Review: Motorola Moto X Pure Edition
Motorola recently has been creating some really impressive low and mid-range phones. Starting in 2013 with the original Moto X, they have tried to perfect the ideal Android smartphone that doesn’t break the bank. Motorola almost got the formula right back in 2014, however lackluster battery life and cameras made it hard to compare the phone to flagships such as the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy. So the question is, does the 2015 Moto X Pure Edition perfect the mid-range smartphone?
The design of the 2015 Moto X reflects the newer design language that Motorola applies across all of their phones. The swooping lines and curved back make it really easy to hold the phone. These details actually look more inviting and friendly than some other phones that use straight edges. The structure of the phone is made of anodized aluminum and this makes the Moto G feel really solid. The back plate can be customized to use plastic, leather, or wood, and the leather and wood options add a bit of class to an already handsome phone. The two major design changes over previous versions of the Moto X are, first, the camera trim, which has been redesigned to be a little less intrusive and second, the bigger screen. The screen got a sizable bump from a 5.2 inch Full HD AMOLED to a 5.7 inch Quad HD LED display. While the screen is nice, it’s not anything special, however the colors and clarity are perfectly fine for the price.
The camera was probably the biggest upgrade from the previous generation Moto X. Last year the Moto X packed a 13 megapixel sensor, which was the Achilles heel of the phone, however, this year it got a major upgrade. The new Moto X packs a 21 megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus. In good lighting, the Moto X is a great camera. The colors pop and there is a shallow depth of field that give the photos a DSLR-like quality. The weakness of the camera is in low light, sometimes it doesn’t focus right and there is some distinguishable grain in the photos. While the camera is much improved over the previous generation, it still isn’t as good as the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6 Plus, or LG G4. Comparing it to the other phones in the sub-$400 price range is a whole different story, and it actually beats out the cameras on both the OnePlus 2 and ZTE Axon Pro. The front camera remains unchanged, except for the front facing LED flash, which I don’t recommend using.
The 3rd generation Moto X uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 paired with 3GB of RAM. Android has become more resource-efficient over the years, so this is plenty of power to keep the Moto X running smoothly. Battery life is also much improved over the previous generation Moto X. Instead of dying somewhere in the late afternoon, it now gets through a full day without needing to be recharged. The Moto X runs a nearly stock version of Android 5.1, which is actually a really good thing. I have always preferred stock Android to manufacturers interpretations of Android.
The Moto X ended up not only being a really good sub-$400 phone, it also ended up being a good overall phone. The design looks really high end, the screen is fine for the price point and the camera finally is decent, so you can’t really go wrong buying this phone, even over flagships. The Moto X is only available unlocked through motorola.com or one of Motorola’s partners starting at $399.99 for 16GB, $349.99 for 32GB and $499.99 for 64GB.