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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 company claims that, as a result, the 2200mAh battery will last up to 24 hours under mixed usage. I used it for several days under reasonable conditions -- doing a good deal of browsing, a few phone calls, some streaming music and an hour or two of streaming videos -- and while the phone certainly didn't last 24 hours, it did go an average of 12-14 hours before hitting the red zone. (Which means that heavy users may want to have a portable battery charger available; the Moto X's battery is not swappable.)

Taking a photo
One of the big consumer draws for a phone today is its camera, and the Moto X's camera did not disappoint. Motorola has included a "quick capture" feature that allows you to take a photo by simply touching anywhere on the screen. The camera then automatically focuses and shoots.

On the whole, the Moto X "quick capture" camera feature works well. This was taken in a moving vehicle.

I was a little wary of this feature, but I found it worked surprisingly well, making it very simple to take quick, effective pictures. I took a number of photos, several of them under fairly low-light conditions, and the resulting images were sharp and clean.

The only circumstances under which this did not work were when I used the zoom; in that case, the camera didn't seem quite sure what to focus on, and the photo came out blurry. (When I switched to the usual "tap to focus" method that comes with most Android phones, photos under the same conditions came out fine.)

The "quick capture" did sometimes have trouble coping with a zoom. However, it did very well, even in low light conditions, when the controls were changed to "tap to focus."

The phone comes with a number of other camera adjustments -- flash, HDR, geo-tag, etc. -- that are accessible by swiping in from the left; you can access your photo gallery by swiping in from the right. And there are a number of edits you can make to a photo after it's been taken, including cropping, adding color effects such as making it look like a vintage photo or making it black & white, changing the exposure, etc.

You can go immediately to the camera when the phone is off by, according to Motorola, "twisting your wrist twice." It takes a bit of practice and didn't always seem to work for me, but when it did, it was nice to be able to immediately start up the camera, touch the screen and take the photo.

Designing a phone
One of the other selling points of the Moto X -- and one of the things that makes it so obviously a consumer phone -- is the fact that it will be possible to "design your own" through a website called Moto Maker.


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