Moto X4 review

The bar set by past Moto X phones was too high

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The Moto X4 feels like Motorola’s response to the realization that it didn’t have a unique phone sitting in the gap between the Moto G lineup and Moto Z lineup, even though it already had the stellar Moto Z2 Play right there. The result is a phone that’s basically a Moto G5 Plus with a bit more power, a gimmicky dual-lens camera and a sharper selfie shooter. 

The Moto X4 feels like an uninspired follow-up to what had been a great series of high-performance smartphones with prices that challenged the market. It does most things just fine, it’s affordable, and doesn’t feel like a low-end phone. But it also doesn’t feel like a Moto X. Heck, the Moto X Style Edition had bigger, higher-resolution display, and a 21MP rear camera.

While $399 does set it at a fairly attractive price point, it’s still within striking distance of the superior OnePlus 5 at $470 or the Samsung Galaxy S8, which often dips down to around $570. For a few dollars more, you can get a Moto Z2 Play with similar specs, a better screen and access to Moto Mods. Motorola’s X phone series lives, but in 2017, it lives in a world where there’s more mid-range competition than ever.

Who's this for?

Someone looking to get an Android One or Project Fi-ready phone without the price tag of the Google Pixel 2 may be on the market for the Moto X4. But you have to go into it knowing that some of Motorola’s best features are disabled in the Android One edition. Opting for the Amazon Prime version in the US may be your best bet, and selfie-addicts may also enjoy the Moto X4 for its high-resolution front-facing camera.

Should I buy it?

There’s little about the Moto X4 to make it a worthy purchase. It is a fine phone. For normal use, we really didn’t find it lacking. The bells and whistles that it features didn’t prove to be much more than simple noise though, as the dual-lens camera was underwhelming and 4K video wasn’t worth the storage space.

A Moto G5 Plus or Moto G5S Plus would work just about as well for almost everything and cost significantly less. Last year’s original lineup of Moto Z devices may be an even better purchase. All told, there are similar phones for better prices, and better phones for similar prices, and that leaves the Moto X4 in an unfortunate place where it’s a fine phone with no reason for someone to buy 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.