Mini review and beginner tips for Moto X (warning: possibly long, random and pointless)


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Nov 9, 2011
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I've been using the Moto X for a week. (Well, technically I had the Bamboo version for 2 days and been using the Walnut version since.) It's a great phone for people who want a good performing Android phone with a compact size. Imagine it as a compact sport car with good fuel mileage. If you are an iPhone user and want to try Android, this is the first phone you should consider.

I will cover mostly my take on hardware aspects and try to link them to real world uses, but for the most part the general stuff has been well covered by big review sites so I wouldn't be able to add anything extra on that front. If you need to know about its software features, I will not cover it here.

TLDR: Scroll down to bottom to get a summary. Go to 2nd post for tips.

: This phone will handle all tasks thrown at it. It out perform my quadcore Nexus 4 marginally. Due to the dualcore, there is a slight slow down only when installing apps unlike quadcore devices which doesn't suffer as much, but since you don't install apps all the time it's hardly an issue. I believe the Moto X is fast enough to use as a daily phone the next two years from the date the phone was introduced (fall 2013).

Size and feel:
This is a major aspect of the Moto X. It's impressive at how slim this phone is given the 4.7" screen size. While being 1cm thick put some people off, that is only attributed to the thickest point of the curvature in the back of the phone, giving the phone an ergonomic design and much more comfortable to hold compared to phones with rectangular slab design. However, unless you use Moto Maker to choose back covers that are made of 'non-slip' materials, the phone will feel slippery while holding and easy to drop, this include wood backs.

It's only marginally larger than the iPhone 5, while providing a substantial bonus in screen size. Other flagships Android devices like Nexus 5, Galaxy S4 and LG G2 are all over 1cm wider/longer than the iPhone 5.

IMG_20140208_212344.jpg IMG_20140208_212439.jpg
(Black phone = Moto X)

The Moto X remind me a lot of the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, in a nostalgic way it physically feel more like a Nexus to me. It is even smaller than the Galaxy Nexus.

Battery life:
This is the best battery life out of any Android phones I've used that isn't a phablet or wasn't specifically built with a large battery. I consistently get 5.5hours of screen on time or better with medium use, although I do not play games on my phone. This is impressive for a 2200mAH battery (8.14Wh) in the Moto X. I don't buy "battery benchmark scores" posted by most review sites, get feedbacks from real users. Although I did made tweaks to help battery life, but this is common practices that can be done on any Android devices (more on that later).

With Android 4.4.2, I still see some battery drain while idling, so there is still room for improvement on that department compared to iPhones.

(Pay attention to screen on time.)

I choose AMOLED screen for the deep black, excellent contrast, and exceptionally wide viewing angle (basically 180 degrees). Two things I like:
-It's one of the best calibrated AMOLED screen I've seen. You will not get true accurate colors with AMOLED screens because of the wide color gamut resulting in more saturated colors. However the saturation is toned down on the Moto X, it's not overblown like the Samsung Galaxy phones or even some poorly calibrated LCD (LG G2). Also the color temperature is very close to 6500K, this value is ideal, it's only slightly warm.
-The sub-pixels are RGB matrix, you get three sub-pixels per pixel. While it is only a 720p display, the RGB matrix allow for a very sharp details like LCD IPS displays. The Galaxy S4 and Note 3 do not use RGB matrix, but something called diamond matrix which have main pixels sharing sub-pixels. So in the end, you're not losing significantly in term of details compared to those phones.

Regular photos in good lighting condition can be average to very good. Details will get blurry if you have shaky hands, this is due to lacking optical image stabilization technology. It takes grainy shots that are washed out in low light condition. I believe this is due to the camera software raising the ISO level too high and not having the best post processing process. This has been improved somewhat in KitKat 4.4.2 update, but more can be done. Also the flash LED have a greenish tint which is not ideal.

Signal and call quality: Motorola have a good record in this area, so expect at least decent to great results here. I get very good LTE signal with this phone on T-Mobile. Traveling too far into a large brick and mortar store can still result in lost of data signal, though I still had cell signal to make calls, compared to my LG Nexus 4 which lost signal completely. The Moto X have 3 microphone for optimal voice canceling. I also get very good GPS signal with the Moto X and get a location lock quickly, this is a big deal and make features like Google Search and Touchless Control more useful since they very much rely on locations.

Wood back covers:
No, save your money. You will get better grip with the regular non-slip colors. The wood backs are slippery. Only the bamboo back is real wood(?), though it's too thin for my liking, easy to get bumps or dings from drops. The walnut back have a papery feel since it's laminated, I'm sure this is true for the ebony back as well.


Reason why you might like Moto X:
-A good experience right out of the box. Features that are practical and not just gimmicks.
-Good battery life, lasting from morning till past midnight.
-Compact size, comfortable grip.
-Good call quality, good signal reception.
-Stock Android, clean interface, lacks bloatwares.
-Loud and good sounding rear speakers.
-Sharp screen with wide viewing angle and adequately saturated colors.
-Good GPS signal reception and able to lock location quickly.
-Availability of various color choices.

Reasons why you might dislike the Moto X:
-Not good enough camera to forgo carrying a dedicated shooter. Poor results for low light situation.
-4.7" screen is not large enough.
-Does not support wireless charging.
-No microSD support.
-No removable battery, even though the phone already have good battery life.
-Disliking AMOLED screen.
-Wants multicolored LED notification light.
-It's not quadcore CPU and doesn't have latest specs.
-Disliking Android operating system or can't get used to it.
-Disliking stock Android interface and prefer bloated interface.
-Only use premium aluminum phones.
-For some reasons 720p screen isn't good enough even though it's very sharp.
-Distrust brands owned by Chinese companies.

-Wood backs.
Last edited:


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Nov 9, 2011
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Re: Mini review and tips for Moto X (warning: possibly long, random and pointless)

Usage tips

Face unlock + speak PIN to unlock:
The Moto X have a very good front 2MP camera. Using the face unlock feature to unlock the screen is useful on this phone since it can detect your face even in somewhat low light condition. You can enable face unlock in: Settings -> Security -> Screen lock. While you are setting it up, I recommend setting the the alternative unlock method as "PIN". Then go to "Setting ->Touchless Control" and enable "Speak PIN to unlock". Speak PIN to unlock is only utilized when you use command through "Okay Google" though, you can't speak PIN to unlock the phone regularly.

Get rid of wakelocks and improve battery life:
I use the app Greenify which put apps in hibernate mode, it does not require root. I use it to hibernate all apps except for apps that needs to run in the background and to give me notifications.

The app Wakelock Detector could help with detecting battery draining apps.

Disable un-used apps:
The last point leads to this one. The Moto X is mostly bloat free, but it still come with apps that I don't need. You can disable them by going into: Settings -> Apps -> swipe right until you reach the ALL tab, then select on an app you don't use and select the DISABLE button. I don't know how much battery life if any that this will save, but it does prevent them from running in the background and also using up your data by syncing or updating itself.

Obviously you don't want to disable vital features of the phone or apps you intend to use. For beginner, just don't disable any Motorola apps.


Get a better quick settings toggle:
You may be aware of the Quick Settings toggles for stock Android. Well, I find it confusing and not very useful. I recommend Notification Toggle, it allow a more robust choices of hardware to toggle.

Here's are the toggles I use:

Get Google Now Launcher:
Go to this link on your Moto X. Download the Google Home APK, when the download is done, swipe down the notification bar and tap on it to install it. You can also find the finished downloads in the "Downloads" app in your app drawer. The phone may ask you to enable "Unknown sources" to begin installing (Settings -> Security -> scroll down and check "Unknown sources). I recommend disabling Unknown sources when done, this can help prevent adwares and malware apps from automatically installing on your phone.

If you dislike Motorola Gallery:
You can use the app "Gallery KK", it have the same design and function as Android stock gallery with a few added features. Although you have to pay a small amount to remove ads.

PS: You don't have to say "Okay Google Now" to trigger Google Search. "Okay Google" is enough.
Last edited:
Jan 15, 2014
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Thanks for the review, someguy01234!

I have to add that one of the features of the Moto X I really enjoy is the twist motion to turn on the camera. I don't hear many people mention it.

It's terrific to capture quick pictures on-the-fly.


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Feb 10, 2013
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Thanks for the review! I got this beauty on Wednesday but have yet to set it up unfortunately I've been down with this flu/chest cold thing that's pretty much shut me down. Ugh. I'm pretty much over it so I'll get it set up in the next day or so. Can't wait!

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