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Moto X Pure Edition review: A clever phone with a killer price

JR Raphael | Sept. 18, 2015
It isn't perfect, but Motorola's latest flagship has a lot of compelling qualities -- and considerable bang for the buck.

The Moto X's curvier, slightly thicker back and its warmer materials make it even more natural to palm than the Note, too; even with my relatively-small-for-a-man hands, I've had no problems hanging onto the device and feeling secure.

That being said, I do find that the extra smidgen of width combined with the added height makes a phone of this size somewhat awkward to use single-handedly -- you just can't reach everything on the screen without fumbling around and doing a lot of shifting. The height also makes it a touch too large to carry comfortably; even in my decidedly untrendy loose-fitting pants and shorts, I'm always acutely aware of its presence. I often find myself having to move it around in my pocket to keep it from falling out in places like the car or the gym.

As with any plus-sized phone, it's very much a tradeoff -- and whether that tradeoff makes sense for you is a question only you can answer.

An okay but puzzling display

The main benefit you get from carrying a larger phone, of course, is enjoying a larger display. The Moto X packs a spacious 5.7-in. screen -- the same size as the Note 5's display -- and that gives you ample room for all of your browsing, reading and video watching. Aside from full-screen items like videos, on-screen elements aren't generally any larger than what you'd see on a standard-sized smartphone; instead, you end up seeing more content on the screen at a time -- more lines of text in an article or more emails in your inbox, for instance -- which can certainly be nice.

I have to say, though, I'm not entirely thrilled with the display that Motorola put into this device. The screen uses LCD technology, which is a change from the AMOLED tech that's been present in past Moto X models (and is also used in Samsung's Galaxy devices). The Quad HD panel is crisp and clear, and its whites look better than those on last year's Moto X -- but the rest of its colors look less bold and even a little washed out compared to an AMOLED screen's richly saturated nature.

To be fair, most people probably won't be bothered by this; it's the type of thing you notice only if you're looking at two phones side by side (or if you've spent a lot of time staring at smartphone screens in general). And yes, we're very much talking "first world problems" here. But for anyone who places a fair amount of value on display quality, the difference is difficult to unsee once you've tuned into it.

 

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