Motorola was doing so well... and then the Moto X turned up

Motorola has shot itself in the foot with the Moto X
Never going to happen

Motorola. A brand I thought had started an amazing comeback. The Moto G? A piece of cut-price brilliance. But with the launch of the Moto X, it's undone all that good work.

Late to arrive? A price tag and spec sheet which makes it more expensive than the excellent Nexus 5, yet less powerful? I'm left scratching my head as to why Google has allowed this to happen.

Motorola says that UK-dwellers have been eagerly anticipating the potential arrival of the Moto X on our shores - and yes, back in August last year even I was excited about the possibility of it turning up here - but that was six months ago.

The fact of the matter is the Moto X's time in the sun has long since passed, and that initial excitement and hype has been lost - along with its biggest selling point: customisable handsets.

Moto X

That's right, the Moto Maker service which lets Americans customise their Moto X any which way with various colours, finishes and engravings has not made the transition over the Atlantic.

So with that key USP unavailable, what's left to shout about on the UK variant of the Moto X? The answer is... not a lot.

During my briefing at the Moto X launch I was shown how I could quickly open the camera app by taking the phone out of my pocket and then twisting it twice in my hand.

Moto X

The action did work every time, but it's nothing more than a novelty. Almost every smartphone these days has a shortcut to the camera app on the lockscreen, which takes perhaps an extra second or so to load versus the X. That's hardly a deal breaker.

If you want a quick launching camera, put a hardware button on the side. It's simple, recognisable and useful.

Touchless control meanwhile lets you say "OK Google Now" to wake up your phone, and then bark voice commands at it. Once again it works, but these aren't features worth inflating the price tag above the Nexus 5.

Active Display? A potentially handy notification shows a pulsating icon of the type of communication you've just received without waking the whole screen. But again, not going to blow you away, and not a good reason to part with that extra cash.

Motorola has a good thing with the Moto G and it now risks overshadowing what is the best budget smartphone on the market with the overpriced, averagely-featured and late-to-the-party Moto X.

Want my advice Motorola? Ditch the X, concentrate on the G and launch a high-end flagship later this year. You could even talk to Google about a certain Nexus device.

Just a thought.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.