The Moto X Cometh

by Shayne Rana

What do we know about the Moto X? Well pretty much all there is to know seeing as the handset has been officially unveiled. The web is ripe with all kinds of interesting takes on the new Google handset that does not bear the ‘Nexus’ brand. So here’s a quick run through of the X’s highlights and what my take is on the all new Android smartphone that some have dubbed the ‘Anti-iPhone’.

Let’s Talk Design

In a word, the standard design is generic to say the least but far from ineffective. The fact that you can customize the handset (and this model of working hasn’t quite been tested yet), makes it all the more enticing. According to Moto’s website, it says it will be shipped from the US in 4 days, great for the American’s but what about the rest of the globe? How long would that take? If they guarantee delivery for the rest of in the same time, it would be brilliant!

Sure it would be awesome to get my name engraved into my smartphone but reselling it would then become a problem. But customizing the resin panel for color makes more sense and let’s not forget the highlights and front panel (black or white) as well that can also be customized. There’s also the buzz about a wooden panel being available which really got me thinking about selling my Nexus 4 and upgrading. There’s also word on some water resistance but that is yet to be confirmed.

The bezel isn’t really as thin as I expected and doesn’t look to dissimilar from the Nexus 4 as the screen size is also the same at 4.7-inches with the same 720p resolution. The fact that it’s an AMOLED display does make a difference nevertheless both for viewing and battery consumption. The curved rear panel and indented Motorola emblem below the 10MP camera does seem to indicate that the grip on the X will be quite solid.

Motorola has two variants of the Moto X available – 16GB and 32GB editions. Google is also throwing in 50GB of free space on Google Drive for two years so that should be quite handy too.

The Moto X Feature Set

Motorola is looking to impress. After the Droid’s that only seem to be available through Verizon, they need to reclaim their spot on the global market. The Moto X might just be the ticket. Running on Android 4.2.2 at the moment of unveiling, there’s no doubt the subtleties of the 4.3 update will make it to the final device solution when it’s launched. As is, the X is designed to offer users the comfort of handsfree control with voice commands on Google Now taking precedence. But how different will be really be from what we’ve got now on various Google devices or Samsung’s S Voice functionality? That remains to be seen.

As for speed, thanks to the Qualcomm Sanpdragon S4’s processing prowess in the 1.7 GHz league, lag or stutters in the UI should not be an occurrence. That and the addition of 2 Gigs of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU for graphics should pretty much guarantee lag free performance for games, videos and overall functionality. Motorola is using all of this with their X8 chipset.

A few Moto-centric apps will also give the device some added functionality – Moto Assist that streamlines your usage of the device, Active Display that uses pixel lighting tech to get the very best out of the display while conserving battery life for daily use, and Moto Migrate that’s similar to what HTC used in the One to transfer all of your data from your existing Android handset to the X in a seamless and efficient manner. There’s plenty more where this comes from and although it might not be functionality that’s absolutely new, it’s all quite relevant.

The 10MP camera (2MP front facing), I’m hoping works just as well as the Nexus 4’s if not better. But there’s every possibility it will feature more functionality in terms of settings and quality. The shake to start option I could do without, seeing as I wouldn’t want someone thinking I had spasms trying to capture that ‘Kodak’ moment. Both cameras are capable of recording video in full HD which is definitely a good thing.

07/11/2013 Sun Valley Allen and Company Conference
Voice clarity should also be top notch. If you remember, Motorola’s CrystalTalk technology, back when then initial Droids made their appearance, proved to be very effective for spotless voice calls even in crowded areas. This was thanks to the tech used in the dual microphones embedded into the device which is also evident in the Moto X.

The 2200 mAh battery isn’t really a drastic step up from the Nexus 4. And from the looks of it, the unibody design of the Moto X could once again be a minor issue for those who prefer the ability to swap batteries when and if required. Bt with an AMOLED display and the tweaks like Active Display technology and more, I believe battery life on the Moto X will surely be better than the last few Google devices that made it out.

So what’s the Bottom Line?
We know that the Moto X is going to hit Rogers, Canada and Verizon head on. We know that you’ll able to customize the device to an extent but how effective the process of delivery will be is yet to be seen. And we know that we’re not looking at the fastest handset on the plane but one that will have enough clout to garner enough attention to bring Motorola back to the forefront of the smartphone game.

Price will the deciding factor. It seems to be placed in the $200 range with a two year contract but I’d like to see what the unlocked version would be set at and if there’s an additional price for customization.

Personally I’m all for stock Android as the OS, its uncomplicated and bloatware is kept to the bare minimum opening up acceleration on the handset for the best performance. I’ve been a fan of the Motorola Droid devices since the beginning and the Kevlar coated RAZR MAXX was also another of my favorites from features to construction. I’m looking forward to the Moto X and hope that it proves to be every bit as good as the company claims.

[Image source – Techcrunch]

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