Moto X4 First Impressions: Moto’s mid-ranged flagship

By Hardik Singh | Published on 01 Sep 2017
Moto X4 First Impressions: Moto’s mid-ranged flagship
HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Moto X4 packs a lot of software and hardware features and looks good too, but in a market like India, it may all boil down to the price.

After almost two years, Motorola has resurrected its Moto X lineup, bringing the Moto X4 to market. The naming scheme here may be a little confusing since there was never a Moto X3, but then again we never saw a OnePlus 4 either. Anyway, once you move past the odd, err… even name for the new device, you can appreciate Moto’s new approach to the smartphone market. While Moto phones still have the most authentic UI experience after a Google Pixel, Moto is also trying to catch on to current trends with this phone. Priced at 399 Euros (Rs. 30,500 approx directly converted), the Moto X4 isn't exactly what you call cheap or affordable, but it sits comfortably in the upper mid tier. The phone is going to launch in Europe first, and an India launch is expected within a couple of months. We had the chance to take a look at the phone at launch and here are our initial thoughts.

Dual cameras means “Bokeh”

Motorola just introduced the G5S Plus in India, bearing two cameras and the new Moto X4 also has that feature. However, unlike the G5S Plus or the Moto Z2 Force, the dual camera setup on the Moto X4 is different. It has a 12MP primary camera and an 8MP wide angle camera. This and some software tweaks allow blurring of the background, creating bokehs. While this is not a new trend or feature, in the little time we spent with the device, we observed that Moto has done a good job of creating that “Bokeh effect”. Moreover, the camera can also take a combined image from the two cameras and allows users to change focus in the images after taking them.

The other big feature Moto talked about was the 16MP front facing camera, which also seems quite good and may challenge selfie centric smartphones.

Glass all around

The other areas where Motorola has brought changes in the X line is the design. The phone has Gorilla Glass, both at the front and back, while the side rails are made of metal. This makes the phone look as premium as the company’s flagship. While it looks good, you might have to keep a wipe cloth handy, as the phone is a fingerprint magnet. It would have been a true flagship if Motorola could have packed wireless charging capabilities as well, but then again, you can’t have everything.

Powered by a Snapdragon 630

Running the phone is the all new octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform. That is coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. However, a Motorola official told us that the phone will be launched in India in two variants — 3/32GB and the 4/64GB. In the little time we spent with the phone, it felt snappy and fluid.

Recognises places and objects

The new SoC and camera combo also allow some new tricks, like object and monument recognition. So, from within the camera app, the phone can recognize up to a 1000 places across the globe and Moto says this will list grow in the coming months. The phone recognises various objects as well and in a short demo we saw, it did a fair job of recognising a pen and an mp3 player. However, object recognition is not as fast as place recognition, since the latter is done locally, while object recognition requires an active internet connection. While the ability to do so can be appreciated from a tech perspective, the real world scenarios are pretty limited at the moment.

Moto Key

Besides the smart camera, the Moto X4 will also come with something called the Moto Key, which we believe is a neat little feature to have. It basically uses your phone as the passkey for your PC. Hence, if you want to unlock your paired PC, you would use the fingerprint scanner on your phone to unlock it.

The X4 packs some other features as well, like connecting to four bluetooth speakers simultaneously, and built-in Alexa compatibility in some regions. More importantly, the phone is water and dust resistant.

All in all, the Moto X4 does seems like the phone that eventually makes it to the premium in India. The phone will be facing tough competition from the likes of the Honor 8 Pro and the OnePlus 5 and things may finally boil down to the price.

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Hardik Singh

Light at the top, this odd looking creature lives under the heavy medication of video games.

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