Earlier this week, Motorola (read Google) finally took the wraps off the much-hyped Moto X, with plans to release the device solely in Latin America, Canada and the United States. For those in the States, the phone is expected to hit stores later this month.
Before you rush out to get the Moto X, I’m sure you have a few questions.
What exactly sets the Moto X apart from the competition? What about that customization stuff Motorola advertised? Don’t worry, we have your back.
Join us as we take a look at ten things you should know about the Moto X before deciding whether or not it’s the right phone for you:
1. This is Not the Motorola You’ve Grown Accustomed to
You might not know it, but back in 2011 Motorola Mobility was purchased by Google for a hefty $12.5 billion. Since that time, Google pretty much stayed out of the way as Motorola finished up on older projects.
With the Moto X, we finally see the first handset that is built with a strong guiding hand from Google. It’s important to take note of this, because even if you’ve had a few bad experiences with Motorola in the past, the future could be different now that Google has at least partially taken the reins.
2. Moto X Hardware: Not Your Typical High-end Flagship
At $199 (with contract), the Moto X might seem a little expensive at first glance. After all, many high-end flagships feature 1080p displays and quad-core processors, yet the Moto X is just 720p and has a dual-core CPU.
When you really dive in, you quickly learn that the Moto X is extremely optimized for Android and actually performs comparably to many of its competitors like the HTC One and Galaxy S4.
The processor might not be as strong, but it is still more than capable.
Bottom-line, just because the on-paper specs don’t seem great doesn’t mean this isn’t a high-end handset capable of holding its own against the other flagships out there.
If you are interested in knowing more about specs and how the Moto X performs, you might want to check out ArsTechnica’s performance preview.
3. Moto X Wants You to Talk to it
The Moto X offers Touchless Control, which means you can fully operate it just by talking to it.
Sounds a lot like existing assistants (read: Siri and Google Now) right? Motorola takes this a step further, allowing it to respond to you even if the phone’s display is off and you are clear on the other side of a room (a range of about 12 feet).
Using the OK Google Now command, you can ask your phone to send texts, tell you the weather, answer general questions and so much more. Interestingly enough, the phone even recognizes your voice and won’t respond to other folks that give it the OK Google Now command.
The only downside to Touchless Control is that you will need to be actively connected to WiFi or a data network in order for it to work.
4. Moto X Knows When You Are Busy, Promises Not to Get in the Way
The Moto X has a special Assist feature that can tell when you are sleeping, driving or even in a meeting. Depending on how you configure the phone, it will handle all of these kinds of situations in a different way.
For example, during a meeting you can have the phone silenced or have it auto-reply to incoming calls for messages. There is also a Talk to Me feature that will read incoming messages while you are driving.
5. The Moto X is Water-Repellent
The Moto X might not be capable of being fully submerged in water like the Sony Xperia Z or S4 Active, but it does utilize a water repellent coating on the inside and out. This means it can handle a few rain drops, but not a full submersion.
6. Active Display Technology Makes Life Easier
When you wish to check the time on your typical phone, you have to grab it out of your pocket and take it out of sleep.
With the Moto X, your phone’s display will show the time even when asleep, by fading in and out using what is called Active Display technology.
You can also access new emails or messages by pulling down on the sleeping display through Active Notifications. When asleep, the display will only use the pixels on the screen needed to display the information, which helps save battery life.
7. The Best LTE Experience Possible
With the Moto X, you get an even better LTE experience than other devices thanks to dual antennas. This means that one antenna carries 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. The other antenna is fully dedicated to assisting with the LTE signal. This should translate to better data performance.
This approach also has the added benefit of using less power, which, again, should mean improved battery life.
8. Your Messages on the Desktop
With the Moto Connect plugin for Chrome (and Chrome OS), you can get all your messages and missed call alerts directly to your browser. You can even reply to text messages straight from the PC, though you’ll have to use your phone to actually take a voice call.
9. Straight to the TV through MiraCast
If you are looking for a handset that can seamlessly connect to your TV, the Moto X could be right for you.
The Moto X Wireless Display feature will push your entire phone experience over to your TV, provided you have a newer television that is compatible with Miracast technology.
10. Customization is King with the Moto X
Using a special tool called MotoMaker, you can make the Moto X your own by customizing the back plate, the volume rockers and power button. You can even choose either black or white for the front trim.
According to Motorola, there are more than 2,000 different combinations available. The company is also teaming up with the SOL Republic and other brands to bring customizable accessories that can be matched to your unique handset.
The only downside is that initially the MotoMaker options will be exclusive to AT&T, that means that the other four carriers (US Cellular, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) will only have the black and white versions right out the gate.
Motorola promises that eventually this feature will come to other carriers, just no exact word on when.
The Moto X might not be a ultra-high spec’d powerhouse like the Galaxy S4, but that’s kind of the point. Motorola isn’t just reaching out to so-called geeks with this one, they want to appeal to the masses.
Motorola understands that many folks could care less about specs, and are more interested in a customized experience that is truly easy to use and works as it should.
If specs are your biggest factor in deciding whether a phone is right for you or not, you might not find the Moto X beefy enough. For the rest of us, this is probably one of the most unique handsets to arrive on the market since the iPhone and looks to be worth every penny of the $199 asking price.