The Motorola Moto X certainly is a smartphone full of character. Instead of following the established trend set by high-end Androids over the years, it dares go where no other handset has gone before. It may not look the flagship part on paper but it very much feels like one in real life.
From the day it broke cover, pundits and consumers alike have criticized the Moto X's lack of top-tier SoC and display. After wrapping up our review, we have to say that those aren't as bad as they are portrayed to be. The device will very rarely feel underpowered and the screen is still pretty great. Future-proofing is a whole other story of course, and it's probably one that Motorola isn't too keen on telling.
The ergonomics of the Motorola Moto X are among its most potent weapons - despite not being particularly slim, the smartphone handles better than just about any other high-end droid. We are also glad to report that, while the Moto X brings few changes to the stock Android experience, they all work great. From the always active voice commands, through the Active display to the innovative camera-launching gesture - it's all working as Motorola promises.
Another big draw of the Moto X is the Moto Maker design studio. If nothing else the hundreds of combinations that you can preview in detail on your screen will serve as great promo for the smartphone.
The biggest flaw of the Motorola Moto X as far as its smartphone skills are concerned is the lack of expandable memory. The 16GB version comes with only 11.9GB available - hardly sufficient considering the fact that a high-end mobile game can easily take over a gig of space. The 10MP only stills from the camera don't help the cause either.
Google has tried to offset the limited storage by offering 50GB of free Drive cloud storage, but that's hardly an optimal solution. The far better solution is for you to spend an extra $50 for the 32GB version of the Moto X. Which leads us to our main issue with the smartphone.
As if it wasn't bad enough that Motorola is only going to sell the Moto X only in the US, the company has also made the 32GB version and the Moto Maker exclusive to AT&T. The other major carriers are getting a smartphone that's not only more expensive than its better-spec'd rivals, but also deprived of two of its most valuable arguments. Motorola might have as well made this one an AT&T exclusive.
So assuming you do the sensible thing and go for the 32GB Moto X from AT&T you should be ready to part with $249.99 and sign a new two-year commitment. And as every deal, this one can only be ruled good or bad when you see what else you can get.
Of course, we must begin with the HTC One, which is the other 4.7" flagship worth your attention. Currently available for $150 less than the Motorola, the One offers a far snappier chipset and an aluminum unibody, which while not customizable is as least as good looking as the Moto X's chassis. You also get Beats stereo speakers and a bunch of software goodies exclusive to the Sense 5.
Moving on to the Samsung Galaxy S4, which about $40 cheaper than the Moto X for the 32GB version. Even better you can leverage on its microSD card slot and get a 16GB version plus an extra card and save even more cash. You'll still be getting more capable hardware, a better camera and a user-replaceable battery, but you'd be losing in terms of looks and ergonomics if you side with the Samsung flagship.
And if you are willing to go contract-free devices, we must point to the Nexus 4 - another Google offspring. Costing $350 , this one is far cheaper than the Moto X unlocked version will be when it arrives, but it doesn't go any higher than 16GB of internal storage. You'd be getting more capable hardware and timelier Android updates, though.
You have probably noticed by now, that the Moto X has no chance of matching its rivals in a hardware for your buck fight. It's nowhere near as impressive in terms of internal hardware as its price tag suggests and things will only get worse in a couple of months when the Snapdragon 800 monster army arrives.
However the superior ergonomics, the unrivaled customization and the cool exclusive features still give the Motorola Moto X a lifeline. It now remains to be seen whether or not there will be enough AT&T subscribers who value those enough to pay the premium and turn the Moto X into a success.