Motorola Moto X review: The Moto X is a solid phone, but it doesn't offer enough over the cheaper Moto G

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

4 stars 41 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Latest version of Android; Bright, bold screen; Good camera; Comfortable design.

The Bad Specs don't justify huge price increase over the Moto G; Customisation service not available in the UK; No expandable storage.

The Bottom Line With the latest version of Android on board, as well as a bold screen and a good camera, the Motorola Moto X is a decent all-round phone. The Moto G has all this though, and costs half as much. Without the wide choice of colours the Moto X has in the US, there's not enough to justify the extra expense over the Moto G unless you really want 4G data speeds.

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As it launched in the US back in August last year, Motorola's Moto X might well be considered old news, but it's only just made its way here to good old blighty. Motorola has rather fallen behind the competition in recent years, but it made a storming comeback with the Moto G, which paired great specs with a rock-bottom price.

The Moto X has a similar design, a larger, 4.7-inch display, a 1.7GHz dual core processor, the latest version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, a 10-megapixel camera and 4G connectivity -- something that wasn't available on the Moto G. You can pick it up SIM free on Amazon now for £315, or for free on contracts starting at £19 per month.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind though. The Moto X won praise in the US because it can be customised with a wide variety of colours. That option isn't available in the UK and the score has been adjusted accordingly.

More importantly, however, is that Motorola has recently been bought by Lenovo. Lenovo has yet to say what plans it has for Motorola, but there's no guarantee that the Motorola name will even exist this time next year. It's also worth considering whether future software updates will arrive for Motorola's phones. If you crave the latest Android updates as soon as they're available, Motorola might not be the best company to plump for right now.

Design and build quality

If you've already had a go on the Moto G, the Moto X will seem quite familiar. It has a very similar design with the same curving back panel. The X is slimmer though, making it very comfortable to hold in one hand, and its 4.7-inch display makes it marginally longer and wider than the G.

Motorola Moto X
Unfortunately the Moto X only comes in black and white in the UK.

One of the best things about the Moto X when it first launched was the wide customisation options using the Moto Maker website. You can select a host of different colours for the back panel, with different accents for the camera lens, the phone's edge and buttons. You can even have it made from wood. It's a great way of putting a personal touch on a phone, but sadly those options aren't available on the Moto X here in Europe.

Instead, your choice is simply between black and white. There's a diamond pattern on the back that keeps it from being too dull, but even so, it's nowhere near as fun as choosing your own vibrant set of hues. At the launch, Moto suggested that the Moto Maker service could make its way to Europe at some point.

The Moto X is well put together, with no creaking from the case and no loose, rattling parts. The rubberised back did a good job of resisting scratches from my keys too. The back panel isn't removable so you can't swap the battery out and there's no microSD card slot. The phone comes with 16GB of storage though, which is a decent amount more than the standard 8GB of the Moto G, and you get an extra 50GB of cloud storage with Google Drive thrown in for two years.

Display

The Moto X's 4.7-inch display packs a 720p resolution, which is the same amount of pixels you'll find on the Moto G. As the Moto G has a smaller display, it means its pixels are packed in tighter, resulting in a slightly higher pixel density. While the display looks perfectly crisp enough for most tasks (and you probably won't notice any difference between it and the Moto G), it's disappointing not to see a push for a higher resolution, given that the Moto G is a third of the price.

Motorola Moto X
It has the same 720p resolution as the Moto G.

The display at least makes up for its lower resolution by being very bright and satisfyingly bold. Colours look rich and punchy, making visually stunning Netflix shows like Breaking Bad or Power Rangers look great. It has good viewing angles too, meaning if you look at the phone from the side you'll still get a good image -- handy if you have friends crowding round the screen to watch Vine compilations on YouTube.

Android 4.4.2 software

The phone comes as standard with the latest version of Google's mobile operating system known as 4.4.2 KitKat. KitKat packs various new features, including full-screen media, a combined Google Hangouts and SMS app and the ability to search for businesses in your contacts. Visually, the Android interface hasn't changed from previous versions so if you're already a 'droider, you'll feel right at home.

There are a few extra tweaks on board that you might want to hear about. The Moto X boasts what Moto calls Touchless Control. After an initial setup, you can activate the phone even when it's in standby by just saying "okay, Google Now". You can then ask it to call or text a contact, ask for directions and weather reports or even play a song.

Motorola Moto X
The Moto X comes with the latest version of Android, 4.4.2 KitKat.

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Where to Buy

Motorola Moto X

Part Number: MOTOX
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. UK specs are unavailable.

  • Service Provider AT&T
  • Weight 4.59 oz
  • Diagonal Size 4.7 in