Moto X Pure Version assessment: the third time actually is the allure

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

The Moto X line is a smartphone that is all the time been dancing round greatness. The first one was a stunning, underpowered experiment in smartphone customization and thoughtfulness. The second added some a lot-wanted Moto Maker type and a few extra highly effective silicon. Now Motorola’s at it once more with the Moto X Pure Version, a telephone that seems to take a seat proper on the intersection of worth and energy. It is unlocked, prepared for any US service and — extra importantly — it is priced as little as $four hundred off contract. In different phrases, it is a critical contender for the “Greatest Smartphone Out There” crown, at the very least on paper. The factor is, the marketplace for low cost unlocked smartphones has exploded in reputation this yr, and it will take one thing actually particular for it to seize the title. So, how does Motorola’s new flagship fare? Spoiler alert: actually damned properly.


Moto X Pure Version


  • Modern, customizable design
  • Significantly improved digital camera
  • Considerate Moto software program tips
  • Expandable reminiscence
  • Works on each US service


  • Quick, however not fairly as quick as a few of its rivals
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Digital camera nonetheless is not nice in low mild


Different units may need a slight efficiency edge over the brand new Moto X, however the Pure Version nonetheless manages to really feel like probably the most elegant of a budget-good smartphones we have seen this yr. Amongst different issues, we recognize its trendy, customizable design, a lot-improved digital camera, expandable reminiscence and, simply as necessary, its close to-inventory model of Android and Motorola’s helpful software program add-ons.


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Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

Motorola is not rewriting the rulebook right here; the Pure Version will really feel awfully acquainted in case you’ve a lot as picked up a second-gen Moto X over the previous yr. That is a great factor. With its trim waistline and gently sloping again, this yr’s Moto X is likely one of the most snug massive-display telephones to carry, even regardless of the 5.7-inch panel Motorola added this yr. We’ll revisit the display shortly, however generally it is an exquisite factor and it is complemented by a pair of entrance-dealing with stereo audio system. It is nonetheless fairly odd to see an LED flash nestled subsequent to the entrance-dealing with 5-megapixel digital camera, although all’s truthful within the seek for the right selfie. And it would not be a Moto X if the facade weren’t flecked with quite a few infrared sensors to detect a face or shifting palms.

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

If the telephone’s face appears forgettable, flip it over for a reminder of what you are able to do with Moto Maker. My evaluate unit got here with a deep grey end on its metallic body and a textured, brown Saffiano leather-based again that provides some additional character to the combination. If that is not your factor (it is not actually mine), you can too order your Pure Version with a colourful silicone rear, or a extra unique one hewn of bamboo, charcoal ash, ebony or walnut wooden for a couple of bucks extra. Since Motorola wasn’t involved about together with a fingerprint sensor on the Pure Version, the telltale emblem dimple under the 21-megapixel digital camera is approach smaller than on final yr’s model too. I took this more durable than I anticipated: The dip the X used to have on its bottom made for a cushty place to relaxation my index finger. This smaller model is not almost as satisfying. At the very least the system is now water resistant, permitting the Pure Version to outlive a number of unintentional dips in my sink.

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

Talking of probably unsatisfying, the Moto X’s internals might sound much less fascinating than at first. The telephone makes use of considered one of Qualcomm’s hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chips and 3GB of RAM, very similar to the LG G4 from earlier this yr. In the meantime, rivals just like the OnePlus 2 supply the extra highly effective Snapdragon 810 and 4GB of RAM. Different powerhouses like the Galaxy Word 5 additionally embrace a full 4 gigs of reminiscence. As all the time, although, Motorola has complemented its pretty excessive-finish elements with its so-referred to as Cellular Computing System, a bundle of contextual processing cores that take note of the gadget’s movement and your voice. It performs a key position in making the Moto X Pure a extra considerate telephone, and which may make all of the distinction for you.

Show and sound

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

Motorola lastly made the leap to a Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) panel with this yr’s Moto X, and I am not about to start out a debate on whether or not or not we really need such excessive-decision screens on smartphones. The very fact of the matter is, we have now a strong performer on this 5.7-inch IPS LCD, with crisp visuals (at 515 pixels per inch, no much less) and good viewing angles. All that stated, it does not stand out in the identical method that Samsung’s tremendous-vibrant Tremendous AMOLED screens do. It is a combined bag, actually.

Colours that appear shiny and principally pure on the Moto X’s display tackle a cooler, virtually washed-out forged subsequent to the Galaxy Notice 5. On the brilliant aspect, although (ha!), whites are a lot crisper on the Moto X and the show itself is noticeably brighter too, particularly with adaptive brightness turned off. Belief me: You will not have any hassle taking the X for a spin outdoors. Be ready for an occasional wait, although. The show’s auto-brightness could be sluggish to react — assume three or 4 seconds — particularly for those who’re pulling the telephone out of a darkish bag and right into a nicely-lit room. The Pure Version’s display is not a transparent winner in comparison with a few of its largest rivals, nevertheless it’s meaningfully totally different in a couple of key methods.

Lets say virtually the identical factor concerning the Pure Version’s pair of entrance-dealing with audio system. They’re nonetheless a far cry from, say, HTC’s BoomSound audio system, however I might nonetheless take these over a wimpy single speaker any day (this is taking a look at you, Word 5). Professional tip: In case you’re watching a video or listening to music by way of these audio system whereas holding the telephone vertically, you are doing it incorrect. You will get a modest sense of channel separation when the X is sideways, so your tunes will sound barely fuller, extra expansive.

Software program

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

There’s, fortunately, little to say concerning the Pure Version’s software program; it is an virtually-utterly inventory construct of Android 5.1.1 with just some Motorola apps preinstalled. All of Lollipop’s finer touches — that nuanced tackle sounds and notifications, a number of consumer accounts — are all the place you’d look forward to finding them and work the identical as all the time. Even higher, the unbundling of apps like Google Plus and Newsstand from Android correct means we have got a good cleaner model of Android than standard.

With that basis laid down, Motorola as soon as once more got down to make the Moto X as considerate and responsive as attainable. Take Moto Show, for example. Waving your hand over the telephone’s face like some Jedi additional from The Clone Wars rouses a part of the display to inform you what time it’s and what notifications have rolled in. Swiping a notification icon down unlocks the display and pops the telephone proper into the app you needed to be in. Easy. Motorola’s tried-and-true gestures are again too, so you’ll be able to twist the X a couple of occasions to fireside up the digital camera and karate chop with it to activate the flashlight. Now you can additionally raise the telephone to your ear to situation a Moto Voice command, and any response will route straight via the earpiece for subtlety’s sake.

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Then there’s Moto Voice. I liked speaking to final yr’s Moto X as if it have been a pseudo-private assistant. And now, 12 months’ value of enhancements to Google Now have made the expertise much more helpful. You will should arrange a launch phrase to concern spoken voice instructions, nevertheless it’s nicely value it; I spent my week of testing by asking the telephone to play my voicemail messages, add reminders to an already big listing, get the climate forecast and launch apps with no hitch. The perfect half: Shouting out my launch phrase to seek out out the place in the home I left the rattling factor.

All of those may be managed from the Moto app, a central hub for the telephone’s contextual smarts. Aside from that, there are solely three different preloaded Motorola apps right here — Join, which helps you to handle related units like headsets and Android Put on watches; a self-explanatory Assist app; and Migrate, a nifty device that allows you to jumpstart your Moto X expertise by pulling something from contacts and calendars (from iPhones) to media and apps (from different Android telephones). This lovingly mild contact means there’s loads of room on your personal apps; my 32GB evaluate unit got here with simply over 24GB of free area, and you may add as much as 128GB extra with a microSD card if wanted.

Digital camera

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

Let’s face it: As a lot as I liked them, the Nexus 6 and the 2014 Moto X had fairly awful cameras. Nicely, not anymore. Motorola is particularly pleased with the 21-megapixel rear digital camera and f/ lens baked into this yr’s Moto X Pure and it ought to be, even when it is overshadowed by different smartphone shooters I’ve examined lately.

Three issues assist make the Pure a fantastic level-and-shoot: the interface is lifeless-easy; HDR is about to automated by default; and the sensor is a professional at sucking up mild. My pattern photographs have been all the time crips and usually properly saturated (although the HDR mode is a bit of heavy-handed typically). The factor is, it is not all the time nice at capturing the finer particulars of a scene, particularly when issues get dim. When snapping a shot of some graffiti, the Galaxy Observe 5 produced subtler colours and was higher at choosing up the divots and texture of the concrete wall underneath the paint. The Moto X, however, delivered punchy colours (even with out HDR) whereas lacking a few of that additional element. It is an unlucky commerce-off, although in most conditions the X is nice. The occasional subpar photograph solely helps emphasize how properly it usually performs. Even the broad-angle, 5-megapixel selfie digital camera does nicely, which is sweet information for terminally useless people like me.

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

Paradoxically, I feel Motorola’s fool-proof digital camera interface may do as a lot dangerous nearly as good. The sensation of firing off a photograph very quickly flat is highly effective, however the sparseness of the app is beginning to really feel too simplistic. Photographs shot from the hip nonetheless look fairly good, however I think customers would profit from having just some extra controls out there from the beginning. The digital camera positive is quick, although. And talking of controls, there nonetheless aren’t all that many to play with in any respect; in addition to HDR, you’ve got obtained a low-mild mode that is solely mildly useful, flash settings, faucet-to-focus and a video mode toggle. Video, by the best way, is properly detailed (particularly at 4K) and the digital camera is adept at switching focus when objects drift out and in of view. All advised, Motorola put collectively a stunning digital camera that is leagues higher than what its earlier telephones needed to supply. Too dangerous the competitors is so stiff.

Efficiency and battery life

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

A part of constructing an excellent low cost telephone is understanding what compromises to make. On this case, Motorola selected the Snapdragon 808 chip over the quicker Snapdragon 810. The benchmarks spell out what all of us kind of knew within the first place: The Moto X simply is not as highly effective as a few of its rivals. This slight deficit manifests in a couple of methods, some extra notable than others. The Pure Version is not as robust a performer at graphically intense duties like enjoying video games, though it’s going to nonetheless get you thru a couple of laps in Asphalt eight on the highest high quality degree with none hassle.

You will additionally discover a touch of lag when doing typical Android system stuff; swiping into Google Now, launching apps and sifting by way of your operating software program can typically take a hair longer than you’d hope. An additional gig of RAM actually would have helped, however make no mistake: The Pure Version is by no means a slowpoke. It is a velocity machine in its personal proper, simply not as loopy-quick because the Galaxy Observe 5 or the OnePlus 2. In truth, the excellence is usually slight sufficient that most individuals won’t even discover.

Moto X Pure Samsung Galaxy S6OnePlus 2 LG G4 AndEBench Professional 9,686 10,552 9,945 eight,352 Vellamo four,401 three,677 three,025 four,065 3DMark IS Limitless 18,747 21,632 23,598 18,572 GFXBench 1080p Manhattan Offscreen (fps) 15 25 25 15 CF-Bench seventy four,237 sixty two,257 seventy nine,168 seventy one,260 SunSpider Android units examined in Chrome; decrease scores are higher.

The X’s three,000mAh battery usually does a great job holding out all through the day. My barely ridiculous workdays are properly-documented in these evaluations, and the Moto X often survived a 14-hour onslaught of Slack messages and YouTube movies with about 30 % nonetheless left within the tank. I’ve by no means had a problem with the battery dying prematurely on me, nevertheless it did not fare almost as properly in our normal Engadget rundown check: It solely lasted about 9 hours looping a 720p video with WiFi on and display brightness set to 50 %. As compared, the LG G4 managed almost eleven hours with comparable specs. I am nonetheless making an attempt to determine what’s inflicting this hole, and I am going to replace this assessment with any new findings. On the plus aspect, with the included Turbo Charger, it solely took round 25 minutes to go from bone-dry to 50 % full. The final half of the charging course of takes just a little longer, so anticipate to take a seat round for about an hour and 10 minutes for a full zero-to-one hundred pc cost.

The competitors

Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

You are not going to get the Moto X Pure Version straight from a US wi-fi service, which suggests you are not going to see subsidies or worth breaks for lengthy-time period possession. That makes it robust to seek out direct rivals, however we will nonetheless consider another choices. For those who’re nice with having to undergo an invitation system, the OnePlus 2 may properly be the Pure Version’s largest rival. It provides loads of horsepower and clean efficiency, together with a good-looking (if barely clunky) design. Remember, although, that the essential $329 mannequin solely has 16GB of storage and there is no NFC — a bummer in case you have been hoping to get on the Android Pay bandwagon. LG’s G4 is a superb choice too, and shares most of the similar specs because the Pure Version. Throw in an ideal digital camera, a detachable battery and expandable reminiscence and you have got a hell of a Moto X various… in the event you do not thoughts LG’s in depth software program modifications.

You may also contemplate the Axon, one other contract-free powerhouse from ZTE. It squeezes a lot of the similar elements because the OnePlus 2 right into a chubby metallic physique, and it is received a number of the greatest audio you will discover on an affordable telephone, too. Simply watch out for its reminiscence limitations: You solely get 32GB or 64GB of storage and there isn’t any reminiscence card slot. You then’ve obtained the Galaxy Observe 5, which has longer battery life and a extra spectacular display regardless of having the identical dimensions and pixel density because the Moto X Pure. The signature S Pen has lastly made the leap from gimmick to really useful device, however the steep worth and skinned software program will make it a bitter capsule for some.


Moto X Pure Edition review: the third time really is the charm

The final two years have seen Motorola take big leaps within the high quality of its flagships, so it is no shock that the Pure Version is the most effective telephone the corporate has ever made. Positive, it won’t be probably the most technically highly effective system on the market, nevertheless it makes up for it with a cushty, customizable chassis, and really helpful software program additions. Expandable reminiscence? Quick and frequent Android updates? All simply icing on the cake. Its combined efficiency in our battery exams was barely regarding, and it will’ve been good to see the corporate whip out a Samsung-degree digital camera, however Motorola’s received a primary-fee contender right here — and you do not even want an invitation to purchase one.