG D605 Optimus L9 II Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8230, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Acer Liquid S1 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 8 GB SSD
      Huawei Ascend G700 Mediatek MT6589, PowerVR SGX544, 8 GB SSD
      Nokia Lumia 625 Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD

As to graphics performance, Motorola's Moto X is at the very front with its Adreno 320 graphics solution. The synthetic benchmarks show that the phone is almost always at the top of the comparison field. The significance for (gaming) routine can be seen in the comparison chart below Gaming Performance.

3DMark (2013)
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score
Motorola Moto X
7297 Points ∼6%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1758 Points ∼1% -76%
Acer Liquid S1
1914 Points ∼2% -74%
Huawei Ascend G700
1533 Points ∼1% -79%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Motorola Moto X
7322 Points ∼3%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1434 Points ∼1% -80%
Acer Liquid S1
1559 Points ∼1% -79%
Huawei Ascend G700
1245 Points ∼0% -83%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics
Motorola Moto X
7210 Points ∼15%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
8386 Points ∼18% +16%
Acer Liquid S1
9427 Points ∼20% +31%
Huawei Ascend G700
8067 Points ∼17% +12%
Basemark ES 2.0 - Taiji Free
Motorola Moto X
60.64 fps ∼100%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
9.34 fps ∼15% -85%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
23.09 fps ∼38% -62%
Google Nexus 5
59.47 fps ∼98% -2%
Acer Liquid S1
17.81 fps ∼29% -71%
Huawei Ascend G700
14.46 fps ∼24% -76%
Epic Citadel
High Performance
Motorola Moto X
59.9 fps ∼99%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
46.5 fps ∼77% -22%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
56.3 fps ∼93% -6%
Google Nexus 5
56.3 fps ∼93% -6%
Acer Liquid S1
56.6 fps ∼93% -6%
Huawei Ascend G700
54.9 fps ∼91% -8%
High Quality
Motorola Moto X
59.5 fps ∼99%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
43.2 fps ∼72% -27%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
54.7 fps ∼91% -8%
Google Nexus 5
55.2 fps ∼92% -7%
Acer Liquid S1
55.5 fps ∼93% -7%
Huawei Ascend G700
52 fps ∼87% -13%
Ultra High Quality
Motorola Moto X
58.5 fps ∼98%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
14.6 fps ∼24% -75%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
27 fps ∼45% -54%
Google Nexus 5
49 fps ∼82% -16%
Acer Liquid S1
27.8 fps ∼46% -52%
Huawei Ascend G700
23.4 fps ∼39% -60%
NenaMark2
Motorola Moto X
60.6 fps ∼90%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
28.7 fps ∼43% -53%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
56.3 fps ∼84% -7%
Google Nexus 5
59.7 fps ∼89% -1%
Acer Liquid S1
52.4 fps ∼78% -14%
Huawei Ascend G700
43.1 fps ∼64% -29%

Google's Nexus 5 and Alcatel's One Touch Idol X are the hottest contenders in the battle for the performance crown in terms of Internet usage. Both recurrently surpass Motorola's Moto X, but they are also sometimes clearly defeated. This proves that the Moto X plays at the top of the mid-range category in speedy browsing. In fact, quick website loading and smooth scrolling were noticed very positively in routine use.

Peacekeeper
Motorola Moto X
643 Points ∼10%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
686 Points ∼11% +7%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
539 Points ∼9% -16%
Google Nexus 5
835 Points ∼13% +30%
Acer Liquid S1
702 Points ∼11% +9%
Huawei Ascend G700
534 Points ∼9% -17%
Nokia Lumia 625
281 Points ∼5% -56%
Vellamo Mobile Benchmark 2.0
Metal
Motorola Moto X
751 Points ∼42%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
568 Points ∼32% -24%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
564 Points ∼32% -25%
Google Nexus 5
1092 Points ∼61% +45%
Acer Liquid S1
496 Points ∼28% -34%
Huawei Ascend G700
469 Points ∼26% -38%
HTML5
Motorola Moto X
1446 Points ∼46%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1596 Points ∼51% +10%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
2107 Points ∼68% +46%
Google Nexus 5
1274 Points ∼41% -12%
Acer Liquid S1
1691 Points ∼54% +17%
Huawei Ascend G700
1476 Points ∼47% +2%
AndEBench
Native
Motorola Moto X
6701 Iter./s ∼32%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
7990 Iter./s ∼38% +19%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
5123 Iter./s ∼24% -24%
Google Nexus 5
11344 Iter./s ∼53% +69%
Acer Liquid S1
8095 Iter./s ∼38% +21%
Huawei Ascend G700
6354 Iter./s ∼30% -5%
Java
Motorola Moto X
371 Iter./s ∼37%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
417 Iter./s ∼42% +12%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
236 Iter./s ∼24% -36%
Google Nexus 5
407 Iter./s ∼41% +10%
Acer Liquid S1
419 Iter./s ∼42% +13%
Huawei Ascend G700
317 Iter./s ∼32% -15%
Sunspider
Motorola Moto X
621.9 ms * ∼15%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1241.6 ms * ∼31% -100%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
1154 ms * ∼29% -86%
Google Nexus 5
716.3 ms * ∼18% -15%
Acer Liquid S1
1138.1 ms * ∼28% -83%
Huawei Ascend G700
1319.8 ms * ∼33% -112%
Nokia Lumia 625
1143.7 ms * ∼28% -84%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Motorola Moto X
9454.5 ms * ∼16%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
15641.5 ms * ∼26% -65%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
16231.2 ms * ∼27% -72%
Google Nexus 5
7852.3 ms * ∼13% +17%
Acer Liquid S1
15546.6 ms * ∼26% -64%
Huawei Ascend G700
17923.7 ms * ∼30% -90%

* ... smaller is better

Even if Alcatel's One Touch Idol X or Google's Nexus 5 are sometimes faster in write and read - the storage in Motorola's Moto X operates very fast, and clearly places itself at the top in random write. The time needed for apps to open was short, and data transfer to a PC was very swift.

AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Motorola Moto X
62.7 MB/s ∼37%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
93.99 MB/s ∼56% +50%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
57.61 MB/s ∼34% -8%
Google Nexus 5
74.9 MB/s ∼45% +19%
Acer Liquid S1
49.05 MB/s ∼29% -22%
Huawei Ascend G700
60.86 MB/s ∼36% -3%
Sequential Write 256KB
Motorola Moto X
12.04 MB/s ∼21%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
11.56 MB/s ∼20% -4%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
10.34 MB/s ∼18% -14%
Google Nexus 5
15.52 MB/s ∼27% +29%
Acer Liquid S1
8.18 MB/s ∼14% -32%
Huawei Ascend G700
9.75 MB/s ∼17% -19%
Random Read 4KB
Motorola Moto X
12.39 MB/s ∼59%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
16.16 MB/s ∼77% +30%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
11.13 MB/s ∼53% -10%
Google Nexus 5
9.88 MB/s ∼47% -20%
Acer Liquid S1
12.2 MB/s ∼58% -2%
Huawei Ascend G700
9.69 MB/s ∼46% -22%
Random Write 4KB
Motorola Moto X
2.44 MB/s ∼84%
Alcatel One Touch Idol X
1.32 MB/s ∼45% -46%
LG D605 Optimus L9 II
0.99 MB/s ∼34% -59%
Google Nexus 5
0.84 MB/s ∼29% -66%
Acer Liquid S1
0.32 MB/s ∼11% -87%
Huawei Ascend G700
0.4 MB/s ∼14% -84%

Gaming Performance

The Adreno 320 graphics chip in Motorola's Moto X clocks with 400 MHz. It was launched in 2012, but powers graphics in premium devices like Sony's Xperia Z or LG's Optimus G Pro. Now it has arrived in the mid-range, but is still strong enough for games from the Play Store. Undemanding casual games, such as Angry Birds: Star Wars 2, run just as smoothly as 3D games like Iron Man 3.

Emissions

Temperature

We did not ascertain any big differences in the casing temperatures of the Moto X and the comparison devices. Like its contenders, the Moto X remains quite cool. The absolute maximum temperature that we achieved in our test was 38.1 °C on the back. That is still lukewarm. Of course, some devices, such as Huawei's Ascend G700, undercut this temperature with 34.5 °C, but holding the Moto X is agreeable in every state, like all comparison devices.

 25.6 °C25.6 °C25.6 °C 
 25.9 °C25.7 °C25.6 °C 
 25.6 °C25.6 °C25.5 °C 
Maximum: 25.9 °C
Average: 25.6 °C
27.1 °C26.9 °C26 °C
26.6 °C26.6 °C26 °C
26.2 °C26.5 °C26 °C
Maximum: 27.1 °C
Average: 26.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  28.4 °C | Room Temperature 21 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The speaker is located on the back beside the camera. This is a good place because the hand does not cover the speaker there. The speaker emits music, speech, and noise with pressure. A big room can be easily filled with sound. The sound remains clear and differentiated even in very high volumes, but it unfortunately lacks bass. Nevertheless, the sound is more than sufficient for occasional YouTube videos and music. The headset port on the upper edge produces a decent sound, and the only thing needed is good headphones.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of Motorola's Moto X is roughly on par with the comparison devices. The smartphone consumes an average of 1 watt when idling, and is thus in the lower midfield, and in front of, for example, Alcatel's One Touch Idol X and Acer's Liquid S1. The maximum consumption of 3.9 watts is also on the level of the other dual-core smartphones in the comparison.

The Active Display's positive impact on the power consumption is difficult to ascertain. Motorola promises much lower power consumption because the main processor does not have to load when the user only wants to read the time and check new messages. Since the standby consumption of 0.3 watts is on par if not lower than that of the comparison devices, Motorola seems to keep its promise. The lower clocked, dedicated processor core that is responsible for Active Display only consumes about half the power that the main processor needs in minimum (lowest idle consumption: 0.6 watts).

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.3 Watt
Idle 0.6 / 1 / 1.3 Watt
Load 2.6 / 3.9 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Energy Management

The lithium-ion battery in Motorola's Moto X can supply 9 watt hours. It is considerably stronger than in most of the compared smartphones. Only Acer's Liquid S1 has a slight advantage with 9.12 watt hours. Considering this fact, the battery runtimes are disappointing, in particular in the real-life Wi-Fi test. Our review sample lasted for just under six hours. Google's Nexus 5 and Huawei's Ascend G700 clearly last longer. The Moto X is again on par with its contenders in idle and load.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 03min
WiFi Surfing
5h 52min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 16min

Verdict

We are happy to see that Motorola has not lost its spirit for innovation, and again proves that one can show even smartphone moguls that there is still some room for improvement with clever ideas. Active Display is a very useful feature and can increase the only middling runtimes considerably in routine use.

Motorola has also done a good job with the screen. Relatively minor color shifts, a very good contrast, and a deep black result in a great picture. It only could be brighter, and the colors might shine a bit too intensely for some tastes.

The software bundle, featuring the original Android, the interesting software offerings, and Motorola Connect that allows answering text messages even over the PC, is very well designed. We are just as pleased about the good touchscreen and decent camera. The fully integrated Google Now is also a nice gimmick. Extensive wireless communication equipment, including LTE and high-speed Wi-Fi, are also in the bundle.

Motorola would have to work on the design. The front and back covers do not really match. There is actually not much more to complain about. The Moto X is more than a solid and very powerful mid-range smartphone that stands out with clever ideas. Users who can live with the design should definitely take a look at the phone.

In review: Motorola Moto X
In review: Motorola Moto X
Review sample courtesy of ...

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In Review: Motorola Moto X: Motorola Moto X. Review sample courtesy of:
In Review: Motorola Moto X: Motorola Moto X. Review sample courtesy of:

Specifications

Motorola Moto X

:: Processor
:: Memory
1796 MB
:: Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 320, Core: 400 MHz
:: Display
4.7 inch 16:9, 1280x720 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, AMOLED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB iNAND Flash, 16 GB , 11.88 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm headset jack, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, pressure sensor, magnetic field sensor, temperature, movement, gravity,
:: Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth, quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; hexa-band UMTS/HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps; tri-band 4G LTE
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.4 x 129.4 x 65.3
:: Weight
0.13 kg Power Supply: 0.049 kg
:: Battery
9 Wh Lithium-Ion, 2000 mAH, 4079 mV
Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 24 h
:: Price
349 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 10 MP (4320 x 2432), RGBC, Front: 2 MP (1920 x 1080), Speakers: speaker, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, USB charger with 2 USB ports, USB cord, SIM slot tool, Quickoffice, Assist, migration tool, 24 Months Warranty

 

Likely to be Motorola's last creation under Google's supervision: The Moto X.
Likely to be Motorola's last creation under Google's supervision: The Moto X.
Motorola wants a place in the mid-range with a curved and rubber-coated back, and innovative features.
Motorola wants a place in the mid-range with a curved and rubber-coated back, and innovative features.
One feature is Active Display. An especially economic processing core displays time and messages without the main processor.
One feature is Active Display. An especially economic processing core displays time and messages without the main processor.
This feature can be configured extensively.
This feature can be configured extensively.
Also fully integrated: Google Now, Google's speech control.
Also fully integrated: Google Now, Google's speech control.
It also monitors the microphone and can be activated from standby.
It also monitors the microphone and can be activated from standby.
The design looks inconsistent:
The design looks inconsistent:
The front is glossy...
The front is glossy...
...and the back is matte and textured.
...and the back is matte and textured.
The screen's glossy bezel does not make the same high-quality impression as the back.
The screen's glossy bezel does not make the same high-quality impression as the back.
There are cameras on both sides. A 2 megapixel unit on the front, and...
There are cameras on both sides. A 2 megapixel unit on the front, and...
...a 10 megapixel camera with LED flash and RGBC technology that brightens up dark areas on the back.
...a 10 megapixel camera with LED flash and RGBC technology that brightens up dark areas on the back.
The speaker is beside the camera, and it does a good job.
The speaker is beside the camera, and it does a good job.
The headset jack on the upper edge can also be used without hesitation.
The headset jack on the upper edge can also be used without hesitation.
The Moto X is not really slim, but that is also due to the curved back.
The Moto X is not really slim, but that is also due to the curved back.
The microphone's hiding place behind a fairly large hole on the front is also unsightly.
The microphone's hiding place behind a fairly large hole on the front is also unsightly.
Apart from the design, there is barely anything to complain about.
Apart from the design, there is barely anything to complain about.
The touchscreen detects inputs with up to 10 fingers at the same time.
The touchscreen detects inputs with up to 10 fingers at the same time.
The charger is also unusual: It features two USB ports.
The charger is also unusual: It features two USB ports.
Motorola's Spotlight Stories provides short, interactive videos. A nifty, artistically valuable add-on.
Motorola's Spotlight Stories provides short, interactive videos. A nifty, artistically valuable add-on.
The small hat (lower left) whirs over the screen to indicate that the phone is on.
The small hat (lower left) whirs over the screen to indicate that the phone is on.
The innovations are really useful, and work well.
The innovations are really useful, and work well.
Motorola has created an overall very rounded bundle. Only the inconsistent design could be improved.
Motorola has created an overall very rounded bundle. Only the inconsistent design could be improved.

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Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Very good build
+Rubber-coated back
+Innovative and useful features
+Decent software bundle
+High application and gaming performance
+Decent camera
+Good AMOLED screen
 

Cons

-No Full HD resolution
-Casing's design inconsistent
-Few accessories available
-Only middling battery runtimes

Shortcut

What we like

The innovative features work well; the original Android is easy to update.

What we'd like to see

The casing could be more consistent in terms of feel and looks.

What surprises us

When we think we've seen everything, Motorola's engineers still find a detail that can be improved.

The competition

Google Nexus 5, LG Optimus L9 II, Alcatel One Touch Idol X, Acer Liquid S1, Huawei Ascend G700, Nokia Lumia 625.

Rating

Motorola Moto X
04/01/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
54 / 75 → 72%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
94%
Battery
90%
Display
85%
Games Performance
55 / 75 → 73%
Application Performance
34 / 65 → 52%
Temperature
87%
Noise
100%
Audio
68%
Camera
75%
Average
74%
85%
Smartphone *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Motorola Moto X Smartphone
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-02-28 (Update: 2014-03- 2)