The original Motorola Moto X couldn’t quite compete with last year’s smartphone powerhouses, but that might change with an updated version revealed today.
The first thing you’ll notice when you approach the new Moto X is the larger display; it joins the full HD ranks with its 5.2-inch, 1080p display with 423 pixels per inch, a step up from the previous model’s 4.7-inch, 720p display.
Another issue some had with the original X was the relatively middling internal hardware. But the new Moto X sports a quad-core 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, which provided the snappy experience that you’d expect from a flagship device during a brief hands on. There’s 2GB of RAM and the phone will be available in 16GB and 32GB flavors.
The new Moto X also sports an aluminum frame, which feels positively solid and premium, but the curved back remains. You’ll also still be able to get a Moto X with plastic or natural wood finishes on the back, and Motorola added a new premium leather option from esteemed leather makers Horween.
Moto Maker, the site that lets you customize your device with a variety of colors and accents, is here to stay. Those who were put off by the HTC One (M8)’s lack of variety may want to take a closer look at the new Moto X.
The new X is somewhat taller and wider, but it’s also slightly thinner, which is especially noticeable on the edges. Despite the larger screen, it’s very comfortable to hold, but it’s a little more of a thumb stretch for one-handed usage.
Rather than implementing its own user interface like HTC Sense or Samsung Touchwiz, meanwhile, Motorola has stuck with pure Android (4.4 KitKat), and will do so for the foreseeable future. This means that new Moto X users will receive new Android updates just as quickly as Nexus and Google Play devices, and minimal bloatware.
Like its predecessor, Moto Voice, Assist, Display, and Actions are present, and their reliability and functionality seem to have been improved, but only a full review will confirm this.
The new Moto X features a 13-megapixel rear camera with 4K video capture and 4x zoom and a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter. Like the original device, the updated Moto X will also open the camera automatically when you twist your wrist twice.
Also, a new turbo-charger will give your phone up to eight hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging, Motorola said. This was a particularly interesting feature, but the phone itself ships with a standard charger; you’ll have to get the turbo-charger as a premium accessory.
The Moto X will be released later this month for $99 on AT&T and Verizon with a new two-year contract, and will retail for $499 off-contract, putting its rivals on notice when it comes to price.