What is the one thing that we have come to expect from a brand like Motorola? What is it that strikes our mind when a new Motorola device hits the market?
Well, I for one, am a big fan of this brand and to me the name Motorola in the mobile phone world means solid, good looking, optimized devices that fit in a price range that pleases you through and through.
To hand it to Motorola there is hardly any other manufacturer that can do what Motorola does.
With that background firmly planted in your thoughts, let’s process the news of a new device that has come to the market. The Motorola Moto X Style is here!
It sits in a segment just one higher than that of the Moto X Play, and it does to this segment what the Moto X Play is doing to the segment below. It is a blend of high-end specs with a sleek build and still comes in at a price that won’t make your wallet cry.
It isn’t the flashiest or most feature-laden Android phone you can buy right now, but it’s certainly one of the best.
The Motorola Moto X Style comes with a 5.7 inch Quad HD screen with 2,560×1,440 pixels at 1440p.
Quad HD screens have been in the market for only a year but as the X Style proves, they’ve already begun trickling into the less-expensive devices. And that’s the beauty of technology and economics!
The screen predictably is sharp and bright. The pixels are indistinguishable no matter how close you get. The screen is very bright and sunlight visibility is not a problem.
Colours do tend to pop up too much and hence cause oversaturation. Even then, there is no yellow tint to the screen and the colour representation in general, is accurate. The whites are clear and the reds and yellows look good. The only problem lies with the black which does not seem to be as dark as one might want, at times.
If you have a particular dislike for vivacious hues, then colours can be made to look more realistic by switching the colour mode to normal. Head to Settings then the Display option.
As is the case with many Android phones, the auto-brightness is overly sensitive and creates a juddery, uneven movement when you move from a dark room to a light one. But you can switch that off, and get a consistently lit experience, except when you head outdoors (at which time you’ll need to manually increase the brightness).
The design blueprint of this device is essentially the same as that of the Moto X Play. The phone weighs in at about 5.7 inches across the screen, and is a little bigger than expected.
If you are someone who is coming to this device after using a small one (like one with a 4 inch screen), it will take you a wee bit extra time to get used to handling this big phablet.
To put up a parameter of comparison in order to give you a better understanding of how the phone looks and feels – let me say that this phone feels like a grown up and a more mature version of the Moto G. The plastic has been replaced by metal and the buttons are now more rigid, giving an overall solidity to the device.
The metal rim does add rigidity, but it does not quite have the solidity that came with the Moto X. But then again when you are looking at a phone that is cheap on your pocket, in contrast to what is on offer, you have to expect and accept that the manufacturer will have to shed something somewhere. And this seems to be one of those places.
If you flip the phone over, what you will instantly notice is a bulge, which is something that is disapproved by a lot of people. Adding this to the fact that the phone is on the bigger side of the dimension scale, you may tend to decide against it in terms of handling (thanks to this “extra” bulk).
A point worth making here is that despite its bigger size and bulging back, the phone is a delight to use. It can slip so very easily in and out of your jeans pocket. And the curve at the back makes it rest very very comfortably in your palm.
The classic Motorola dimple remains, although its smaller size means it’s a less satisfying spot upon which to rest your finger. This area is screaming out for a fingerprint reader and I’m surprised Motorola didn’t add one in. Again, I guess it was to keep the price down.
Motorola has been providing its users with the option of customizability with the Moto Maker. This continues in the Moto X Style. You literally can design your own handset using the Moto Maker website. You can change the accent colours, pick between a white or black front and replace the durable rubbery back with various leather or wood offerings!
Note that the front of the white model looks particularly “busy”. Along with the camera and front-facing speakers, there are three, very visible sensors for the Moto Display feature (I’ll get onto this later), a duo of ambient light sensors plus the front-facing camera and flash.
I understand all are necessary, and thankfully, they’re less obvious on the black model.
Let’s digress first. Though the Moto X Play (the older sibling on which the X Style is based) while a very good device and one of the class leaders in its segment, suffered from some performance issues. This led many of people to blame Motorola’s software as not optimized. However it was the Snapdragon 615 processor that was to blame. It should have been be able to handle Android Lollipop with ease. Not so.
Fortunately, the Moto X Style uses the Snapdragon 808 processor, which is a brilliant performer. Motorola thus solves the performance issues and the delivery of this device is amazing under almost all circumstances.
The 808 is a beefy octa-core chip and currently the CPU-of-choice for the majority of mid-to-high-range phones. It provides the grunt for LG’s G4, Google’s new Nexus 5X and the Microsoft Lumia 950.
Along with all this, you get 3 GB of Ram which is more than enough.
Consequently, the performance of this phone is simply delightful. Browsing the menu, scrolling through the web, switching between apps and all the other general tasks are carried out ever so smoothly on this device, with not the slightest hint of any lag.
Gaming too has a similar experience. Asphalt 8 and Hitman: Sniper play as well on the Moto X Style as they do on any Snapdragon 810 device, without generating anywhere near as much heat!
This device comes with expandable storage. If you add a 64 GB to the base 32 GB storage on the Moto X Style – a 64 GB version is available too – you’ll have more than 70 GB for use in games, apps, media and more!
This device comes with 3,000 mAh battery. Having experienced the amazing battery life of the Moto X Play, I had come to expect the same from this device but that isn’t the case here. The battery lasts from an early morning alarm to bedtime and that is without much intensive use
A bit of a downer for an all-round good device.
The software on the Moto X Play was delightful. The Android used was near-Stock and whatever additions Motorola made to it, were all rather useful and not gimmicky.
The Moto X Style runs the Stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.
Lollipop was a turning point for Android. It moved the OS from being an ugly yet functional beast into a true iOS rival. What’s even more impressive on Motorola’s part is that the software tweaks it’s made actually improve the experience further.
Bundled inside the Moto app you’ll find Assist, Actions, Voice and Display – each of which have some pretty neat functionality.
Display is the best; it lights up the screen with any incoming notifications. Voice lets you chat to your phone after you’ve taught it a phrase – “Hello, Moto”, for example. Assist will automatically silence the phone during certain times – when it knows you’re in a meeting, for example – and, last but not least, Actions integrates some nifty gestures.
The most useful is a quick double-shake to boot up the camera from anywhere – and the karate-chop to turn on the torch comes in handy too.
The camera that you get with this device is on the same line as that of the Moto X Play. The 21-megapixel sensor boasts phase-detection and auto-focus – as opposed to the laser-assisted systems favoured by LG and Huawei – and it captures highly detailed, accurate snaps.
Camera, is an area where the Moto X devices were so far categorised as adequate. But with the improvement of the standards in the industry, that is simply no longer enough.
This may be primarily why Motorola has been trying so hard with the Play and now with the Style, attributing to them such big sensors, and spiffing things up significantly.
Daylight shots taken from this camera are delightful. The high megapixel count helps capture shots packed with detail; macro pictures especially look fantastic. The phase-detection autofocus is fast too – not to the levels of Sony’s Xperia Z5, but it tends to lock onto targets in a snap. It does struggle to focus if you’re super-close to your subject, but this is a minor quibble (and normally happens with any camera when you intrude on the minimal focal length of said camera).
The saturation levels remain brilliant and the software does not intervene too much, making the snaps overly sharp.
The low light snaps are not the best, but… are completely acceptable. There exists some noise and the camera has a tendency to overblow low-lit snaps, but you can fix that somewhat, with the in-camera editing app.
The Moto X Style comes with two excellent-sounding, front-firing speakers that pump out loud, yet distortion-free audio.
Coupled along with the more-than-decent display, you will be thoroughly entertained with this device.
Also, the fact that the device performs brilliantly adds to the overall entertainment experience. There is no lag while web browsing and media runs ever so smoothly on this device.
There is nothing out of the box for you here. Accounts are set up the usual Android way, requiring a username and a password.
There is no fingerprint scanner as that on the One Plus 2 which may be of disadvantage to Motorola. There is the basic pattern, pin or password lockscreen options for security.