Motorola’s back on the scene with a brand new handset called Moto X, the company’s first flagship since being acquired by Google. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful, innovative device that offers iterative features of other Android phones in the past, yet it brings them together under one unified umbrella. Starting off with the hardware, the phone sports a 4.7-inch display, though you might not notice it because of how small the bezels around and below the screen actually are. This lets normal consumers, the ones that don’t care about screen size, or tinkering (as much) experience a big and beautiful display, without sacrificing comfort.
Speaking of comfort, the phone practically melts away in your hand. It’s curved, with rounded edges all of the way around and feels very much like how the iPhone 3G did, except thinner and flatter — this is a good thing. Once you pick up the Moto X you don’t want to put it down. You just want to tap, tap, tap on the display, which itself is gorgeous — as it should be — and it’s refreshing to finally see a Motorola phone that doesn’t look a pixelated PenTile mess.
Some of the key features that Motorola focused on during the company’s presentation earlier today were touchless control, active display, and Moto Maker. Let’s focus on touchless control first. It operates much like how it sounds and you can interact with your phone in specific ways without touching it, for instance when it’s in your car and you’re driving. By saying, “OK Google Now” followed by a command, the phone will instantly activate, turn the display on, and listen to what you said. By making the phone always listen to that certain phrase, you’re able to get navigation directions, set your alarm, Google something, check the weather, and call someone, among many other things, all without ever looking at it.
While it does work quite well in the very limited amount of time I’ve used the phone that Motorola provided me (a black AT&T version), it doesn’t go nearly as deep as Apple’s Siri. You can’t check your text messages, emails, respond to messages, add calendar appointments, check your calendar, and find out where your friends are to name a few. But Google Now in general has always worked better than Siri for the functions it performs, so by combining this with the fact you don’t need to actually touch your phone, it’s a powerful feature and one I’m sure we are going to see expanded upon in the near future.
Active display is an interesting feature that lets you check key information on your phone without unlocking it or even pressing the power button. The time will display whenever you pull your phone out of your pocket or take it out of a bag, and your notification icons will be shown to let you know if you have any missed messages or calls. You can even drill into the most important notification (as determined by Android’s OS) without unlocking your phone by sliding up on an icon in the center of the screen. I haven’t had much time to play around with active display, but it seems to work well in my limited use.
Last, let’s look at Moto Maker. It’s an ingenious concept that allows consumers to order not just the exact phone they want right to their doorstep, but the ability to customize it in thousands of different ways. You can choose from two front colors, white and black, 18 back colors, 7 accent colors (metal around the camera lens, the buttons on the phone), the ability to put your name or text on the back of the phone, have your phone pre-setup with your Google ID, pick your wallpaper, write a custom message that appears when you turn the phone on, and choose your storage size of 16GB or 32GB. Motorola is promising that all phones will be delivered within 4 days of placing the order, and that this is all possible because of how the company how overhauled their supply chain and is assembling all U.S. smartphones in Texas.
There’s so much more to touch on, like the amazing camera that seems to be so good it can stop motion for the perfect shot or the fastest Wi-Fi in a smartphone with 802.11ac, but that is going to have to wait for our full review. But in the meantime, in my limited time using and learning about this smartphone, this could be the Android phone consumers have been waiting for.