Moto X Style (Pure Edition) – second opinion
Everyone has their own reasons to be excited about a new Moto X, be it the customization options available to you via Moto Maker, the near stock-like software experience that keeps things smooth and snappy, or the different features that it offers when compared to the competition. Granted, the last point may not have been true with previous generations of the device, but the new Moto X is certainly trying to provide more than any other flagship smartphone out there.
When it comes to the design, the Moto X Pure Edition retains a lot of the design language of its predecessor, with the only big difference here being that the signature Motorola dimple on the back is a lot smaller and more subtle this time around, and is now housed in a metallic bar along with the camera unit. This different look is a pleasant change, but I did like the larger dimple of the Moto X (2014) as well. Everything else remains largely the same, and once again, you find the two motion sensors up front below the display, but these are more noticeable if you decide to go with the white color for the front face.
Moto Maker allows for a lot of customization with the device, and apart from the colors of the body and the accents, you also get to choose between various materials for the back cover, including a soft grip rubberized plastic, real wood, and leather. While opting for a wood backing, bamboo in this case, allows for a great look, it does make for a very slippery touch, with the metal chassis not helping either.
The bump in size puts the new Moto X just outside the realm of comfortable one-handed use, and with the slippery materials not providing in the way of grip, you may find the device falling out of your hand. Unless you go for the soft grip or leather backings, the handling experience with this smartphone isn’t great, even if the curved back and slightly thicker profile do their part in making a slightly positive difference.
When it comes to the display, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a 5.7-inch display with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 515 ppi, but Motorola decided to make the switch from AMOLED to IPS LCD with their latest flagship. While AMOLED would have been the preferred choice here, if only because of its advantages with features like Moto Display, Motorola has done a great job with this IPS LCD panel by putting a good enough level of saturation to continue a solid display experience. Even if the handling experience has been a let down, the additional real estate available with this high resolution display means that everything from reading text, to watching videos, and gaming, has been fantastic on this screen.
Under the hood, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, backed by the Adreno 418 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The primary use with the Moto X Pure Edition for me has been to do with media consumption and gaming, and the device has managed to handle everything with ease. Typical usage involved watching or listening to some media, occasionally posting on social media, looking things up on Chrome, accessing the gallery, and other everyday tasks, and it was great to see everything remain smooth and snappy throughout. While the processing package is, of course, impressive, some of the credit for this performance has to be given to the near stock software experience that is available with the device.
As far as storage is concerned, the Moto X Pure Edition is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB iterations, but the good news here is that expandable storage, by up to 128 GB, is available to you. With expandable storage going by the wayside with some other current generation flagships, you have to a pay quite a hefty premium if you’re looking to get any of the higher storage options with them, but in the case of the Moto X, you can always opt for the base model, and then consider expansion depending on your needs, allowing you to save a little bit of money in the process.
The Moto X Pure Edition features a dual front-facing speaker setup that allows for really good sound quality, further enhancing the media-consumption and gaming experience that is available with the large display.
The Moto X Pure Edition comes with a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery, but the battery life it provides is unfortunately not very impressive. Depending on your usage, you may find yourself running out of battery even a couple of hours before your day ends. The device’s fast charging capabilities prove to be the savior here, and if you can manage to plug in the device for even a short time at some point during the day, that extra boost should be enough to then get you over the line. This is of course, not what is expected from our smartphone batteries, but until a better solution is in place, fast charging is a crutch that we can all lean on.
Motorola hasn’t had the best track record as far as the cameras of their flagship smartphones are concerned, but that is luckily no longer the case. The Moto X Pure Edition boasts a vast improvement in the camera department when compared to its predecessors. It may not exactly match the very high standards set by the best smartphone cameras out there, but it does feature high enough quality to make it a good daily companion.
Apart from the fact that having this camera means that you won’t be missing your DSLR too much, the best part about the camera experience has to do with how easy it is to get into the camera, requiring just a couple of twists of your wrist to launch the camera app. That said, the application that Motorola uses for its camera isn’t very good, with it not only lacking in a lot of manual controls, but also the way you’re expected to take a shot by tapping on the viewfinder, instead of there being a dedicated on-screen button on the side, isn’t something I like. Having to drag the focus point around is not necessarily the way I want to cater a shot.
When it comes to the 5 MP front-facing camera, there is now a LED flash accompanying it as well, but unless you are taking a lot of selfies all the time, and while in dark environments, like in a club, there aren’t a lot of situations where you’ll end up using the front-facing flash. When it is used, the subject tends to get washed out, and the selfies don’t end up looking all that great anyway.
Despite not being under the Google umbrella anymore, Motorola is still providing for an almost Nexus-like feel with the Moto X Pure Edition, with any extras that are baked in serving only to further enhance the software experience.
Among the extras in software is Moto Assist, that will know when the device needs to be completely quiet to avoid interruptions, and it can read your messages out to you, or let you know who is calling. Moto Voice is another very useful addition, which lets you use voice commands to get things done, and the best part here is the ability to customize the key phrase that wakes the device up.
Quad HD resolution, 515 ppi
|Processor||1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
Adreno 418 GPU
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
|Camera||21 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens and front-facing flash
Universal LTE bands
|Software||Android 5.1.1 Lollipop|
Coated Silicon Rubber
Horween leather and natural wood
Motorola has to be given credit for providing a pretty good smartphone at a decent price point. While the latest flagship device is more expensive that previous generations used to be, not only are you getting a more premium product this time around, but the Moto X Pure Edition is still cheaper than most other competing high-end flagship smartphones out there. The best part about this smartphone is that it is all about choice, and that is what makes for a very compelling smartphone.
It may not be perfect, but the Moto X Pure Edition is definitely one of the better smartphone offerings of 2015.