Moto X Review - Day 1

The Moto X has been getting a lot of mixed reviews across the internet. Like any other phone it has its fair share of naysayers, and twice as many sheep to just agree with them without trying for themselves. I believe this is based on first glance at the specs on paper, and the attitude towards the phone plummets to the ground. I've had my Moto X for nearly a full day now, and here are my first impression and findings.

Moto X Physical Design and Feel

Holding the Moto X for the first time, I immediately realized this is one solid device. It feels like a rock in your hands, without slightest bit of rattling or cheap feeling material in sight. Unfortunately it appears that Canada probably won't see the Moto X Maker, despite what the Motorola rep told me.

One thing I've always knocked phones with onscreen software buttons for is the fact that the chin has way too much void space. I'm happy to say I actually don't feel the Moto X suffers from that. Without the LED light being at the bottom like on Nexus phones, Motorola was able to extend the screen a lot lower than seen on other onscreen button devices.

Without rambling on too much... The device is well built, and feels amazing in the hand. It feels it could survive a drop and live, unlike my previous HTC One, which always made me feel like it was going to shatter like fine china.

Camera Functions and Quality

I wanted to Address the camera issues as earliest as possible in this early review, mainly due to the fact that it's one of the key points the Moto X is taking a bit of flak on the internet. So let's just jump right in to the finger pointing.

Can anyone tell me what this is?...
I keep hearing the Moto X getting bashed because you cannot focus before taking a picture. Right within the camera app, search your settings and you find this option, the option that apparently doesn't exist for some people. Without selecting this option, yes, when you tap the screen it'll fire a shot whether you're focused or not. However, having this enabled removes your zero shutter delay, but ensures you'll always have a good focus.

People have also complained about washed out colors, I personally don't see it, and my picture have been coming out totally clear. There is however some minor issues in low light environments. The Moto X produces a bit of noise in the picture in dark places, and has a bit of a harder time focusing, I did get a couple blurry pictures in the dark, but they were easily fixed by grabbing a different angle and/or allowing the phone a couple extra seconds to autofocus.

The camera's gesture for quick launch (double flip of the wrist) is pretty cool, but when I do it, I feel very insecure about dropping my phone during this motion. It's probably just me babying my device too much, but it's definitely something that causes me to grip my phone tighter when attempting this gesture.

Network Connection & Call Quality

Motorola having so much experience in the telephone industry, it's no surprise that when I place a call, everything sounds brilliant, loud, and clear. The noise suppression on the Moto X is one of the best I've encountered in my history of Android, this one making my 29th device. I was able to initiate a call while on a busy road without the passing cars and trucks bothering my partner on the other line.

When I was finished speaking, my partner on the other line actually thought I had him on hold during some periods due to it sounding so quite on my side. For this I say great job Motorola!

Now on to network and data speeds. As you can tell from the picture above that I also posted to Google+ last night, the Moto X on Rogers LTE is nothing short of jaw dropping. I was pushing nearly 100Mbps, and it appears my LTE signal is stronger than my HTC One.

The Moto X is said to be the first phone on the Rogers network to support their new LTE Max band (2600 Mhz), clearly you can see it's working.

Touchless Control & Other Features

When first starting up the Moto X for the first time, they ask you to set up Touchless Control. You're asked to repeat the sentence "Okay Google Now" 3 times in a totally silent room, and you cannot start this process unless the room is dead silent. I couldn't start this process because there was a fan in my living room 20 feet away. 

To answer all the questions I've got about this feature; No, you cannot change it from "Okay Google Now", you're locked to those 3 words and must use the entire sentence to active Google Now. However, I've managed to get away with "Hey, Google Now" which is a little more appealing when showing off in my opinion.

All the voice commands are exactly the same as any other device with Google Now, with the exception of "Help me" which will give you very detailed list of what you can say, and numerous examples for each one.

Motorola also includes Motorola Services and such that'll help you track, wipe, and lock a lost of stolen phone, but to be honest I disabled that before even trying it due to us already having Google's Device Manager.

Screen and Quality

Once again the Moto X got bashed pretty hard for not having a 1080P screen and a crazy high pixel count like the S4 and HTC One, but to be totally honest, I can't really tell by using the phone. I'm sure someone who's extremely picky and is going to nit pick at everything will prove me wrong here, but this screen is great.

It does seem a tad on the warm side in terms of colors, but every phone has a slightly different color scheme, so it's easy to get past if you have a ounce of understanding that ISP vs AMOLED screens will not look exactly the same.

Speaking on AMOLED screens, the Moto X handles the black colors like a champ. Zero light behind the screen even when cupping your hand trying to get a really close look in the dark. I know other phones have advertised this before like the Galaxy S3, but there was always this minor under glow it had in a pitch black room, you could tell the screen was on. Moto X's on Active Notification is amazing and It'll be hard to ever go back to a phone that doesn't have this feature. Best of all, Active Notification gives you the entire list of applications on your phone to be notified with, no more limitations to only using Gmail or only using Stock SMS app, like seen on HTC's Sense and Samsung's Touch Wiz for those lockscreen functions.

Final Thoughts

Is the Moto X going to replace my HTC One? That's a little too early to tell, but I can say I'm loving this phone right now. It's very close to a stock Nexus with a little motorola stuff in there which most can be disabled. No Rogers bloatware whatsoever on this device which makes it great. However, you're stuck with the Rogers title on the left side of your status bar, cannot be removed natively.

An amazing phone that's under appreciated by naysayers and the sheep who follow them. The phone looks bad on paper, but I urge you to actually try one before laying judgment, this is one fine piece of hardware.

Anything I may have missed about the Moto X that you have a question about, either leave a comment here or on my Google+ +Tom Gray