Reviews

Everyone has their own reasons to be excited about a new Moto X, be it the customization options available to you via Moto Maker, the near stock-like software experience that keeps things smooth and snappy, or the different features that it offers when compared to the competition. Granted, the last point may not have been true with previous generations of the device, but the new Moto X is certainly trying to provide more than any other flagship smartphone out there.

Lanh already gave us a full comprehensive review of the Moto X Style (Pure Edition), but I’d like to share my own thoughts on the device in this “second opinion” look at the Moto X Pure Edition.

Design

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When it comes to the design, the Moto X Pure Edition retains a lot of the design language of its predecessor, with the only big difference here being that the signature Motorola dimple on the back is a lot smaller and more subtle this time around, and is now housed in a metallic bar along with the camera unit. This different look is a pleasant change, but I did like the larger dimple of the Moto X (2014) as well. Everything else remains largely the same, and once again, you find the two motion sensors up front below the display, but these are more noticeable if you decide to go with the white color for the front face.

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Moto Maker allows for a lot of customization with the device, and apart from the colors of the body and the accents, you also get to choose between various materials for the back cover, including a soft grip rubberized plastic, real wood, and leather. While opting for a wood backing, bamboo in this case, allows for a great look, it does make for a very slippery touch, with the metal chassis not helping either.

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The bump in size puts the new Moto X just outside the realm of comfortable one-handed use, and with the slippery materials not providing in the way of grip, you may find the device falling out of your hand. Unless you go for the soft grip or leather backings, the handling experience with this smartphone isn’t great, even if the curved back and slightly thicker profile do their part in making a slightly positive difference.

Display

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When it comes to the display, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a 5.7-inch display with a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 515 ppi, but Motorola decided to make the switch from AMOLED to IPS LCD with their latest flagship. While AMOLED would have been the preferred choice here, if only because of its advantages with features like Moto Display, Motorola has done a great job with this IPS LCD panel by putting a good enough level of saturation to continue a solid display experience. Even if the handling experience has been a let down, the additional real estate available with this high resolution display means that everything from reading text, to watching videos, and gaming, has been fantastic on this screen.

Performance

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Under the hood, the Moto X Pure Edition comes with a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, backed by the Adreno 418 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The primary use with the Moto X Pure Edition for me has been to do with media consumption and gaming, and the device has managed to handle everything with ease. Typical usage involved watching or listening to some media, occasionally posting on social media, looking things up on Chrome, accessing the gallery, and other everyday tasks, and it was great to see everything remain smooth and snappy throughout. While the processing package is, of course, impressive, some of the credit for this performance has to be given to the near stock software experience that is available with the device.

Hardware

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As far as storage is concerned, the Moto X Pure Edition is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB iterations, but the good news here is that expandable storage, by up to 128 GB, is available to you. With expandable storage going by the wayside with some other current generation flagships, you have to a pay quite a hefty premium if you’re looking to get any of the higher storage options with them, but in the case of the Moto X, you can always opt for the base model, and then consider expansion depending on your needs, allowing you to save a little bit of money in the process.

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The Moto X Pure Edition features a dual front-facing speaker setup that allows for really good sound quality, further enhancing the media-consumption and gaming experience that is available with the large display.

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The Moto X Pure Edition comes with a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery, but the battery life it provides is unfortunately not very impressive. Depending on your usage, you may find yourself running out of battery even a couple of hours before your day ends. The device’s fast charging capabilities prove to be the savior here, and if you can manage to plug in the device for even a short time at some point during the day, that extra boost should be enough to then get you over the line. This is of course, not what is expected from our smartphone batteries, but until a better solution is in place, fast charging is a crutch that we can all lean on.

Moto_X_Style_Black_Front_BackSee also: Best Moto X Pure (Style) cases

Camera

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Motorola hasn’t had the best track record as far as the cameras of their flagship smartphones are concerned, but that is luckily no longer the case. The Moto X Pure Edition boasts a vast improvement in the camera department when compared to its predecessors. It may not exactly match the very high standards set by the best smartphone cameras out there, but it does feature high enough quality to make it a good daily companion.

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Apart from the fact that having this camera means that you won’t be missing your DSLR too much, the best part about the camera experience has to do with how easy it is to get into the camera, requiring just a couple of twists of your wrist to launch the camera app. That said, the application that Motorola uses for its camera isn’t very good, with it not only lacking in a lot of manual controls, but also the way you’re expected to take a shot by tapping on the viewfinder, instead of there being a dedicated on-screen button on the side, isn’t something I like. Having to drag the focus point around is not necessarily the way I want to cater a shot.

When it comes to the 5 MP front-facing camera, there is now a LED flash accompanying it as well, but unless you are taking a lot of selfies all the time, and while in dark environments, like in a club, there aren’t a lot of situations where you’ll end up using the front-facing flash. When it is used, the subject tends to get washed out, and the selfies don’t end up looking all that great anyway.

Software

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Despite not being under the Google umbrella anymore, Motorola is still providing for an almost Nexus-like feel with the Moto X Pure Edition, with any extras that are baked in serving only to further enhance the software experience.

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Among the extras in software is Moto Assist, that will know when the device needs to be completely quiet to avoid interruptions, and it can read your messages out to you, or let you know who is calling. Moto Voice is another very useful addition, which lets you use voice commands to get things done, and the best part here is the ability to customize the key phrase that wakes the device up.

Specifications

Display5.7-inch display
Quad HD resolution, 515 ppi
Processor1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
Adreno 418 GPU
RAM3 GB
Storage16/32/64 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
Camera21 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens and front-facing flash
ConnectivityWi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac
Universal LTE bands
Bluetooth 4.1
NFC
GPS+GLONASS
Battery3,000 mAh
SoftwareAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
ColorsMoto Maker
Coated Silicon Rubber
Horween leather and natural wood
Metallic accents
Engraving

Gallery

Final thoughts

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Motorola has to be given credit for providing a pretty good smartphone at a decent price point. While the latest flagship device is more expensive that previous generations used to be, not only are you getting a more premium product this time around, but the Moto X Pure Edition is still cheaper than most other competing high-end flagship smartphones out there. The best part about this smartphone is that it is all about choice, and that is what makes for a very compelling smartphone.

editor-choiceRead Lanh's take: Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (Moto X Style) review113

It may not be perfect, but the Moto X Pure Edition is definitely one of the better smartphone offerings of 2015.

Buy Moto X Pure
  • WitnessG

    I was fully expecting this article to be about bashing Motorola. Great review Josh. May or may not be picking up a Moto X whenever it gets Band 12 support.

  • nebulaoperator

    Disclaimer: I really like this phone and I think it’s great device in it’s price range.
    It should be called : Moto X Style ( Pure Edition) Second Advertisemen shouldn’t it ?

  • T4rd

    I wonder why battery life is all over the place in reviews. Out of all the reviews I’ve seen, there seems to be a 50/50 split on good/bad battery life. There’s some that say it lasts all day and post screen shots of 4-5 hours SoT, then some like this one that say it doesn’t quite last through the day and only get 2-3 hours SoT. This is probably the most inconsistent trait I’ve seen across reviews in a while.

    Anyways, pretty sure I’m going to extend my UDP contract on Verizon last time to lock in my $30/month for the next 2 years, get a Note5 or iPhone at contract price, then sell that towards a 6P. This would be next on my list though if the 6P didn’t exist.

    • Tony G.

      I seriously gave this one consideration too, but something told me to wait until the 6P was announced. Am I glad I did. It tops this in several areas in my opinion. And one of the most important things for me is the battery. I have the 64GB graphite ordered.

      • erikiksaz

        Hah, it hasn’t been reviewed by anybody yet. Lots of unknowns about Huawei’s first nexus until it actually is in the hands of reviewers for a week.

        • Tony G.

          I agree with you. The last time I bought one on release day was the Bionic. What a bomb. I know I’m taking a chance. I said I wouldn’t again… but never say never I guess.

      • Voltaic Shock

        My issue with the Nexus 6P is the screen. I am not a fan of AMOLED. I have had burn in on my previous devices.

    • i_say_uuhhh

      I really think it has to do with the networks each reviewer uses and how they use the network/ wifi.

      If they work a 8-5 job will get better battery life on wificompared to someone who doesn’t use wifi and is in a spotty coverage area throughout the day as well.

      I have a Moto X Pure Edition and battery is much, much better on wifi than it is on spotty coverage.

      I can attest to this by the simple fact that at my job I wasn’t able to access wifi for the first two weeks and the device was constantly searching for a solid signal and it will be at at least 20% or less by the time I’m out, not good. But when I’m at my apartment, LTE is strong and the battery will drain at a less rapid pace with the same amount of use. Now that I use wifi here at my work, the battery will end up with at least 40-45% with the same use.

      Sorry that was so long but it was just my observations from what I’ve experienced with this phone, it seems to drain alot more batter than previous phones searching for signal for some odd reason. And of course it also is how each person uses their device and screen brightness etc.

      • Voltaic Shock

        I don’t like to connect to my work WiFi this way I can look at whatever I want on my phone without them blocking stuff :p

        • Sufi

          You can always use VPN for that my friend. i am in university and they block everything here even they put cap on bandwidth but VPN to rescue :p

    • patrick

      i also have UDP with vzw. Do you know if signing a two year contract prior to Nov 15 date will avoid having to pay the extra $20/month?

      • T4rd

        Yes it will defer the price hike until the end of the contract. That’s what I plan to do.

        • patrick

          Thanks. So i have s4 currently and am off contract. I have an upgrade available for my line. If I buy a phone like the moto x and bring it to vzw to activate, would that lock me in for two years? Or would I have to get something through vzw? If none of that works what do I need to do? I’m on a family plan if that helps. Thanks in advance

          • T4rd

            You have to buy a phone through Verizon to extend your contract, simply buying another phone off-contract (like the Moto-X) and activating it will not extend your contract. Also, you’re going to have to transfer your line’s upgrade to another line if you want to keep unlimited data, or Verizon is going to force you into a new tiered data plan when you go to use your phone upgrade on your line. I have a another line on my account on a 2GB plan that I transfer my other two UDP line’s upgrades to so my wife and I can keep unlimited data. You’ll have to do this through Verizon’s website too, as I’ve never been able to get any store reps to transfer my upgrades so I can keep my UDP, even though I tell them I can do it myself through their site, they just refuse to do it in-store.

            I actually want to get the Nexus 6P, so I plan on buying an iPhone 6S or Note5 (something I know will sell easily) on-contract, then selling that phone on Swappa or locally to cover the cost of a 64GB 6P. So you could do the same thing to get a Moto X.

          • patrick

            thanks for the explanation. do you know if the other line I transfer it to has to be a smartphone line? if i have dumbphone line, can i transfer it to that line, buy the phone on that line, and then downgrade that line back to dumbphone? I remember doing this couple years ago when i got the S4. Or is this loophole closed?

          • T4rd

            It has to be a smartphone line unfortunately. Verizon closed that loophole early this year I think. You may try this trick that doesn’t require another line to transfer to. I haven’t tried it, so can’t confirm it still works. http://slickdeals.net/f/8123900-verizon-note-5-subsidized-upgrade-while-keeping-unlimited-data-with-200-trade-in-on-any-phone-from-any-carrier

          • patrick

            So I found out the other smartphone line has an upgrade available as well and its a tiered data plan. Is it possible for me to use that lines upgrade to get a new phone and switch it to my line and lock me in? Wonder if that is possible

          • T4rd

            That won’t extend the contract on your line with unlimited data. The only way to extend the contract on that UDP line, is to transfer the phone upgrade FROM the UDP line to another line. The contract renewal only applies to the line that originally has the upgrade available.

  • Daggett Beaver

    Here’s a third opinion: IPS LCD, no wireless charging, no ability to add a wireless charging receiver, no fingerprint sensor, questionable battery life.

    It’s definitely one of the better smartphone offerings of 2015 if by “better” you mean “better than that One Plus dog crap flagship killer”.

    • Scott Kelly

      Honestly all three of those features are for lazy people who don’t have 2 extra seconds to do something. You don’t need wireless charging when you can literally take 2 extra seconds to plug in a wire. I own the pure edition and it charges faster than every single one of my friends phones, even if they have wireless chargers (s6, 6s, note5). I’m more than happy with this phone. A fingerprint sensor? I mean really? You don’t need this expensive equipment when you can type in a password maybe taking 1 extra second. Not only this but a password in more secure considering some people have gotten past the fingerprint sensor. And lastly, your point about the screen; it’s fantastic. I can see my phone better than all of my friends’ “flagshit” phones and it has better saturation and even vibrancy than theirs. This phone has no glitches, runs smooth, and I couldn’t be happier with the way they made it. To back it all up, this phone is half as expensive and all the other phones and does a better job than all of them at being a phone.

    • Voltaic Shock

      What is wrong with an IPS LCD? My issue with other phones is the AMOLED and the burn in that usually happens.

      Fingerprint sensor is really subjective along with wireless charging.

      • Aman Sajeev

        I love my Moto x Pure Edition, and while I don’t care about wireless charging, the lack of fingerprint sensor does hurt a little bit.

  • I switched from the G4 and couldn’t be happier. Almost pure Android makes a huge difference.

    Minor annoyances. (Really minor)
    The default email app is a place holder and tries to force you into Gmail. You can download any of your faves though.

    There is only power off when holding down power button. That might be Android vs Motorola but I miss having a reset option.

    That is all my complaints so far. The battery doesn’t reach the Z3 level of endurance but way better than the G4 and the S6 I had prior. And it holds power to the very end. Battery drain doesn’t speed up the lower it goes like it did on the G4

    The Bluetooth seems to use less juice when connected.

    Overall, super happy I got it. Don’t regret ditching the G4 or the S6 at all. Of course I’ll hold onto the G4 as it will get Marshmallow before the Moto Pure and I can tinker with it.

  • Pink Arrow

    Nice review! Sick Keyboard btw :p (Das)

  • RangerJay

    I’ve been using the MXPE for two days, and I’m very pleased. I’m just an “average” user, I suppose, in that I just check email, do casual surfing, and take a few pictures during the day. For a user like me, the battery is better than “good enough.” Best bang for the buck I’ve gotten in a long time, for ANYTHING.

    I refuse to use the Gmail app. For some reason, Motorola doesn’t include the Moto Email app on this device. I downloaded CloudMagic, at it suits my needs just fine. Better than fine, actually. I don’t need an email app that tries to organize my life. I just want to check email.

    It is a surprisingly comfortable phone, for its size. Fits in my back pocket just fine. The only thing I can say that borders on negative is that the camera does not do well in low light. Duh! Few do, and if you want a camera that does it well, get ready to spend some cash.

    BTW I ordered this phone on Friday of last week, and it got here Wednesday morning. No complaints.

  • R2-D2

    MXPE user for almost 3 weeks here. Everything about it is good.. Battery is also not a problem, but if it ever gets low in the middle of the day, the turbo boost charger would add almost 30% in 5-10 minutes.. Using LTE, however, drains the battery a lot faster than when using WiFi.. I also love how it is close to stock Android. About the camera, I have used an Xperia Z1 before and the camera in the MXPE is nice, and probably better than Xperia Z1s camera. The colors are also nice. The only drawback I have seen is where you take a picture in low light situations.. If you use flash, the phone will re-focus even after it is already focused on a particular object, making the picture blur. However, you can avoid this by increasing the brightness exposure of the picture in the brightness exposure slider when using the touch focus..

    Performance overall is good, haven’t noticed any lag and it never overheats so it hasn’t throttled yet until today.. Same goes for shooting in 4K. I have did a 7 minute 4K recording and it doesn’t overheat.. The Xperia phones as I have observed usually overheats after 4-5 minutes.. RAM management is okay.. I am usually left with 700-800MB free RAM (I have SmartApp Lock installed which takes almost 100MB of RAM). Web browsing in the phone is also smooth, and the speakers are more than enough in this phone.

    I would definitely recommend this phone, and I heard that this phone will be getting Marshmallow by November – December 2015..

  • Travis Halfman

    Correction : This is the LEAST expensive Moto X to date. $599 for gen1, $499 for gen2 and $399 for gen3.

    • If you buy it in the US. Here in Europe, the cheapest X Style at the Motorola webshop is the 32gb version for €499 ($551), which isn’t cheap and more expensive as the LG G4 which costs around €420-€450 at the moment.

      • BAM SUM

        Same here in Japan

  • Bryan May

    I own a Motorola Moto X, an upgrade from a Oneplus One. Thanks for the click bait. The OP2 had some better software refinement but wasn’t all that reliable. I am very happy with my X.

  • Ukfe Uye

    I live in Thailand and I want this over all the flagships, I use phones for work 75% of the time and photos 24% of the time and the rest for 1% of the time and I think this phone would be perfect!

  • Mózes Horváth

    LG G4 or Moto X style? its the same price in my country.. i love the moto software, and i also love lg’s software functions but its just ugly in my opinion.. thoughts? i dont really care bout the camera.. i know lg’s better, but i think moto’s good enough for me..

  • I went to Best Buy to hold the phone in my hand and fell in love.

    I thought it would be too big and thought the materials would feel cheap but as it turns out it feels great in hand. The soft-grip model that Best Buy carries felt so good, I think I’d be happy with this phone, as is (without opting for leather or wood).

    My only problem now is figuring out how I’m going to get rid of my current Samsung Galaxy S6. I’m over it. It’s in pristine condition though if anyone wants to buy it.

    • Voltaic Shock

      You should try Swappa.com to sell your older phone. What I find interesting is that the Moto X Pure Edition is bigger than the iPhone 6S but feels smaller in the hands.

      • Travis Halfman

        *edit

  • Manezi S.

    Great review! Also notice how soft/blurry the upper left hand side portion of images are. This must be some kind of design flaw.

  • Amy King

    Don’t know about the Moto x but in nov. I got a unlocked Moto g 2nd gen. For 89 bucks from best buy online. I had a prepaid. Locked to Verizon Moto g. Phone before that loved the phone but had to get away from Verizon. They used to care about there customers. My first smartphone was Verizon don’t know what happened but through the years they got really bad. Will never go back would rather have no phone then Verizon. My new unlocked version had problems out of the box and they kept getting worse. Just want the same. Knew a lot of people who had that phone all with similar issues and problems. One person I knew had 7 of them. He would keep calling Motorola they would send him a new phone. And repeat. He recently gave up. I haven’t fought that battle yet and am temporarily using a free prepaid phone .an LG k7. Don’t love it don’t hate it exactly. Just tired of both phone and service issues. So maybe the Moto x is my answer. As a disabled adult I need reliability for safety sake. I need a server that cares. Don’t have internet in the house and need a lot of fast data. Haven’t resolved that issue yet. Don’t like or can afford and of my cable or dish options. And it is one of the very few variables I have some choice in income wise. Disability dosnt give you much to work with i can live with antenna TV. But need someone to come out with true 4g unlimited data that can be used as a hot spot for at least kindle fire tablet sorts of things. Now laying around lamely not being able to be used. I have little doubt that before long amazon will come out with there own server which hopefully will be cheep so they can win over everyone from the other carriers. But back to the Moto x. Sounds like a lot of the pros are based on options having more to do with looks then anything else. Could care less about that. Its going in a waterproof case anyways. So it could be paper. For all I care. Don’t much care about social media either. Do care about vocal commands. The difference. Between Siri on my 5s and google on my. Moto g is tremendous. I hate my 5s don’t even know where it is. So know if I understand correctly motos have a new vocal command system that I have never heard of. How dies it compair with google.? How adjustable are font size and keyboards etc. Search engines.? Think about if you NEEDED to run your life by phone. Had spamming hands. Limited sight. Memory issues etc. And then tell me about Moto x and any other inexpensive phone. I can’t afford to nor would I ever choose to again spend the kind of money I did no my 5s. Now I bought that when it was first released so the price then was at the height. And I did it for several reasons. And maybe I would again if this magical device came out that truely did what I needed it to do I might. But for now lets go with a cheep. Have your cake and eat it to senerio. What’s your advice on phones and servers for me.

    Thank you in advance for participating in this role playing adventure and taking a roll in my power chair for a few minutes