Moto X (2013) review

Google and Moto almost made a truly standout Android phone

Motorola Moto X review
Arriving 6 months late from the States, can the Moto X make it in the UK?

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So what else can be had in the same segment of the market as the Moto X?

The Nexus option

Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 was released just a few months ago and represents Google's vision for Android in its fullest. It checks every possible box on a dream spec list with its 5-inch 1080p screen, Snapdragon 800 chipset, 2GB of RAM, totally stock Android and attractive build.

The 8MP camera with optical image stabilisation is a step ahead of the Moto X and it is a significantly more capable device all round with its much faster chipset.

On the downside, the Nexus 5 has a fairly poor battery, not that the Moto X is any better, and it is a little bulkier and less ergonomically perfect than the Moto X. You also lose the Motorola software enhancements, which I consider well worthwhile but you do get stock Android with the promise of fast updates.

It comes down to whether you value that more compact feeling and the software tweaks that do genuinely add to the experience. To make it even harder to choose, the Nexus 5 is cheaper and comes in a 32GB flavor in the UK.

The Mini option

HTC One Mini

HTC took the fantastically well-designed One and made it a bit smaller to produce the One Mini but with largely the same looks. Unfortunately, HTC couldn't quite make it as premium as its flagship One with the plastic edge around the screen a disappointment, but it still looks and feels fantastic.

The superb 4.3-inch 720p screen is one of the nicest displays out there and makes the Moto X feel a bit behind the times while its all metal body has the looks to match.

While you may not get the latest Android version on the HTC One Mini, it does come with HTC Sense, generally considered one of the best Android skins and a genuinely useful addition to the stock operating system. It particularly shines with the camera and gallery apps, I never tire of the fantastic highlights videos it is capable of magically producing.

Talking of the camera, the One Mini wades into battle with the same four-ultrapixel unit that the flagship One does, but without OIS this time. Unfortunately this camera setup cannot compete with the best but it remains more capable than the Moto X.

At around the same price as the Moto X, this is a harder choice and it comes down to how much you value the HTC software enhancements and superb build quality and materials, not to mention Boomsound which gives the One Mini the accolade of the best speakers in the business outside its bigger brother.

The other Motorola option

Moto G

Since the US release of the Moto X, Motorola managed to get a new device out in the UK and now fairly widely on a global scale too, the Moto G. This is a phone that brings most of what is best about the Moto X but at a much cheaper price point.

The same basic industrial design has been used on the Moto G to make it feel just as fantastic in the hand, but underneath that skin there are a lot of changes. For starters, the screen has dropped in size to 4.5-inch but still with the same 720p resolution. It is also an LCD screen now although I would say it is just as good as the Moto X's display.

Powering the Moto G is a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 chipset, which despite its lowly sounding specs delivers fantastic performance, almost matching the more powerful Moto X.

The camera is downgraded to a 5MP shooter, but given the shortcomings on the Moto X, it is actually not much of a downgrade and ultimately offers quite a similar overall performance.

Many of the software enhancements are missing on the Moto G including Touchless Control and Active Notifications, but you still get Bluetooth trusted device support and Motorola Active.

Storage is the biggest issue though as the Moto G only comes in 8 or 16GB flavours with no expansion. This could be a deal breaker for many people.

Before writing this budget phone off, it is worth noting that the 8Gb model is available from just £129 with the 16GB model coming in at £159. This is amazing value for a phone which very nearly matches up to its much more expensive cousin.