Moto X4 review

The bar set by past Moto X phones was too high

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Specs and performance

  • Snapdragon 630 occasionally shows its weakness
  • 3GB of RAM still doesn’t hurt yet
  • MicroSD slot is a relief

Moto X4 is a mid-range phone with mid-range specs and performance, and that’s exactly what we saw in our tests. It has a Snapdragon 630 chipset and 3GB of RAM, which is dialed back from what you’ll experience in any flagship phone in 2017.

Sure enough, we occasionally felt the Moto X4 taking its time. It got there, but this pure Android smartphone had noticeable slowdowns every time we opened up apps like the camera. Trying to snap a super quick picture is not viable on this phone.

Its Geekbench 4 benchmark scores ended up being  871 for single-performance and 4125 for multi-core performance. Subsequent benchmarks didn’t vary more than 10 points in either direction from that.

Gaming was another area where the Moto X4 didn’t cruise along. Loading wasn’t incredibly fast, and with 3GB of RAM on the Android One model, a game is likely to need more time to load each time it’s opened, since it’s probably not sitting in memory. We noticed slowdowns while gaming as well. 

The slowdown also manifests itself in how responsive the gestures are. It can take a second for the phone to buzz and turn the camera or flashlight on after making a gesture, and a second is long enough to wonder whether the phone registered that or if you need to try again.

Fortunately, the phone felt pretty steady for everything else. It handles the basics just fine: watching videos, browsing the web, messaging and whatever else was smooth. The speaker was nice, keeping crisp even at max volume, though bass tones were a bit muddy. 

Having the speaker built into the earpiece is a nice change, since it doesn’t get covered by a hand while holding the phone up. 

The fingerprint scanner even felt plenty snappy, and we’d have been hard-pressed to know it was slower than a OnePlus 5 if we hadn’t just tested them side-by-side.

Interface and reliability

  • Uncluttered Android is always welcome
  • Moto Gestures felt unresponsive

Motorola has long done a great job of keeping its Android version clean of the usual clutter that have marred past Samsung and carrier-branded devices. The Moto X4 sticks to that penchant with straightforward software.

The interface is easy to use, with a simple swipe up to bring up the app drawer menu, and a swipe down from the very top of the screen bringing down the notification shade. The settings section of the notification shade can be accessed quickly by swiping down with two fingers instead of one, but the top of the screen is still a far reach for one-handed use.

The Moto X4 fingerprint sensor doubles as way to both lock and unlock your smartphone screen and contains some extra functions in the non-Android One version. A tap returns you to the home screen, while a swipe left goes back and a swipe right opens up recent apps

For whatever reason, the Android One doesn't have these features.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.