Moto X: Smarter than your average phone

Since Google bought Motorola about a year ago, the Android community has been anticipating what device will come to fruition from this union.

The Moto X was announced on August 1, and those specifications that came with, were seriously lacklustre, but Motorola is saying specs isn't everything and this new device is created with the perfect blend of hardware and software. Kind of like a roti kahwin, I guess?

My biggest gripe with the Moto X is the screen size, which is at 4.7 inches. Of course, that's just me, because I'm using a 7.7-inch phone and I'm looking to buy a new 6.4-inch device to replace my giant phone.

So before we start, I really am convinced that this is the most advanced and smartest phone to date. If you like 4.7 to 5 inches, this is probably the phone to get.


Unlike most phones with four cores, Motorola has opted only for a dual-core processor, but we will touch more on this later.

The 4.7-inch screen is only at 720p, and has a non-removable mere 2,200 mAh battery.

What doesn't show on paper is Motorola's inclusion of the "X8 Mobile Computing System", which pairs the dual-core processor with an Adreno 320 graphics chip, and two more custom chips, which Motorola explained will handle the natural language processor and contextual computing processor respectively.

So with the combination dual-core processor and two custom chips, the phone will run smoother, longer and with less heat.

The only two things that are kind off up to industry standard right now is the 2GB RAM (I say kind off because the Galaxy Note 3, to be released next month, will probably have 3GB RAM, which, I believe, will be the new standard), and the 10.1 megapixel shooter on the back.

Back to the display; even though I hate that it's 4.7-inches, but like I said earlier, it is probably one of the more comfortable sizes for a majority of users. It still packs 312 pixels per inch (PPI) and anything above 300PPI is pretty good and you're not likely to spot the difference unless something has 400+PPI.

Another unique thing about the screen which will save some battery life is the AMOLED screen with an "RGB sub-pixel" design. As opposed to pentile displays, which are on a majority of Samsung devices, the sub-pixel feature allows Motorola to introduce something rather gimmicky called "Active Display".

So the Active Display allows only part of the screen to be woken up, rather than the whole screen.

For example, when the Moto X is asleep, which means that it's facing down on the table or in your pocket, the screen is completely dead.

Move it about or flip it over on the table, only a small portion of the screen lights up to show you the time, notifications which are pulsing in and out, or the unlock symbol.

So that way, if you're looking for the time, it's always there, lit up against a sleeping display.

Typical of Motorola, the back panel of the phone is a DuPont Kevlar which is somewhat soft to touch but durable and has a premium feel.

Though it isn't an IP58 or IP56 water and dust resistant certified like Sony's Xperia Z Ultra and Xperia Z, the Moto X has a water-repellent circuit board, keeping it a little safer than other regular phones.


Being Google owned, the Moto X comes with vanilla Android 4.2.2, and will probably be one of the first to get Android 4.3, which was released a few days after the Moto X.

So where hardware is lacking, the Moto X's software is what makes up for the lack of hardware.

The first highlight is the Motorola Connect feature, where your Moto X gets hooked up to the Chrome browser on your desktop. This allows you to reply to texts messages or e-mails using your computer's keyboard.

Secondly, haptic feedback has been around for ages. When you touch a part of the screen the entire phone gently vibrates to let you know that you've actually hit the screen to "enter a command".

Moto X is taking haptics to a new level, introducing a localised system. Upon touching a certain part of the screen, your finger will feel a vibrate at that area which you've made contact with.

Thirdly, Google Now is the driving force of the device, and arguably the biggest headlining feature of this device.

Instead of Google Now cards, you just talk to your phone, you don't even have to power it on, or unlock it, just say "Okay Google Now", followed by your request.

In fact, the Moto X is smarter than your average phone in a sense that it has to learn and get adjusted to the user first.

This happens through a three-step training programme with your phone and once that's done, you can simply call out to it within a five-metre range and the Moto X's three noise-cancelling microphone will be ready to respond to your voice.

With "Okay Google Now" you can call someone without even unlocking the phone, and do other basic things like search for information online, send a message, reminder or alarm, pretty much like Apple's Siri but without touching the phone.


One of the biggest dealbreakers in looking for a high-end mobile phone now is its camera.

As mentioned earlier, the Moto X's camera is just 10.1 megapixels, which is probably the first I've heard off on a smartphone as they usually come in 8 or 13 megapixels now.

Like the UltraPixels of HTC, PureViews of Nokia and Exmor RX sensors from Sony, the Moto X also has its own fancy name.

Motorola's new camera has a "Clear Pixel" technology, which has a new "RGBC sensor".

So instead of only Red, Blue and Green, the camera has a fourth, or "clear", sensor which is used to measure light levels.

This fourth sensor allows up to 75 per cent more light capture by the camera.

It has your usually lagless shutter, and burst-fire mode, which captures stills nonstop, and can also do 1080p video where you can take stills at the same time by simply touching the screen during video recording.

So the Moto X sounds like a pretty epic phone from the result of Google and Motorola's marriage.

Software-wise, the Moto X is solid and will make up for the lack of hardware which was "intentional" to save battery life.

My only gripe is the small-ish screen, but if you like the size and all that nifty software, the Moto X is US$575 (S$736) for the 16GB and a little more than US$600 for the 32GB.