Moto X, Motorola's first new handset since being acquired by Google, is a true tech-fashion-forward move. In the past, a new handset offered by Motorola would get me as excited as watching paint dry, but something is different this time around.
The Motorola Droids sold by Verizon Wireless are fine, but they are available only for one network, which seriously limits their ability to compete.
A Real ContenderAndroid runs on smartphones and tablets from many manufacturers. The best and the worst can have Android. That makes it tough to buy the best quality based on the Android brand. So users shouldn't pay attention to the Android brand when considering quality. Instead they should pay attention to the manufacturer and the device itself.
The Moto X is a strong entry into the Google Android ecosystem. It currently is available from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. More carriers will likely join this group.
Motorola is a high-quality phone maker. The Moto X has some new features but nothing ultra-innovative that would blow the doors off expectations. It works well. It is reliable and dependable. However, it is not really that different from other top-quality Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The Moto X has a long-lasting battery. However, it does not have the most modern, top-of-the-line processors or the best screen. The iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 are superior in those respects. I think of the Moto X as a Galaxy lite. However, this should matter only to the heavy-duty power user. It really won't matter to the average user.
The build of the Moto X feels strong and sturdy -- better than the Samsung Galaxy S4, which is a great device but feels light and thin.
The Moto X is a good size. It's smaller than the S4 -- roughly the same size as the Apple iPhone 5 but with a larger screen.
It has a curved back designed to make it more comfortable in the hand.
Make It So
AT&T has an exclusive arrangement with Motorola to let its customers build their own devices, choosing all the features like color and design to personalize them. This is a good indication that tech fashion is going to play a larger role going forward.
For me, choosing all the design features was a cool part of the ordering process. My custom phone was delivered in just a few days.
There is no one perfect phone for everyone. Different shapes and sizes make phones easier or more difficult to hold and use. Some do well with just one hand, while others require two hands. Some have a flat back and others a rounded back.
The Moto X's curved back is not as stable in my hand as the iPhone 5. The Galaxy S4 is the largest device and hardest to hold. You need two hands to work the device, but then the large screen is nice. The problem is it is not as easy to hang on to, and when it drops, it can break.
The marriage of Google and Motorola has produced a few new and unique features. For example, you can call out to your phone if you can't find it, and it signals its whereabouts by making a sound.
You can simply twist the phone to engage the camera mode. That way you don't have to miss a shot just getting the camera started.
The Moto X responds to your voice. All you have to say is, "OK Google Now." It then asks what you want to search for. No typing information into the keyboard. It's similar to the iPhone's Siri. However, Google Now just searches Google, while Siri does more. Still, this is a great first step.
One of the best and most unique features of the new Moto X, from my perspective, is that it's made in the USA. The return of some wireless device manufacturing is a good sign. Perhaps if the Moto X is a hit, it will entice other phone makers to manufacture in the U.S., spurring jobs and growth.
The Moto X is a solid, high-quality device with a few new and interesting features, thanks to Google. It's customizable, and it's made in the USA. So even though the Moto X is not a revolutionary new smartphone, it is new enough.
It makes a tech-fashion statement, and it represents a very good effort by both Motorola and Google. It's worth a look.