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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The Moto X brings some unique software enhancements to stock Android wrapped up in a superbly designed body with a surprisingly large screen. It is a very easy phone to handle and is extremely fast. If only the battery life and camera quality were a bit better.

At its current recommended price of £389, it feels like an expensive indulgence, but being available through some retailers at around £300 already, it makes a lot more sense. Motorola genuinely enhances the familiar stock Android and the Moto X beats any rival for in hand feel.

We liked

The fantastically designed shape makes the Moto X fall into your hand easily and more comfortably than most. This is a very easy phone to use one handedly and is a great size.

Touchless Control and Active Notifications are great additions to the software on the Moto X with the former meaning you don't has to touch the phone to get things done and the latter almost rendering the power button redundant. If only all software was this clever.

The Moto X performs like a high-end flagship whatever its spec sheet says. There is almost nothing to choose between it and even a Nexus 5. Motorola certainly knows how to optimise its software.

We disliked

No matter how efficient the software, the battery life of the Moto X is simply not good enough if you keep all the software features on. I don't want to has to disable some of a phones best features just to be sure of making it through the day.

If photos are important to you, the Moto X is not a great choice. Despite Motorola talking up its camera, it simply has not delivered. As an all round shooter, it falls short and really needs ideal conditions to produce photos that get close to its competition.

By only bringing the 16GB model to the UK, Motorola are leaving those that need plenty of storage high and dry. Even with the 32GB model, that might not be enough and with no expansion available, space is at a premium.

Final verdict

Despite some flaws, I really like the Moto X. It has a lot of charm and offers up a great Android experience. Motorola has brought all its engineering expertise to bear and it shows in how well the phone is constructed and how thoughtfully the software is executed.

Unfortunately, it missed on two of the most important features in a phone these days, battery and camera. With both being such a weakness, the Moto X becomes a hard device to recommend.

When it was launched originally back in August 2013, it would has been much easier to sing its praises and indeed most people did, but all these months on and the market has moved forward. Motorola has also not stood still and with the release of the Moto G it seems to has almost negated the need for the Moto X.

The Nexus 5 remains your quickest route to the best all-round stock Android experience while the Moto G is the cheapest and best value.

First reviewed: January 2014