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Moto X (2014) deep-dive review: Android done right -- again

JR Raphael | Sept. 22, 2014
With a distinctive and customisable design, superb software and exceptional features, the new Moto X shows just how good an Android phone can be.

The new Moto X has one large speaker on the bottom of its face. (At first glance, you might think there's a second speaker on the top of the phone's face, but that's actually just the earpiece.) Audio played through the phone is loud, clear and sounds surprisingly full. It's not quite at the level of the exceptional front-facing stereo speakers of the HTC One (M8) -- what phone is? -- but that outlier aside, it easily delivers the best audio quality I've heard from a mobile device.

Improved internals
You can pore over the new Moto X's specs all you want -- for the record, the phone has a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor along with 2GB of RAM -- but what matters is that the device is fast. Really fast.

The new Moto X is speedy and fluid as can be, with smooth animations, near-instant app switching and super-snappy Web browsing -- even with multiple tabs open. The first-gen Moto X was no slouch, but the new model is often a second or two faster when it comes to tasks like loading a Web page or pulling up the on-screen keyboard. It's a subtle difference, but it's apparent when you're studying the two phones side by side.

Also noticeable are the new Moto X's improvements in the realm of stamina: With moderate to heavy use -- as much as three to four hours of screen-on time -- I've consistently been able to make it through a full day without running out of juice (though I have sometimes cut it close). It's by no means the best battery life I've seen on an Android phone, and a little more staying power would go a long way, but it's a marked improvement over what I've experienced with the first-gen model. For most users, most of the time, making it from morning to night shouldn't be a problem.

The Moto X's 2300mAh battery isn't removable and the phone doesn't support wireless charging -- possibly because of the varied and unusual materials used on the device's back -- but this new model does support a new "turbo charging" option that promises to give you an extra eight hours of use with just 15 minutes of charging.

Intriguing? Absolutely. But there's a catch: You have to buy a special $35 Turbo Charger accessory in order to take advantage of the functionality. Given the fact that the Moto X is half the cost of other flagships on contract and $100 to $150 cheaper unlocked, however, I suppose the additional cost is forgivable.

The Moto X ships with 16GB of internal storage; a 32GB option is also available for an extra $50. The phone does not have a micro SD slot for external storage.

 

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