Republic Wireless Moto X review: Top consumer smartphone and low cost service are a killer combo

Summary:The Moto X is my current favorite smartphone. At $299 with service plans starting at just $5 per month, Republic Wireless has a compelling offer for consumers.

Usage and experiences

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When the Moto X first launched, many of us were disappointed that it wasn't priced to compete with the Nexus line. With this particular Moto X, Republic Wireless shows it can be priced reasonably with no-contract or service obligation. It isn't quite as open as a Nexus device where you can pop in any SIM card, but the service offerings are fantastic and have me considering a black one if I decide to return my custom T-Mobile device.

T-Mobile used to have a UMA (unlicensed mobile access) service that would switch between WiFi and cellular signals, similar to what Republic Wireless now has and in my experiences I find the Republic Wireless service to perform better than T-Mobile's ever did. I have a great WiFi signal at home and the office so making calls via WiFi in areas where I spend the majority of time is perfect.

I never had very good Sprint coverage in the past, but I do see that their LTE network is starting to roll out in the Puget Sound. In the testing that I have conducted over the last couple of weeks, I have seen pretty good LTE coverage and as you can see in my screenshot when you do have LTE it can fly.

If you do get solid Sprint coverage, then $40 per month for the Republic Wireless Moto X is a fantastic deal that can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over your current service. 3G on Sprint is quite slow, but fills the gap between LTE and WiFi at a low cost.

Pros and Cons

RepublicMotoX4

To summarize my experiences with the Republic Wireless Moto X, here are my pros and cons.

Pros

  • Gorgeous 4.7 inch AMOLED display
  • Nearly perfect in-hand form factor and design
  • Innovative software functionality
  • Unique WiFi-focused wireless service options
  • Excellent quality and high volume mono speaker
  • Excellent price with no contract

Cons

  • Limited internal storage capacity
  • Custom software leads to slower Android updates

Pricing and availability

The Moto X is available for $299, which compares with the no-contract T-Mobile 16GB model at $499.99. You save $200 on the phone and also see significant savings in the selected prepaid monthly plan that you choose.

The competition

There are plenty of excellent smartphones available today, including the iPhone 5s, Nexus 5, HTC One, Lumia 925, Lumia 1020, LG G2, and more. The Nexus 5 is similarly priced to the Moto X with a similar approach to a pure Google Android device. Motorola has added some simple, yet extremely effective touches that make it one of the most user friendly devices available today.

In looking at other similar prepaid service providers, you can find the very expensive Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy devices, HTC devices, and LG phones. However, you are unlikely to find a phone as capable and priced as low as the Republic Wireless Moto X.

Specifications

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • X8 Mobile Computing system powered by a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM and 16GB flash storage
  • 4.7 inch 720p resolution display
  • 10 megapixel rear camera
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • 2,200 mAh non-removable battery
  • 802.11 a/ac/b/g WiFi radio and Bluetooth 4
  • Dimensions of 129.44 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm and 130 grams (4.59 ounces)

Conclusion

The more I use the Moto X, the more I enjoy what Motorola has done with their custom software touches that make it one of the most consumer-friendly phones available. Republic Wireless has some compelling service options with no contract obligation. I found their WiFi calling service to provide good quality calls and the handoff to cellular worked well in my testing.

You can purchase the Moto X with Republic Wireless and try out the phone and service for 30 days with no obligation. If you are not completely satisfied then you can return the Moto X for a full refund within 30 days. In the PR materials we were sent, they also offered suggestions if you want to stop service after the first 30 days. They wrote that you could sell it (only usable on Republic Wireless due to the custom ROM), give it away, or keep it and use it via WiFi without calling or texting service.

Contributor's rating: 9 out of 10

Further reading

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Reviews, Smartphones

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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