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The Moto X is the most convenient Android phone ever

Armando Rodriguez | Aug. 7, 2013
The Moto X proves you don't need cutting edge specs to make a great Android phone.

The headlining feature of the Moto X, however, is Touchless Control: With Touchless Control enabled, you can speak commands to your phone without having to interact with it in any physical way. The feature is built atop Google Now, and you trigger it by saying "Okay Google Now," followed by your command. You won't get jokes and stories like you do with Siri, but I've often found Google Now to be better and faster at processing my speech than Apple's virtual assistant.


Once you set it up, Touchless Control will automatically launch whenever you say, "Okay Google Now."

When you first set up Touchless Control, you need to train the software to recognize your voice, and I tested to make sure other people couldn't activate my phone by saying the trigger phrase. Touchless Control will activate if you yell across the room, but the couple of times I tried it Google Now wasn't able to parse my request. It'll come in handy when you're driving or just want to impress your friends.

The Moto X ships running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, though Motorola promised the phone would be updated to 4.3 in a timely manner. The Moto X is not a Nexus device, so it won't be updated at the same pace as the Nexus 4 or the Nexus tablets. Motorola has generally been good about updating its phones, but it's something worth noting if you were hoping to have your hands on the latest version of Android right out of the gate.

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The Moto X looks pretty snazzy.

For the longest time Motorola was making phones that were more functional than fashionable. Last year's Verizon Droid Razr line, for example, provided exceptional battery life and performance, but the phones were boxy and somewhat awkward to hold. The Moto X, by contrast, features a curved back that rests gently in your hand, and the phone feels much more compact compared to its Droid cousins. Measuring 65.3 by 129.3 by 10.4mm (at the phone's thickest point), the Moto X isn't much taller than the iPhone 5--though it is wider and heavier than Apple's offering. One of my big issues with the iPhone 5 is that its narrow frame can make it seem top-heavy and I always feel like it's going to flip out of my hands. That problem never even entered my mind while handling the Moto X, whose wider chassis seemed to conform perfectly to my palm.


The Moto X (top) and Nexus 4 (bottom)

The Moto X is constructed out of a composite blend that Motorola adamantly denies is plastic. The material doesn't feel as flimsy as the polycarbonate used on the Samsung Galaxy S4, and it didn't get greasy or gross after handling the phone for a prolonged period of time. I'm still not convinced that it isn't plastic, but the material doesn't make the phone feel cheap and it seems like it can stand its fair share of abuse.

 

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