Sometimes, you can tell that a company went above and beyond in an effort to add innovative features to a smartphone that aren’t just different for the sake of being different, they truly add value to the user experience. You can tell when a company tries to introduce exciting new features not simply because competing smartphones offer those features, but because they solve real problems and actually improve the user experience.
Motorola on Friday finally unveiled its next-generation flagship smartphone, which had been tossed around the rumor mill as the “Moto X+1.” The actual name of the new handset is Moto X, just like its predecessor, though Motorola will be using “all new Moto X” or “second-generation Moto X” to distinguish the new version from the old one, which will still be available for purchase when the new model launches later this month.
The new Moto X is everything its predecessor was… and then some.
Motorola used a very similar design on the new Moto X model, but the new model is thinner and far more premium than the original despite the fact that it will launch at the same $99 on-contract price point. Off contract, the 16GB version of the phone will cost $499.
The display on the new model is a 5.2-inch full HD 1080p screen, and there is now a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor powering the Moto X along with 2GB of RAM. The edges are now a single piece of metal that wraps around the device and services as the antenna, much like the iPhone 4.
Unlike the iPhone 4, however, Motorola took steps to avoid an “Antennagate” situation by inventing new technology called dynamic tuning that senses where the user is holding the phone and increases signal to other parts of the antenna.
The premium look and feel continues around back, where four wood options and four leather options can be had for an additional cost when ordering the device through the Moto Maker, which is Motorola’s website where users can customize their devices. If plastic is your material of choice, the new Moto X comes in 16 different colors.
Another big change where hardware is concerned is found on the face of the phone, where four new sensors help power features like Moto Assist and Moto Actions.
Here are Motorola’s descriptions of four key services found in the Moto X:
- Moto Voice – Do more than ever with just your voice, without ever touching the phone. Use your voice to interact with some of your favorite apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Whatsapp. Even personalize the experience with your very own customized voice prompt like “You there Moto X?” or “Wake up buddy!”
- Moto Assist – Life can be hectic, and Moto X can adapt its behavior in certain situations so that you can do more or never be interrupted. It can read aloud new text messages while you’re driving or at home It can also keep quiet during meetings, or turn off all sounds when you go to bed – it even knows to turn everything back on in the morning as you start your day.
- Moto Display – You don’t have to wake Moto X up to look at the time or sneak a peek at your latest messages. When your display is off, up to three notifications pulse quietly on the screen without interrupting you. If you want to take a peek, simply touch and hold one of the notification icons and more details will appear. Slide left or right to see other messages too – all without ever waking up your screen or unlocking your device.
- Moto Actions – Go beyond just tapping and swiping your screen. Use simple and reliable gestures to conveniently interact with your Moto X. It knows when your hand is approaching and activates Moto Display. Wave your hand to silence incoming calls or snooze alarms.
Use the new Moto X for even a few minutes and you can tell that Motorola took its time to get things right. It listened to first-generation Moto X owners and improved the phone in areas that needed improving, like the camera and display.
Motorola also added fantastic new features that dramatically improve the user experience on the new Moto X — features that are contextually aware, constantly adapting based on the user’s location and the time of day. The new Moto X also ships with a “turbo charger” that adds 8 hours of battery life to the Moto X after charging the phone for just 15 minutes.
The all new Moto X launches later this month and we’ll have plenty more to share in our full review, which will run in the coming days.