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Moto X deep dive review: Hype aside, it's a really good phone

Barbara Krasnoff | Aug. 12, 2013
The Moto X Android smartphone may not be as groundbreaking as expected, but it offers consumers a great mobile experience.

The introduction of the Moto X last Thursday was accompanied by a great deal of hoopla from Motorola Mobility, which was acquired by Google a year ago, and no small amount of curiosity from the press and from users, who were eager to find out what the first phone designed after the acquisition would be like.

The Moto X has been designed to be attractive to consumers.

I've been using the Moto X as my sole smartphone since Thursday, putting it through its paces. And while the Moto X is not any kind of revolution in mobile technology, neither is it the complete disappointment that some are complaining about. Instead, it is an interesting attempt at a user-friendly and configurable mobile device.

First, the specs
The Moto X, which will be available at the end of August from all four major U.S. carriers, is lightweight and smaller than some of the more powerful smartphones out there -- or, for that matter, some of Motorola's recently announced phones. If you compare it with Motorola's upcoming Droid Ultra, which, like the Moto X, is priced at $199 with a 2-year contract, there are many similarities -- along with a couple of major differences.

To begin with, the Moto X, with its 4.7-in. display, measures a modest 5.09 x 2.57 in.; the back is curved (more on that later) and so its depth ranges from 0.22 to 0.41 in. It weighs 4.58 oz. On the other hand, the Droid Ultra, which comes with a 5-in. display, is somewhat larger at 5.41 x 2.80 x 0.28 in. and weighs 4.83 oz., only slightly heavier.

Both phones come with Motorola's X8 Mobile Computing System, which includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core processor and two additional processors that handle natural language and contextual computing. They both come with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage (although there will be a 32GB version of the Moto X for an extra $50).

The displays' specs are also similar. Both offer AMOLED Gorilla Glass displays with 1280 x 720 resolution, although the Moto X has a slightly better 316 pixels per inch (PPI) compared to the Droid Ultra's 294. And both have 10-megapixel rear cameras and 2-megapixel front cameras.

Both support Bluetooth 4.0 LE + EDR, can connect over 4G LTE networks and can be used as a mobile hotspot. Both also support 802.11n Wi-Fi, although the Moto X adds 802.11ac to the mix.

Even the software is much the same. Both cameras ship with Android 4.2.2 (instead of the more recent Android 4.3), along with a number of added features such as Touchless Control, which lets you activate the phone with your voice, and Active Display, which shows information on the screen when the phone is moved even slightly.


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