Motorola Moto X: 7 months later

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 15, 2014

As you may or may not have seen yesterday when I wrote asking about the story of how your phone came to be yours, you might already know that when it comes to my daily driver I have switched from Windows Phone back to Android - at least until the Windows Phone 8.1 update rolls around in April. But instead of going back to my HTC One, I went out and I got myself a Moto X. After writing a positive review of my experiences with the device back in September, I decided that I liked the phone (mostly its features) enough to where I wanted to use it as my daily driver at this point. However, given that the phone is nearly 7 months old at this point, a re-review of my initial evaluation seems to be in order. 



The design of the Moto X will vary from person-to-person, thanks to the carrier-wide support of Moto Maker (which was only allowed for AT&T at the time of my last written review). I used Moto Maker to create my own Moto X, yet I found that I am not exactly a risk-taker because I ended up going with a white face, a woven white back, and silver trim. I also tinkered with the idea of a 'Signature' added to the back of the device, but after typing in a few ideas I decided against it. (However, upon arrival of my Moto X I must have forgotten to actually erase my signature because my Moto X does, in fact, have a signature: "Swiggity Swooty") I have to admit that I had a lot of fun using Moto Maker, and thought it was a really cool idea, even if I didn't get crazy with my colors in the end. 

As for the feel of the device, it's not everybody's cup of tea being that it's relatively small compared to other flagships available on the market. Between the 4.7-inch display, the thickness of the device (read: not very thick) and the matte finish on the back, the Moto X doesn't exactly have a non-slip grip to it. In fact, I find it rather slippery. However, there is one redeeming quality about the Moto X that many don't notice, and that is the little divet in the back with the Motorola logo. I find that if I place my pointer finger in that divet, that phone doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. I have also found there are a lot of cases on the market that accomodate this divet as well, which is nice.

Overall, the design of the Moto X might not be as premium looking or feeling as other flagships, but it is rather unique (that is, if you want it to be).



The performance of the Moto X might initally seem like it wouldn't be all that great, given that the phone runs on a Dual-core Snapdragon 1.7GHz Krait processor. Dual-core! It seems crazy because Quad-core is pretty much the set standard these days, even for a phone released in late 2013. However, although I can say that my HTC One with its Quad-core Snapdragon 1.7GHz Krait processor is snappier, unless you're comparing the two side-by-side it really doesn't seem like that big of a deal. There are some instances where loading pages or e-mails takes a few seconds longer, but the slower response time is infrequent and shouldn't be seen as a deal-breaker.  They both use the same 2GB of RAM, so there's equal room for multitasking on both devices. 

With a normal day of use (14 hours, frequent social network browsing, texting, e-mails, occasionally streaming Netflix) I make it through an entire day of usage with the Moto X no problem. Then again, I almost always have battery saver on. Before I used battery saver, I would usually make it to the end of the day - but sometimes just barely. I would rather take a slight dip in performance over not having a phone when I need it, so that's why I choose to go the battery saver route. Either way, there's nothing really spectacular or awful about the battery life of the Moto X. I consider it average at best.



The features of the Moto X is what really makes the device stand out, otherwise it would have probably gotten lost in a sea of other smartphones a long time ago. I was once rather critical of the 'Always On' sensors that Motorola execs boasted about, but I have found that these sensors are really what make the phone unique. 

When you're not near your phone, you can voice activate Google Now. You might sound a little silly saying "OK, Google Now", but it seems that Motorola is working on making more natural sounding phrases happen (you can now use "What's Up?" to have your Moto X read you your notifications). Some people have also had some success "training" their Moto X to respond to something other than "OK, Google Now", but I haven't really cared enough to mess with that. Other than that, though, I do find the voice activation somewhat useful if I need to set an alarm or call somebody, but I'm too preoccupied with something else to go through the motions to set it by hand. I prefer to set these things up myself, but the feature has come in handy more than a few times already.

Another feature that I love (and I mean love) about the Moto X is Motorola Connect. I briefly talked about this yesterday, but Motorola Connect is seriously one of those features that I think every phone should have. With Motorola Connect, you can connect your phone to your computer with a Chrome extention, and you can respond to text messages and see incoming calls on your computer. Once when my son was out to lunch with his grandparents, I sent him off with my phone so he could play on Kid Mode; yet, I was still able to see incoming calls and text messages on my computer and respond to them, even though he couldn't. A seriously cool feature, in my opinion. 

I also use Motorola Assist, which helps with settings when driving, during meetings, and for sleeping. I have a "Do Not Disturb" mode set up from midnight to 9 AM every night. I don't use the other two options, but they're there. 

Finally, you have the camera. With a 10-megapixel rear-facing camera, you might think you're getting a pretty nice camera; however, at first the camera really wasn't that great, especially when it's really lacking in features compared to other cameras. Since the last time I reviewed the Moto X's camera, Motorola released an update via the Play Store for better performance. While the performance may be a bit better, it's still not the best camera out there - but it's also not the worst.

The Moto X is probably the first phone where I actually paid attention to the features as much as I do. Even with my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, which is packed with features, I hardly ever use any of them. 



Despite the phone being 7 months old, the true defining features of the phone are still unique and make the phone stand out among a slew of other Androids. The specs might not be the greatest, and the design might not be the sleekest, but the overall experience with the phone is still enjoyable if you're the type of person who likes the whole "hands-free" aspect. With the phone being priced at $399, it's also not too expensive of a buy without a 2-year contract; most carriers also sell this phone at a heavily discounted price if you do want to go the 2-year contract route. 

Readers, what are your thoughts on the Moto X now that it's been 7 months since its initial release? Do the touchless controls interest you, or does the whole phone seem gimmicky? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

Products mentioned