News Column

Moto X: A smartphone that actually makes you feel smarter

July 24, 2014

Naushad K Cherrayil Staff Reporter


The second smartphone from Motorola - Moto X - is easy to hold in the palm due to its curved back cover and a premium soft-touch finish. The phone is very sturdy and feels solid.

The 4.7-inch AMOLED screen is powered by 1.7GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage capacity. Don't think of expanding your internal storage capacity as it does not have a microSD card slot. It runs on latest KitKat operating system. It is a stock Android and no user interface on top apart from some custom apps.

The front sports an edge-to-edge screen with very thin side bezels and with a resolution 720 x 1280 pixels, which translates into 320 pixels per inch. It is not bad for a screen of this size and with 720 pixels.

It weighs just 130 grams.

The colours pop out due to AMOLED screen and it has got good viewing angles.

Motorola has done a decent job of optimizing the software to make it lag free, fast and multi tasking.

The touchscreen is very responsive. Swiping the screen from the top with one finger shows the notification drawer while swiping with two fingers provide gives access to shortcut settings like brightness, WiFi, data usage, Bluetooth, battery status and airplane mode.

The biggest advantage of Moto X is the "Touchless Control", a dedicated always-on language processor. It can be activated even when the phone is sleeping. Just say "OK, Google Now" and ask whatever you want and it reads the answer without touching the phone.

Normally, to activate a voice search, users need to take the phone out of their pocket and wake it up and open the application to do so. Here, users can make a call, set reminders, get directions, send messages, ask questions, schedule meetings, set alarms, play music and movies.

But setting up the Touchless Control is not easy. Users need to repeat the phrase "OK, Google Now" three times in a very quiet space and from a distance till it learns your ascent. I had to do many times till it learned my ascent.

Even though Goggle Now is not accurate it is very fast to answer back.

The other interesting feature is the "Active Display". A dedicated processor lets users show the latest information and the time even when the screen is sleeping to save battery and at the same time show notifications without waking up the screen.

Active Display shows only the most recent notification. By pressing on the notification icon and dragging it upwards will show the message or missed call and from whom and at what time. By dragging the icon upwards and leaving it will open the associated app.

The light sensor knows when you take the phone in your hand to display the notification and the time without waking up the phone.

The 10MP autofocus camera with LED flash opens up very fast in 1.4 seconds. The pared down app and the Quick Capture feature is simple to operate.

Photos can be taken by touching anywhere on the screen. Swiping from the left side of the screen will reveal the settings wheel and swiping from the right opens up the gallery mode.

In the settings wheel, it shows HDR, flash, panorama, tap to focus, slow motion video and geo-tag.

The Clear Pixel technology inside the device can capture more light than a normal sensor.

The f2.4 aperture camera takes very good snaps in decent light with accurate details.

In pitch dark conditions, the snaps lose details and overexposed. With HDR on, it takes a better picture. It is better to take action pictures with HDR mode off. HDR is set to auto by default.

By twisting your wrist twice with the phone will cause the phone to vibrate and the camera app opens up.

The 2MP front camera is good for video conferencing but can record in 1080p.

Motorola has added some useful apps on the device. The Assist app makes life easier with smart actions. It can sense when you are driving and reads out the text messages.

The Motorola Connect, a Chrome extension, lets users send text messages and see incoming calls on their desktop. But to activate this feature, users need to download the extension and create an account.

The back-mounted mono speaker is really loud and clear. Audio playback is clean due to the three noise-cancelling mics on the device.

Regarding connectivity, it has 4G LTE, NFC, WiFi, WiFi hotspot and Bluetooth 4.0.

The 2,200mAh non-removable battery gives one day of moderate use with WiFi on, surfing the internet and playing music. By keeping all the features on will drain battery life faster and I had to turn off some features to get a day of juice when using the device heavily.

You can get around nine hours of video playback, which is pretty good compared to other premium devices on the market. It is priced at Dh1,599.

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

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