You do of course have to have all your contacts saved correctly in order to contact them -- and if you have multiple numbers, you'll need to select which one to use. Playing songs with third party services like Spotify doesn't work, but despite that, it can be quite handy. I was able to quickly ask for directions to an event I was already late for, without having to stop typing an email apologising for being late, so it's never been easier to be poorly organised.
Another handy little feature is the notifications and clock that pop up on the screen when it's in standby. Rather than having a random notification light that could mean anything, the Moto X makes it easy to see who's been trying to get in touch and whether it's worth the effort of picking your phone up to say "No, I don't want to buy you a dog, Luke."
Processor and power
Under the hood is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, backed up by 2GB of RAM. Against the Moto G's quad-core chip, that might not seem too impressive, but it has a faster clock speed, and Motorola reckons it's been given a whole host of software tweaks to get the most out of it and to make sure it's not constantly chugging down the battery when it's busy listening for you to activate the voice commands.
I fired up the Geekbench 2 benchmark test and was given a score of 1,918, putting it below the 3,702 of the mighty Sony Xperia Z1, but above the 1,315 of the of the Moto G. General operation of the phone was extremely swift, with zero lag when flicking between homescreens, opening the multitasking panel or opening apps and menus.
Water racer Riptide GP 2 played extremely smoothly, as did the graphically demanding Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2, thanks to the quad-core graphics processing unit. Streaming high definition video was easily handled too, as was image editing in Snapseed. It seemed perfectly capable of tackling all of the tasks I threw at it without much in the way of slowdown. For the everyday tasks of social networking, emailing and Web browsing, you'll find the Moto X every bit as swift as pricier top end phones.
Motorola has popped a 2,200mAh battery into the back of the Moto X, which isn't particularly generous, but with a lower resolution display and tweaked processor, Moto reckons you can get up to 24 hours of "mixed use".
In my own use, I'd say that's fairly accurate. I found I could listen to music and check my emails on my commute to work in the morning, check it periodically throughout the day and still have plenty of power for the evening. If you spend the day gaming or streaming videos with the screen brightness on full, you can expect it to conk out much earlier though.
Like nearly all smart phones, you'll want to give the phone a proper charge every night. If you want to get the most from it then keep brightness down, turn off GPS and make use of the Motorola battery saver options that limit background data when the phone isn't in use. It won't last the week, but if you fall asleep without putting your phone on charge on Friday night, you might just have enough power to get home and get to a plug.
On the back of the phone is a 10-megapixel camera. Motorola has made some tweaks to the interface -- the viewfinder is free of buttons so you swipe in from the sides to view the gallery or the settings. You're also able to quickly fire up the camera by twisting the phone in your wrist twice -- a bit of a gimmick, perhaps, but it worked well in my testing time and could save you a few seconds.
On my first shot of St Paul's cathedral, I was impressed at the bold colours and good overall exposure. The bright sky was kept under control, while the more shadowy areas of the scene were still clearly visible.
This shot of a fruit and veg shop around the corner again has decent colours and there's plenty of detail in the image when you look full screen.
The phone has quite a good HDR mode for when the sky is just too bright to allow the darker foreground to show up. On my test, the HDR mode brought in more detail in the brickwork on the Tate building, while making the sky look more vivid.
There's a sweep panorama mode on board too. I was pleased with the even exposure throughout the whole scene and the panorama has been stitched together well, but the focus is a little soft, which is particularly noticeable on St Paul's when you look full screen. The dual-core processor also took quite a long time to render the image once it was shot.
The Motorola Moto X is a fairly attractive phone with a decent screen, good camera and some interesting software additions. While it's not wildly expensive, it's double the price of the Moto G, which has a similar display, a more than capable quad-core processor and the same recent version of Android.
If Motorola brought the Moto Maker service to Europe, the ability to completely customise the phone with a vast array of vibrant hues would give a solid reason to go for the X over the G. The Moto X is a good, if not great phone, but in just black and white, it doesn't offer enough over its superb, cheap as chips sibling to justify the extra expense, unless you absolutely need 4G speeds.