The Moto X: The next big 'meh'

Published: August 5, 2013 9:00 AM /


Earlier this week Motorola and Google officially released the Moto X phone. It’s the phone that you design and assembled for you right here in the good olde U-S of A. Note they said ‘assembled’, I’m sure the parts are all coming from overseas, a la Apple. This could be a good or bad thing, let’s find out how.



The Moto X will be a 4.7 inch display that is 1280 X 720p HD Resolution. It will have a Motorola X8 processor running at 1.7 GHz with 2GB of RAM keeping it going along with a 2,200 mAh battery. It will have a 10 megapixel camera featuring the ClearPixel technology on the back, with a 2MP camera on the front. It will start out having a damn near stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean experience, with some apps for the phone by Motorola. Since Google it tied into it very close, hopefully Android 4.3 will be coming sooner than later. It will come in either a 16GB or a 32GB size with no way of expansion except for the 2 years of free 50 GB Google Drive. The phone will be available in all of the major US Markets in woven black and white in stores this summer for $199 on contract.

The ‘designed by you’ part of the Moto X is the customization. AT&T is the only one that currently has this option, but Verizon and Sprint are soon to follow. You will currently have the option of over 2,000 color combination and will be able the change the color of the front bezel, back plate and but button accents. You will also be able add a signature to the back of the phone as well. You will also have the ability to customize your message on your lock screen, the wallpaper that it will come with and if you would like it preloaded with your Google Account ready to rock-and-roll. It will be packed up with a pretty little bow and on your doorstep in approximately 4 days (fingers crossed).

The cool features that make this phone more ‘X’ than the other is the Touchless Control and the Active Display and the camera. The Touchless Control will let your phone actively listen for you to say those three little words (“OK, Google Now.”) it will launch google now and be ready to listen for your command, even if the phone is locked. It will always be on and always be listening. Will this be a good thing or a bad thing, only time will tell.


The Active Display seems to be the best thing out of this. Think of it as notifications on crack. It will show you the notifications right there on your screen instead of some ambiguous LED light. Once you touch the screen it will expand the notification and let you open the app directly or dismiss it. These are customizable as well.

The ClearPixel sensor is nice feature for the camera, but the app is where the talk is. It’s a new UI for a phone as well as the ‘quick capture’ where you will be able to take a picture with a flick of the wrist… ok maybe two.

Now that all of the pleasantries are out of the way, let me explain the title. On paper, this does not look like a powerful phone at all. Yes it’s not the lower end, but it’s not what everyone was expecting from the first phone coming out of the partnership between Motorola and Google. All of the tech sites are either gushing over this phone or throwing it in the trash. My reaction is this: This is setting a very bad example for Google in the future.

This had anti-iPhone all over it, as well as it should. Cool features? Check. Sweet camera? Check. Assembled in the USA? Same here. Free engraving even? Yup. Customization? Oh, you didn’t have that? Now it’s even cooler than the iPhone.

What people are missing is that there is a reason that most of us can’t see the goodness in the phone. We’re mainly power users. We aren’t your typical people. Let’s step into the shoes of a customer. I told my fiancee about this phone and instead of telling her about all of the specs and how my rooted Galaxy S3 has the same, if not better specs and software on it, I told her about the features and the Active Display and the quick camera. She couldn’t be more excited about it. This is the blessing and a curse.

Google and Android look to fight mud with mud. They are showing that they don’t need to build a better phone, it just needs to be a little better than Apple. It will get people excited about the phone and I hope they get the masses to buy them. But then what is next, just a small incremental uptick in the OS, maybe a new chip, but nothing major… or will they go and see the error of their ways and blow away the competition, both specs and software.

Only time will tell. I’ll still be picking up one, as soon as I customize it and make it cool.

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JR Moore is the Former Chief Editor at TechRaptor. When he's not living life, he's connected to an Xbox, a phone or tablet checking out the latest… More about JR