I’d only just recently made up my mind what my new phone was going to be, and had received it a day before the Moto X 2014 arrived, so I was nervously excited to get hands on with Motorola’s tweaked unit (earlier this year saw the release of the ‘X’), and see what the fuss was about. Though excited, I was secretly hoping I hadn’t made the wrong choice. I’d looked at the new iPhone 6, the award-winning HTC One (M8) and the lauded Sony Xperia Z3.
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In terms of what’s under the hood, the leading handsets all pack comparable tech with similar specs. The final choice usually comes down to cost, design, and brand loyalties, among other personal preferences. So, now that the 2014 version can enter the ring with the heavyweights on specs, what has Motorola done to distinguish its unit from the rest?
Well, in the hand, the heft and feel reminded of the HTC One (M8): a nice metal, premium finish – customisable with leather or bamboo, if desired. It feels comfortable, with no real issues, reaching the far corners of the overly vibrant 5.2 inch AMOLED screen. The recessed ‘M’ dimple on the back, which acts as an anchor for your finger, is a nice touch.
I find nano-sims fiddly, and don’t like that the handset lacks an expansion slot (you’re stuck with 16Gb or 32Gb), but at around £420, it’s cheaper than its immediate rivals, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3. It is essentially a stock Android handset with frills, but what frills!
Just waving over the handset partially wakes up the display, giving you an option to wake it up fully, or just have a preview of what’s occurred. This is great for checking the time without having to pick up the unit and/ or swipe/double-tap the screen. This same wave can silence an incoming call too, which is always helpful.
Gentle prompts during setup and initial use made the phone feel more like a little friend than a phone. This included tips on customising Moto Voice, which works like, and with Google Now (and also launches some apps); using various ‘Assist’ modes (such as ‘Sleeping’ – which silences the phone between preset night-time hours), and; a highly entertaining, interactive animation. It all felt politely done and not too invasive.
The camera is decent enough, though I didn’t like the layout, there weren’t enough modes for me, and the front-facing camera struggled in low light. Video options include slow motion at 120fps and Ultra HD at 30fps.
I didn’t pack the unit with battery draining apps, but I did stream content and use it as a tether for a few hours, and I had a very long phone call to BT (don’t ask!). I got a good day’s use from it, before plugging it in.
It’s worth noting that, although the phone is aware at all times, this aspect of its energy demand on the battery is low, due to its utilisation of a co-processor (for low energy events), and the AMOLED screen, which doesn’t need lighting up in its entirety to bring up the time or a few specialist icons.
The Motorola X 2014 has a lot of features similar to other phones, but they’ve succeeded in packaging them in a friendly, easy to utilise way. The award for interfacing definitely goes to the Moto X. I love that the Moto X felt as though it had more personality than most phones I’ve had and is a complete workhorse.
So do I regret my purchase? Ask me again when lollipop arrives.