My first mobile phone was the Nokia 1112. In a very pretty package, with its bright white backlight and soft touch keypads, it is a well-made mobile phone overall. Today’s phones are a far cry from the humble Nokia. There is literally no limit to what today’s “smart phone” can do whereas the best feature on the Nokia was that it let you play snake, and that it had polyphonic ringtones. One of the best phones I have owned is a Sony Ericsson C510. It was a result of Sony putting the best of their imaging prowess into their ever expanding cellular phone range. The C stands for “Cybershot”, and Cybershot, as we all know means business. The reason why I really liked the C510 is not just the phone’s excellent camera, but how surprisingly good it was. I still have that phone with me now, and I don’t think I would ever let it go.
But, by far, my favourite phone is my very first android, my MotoX (16GB). It is a beautifully made phone. It has a very slight curve on its back which gradually becomes flat towards the bottom. It fits so well in your hand and even though the white one (which I have) isn’t exactly grippy, it feels solid. It won’t seem tough at first glance but I can assure you, this phone can take a hit. That being said, I would recommend everyone to use a protective cover, or case for the phone. I love the woven pattern on the back panel. This only comes with the all black and all white phones. There are other colour options, but only for the back panel. The front panel is only available in either black or white. In the European and American market, along with many other markets, Motorola provides the Motomaker, which is an online tool which allows customers to make their own MotoX. There are almost infinite different combinations to choose from. Unfortunately, there is no Motomaker for India as yet, which means we are stuck with the colour choices that have been selected for us. I am sure we all would love to see Motomaker debut in India as well (although I don’t see that would happen).
Although there are only limited options for the MotoX, Motorola has been kind enough to bring their wooden back panel versions of the MotoX to India. There are different types of wooden backs, Walnut, Teak and the all new Bamboo. It would cost you Rs. 2000 more for the wood backs, compared to the rest.
My MotoX came with Android 4.4 KitKat pre-installed, and I have subsequently updated it to Android 4.4.2 later on. At the time of writing this, I am still waiting for the 4.4.4 update which is due for MotoX and MotoG in India. The relatively new MotoE has already started receiving its Android 4.4.4 update. MotoX, along with MotoE and MotoG has a near stock version of Android KitKat, which makes this phone really fast. The only difference that the MotoX version has from stock Android are, Active Notification, Touchless Control, and a bunch of Motorola Apps such as Motorola Connect and Motorola Assist. Motorola Assist is a nifty feature which uses location based services to execute certain operations which have been assigned to it. There are different modes namely “Sleeping”, “Meeting” and “Driving”. For the ‘Sleeping’ mode, you can select a time window when you sleep, where you don’t want calls to disturb you. With ‘Meeting’ mode on, the phone checks your schedule and automatically mutes your phone during the meetings you have scheduled. For ‘Driving’ mode, the phone uses GPS to detect whether you are moving and it will read out the messages for you. I found this mode to be annoying at times, especially when I was travelling in a bus and the phone decided that I was driving and read out my messages for me. It won’t be useful while you are riding a motorcycle either, unless you have your headphones plugged in. In this mode you can also set the music to play automatically when u r driving. I ended up disabling this feature after a while. The Meeting mode on the other hand, proved to be quite useful.
Hardware wise, the MotoX has what Motorola calls the X8 Computing system, which consists of multiple CPU’s all designed to do specific things which makes for very efficient processing. The X8 system is comprised of a Dual core, 1.7 GHz, Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a Quad core Adreno 320 GPU for graphics processing, a Single core processor for Contextual computing and gesture recognition, and another Single core processor for Natural Language processing and voice recognition. That makes 8-cores in total for the X8 chip. But unlike the other Octa core chips, the X8 does things differently. The single core CPU‘s come into play only when they are asked for, and all the other times, the heavy lifting is done by the Dual core Snapdragon s4 pro CPU. The X8 cleverly manages these CPU’s according to the requirements, which means that, the two single core CPU’s will be working only when the gesture is called upon (more on that later) or when the voice recognition is triggered. Essentially, all this means better performance, thanks to the multi core CPU’s and better battery life.
The Single core CPU’s in the X8 system are responsible for two of the best and (currently) exclusive features of the MotoX. The MotoX ads are banking heavily on the Active Notification and Touchless Control. The Active Notifications is a feature which I really love. It shows up on the Lock screen as a popup every time you pick up the phone. It shows the latest notification in a bubble and if you touch it, you can see a preview of the mail or message or whatever the notification is about. The most interesting thing about this is that, it doesn’t light up the whole screen each time the notification shows up. On the other hand, it only turns on individual pixels to show the required information. This means that on the rest of the screen (which looks black), the pixels in those areas are really ‘OFF’. This results in much better contrast since the black is indeed ‘Black’. This feature cleverly makes use of the AMOLED screens’ ability to selectively illuminate pixels. This feature essentially replaces the notification LED which everyone has grown to love in the Android phones. But I must say that, aesthetically at least, I do miss the beautiful glowing LED light of the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5.
Touchless control is another useful feature built into the MotoX. You can say “Ok Google Now”, and ask the phone a question, and it will trigger Google Now and get you the desired result. You can train the phone to answer to you and you only, (by saying the phrase “Ok Google Now” three times) while setting up the Touchless control. You only need to do this once. Yes, the Nexus 5 has this feature and yes, you only need to say fewer words to trigger it in the Nexus 5. But don’t forget the fact that MotoX introduced the feature even before the Nexus 5.
In my daily use, I have never felt any drag in performance nor have I wished for a bigger battery. The phone could easily last me the entire day (sometimes more than that) even when used heavily on the Airtel 3G network, and/or gaming. But I have noticed the phone getting a bit hot while charging. The MotoX comes with a 4.7” 720p display, which in my opinion is one of the best screens in the market right now. The viewing angles are great, and even though someone might argue that AMOLED screens have oversaturated colours, I really like it. I prefer this screen over the Nexus 5, which is an IPS display, which is said to produce more true colours. The truth of the matter is, your pictures and videos look much more vibrant in the AMOLED screen of the MotoX than the Nexus 5’s and I like that. In bright sunlight, the low brightness levels doesn’t help, but in full brightness, there would be no hassle to read everything on the screen. The Auto brightness helps to an extent, but I prefer auto brightness turned off since it helped improve battery life.
The MotoX has a speaker on the back, which means the sound gets muffled while the phone is on its back. But it is really loud and crisp and even with a less attention grabbing ringtone, I could easily hear the phone ring in my pocket while driving my motorcycle, with my helmet on. To the right of the speaker grille and right at the centre is the 10 MP camera. I have read many reviews which states that the camera is the most disappointing one among the latest smart phone cameras. I did purchase the MotoX not expecting much from the camera. But I must say it was not bad at all. No, the images are nowhere near as impressive as the ones produced by Samsung Galaxy s4 or the Sony Xperia Z1, but you should not forget that the S4 cost more than 40k when it came out and it costs around 30k even now. The Z1 cost around the same 40k when it was released and it costs more than 35k now. The MotoX costs much less than the two and when you look at it that way, the camera in the MotoX should be given some leniency. But that being said, when you look at the fact that the MotoX is the flagship phone of Motorola there is no wonder it is being compared to the flagships from other manufacturers.
My only complain about the MotoX is the storage. It has 16GB internal memory, with no option for expandable storage. I had heard everyone complaining how less 16GB is and I was adamant that 16GB would be more than enough. But the more and more I use the phone, I realise it would have been better if there was an expandable storage option. Sure, a microSD card slot, would have been convenient, but there are other options for expanding the storage (OTG Cables and OTG Pen drives).
I have used the amazing Nexus 5, the gorgeous Xperia Z1, and the feature packed Samsung galaxy S4. To be frank I worship the Nexus 5. I had only these three phones in my radar until the MotoX arrived. But when it finally did come to India, I ordered the phone almost immediately. One of the main things which led me away from the Sony and Samsung phones are the overload of bloatware and the unnecessary UI and design tweaks present in them. I am happy that Motorola decided to leave the Android experience as it is. They also guarantee quick Android updates alongside the Nexus devices, which is expected since Google oversees operations of Motorola (until Lenovo takes over). Even more impressive is the fact that it received the Android 4.4.2 update earlier than the Nexus line of devices. That should speak for itself about the
My first Android experience has been amazing. There might be better phones than the MotoX in the market nowadays, but this so called ‘mid-ranger’ did shake up the entire flagship segment with ingenious resource management, top quality hardware and best of all, guaranteed and quick Android updates. The MotoX for me is the best android phone right now.