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Moto X Pure Edition review: Motorola's finally found its winning formula

Florence Ion | Oct. 20, 2015
The Moto X is sold unlocked with high-end specs and you can customize it to your liking. That's a pretty good deal for US$400.

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Credit: Florence Ion

It took three tries for Motorola to make an all-around solid flagship device, but we were patient. With the Moto X Pure Edition, the company made a phone with a decent rear-facing camera, Quad HD display, and a few special software features, all wrapped in a package that you can customize to your liking. It’s genius, really, and although the third-generation Moto X may be not be as packed with features as other flagships, at least you can bring home a phone that isn’t packed with bloatware. 

A familiar vibe

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The Moto X is not overwhelming to hold, despite its 5.7-inch display size. Credit: Florence Ion

If you’ve seen one Motorola phone in the last three years, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The Moto X Pure Edition looks a lot like last year’s Moto X, or this year’s Moto G. It’s no head turner like the metal-and-glass Galaxy S6 Edge, or even the unibody HTC One M9, but it’s a phone made in Motorola’s own style and I’m glad to see that the company’s stuck to an aesthetic it’s made all its own—even if it is getting a little repetitive. And unlike other phones, you can customize the Moto X by choosing from a variety of materials, including real wood and genuine leather backs.

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I went for the purple-hued polymer back for the Moto X Pure Edition, though you can choose from leather or wood, too. Credit: Florence Ion

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It’s not the thinnest phone on the market, but it won’t bulk up my pocket either. Credit: Florence Ion

I’ve always thought the Moto X to be particularly ergonomic, and this year’s model is no different. It’s comfortable to use for extended periods of time, and even more comfortable to talk on than the larger Nexus 6. The Moto X also has an expansion slot subtly tucked away behind the nano SIM slot, as well as an NFC chip. It does not have a fingerprint scanner, however, which means you won’t get the security benefits of the new API that comes bundled with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. 

Motorola opted for dual stereo front-facing speakers with the Moto X Pure Edition. It makes for a much better listening experience if you want to stream the radio or a podcast over TuneIn, and the volume can get pretty loud. It also bumped up the display resolution on its flagship device to a 5.7-inch Quad HD IPS LCD. The screen is a good size for multitasking, though it’s not so overwhelmingly large that it doesn’t fit in your car’s cup holder. I read through my Pocket archive on the Moto X and its screen goes dim enough at night so that it doesn’t hurt your eyes, but don’t expect the same kind of color saturation you’d get from one of Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays.

 

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