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First Look: Motorola's Moto X targets the masses

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First Look: Motorola's Moto X targets the masses

5:06 /

With a compact and comfy grip, speed to get the job done, plus a solid camera and slick Android tricks, the Moto X has lots of appeal.

Hi. This is Brian Bennett for cnet.com. And right now, we're taking a first look at the Motorola Moto X. Born from the union between Motorola Mobility and its recent corporate master Google, a lot of people had been eagerly waiting this device. But let me make this very clear. The Moto X is not a Nexus phone for developers and tech enthusiasts, neither is it a Google Play addition handset for Android purest. Instead, think of a Moto X as a unique collaboration between Motorola and Google to target ordinary smartphone users with numeral performance, a compact and comfortable design along with some really whiz bang android abilities. Motorola says, you can expect the Moto X to ship in late August, early September of 2013 for suggested price of $199.99. It should also hit AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular. A T Mobile version is apparently the works but it's not clear if it will be an unsubsidized model or not. If you're expecting the Moto X to have a top-of-the-line [unk] list of parts, well, forget about it. Essentially, using the same hardware as Motorola's new droids on Verizon, the X is powered by Motorola's X8 computing system. Unlike the true quad-core processors driving today's mobile hot rods like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and LG G2, the X8 system is based on a dual-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro Chip. Still, that doesn't mean the Moto X is slow-- far from it, in fact. Backing up the processor is a muscular quad-core [unk] graphics, a healthy 2 gigabytes of RAM plus 2 additional cores, a natural language processor and one for a contextual competing running a special Motorola flavor of Android 4.2.2 Jeallybean. The Moto X uses these cores to perform some pretty wild tricks. The first is touch-less control, meaning that after the X's trained to recognize your voice, it listens out for your command. When you utter the phrase, "Okay, Google now", the phone perks up. Tied into the Google now advanced search tool, you can then ask it to perform a number of task such as looking up fax, navigational directions or simply setting reminders, making appointments or initiating calls. Another one of the Moto X's trick is called Active display. Instead of having to fire up the phone screen each time an alert comes through, the display will pulse-- with notification icons. Touching the icons in the center of the screen tells the X to display more details. Dragging them upwards wakes up the phone and lets you jump directly to the e-mail, text or social media alert in question. Much of what makes the Moto X really compelling though is its design. This is one, really, really well crafted phone. Trust me, you realize that from the moment you pick it up. It has a sturdy feel with reassuring heft. There's even a little dimple inside the Motorola logo where you naturally place your index finger. It all adds up to an outrageously comfortable fit in the palm. By default, the Moto X is available in 2 colors, Black and White, what's really interesting though is that Motorola will provide a Moto-maker website to create Moto X's in a myriad range of custom colors. Customers can even have their handset stamped with personal engravings for added distinctiveness, compact and trim enough to fit into tight pants' pockets or other cramp locations. The Moto X is about the same dimension as the LG Nexus 4, yet manages to shoehorn in a larger 4.7-inch 720p OLED screen. It's bright, colorful and has nice contrast even when viewed off angle. Above the display is a 2 megapixel front camera, while below it-- well, there are no physical keys at all. You do have virtual buttons for back, home and recent applications. The back of the Moto X has its 10 megapixel main camera and LED flash. While the sensor isn't technically as sharp as competing phone cameras, Motorola says it's clear pixel technology let say in 75 percent more light than ordinary handset imagining systems. Motorola also simplified the camera's app interface, both pairing down the number of settings and virtual buttons. It also push the settings to the left side out of view. Still, there are modes for HDR and Panorama. The Moto X's camera is also designed for speed, twisting the phone in your wrist twice as quickly causes the camera app to launch from any application or when the device is asleep. Touch anywhere on the screen to snap a picture or long press to shoot multiple shots in a row. Sliding your finger up and down zooms in or out while swiping right to left opens the gallery. You can take stills while recording video too. Still, there are modes for HDR and panorama. Of course, as with any smartphone, there are some drawbacks. For instance, the standard Moto X comes with 16 gigabytes of internal storage, that's not a lot of space considering there's no SD card slot to add more data breathing room. Additionally while the Moto X uses a respectively sized 2200 mAh battery, it isn't removable. I'm Brian Bennett for cnet.com and this has been the first look at the Motorola Moto X.

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