Moto X (2014) Review.
Google only controlled Motorola (or more precisely, Motorola Mobility, the mobile division of the old Motorola company) for a short two years. In business terms, that’s a flash in the pan. However, in those two years they turned round a company which had fallen on hard times and were famous for “once building the most desired phone of the pre smartphone era” and turned them into another success story by creating five popular and desirable models of phone, and even a Nexus branded product (the Nexus 6). In Google’s closing months, they’ve released two great updates to their lineup. One we’ve already seen, the Moto G (2014) which we’ve already reviewed. Now we review the big brother, the flagship, the Moto X (2014).
Design & Display:
When the first iteration of the Moto X came out last year, we had to watch enviously as the American market got to customise and personalise their Moto prior to shipping with different covers made of real wood and other materials. This year, Motorola released the Moto Maker service in the UK which allows users to chose which kind of case they want and in which material, choosing from several different kinds of warm woods or bright coloured plastics. They could also upload certain apps and even contacts and settings prior to the device even leaving the factory.
We were given a plain black unit, which was the basic model, but didn’t take away any of the beauty of the device. The side is of machined metal, either in black or silver, depending on colour you choose. The back is a simple black plastic which has a matt finish which gives it a little grip with the rear 13 MP camera – which has a dual flash in a ring round the lens – and the Motorola logo in a divot just below. The back is non replaceble (unlike the little brother Moto G), which means that the 2300mAh battery can’t be replaced, so the Micro-SIM tray is on the top of the device, next to the 3.5 mm audio jack.
The sides of the device are fairly sparse except for the power button and volume rocker which are on the right hand side in matching metal to the frame. The bottom contains only the Micro USB charger socket.
The front of the screen is also very minimalist with no home buttons – the Moto X (2014) uses soft keys – just the forward facing 2 MP camera and two forward facing speakers. One at the bottom, one at the top. Between these sits the 5.2′” screen – which gives the display a resolution of 1080 x 1920 for 424 PPI density. Using AMOLED technology, the colours look great in high light levels and the colours look rich and popping.
The Moto X (2014) has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, running a Quad-Core 2.5 GHz Krait400 processor backed up by 2 GB of RAM. The processor is very fast, and certainly future proof for the next couple of years. Other hardware specifications installed are Bluetooth 4.0 LE, A2DP, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot and comes with 16 or 32 GB of storage. As you heard, the back is not removable, and there is no SD card slot, which seems an odd omission, considering the Moto G (2014) was given one when it didn’t have one last year.
As always with test devices, we ran the AnTuTu 5.0 benchmarking suite on the Moto X (2014). With the high end hardware, we weren’t surprised when it hit some good results, scoring 44122 points, Which placed it slightly ahead of the HTC One M8 (which scored 43827), Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony’s Xperia Z2.
On the Open GL ES3.0 test, the Moto X (2014) scored a respectable 2246, which puts it about level with other flagships on the market.
We also ran the new AnTuTu HTML5 test which shows you how well the device will handle browsing modern pages on the internet. In this test, the Moto X (2014) scored a total of 10347 points, again, putting it about level with the rest of the flagships on the markets. In this test, it’s not about the hardware, so much has the browser it comes with. In this case, the Moto X (2014) has Google’s Chrome, but of course you can download any of them from the playstore.
As they have been for the last two years, the Moto X (2014) comes with more or less a stock Android KitKat experience with only four Motorola owned apps: Migrate (which will help you move to your new phone), Moto (which powers both the hands free assistant access and notifications screen), Spotlight Stories (a fun set of interactive films) and a help app. You can also get more from the Play Store.
With the Moto X (2014)’s power, we can expect that it will run Lollipop very freely, although now that they no longer belong to Google, will they be so quick to get the Android updates? We’ll see…
The Moto X (2014) comes with an upgraded 13 MP camera with auto focus and dual flash. It’s capable of taking pictures at a resolution of 4128 x 3096 pixels and comes with some nice camera modes such as touch focus, panorama, HDR and face detection. The standard camera app is a little lacking in features compared to, say, Samsung’s stock camera, but it takes very decent photos. Of course, if it’s not advanced enough for you, you can download new camera apps from the Play Store.
The front facing camera is a 2 MP camera which will be good enough for video calling and, of course, the obligatory selfie.
As mentioned above, the Moto X (2014) comes with a 2300 mAh battery which is not replaceable by the user. Charge times were very low, taking approx 60-90 minutes for a full charge from empty. In the last two years, Motorola haven’t shipped any of their phones with a charger unit (other than the cable) to cut down on weight, packaging and so that only one model need be made and shipped worldwide. However, the Moto X (2014) comes with a charger plug which has two outlets. An interesting option.
We also ran the AnTuTu Battery stability test on the device. This benchmark will run several simulations in a continuous loop swapping between web browsing, videos, games and high end mathematical processes on the CPU. During this test, the app measures the battery temperature and level. When it’s finished, an equation is completed to measure the phone compared to the rest of the market. In this benchmark, the Moto X (2014) didn’t do so well, scoring 4641 points, placing it below the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Nexus 4. That being said, after the 90 minute test, the Moto X (2014) had dropped from 100% to 32%, which isn’t overly that bad.
The Moto X (2014) is a very powerful and good looking update to the flagship. It’s almost like Google were making their best effort for their last device prior to handing over to Levono. The increased screen size is welcome, and the increase in power will certainly see this device through for several years to come. Although looks aren’t amazing on the basic model, at least we can now get the luxury backs in woods from the Moto Maker site.
You can buy the Moto X (2014) from Motorola themselves starting from £419.99 ($656.66/€523.68).