Moto X4 review

The bar set by past Moto X phones was too high

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  • High-res selfies
  • Special features hardly worked
  • Lackluster video recording
  • Sharp still shots with nice HDR

The Moto X4 tries to keep up with the latest trends by having dual-lens camera with a 12MP telephoto lens and an 8MP wide-angle lens, and it can also record 4K video. Our experience with the range of the camera’s features wasn’t great, but we found the simple still shots looked really nice in the right settings.

Set to Auto and HDR on, it snapped photos with plenty of detail and a good balance of light and dark. In high-contrast scenes, we didn’t have to decide which section of the shot would be ruined. Unfortunately, we couldn’t tell how well the pictures would turn out, as the HDR processing doesn’t show up until the picture is taken – there’s no Live HDR on this mid-range phone. We had to put a bit of faith in the camera to do work. 

Another nice feature is that Pro mode allows you to independently choose between the telephoto and wide-angle lenses on the back. Normally, the phone has the telephoto lens in the primary role, but Pro mode allows you to shoot with just the wide-angle lens, allowing for some nice fisheye shots with a wide field of view, even if the pictures are at a lower resolution.

The other aspects of the camera weren’t so hot. The dual-lens effect didn’t result in great photos, and the phone struggled to process the information coming from both cameras at once. It was a clunky experience that we’d probably never use on a daily basis.

The 12MP selfie snapped crisp pictures that were a bit more self-consciousness-inducing than a lower-res camera. The front camera also has a panorama feature that a few dozen of our attempts couldn’t get to work, and the one time it actually saved the panorama, it also cut off one of our arms. Ouch.

Video recording was also not spectacular. 4K for simple, close-up video wasn’t awful, but it could be a bit stuttery. Full HD video at 30 frames per second felt low-res. Recording at Full HD and 60 frames per second should have created buttery smooth video, but the phone struggled to do so, with occasional stutters and clunky lighting changes. Auto-focus for video was also a weakness.

Battery life

  • 3,000mAh lasted long on this phone
  • Getting from 0% to 50% was super fast

This mid-range phone goes the full range, thankfully. No corners were cut on the battery, and it’s plenty big for a mid-range chipset and lower-resolution screen. It’s easy to go a full day with, and with moderate use, a dozen hours into a second day is definitely possible. 

We spent most of our time using it with both GPS and Wi-Fi Hotspot turned on, and it kept chugging along. During our 90-minute HD video playback test, the battery only drained 10%. That’s well above average in the battery life spectrum.

Charging the phone is exceptionally quick with Motorola’s TurboPower charging, especially for the first half of the battery. From 0%, the phone charged to 27% in 15 minutes and to 54% in 30 minutes. It was nearly three-quarters full after 45 minutes. Charging slowed down toward the end, taking a little over 100 minutes total to reach 100% charge, but the ability to get a few hours charge from a couple minutes can be a lifesaver, and the Moto X4 nails it.

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.