Shortly following Samsung’s big autumn reveal of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, Motorola comes in play with the next generation Moto X, Moto G, and a strange little headset called the Moto Hint. Motorola’s autumn line-up brings something to the table for everybody with the new Moto X being customizable as ever, the Moto G still creeping along the edge of being “cheap” for such a decent phone, and the Moto Hint possibly bringing Bluetooth headsets back in the limelight with extensive voice control.
I don’t have a lot of concerns with how the Moto G or even the Moto Hint, but those are topics for another time. What I am a little concerned about is how the Moto X will fare with a $200 (full) price increase over the previous generation. After all, when the 2013 Moto X was released, the phone almost made a full flop due to being priced too high with specs that were too low. Could history repeat itself with the new Moto X?
First, we should look at what the new Moto X has changed from the first. The screen size has grown from a 4.7-inch display to a 5.2-inch one, which was to be expected given that most flagship phones get bigger with each passing year (although technically the Moto X is only half an inch wider than last year’s model, so that’s good). You also have a 1080p display instead of 720p, which is also a good move. The actual build of the new Moto X has been improved as well with a new aluminum frame around the phone. Motorola has decided to keep the curved backing of the device, which I always thought was a nice touch. Of course, the Moto X just wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if it didn’t have Moto Maker to help really make your Moto X stand out from a sea of others. Last year the most premium option was wooden backing; this year Motorola added a new leather option, which will help compete against Samsung’s leather-like back on its Note series. (Although, it’s important to note that Motorola’s leather option is genuine leather, so if authenticity is a big thing for you, there you go.)
Oh yeah, and one last thing you might notice on the Moto X’s design is the dual front-facing speakers, like the HTC One series features. I am most pleased with this addition, as I was beginning to wonder if anybody would notice that everything sounds so much better that way and that’s where phone speakers should be facing.
When you get to the internals of the device, you’ll find that the new Moto X comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with a 2.5 GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, a choice between 16 or 32GB of internal storage (no microSD card slot, boo), 13-megapixel shooter on the back (with 4k recording capability) and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Feature-wise, Moto Voice keeps getting better as you no longer have to prompt the device with “Okay, Google Now” and can now change it to whatever clever greeting you want now. Moto X also supports other Motorola apps like Moto Assist for driving (because texting and driving is, and always will be, dumb). You also still have Moto Display, which is probably one of my most missed features since switching back to the iPhone 4S for a couple of months. Last but not least, Motorola has introduced Motorola Turbo Charger, which promises 8 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging. Think of it as a competitive feature against HTC’s and Samsung’s extreme power saving modes.
So now we know what all the new Moto X offers: customization, better specs, and smarter features. The real question now is whether all of that is worth $500 full price? After all, the original Moto X didn’t actually start selling well until after the price of the device was dropped significantly. Only time can really tell whether it was the price or the features that made the Moto X such a worthy catch last year, but if I had to make a decision I would say that I think the Moto X, comparitively speaking, is worth that much compared to competing flagships on the market. People who choose to buy the new Moto X on contract will have the added benefit of getting the phone for $100 cheaper than most flagships sell for, as the device will start at just $100 for the 16GB model - not too shabby.
I didn’t think I would be interested in any new phones other than the Apple iPhone 6, which I am patiently waiting to see on September 9th. That being said, I can safely say the new Moto X has caught my eye again; after being almost certain I would hate the phone last year (and then ended up loving it) I have to say that I am extremely pleased with the changes made to the device this year. I do think $500 is kind of a steep price, so maybe people won’t be as interested in buying this full-price as they were the original (I know I won’t be, but I did purchase the original at full-price). Still, I do think the new Moto X is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new phone this fall.