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

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.

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Usage and experiences

Screenshot_2013-11-24-18-16-01

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

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68 comments
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  • If only

    they didn't use Sprint. Sprint's coverage is even worse than tmobile's most the places I am. I have wifi at home and work, but they have too many dead spots in between for me. I don't understand why Tmo doesn't offer this also. When I was on tmo I had the wifi calling option.
    2low_tech
    • Same concern, but Sprint is getting better with LTE rollout

      I had the same concern as you, but was also pleasantly surprised to find LTE is available now in more places than when I last tested out Sprint service. I wonder if they had a partnership with Verizon or AT&T if the cost would be significantly higher.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Actually, I think there is a Verizon arrangement

        My Moto X is in shipment, so grain of salt applies. But my reading is that RW has arranged for free roaming on the Verizon network. Between the two, I expect about as good coverage as one could hope for.

        The wifi calling was the clincher for me...I regularly spend significant amounts of time in places with poor cellular signal but good wifi.
        mbramel
        • mbramel any update

          mbramel, i'd really appreciate an update if you've been using the moto x on republic wireless. where are you located?

          i am in chicago and have been using us cellular and just got booted off of their network. us cellular sold their entire chicago clientele to sprint and for the last three days i've been on a roaming 1x service and it's killing me.

          big thanks!
          dedle
          • dedle, Republic Wireless works very well (in St. Louis)

            It should work well in Chicago as well, but you say that Sprint is not working for you? Maybe it's your phone. I will say that Sprint's service on a Republic Moto X works much better than the same network through Virgin Mobile in my area. 4G LTE just came online here recently, and while not as fast as t-mobile or Verizon, it is plenty good enough for me. Remember, Republic Wireless wifi calling is very handy when indoors. Also, they do allow roaming (to Verizon mainly), but only 100 mb of data roaming is allowed before throttling. You can't beat their prices, and you get 30 days to try out the service and get your money back (for phone AND service) if you don't like it. I see some referral links posted (saves $19), so here's mine:

            http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/27Qk9g
            StLhippie
          • republic wireless coupon

            They switched their code system, so that link doesn't work anymore. Use this one instead for $20 off:

            http://rwshar.es/O19o
            sallyrufkin
          • why use these weird links?

            Just copy/paste this link, $20 off every time, my sister used it last week.
            http://republicswireless.com/promo
            sallyrufkin
      • Coupon

        $19 off Coupon / Promo Code for Republic Wireless. Click here: http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1spXf4
        Daniel Rufty
        • This one didn't work for me

          Try this one instead... for some reason the credit didn't show up when I tried checking out using the above link.

          I found this online on one of those coupon deal sites.

          http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1wlgRc
          FreedomForever1
    • T-Mobile coverage

      I've toured the US many times and Y Mobile's coverage has always been superb...In fact as a group we'd compare ATT/T-Mobile/Verizon and Cricket...only cricket was dodgy..
      philaxis
    • Other options instead of Sprint

      Republic hasn't cornered the market on value. You could always get a Nexus 5 at the Google Play store and get a SIM from 35orless LIVE Plan- great rate that gets better every month
      2-connected MG
    • Coupon

      $19 off Coupon / Promo Code for Republic Wireless. Click here: http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1spXf4
      Daniel Rufty
    • Sprint Is Actually Pretty Good

      Sprint also uses Verizon to help cover when you are roaming, so service is much better than it appears on the Sprint map online!

      Make sure to sign up with the following link (my friend shared with me) to get $19 off your first month. It worked for me! If it doesn't go through, contact Republic Wireless support and they will quickly credit your account with the $19.

      Also, if you've already signed up, contact them and give them the referral link you originally used (like mine below) and it should credit your account.

      http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1wlgRc

      I highly recommend Republic Wireless. When I'm out of the house, the 3G data plan has worked flawless for me. Just check you Sprint Coverage map to make sure you'll be okay. If you really can't go a day without watching streaming video in the middle of the forest, Republic Wireless on the Moto X will work great for you. Otherwise, feel free to pony up the cash to Verizon and AT&T so you can stream video and download torrents in the middle of nowhere.

      I've been pleasantly surprised with how well this phone (the Moto X) and Republic Wireless has worked. I haven't dropped any calls, missed any texts, and the handover from WiFi to Cell is seemless. I highly recommend Republic Wireless to my family, friends, and my coworkers.

      Make sure to sign up with the following link to get $19 off your first month. I know some people who signed up without going through this, and they missed out on the offer.

      http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1wlgRc
      FreedomForever1
    • Coverage is just fine.

      I switched to Republic Wireless a few months back from Verizon. They were killing me with the monthly charges. Around $120 a month. Verizon does have the best 4G coverage. I won’t deny that. I got the Republic plan for $25 a month. Unlimited calls, text and data with 3G. I dont have the 4G on my plan. It takes a few seconds longer for the internet to load compared to Verizon. But for $100 a month savings its well worth it. If you get the 4G with Republic remember you might not have use of it except in large cities. Im completely happy with the plan I have. I have no dropped calls. The switch from wifi to Sprint 3G is seamless. Those commercials for Verizon that show the map show the 4G map coverage only and 3G is pretty much everywhere so their ads are really misleading. It works great. Get the Moto X phone and not the Defy (it sucks). The Moto X rocks. Yes, you will have to pay $299 for the phone upfront but it pays for itself in a few months. Do the math and figure out your yearly cost compared with your current plan. Even if you have to pay an early termination fee it will save you money over the next year or two. I have a link that you can use to save $19 for the first month. Yes, it helps me with my bill too when you do. I won’t lie. For Christmas bonus my boss decided to let most of us go and I am unemployed. If you don’t like Republic, there is no contract. Just switch back. It is a great company.

      Here is the link. Cut and paste if it needed. Thanks!!

      http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1ymPvN
      SteveC11010
  • Republic wireless

    We have been using the defy phone for the month and we are not having issues with call area. We drove nearly to Jacksboro, TX, then down to Mineral Wells and only had one area where we didn't get 3G calling. Most every other phone company like t-mobile, Metro doesn't have this good of reception. We are looking into buying at least one of the MotoX phones on the 3rd and if it works out, I will be getting another one.
    compgenie@...
  • Does the custom ROM prevent VOIP apps?

    If you cancel service, can the phone still be used with GrooveIP or its ilk?

    For that matter, are you permitted (by EULA or other licensing) to flash it with a custom ROM? Presumably, if you cancel service you won't have access to the Republic Wireless ROM updates ...
    daboochmeister
    • No, you can't use the phone anywhere else

      It would be nice if you could take the phone to Sprint or another Sprint MVNO, but Republic says you can't (I assume the lock the ESN). Not sure about the ability to put a custom ROM on it, but if you did then you couldn't use it with Republic's service. The $300 price is a pretty steep discount considering there's no real recoup fee in the plan prices, so that's a justification for locking you to the network, IMO.

      My wife received this phone on Republic last week and is loving it. Great device. Sprint's voice service is just fine, really. It's their data that's terribly slow.
      mrjeffreed
      • Sure, Sprint May Not Be The Best For Data Everywhere, However...

        But do you really need to spend $50+ a month so you can have super fast data everywhere? There is free WiFi almost everywhere these days (malls, restaurants, sports centers, work, home, etc.) that is faster than 3G and 4G data most of the times. You only really need basically data functionality on the road to use your phone as a GPS or when you have to look something up online. Otherwise, I think people are needlessly paying for data plans they don't really use on the big 4 cell carriers.

        I highly recommend Republic Wireless. When I'm out of the house, the 3G data plan has worked flawless for me. Just check you Sprint Coverage map to make sure you'll be okay. If you really can't go a day without watching streaming video in the middle of the forest, Republic Wireless on the Moto X will work great for you. Otherwise, feel free to pony up the cash to Verizon and AT&T so you can stream video and download torrents in the middle of nowhere.

        I've been pleasantly surprised with how well this phone (the Moto X) and Republic Wireless has worked. I haven't dropped any calls, missed any texts, and the handover from WiFi to Cell is seemless. I highly recommend Republic Wireless to my family, friends, and my coworkers.

        Make sure to sign up with the following link to get $19 off your first month. I know some people who signed up without going through this, and they missed out on the offer.

        http://referrals.republicwireless.com/a/clk/1wlgRc
        FreedomForever1
    • GrooveIP and others that use Google Voice are soon to be dead

      Google is killing all 3rd party VOIP apps that use its service. They claim that others using their service is a security problem, and is preventing them from offering VOIP voice only calling in their own apps. They already offer voice only in the iOS app - but not Android! Apparently they are not going to be offering this on Android until Spring '14.

      Personally I have never gotten any GV voip app to work well enough. SparePhone, GrooveIP, others, always too much delay or choppy despite attempts to tweak and clear them up. Probably Google will get it right with their own app. I use Yuilop right now and it's wonky too.

      I had to choose about a year ago between Republic and Ting, went with Ting, and we have two phones on Ting. Ting was actually cheaper and had a much better choice of phones, and you could bring most Sprint phones over to Ting. HOWEVER I am stuck much of the time calling on Wifi with these sucky VOIP apps. I have a feeling Republic's wifi calling is far far better than how I can do it on Ting. Now that they have an awesome phone, if I were to do it today I would probably go with Republic. HOWEVER their plans are not as good as Ting's, which I find work very well in a much smoother 'pay as you use it' manner, and are very inexpensive.

      In short, if Google Voice VOIP gets sorted out as I hope it will, we will stick with Ting for a while yet, as we already have the phones and they still have a much better range of phones while Republic still has only 2 and 1 of those is awful.
      ArtInvent
      • Been using the Obi for Google Voice

        Frankly, I'm going to miss it. I like free, but I like the full integration of the Web, landline, and cell with one number. Wrote about the EOL for GV XMPP support at
        http://paulmisner.com/wp/?p=310
        paul@...