What's right (and wrong) with the Motorola Moto X

What does Motorola's latest Android handset bring to a market already saturated with already awesome Android-powered handsets?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
(Source: Motorola)

The lid has been lifted off the first fruit of Google's assimilation of Motorola with the début of the Motorola Moto X. But what does latest Android handset bring to a market already saturated with already awesome Android-powered handsets?

Does it have what it takes to make a splash?

What's right with the Moto X?

  • Almost pure Android experience – Closest to the Nexus experience short of getting a Nexus. If you want a crap-free Android experience, this is certainly a selling point.
  • Great-looking screen – 4.7-inch, 720 x 1280 pixels, 316 pixel-per-inch, AMOLED display. Very nice.
  • Custom architecture – the X8 architecture makes use of a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro clocked at 1.7GHz, a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, and two specialized cores one that are used for natural language and the other for contextual computing. This deviation away from using a single chip to do everything is innovative.
  • Great battery life – 24 hours of battery life is certainly a huge win!
  • Smooth UI – There's enough performance crammed under the Moto X hood to make Android run silky-smooth.
  • Sleek, ergonomic design – Fits nicely in the palm of the hand.

What's wrong with the Moto X?

  • Contract price of $199 – Yikes, I'd prefer to see this handset available for $99 to those willing to be shackled to a multi-year contract.
  • Untested custom architecture – While the X8 architecture is innovative, it is highly untested.
  • Voice control – I've yet to come across a voice control system, no matter how good it is, that people continue to use once the novelty has worn off. While the Moto X's voice control is again an innovative feature that makes use of a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, whether it is "sticky" remains to be seen.
  • Performance – The Moto X can't keep up with Snapdragon 600-equipped handsets in the benchmarks.
  • No card slot – Motorola's passive aggressive way to sell you the 32GB version over the cheaper 16GB handset.
  • Android 4.2.2 – Not the Android 4.3 that powers the new Nexus hardware.
  • Build quality – The Moto X is plasticky, with buttons that rattle about. Not a huge issue, but this is a handset that's costing you $199 on top of a contract.

Bottom line

I like the Moto X, but I think that it's not enough phone for the $199 plus contract price tag. Drop that price to $99 (plus contract) and the Moto X becomes quite compelling.

There's a lot of interesting technology crammed inside the handset, and it is certainly worth taking a look at.

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