When I saw the first pictures with the recently announced Moto X smartphone, I was suddenly mesmerized by the vast range of colors that it comes with. Then, I saw a price tag – two hundred dollars. I was almost ready to believe that the Moto X would sell for $200, which would mean an obvious loss for Google. Silly me, right? Or was it just because I was fooled by so many rumors prior to its launch and I wanted so much to believe in a “miracle” in the world of gadgets.
The Moto X, to put it very shortly, is a smartphone to consider buying, and there are many reasons supporting that decision. But in the same time, the Moto X is a smartphone that doesn’t impress as it could have. To put it differently, imagine that a buddy of yours wants to tell you a joke. It seems that the joke is so funny that he almost bursts into laughter before and while he tries to finish it. But, as he approaches the final moment, he just stops and says – “I forgot the joke”.
That’s the exact feeling that I got when I heard that my beloved feature about the Moto X so far – the huge broad of custom colors, is limited only to AT&T. Just as I was about to say – “wow, I am in love with this smartphone, I want it so badly”, everything suddenly stopped. Why, oh why? But you might feel otherwise and not have a strong “fashion feeling” like I do, so let’s analyze together what’s great, what’s ok and what’s really meh about the Moto X.
The Moto X is the first Motorola smartphone to be made entirely under Google’s total supervision; probably that’s why it’s not called Motorola Moto X, as it would sound stupid, after all. Nonetheless, the “X” moniker sounds really bad-ass and for many users out there, it represented the cool factor that Google needed. Yes, the power of brand – that’s what I’m talking about. And I’m confident that Google has managed to create a brand or an under-brand, if you want.
Before the Moto X, we had the Droid line of smartphones and not so long ago, some new models were announced. Now, the Moto X is here; now, a powerful brand is here; now, always-looking-to-get-the-latest-smartphone users will start asking – when is the Moto X 2 launching? And in fact, a next version is also on the books, according to early previews of the device. Having solved the branding issue right from the beginning, Google still had to come up with a few killing features, and here they are.
Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System
Had Apple come up with such a novelty on the market, they would’ve definitely praised it so many times during the launch event. But since Google didn’t have an event (which is really in their detriment), it will have to rely on bloggers and websites to do the job for them. In a nutshell, the X8 is a mobile computing system that combines Motorola’s proprietary system architecture and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4Pro family processor (1.7GHz Dual-Core Krait CPU + Quad-Core Adreno 320 GPU). Essentially, this was done to increase the battery’s life span and be able to have processors dedicated to natural language processor and contextual computing.
Made in the United States
The “X” moniker was the first part about branding, Made in USA is the second one. I can already imagine seeing TV ads promoting the fact that Moto X was designed and assembled in the United States. There will be definitely enough folks that will let their hearts be touched by the message. Leaving the marketing flicks aside, it’s a good thing we’re having a premium smartphone made in the US at a price that can still seem reasonable to most of us. And I’m not necessarily talking here about the economy, but about the supply chain. You will get your smartphone faster, as it will be built closer to you. And yes, more jobs.
We heard that the Moto X will be a highly-customizable smartphone quite a while ago, but now we have official information. I am including customization in The Good list because I applaud the effort and the movement in the market that this will cause, but it will also go in The Bad list because of current limited availability. How about having your Moto X’s back-plate made from Bamboo wood, or maybe Teak, Rosewood or Ebony; not to mention the huge amount of colors – all of this combined means 504 completely different versions of the Moto X. Take that, Lumia and your color range. Oh, don’t forget that you can also engrave the back of your Moto X.
Sold in the Play Store
As I’ve said it before, OEMs are looking to sell devices through their own means, without having to rely on carriers. Even Apple itself is looking to sell more iPhones through its Apple Stores. The fact that you can always order a Moto X from the Play Store is reassuring and establishes a direct relationship between you, the consumer and Google, the maker.
The smartphone, according to what it can do by looking at the specifications sheet, is to be placed somewhere in the mid-range, but I’ll dare and say that its between the mid-range and the premium range, mostly thanks to its customization options. There are still some more appealing features besides my personal favorites mentioned above, that the Moto X comes with. So, here is some more:
- 10 megapixel camera
- Magic Glass, which is a special Corning Gorilla glass type
- Always on Google Now functionality that respons only to your voice
- Almost stock Vanilla Android software
- The phone will come without carrier customization
- 24 hours battery life of mixed usage
- GLONASS satellite reception
- Miracast wireless display
- 50 free GB of Google Drive storage
I hate it that I had to phrase the title like that, because it might seem that the Moto X has more drawbacks than appealing features to it. But being a big Clint Eastwood fan, I couldn’t help it. So, let’s talk about the things that disappointed us about the Moto X.
According to specs, this is a mid-range smartphone and that’s what matters the most when you decide the price of device – how expensive the components were. But in our case, the Moto X was built in the United States, which clearly increases the production costs. Therefore, this results in a mid-range smartphone having the price of a premium one. You will have to pay two hundred dollars to get the phone on contract from AT&T. Unlocked, the Moto X will sell for $575 – the 16 GB version and $630 – the 32 GB one. And don’t expect the Play Store price to be any different.
At the moment of writing this article, the customization of the Moto X was limited only to AT&T through its Moto Maker website. It was said that the customization is exclusive for now, but we don’t know how much time that really means. Most likely, Google is testing the waters here to see what will be the response of consumers. But the unique feature about this smartphone that will really stand out is the vast amount of colors you can choose from. That is the single thing consumers will think about when looking at the price. So Google better make this feature available to as much users as possible, because this really is their unique selling proposition.
No microSD slot
The Moto X comes in two versions: the 16 GB and the 32 GB one. If you’re looking for more space, because the Android OD itself will occupy quite a lot, you’ll definitely want to choose the 32 GB version. And the fact that the phone comes with fifty free gigabytes of Google Drive storage is somehow a compensation for the absence of the microSD slot. But even I, a technology journalist, would prefer a microSD card than the cloud.
We could also talk about some more important drawbacks of the Moto X, but we can’t say the 720 resolution is a minus, because the Moto X was never meant to be a premium smartphone. After all, what makes a smartphone premium? Google thinks that in the near future, users will stop thinking about processors, sensors, cameras and so on. We will reach a point when any smartphone you’d pick, it will definitely come with a few goodies, so it’s all about what the users feels when using the device.
And I side with Google here. It’s all about details, it’s all about small things that make your experience more pleasant. Right from the start, the Moto X has a nice boot animation that will make you smile. What about that? What about that super-geeky-I-want-it-badly wood cover? So what if it doesn’t come with 4G LTE, 1080P or the latest processor? Most people don’t care about that, after all. The X8 mobile computing system is designed exactly for that – to keep performance on par with the expectations of the user. The 10 megapixels are there exactly for that – to deliver great pictures. It will run fast, it will let you play cool games on it, thanks to a great GPU, you will take awesome pictures, you will be able to see pictures on your TV, you will have good navigation experience. Isn’t that all you need?
One more thing, Google, just let us self-style the Moto X as we want, with the carrier we choose to.