Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) Review

| Published Date
08 - Oct - 2014
| Last Updated
25 - Sep - 2016
 
12990

Where to buy

86
The new Moto X is a gem of a smartphone, but it lacks a good camera and the 16 GB internal storage limit is restrictive.

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) Rating 86100100

Our Verdict

In its new avataar, the Motorola Moto X is finally a true flagship, both on paper and in real world performance. It's very good value for money, but many may be put off by its weaknesses. The bad camera and limited storage may very well affect its sales. The phone is every bit the performer in all other respects though.

PROS

  • Smooth, fluid performance with no lag
  • Good build quality, feels very premium in both leather and wood
  • Full-HD display is bright and very premium
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • Camera quality is poor.
  • Leather back can get scratched somewhat easily.

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen): Detailed Review

Before I start off with this review, in the interest of full disclosure, let me mention that I own the orignal Moto X and I love every bit of it. So, I was naturally excited to get my hands on the second generation of the device and see what Motorola was bringing to the party this time. Overall, the 2nd Gen Moto X is truly a flagship Android phone that isn't perfect on all counts but an excellent update to the orginal Moto X.

Build and Design

So the new Moto X is available in two variants. While Motorola retained the wooden back from the original, the plastic has been replaced by a leather back on the second generation device. It feels really good and premium, like a flagship smartphone should, even without the wood. In fact, I personally think the leather back, which is less expensive than the wood, looks better on the new model.

 

 

 

Click images to enlarge.

I have to say that the size doesn’t quite suit me though. I prefer my phones to be more compact and easy to hold. The 5.2 inch Moto X (2nd Gen) is nowhere close to the amazing form factor that the original offered, but having said that, it remains one of the best form factors in the market. If you’re used to big phones, then you will most probably not even feel the pinch from the size like I did.

 

 

Motorola has also made the device slimmer and coupled with the curved back, it provides good grip. The metal rim on the side adds to the phone’s premium feel, making this a truly high end device.

 

 

The phone is offered in leather, wood and rubberised plastic, with the plastic being the least expensive of the lot. In India, the leather and wood are both priced at Rs. 33,999, while the rubberised plastic costs Rs. 31,999. A thing to note here is that the rubberised plastic still feels really premium and good in the hand.

Display and UI

The next big change in the new Moto X is the 1080p display. The AMOLED display is bright and provides vibrant colours. Also, like other Motorola smartphones, the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 does its job in providing both protection and a premium feel to the smartphone. Watching videos and gaming on this device was a treat to say the least. It beats the old Moto X by a long way and is at par with other flagships, if not better than some of them.

The brightness also makes for good sunlight visibility, which is further aided by the fact that the display resists fingerprints to some extent. It does get smudges, but not enough to be a problem.

The UI looks nice on the Moto X and the wide 5.2 inch display makes for a lot of screen real estate. The stock Android 4.4.4 UI runs smoothly and without any lags on the device and reminds you of the extra screen real estate over and over again. This becomes especially evident when you enter the app drawer and see the five rows of icons for all your apps. I didn’t need to go past three screens to fit all my apps,

Performance

I’m not a big fan of the new Moto X’s size and the display alone can not entice me enough to buy this phone. But that is perhaps why Motorola went for the Snapdragon 801 SoC on this device. Bear in mind here that this device still boasts Motorola’s Mobile Computing System, which was half the reason for the original being as good as it was. The Snapdragon S4 Pro on the original though is still weak.

The 801 in a way adds the final element to this phone being a true flagship. It is now a flagship even if you’re going simply by the spec sheet. It performs very well on benchmarks and ranks right up there with the Xperia Z3s and Galaxy S5s of the world.

 

 

The slim body results in the phone heating up quickly, but the Moto X doesn't go beyond warm. In addition, the performance doesn't drop, even after almost an hour of gaming. This means that the CPU is not being throttled down after heating, which could result in long term implications. But considering that it really doesn't heat a lot, it shouldn't make a difference, at least in the short term.

In addition, the performance is augmented by the fact that the Moto X delivers very good battery life. It got me through my day with plenty of battery to spare, even with gaming sometimes. In our battery test, the phone gave us 10 hours of full-HD video.

Camera

This is the one area of this device where the spec sheet fails you. The Moto X (2nd Gen) has a 13 MP camera, on paper. The camera though is much inferior to others in this range and even lower. The Xiaomi Mi3’s 13 MP shooter for example, blows this device away as does the Xperia Z3 Compact, Galaxy Alpha and Lumia 830.

 

 

Sample shots. (Click to enlarge)

 

 

The Moto X’s camera, though better than the original, isn’t good, the problem perhaps being in the stock Android camera algorithms themselves. The auto white balance makes pictures just a little towards the warmer side. In addition, they are also soft and lack sharpness. The camera performs better for macro shots than it does otherwise, but it's still not satisfactory, especially for this price range. Moreover, low light imaging is dismal to say the least. Even the HDR mode doesn’t salvage much.

 

HDR Sample. (Click to enlarge)

Touchless Controls

The touchless controls on both the old and new Moto X are more or less a gimmick, but one worth talking about. While Motorola has made many improvements in the newer version, this is still far from perfect. The new Moto X can take customised voice commands from a long way away and understands my accent very easily. But, it recognises the voice command only when spoken in a certain tone that was registered. I called out my launch phrase in various different tones, but it would wake up and respond to only one. Further, the phone responds to any male voice, which is something that happened in the older one too. So, any one who is male and knows my launch phrase can activate my phone. The same happens with a female voice as well.

Bottomline

To be honest, when Motorola announced the price for the new Moto X, I was firmly against it. But it turns out that the company did its research well in advance. Sony did both Samsung and Motorola a favour by pricing its Xperia Z3 Compact at around 45k, while Samsung went for the 40k price tag on the Galaxy Alpha. This makes the 32k price tag on the Moto X much more affordable.

I would have preferred a 30k price tag on this device, but it's still very good value for money at 32k. Personally speaking, I don’t use my phone's camera all that much, which means this is exactly the phone I want. If the camera does play a big role in your decision, then this isn’t the phone for you. But for everything else, this is the best phone in the market today.

Also, the 16 GB internal storage without SD card support is troubling. I don’t use a lot of apps on my phone, which gets me by, but if you do, then you will suffer from this. Why Motorola hasn't launched the 32GB variant in India is puzzling, and the storage limitations and the camera are the two big drawbacks of this device.

Latest Forum discussions on Motorola Moto X 2nd Gen

  • The moto x 1st and 2nd gen discussion

    Say {Hello to Moto} again, which this premium device that is the basis of Nexus 6. From Active Display which may seem like a gimmick but is actually very useful and saves battery life in the long run, to Touchless control which very aptly shown in the ads provides you a way to give commands to your phone without ever touching, its one phone that...

    1. Vyom17/10/2014
      List of Moto X Owners: (XT 1052) [MENTION=77264]Vyom[/MENTION] [MENTION=266361]kunalgujarathi[/MENTION] [MENTION=288626]polupoka[/MENTION] [MENTION=155555]Superayush[/MENTION] [MENTION=32982]Baker[/MENTION] List of Moto X2 Owners: (XT 1092) [MENTION=23425]gopi_vbboy[/MENTION] ...
    2. Vyom17/10/2014
      ~ [I]Reserved for Realm of rooted world[/I] ~
    3. Amjath17/10/2014
      ^Wow thread, I was thinking why no Moto X thread whne Moto G thread exsist thanks for the thread [MENTION=77264]Vyom[/MENTION] It is good to point that 4G LTE doesnt work on Moto X 2013 India. Just in case any one interested
    Show More
  • Lg nexus 5 or motorola moto g(2nd generation).which one should i buy.

    Guys,i am planning to buy 5inch stock android phone but confused between nexus 5 or moto g 2nd gen. Well,nexus 5 performance is top notch(no doubt),only concern is camera whereas Moto G used previous year hardware ie SD400 but its camera is good(acc to flipkart review) I am in no hurry to buy.If you guys suggest for Motorola i will book today...

    1. Kalam_gohab11/09/2014
      Waiting will be a better option as nexus 6 aka moto shamu is imminent.
    2. Saiyangoku11/09/2014
      wait for Nexus 6/Moto X+1
    3. Sam11/09/2014
      even if N5 gets a pricecut it'll retail for 25k or more, provided Google doesn't pull the plug on it. But even at the price N5 is anyday better than Moto G. Looking at Nexus 6's leaked h/w info price may well be close to 35k.
    Show More
  • Motorola finally unveils moto x

    [img]http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2013/08/zshdsc0946-1375373273.jpg[/img] [video=youtube;xXyCbrdQEyA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xXyCbrdQEyA[/video] [video=youtube;vpU1mW0Mjm8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vpU1mW0Mjm8[/video] [B]Specs:[/B] [INDENT]Processor : Motorola X8...

    1. Theterminator02/08/2013
      [QUOTE=quagmire;1984922] [B]Battery : 2,200 mAh [/B] [/QUOTE] already one disappointment, battery will not last more than a day or day n a half.
    2. Rhitwick02/08/2013
      IDK what price range MOTO would put it but its not a competition to XZ, One or One X. [QUOTE]Lower pixel density 720p display 2200 mAh No expansion slot[/QUOTE] Are turn down factors for me. And, I don't get it, dual core CPU and quad core GPU?! Why?
    3. Nvidiageek02/08/2013
      This may not be a flagship at all. I think it's a Xperia SP fighter. No expansion slot is a bad thing, but all the others are negligible. There's practically no difference between a 720p and 1080p screens in phones, but 1080p screen takes more juice than 720p. I think the battery will be enough, moreover it's dual-core. The design is...
    Show More
  • Motorola to announce the moto 360, g2 and x+1 on september 4

    [QUOTE]If IFA 2014's schedule didn't seem packed enough for you, Motorola has decided to make one of its biggest announcement in recent history on September 4. The company has sent out press invites and the hints are very clear. We're in for the announcement of the Moto 360 smartwatch, as well as the Moto G 2 and Moto X+1 smartphone duo....

    1. Theserpent15/08/2014
      Guys don't rush to conclusions that leaked specs but be some lower model [SIZE=1]- - - Updated - - -[/SIZE] What we can actually expect from Moto The supposed moto g2,Is actually a new mid-ranger/sub entry level-10k device,the "leaked" pricing is surely fake..even for moto E people said it would be 10k, but it was 7k :) and besides all this the...
    2. Esoteric eric15/08/2014
      I just wish they maintain that same price-performance ratio which worked for [B]Moto G[/B], especially, this time around now when it is a Lenovo company. [B]Zenfone[/B] is a strong contender for the sub 10k market while [B]Xiaomi[/B] is already set to launch that [B]Redmi Note[/B] ? Or something like that.
  • Round up: the moto x, brainchild of motorola & google, leaks, specs, announcement

    The Internet has been buzzing with the news of Moto X the much awaited Phone from Google Motorola. The Phone will be fully assembled in The USA and Yes, It is Customizable. [ATTACH=CONFIG]11202[/ATTACH] Specs: [SIZE=1] [/SIZE] [LIST] [*][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana]720p Display,[/FONT][/SIZE] [*][SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana]1.7GHz dual core Snap Dragon S4...

    1. Rohanm05/07/2013
      So means Nexus will be Nexus after all..... yuppiii... :-) :-D
    2. Quagmire05/07/2013
      We already have a thread for this: [url]http://www.thinkdigit.com/forum/mobiles-tablets/171945-motorola-x-phone-thread.html[/url]