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Moto X Style hands-on and first impressions
It’s been a great couple of days for Android smartphone fans around the world, with users getting their first look at the highly-anticipated OnePlus 2 yesterday, with its great feature set and impressive price point. Today, Motorola took the wraps off its latest high-end offering, that continues everything we loved about its predecessors – fantastic design and build quality, high-end specifications and features, optimized software experience, and lots of customization options. So today we’re going hands-on and giving you our first impressions on the Moto X Style!
Don’t miss: Moto X Style vs Play: what’s the difference?
Motorola is not one for dramatic departures in the design department, and so, the Moto X Style retains a lot of the design language of its predecessors. In a lot of ways, this device looks like a slightly smaller version of the Motorola-manufactured Nexus 6, with a solid metal frame, and heavily curved back and sides, and identical placements at the center of the headphone jack and SIM slot, and microUSB port, at the top and bottom respectively. Things remain largely the same up front as well, with a slew of sensors to help with the Active Display and gesture features, and the 5 MP front-facing camera is also coupled with a flash this time around. The larger size may take some getting used to, but the 76% screen to body ratio will allow for a slightly better feel.
As always, customization is a key part of the Moto X experience, so users will be given the choice to change the color and material of the backing to suit their liking, and as rumored, there will also be a gold and white version. Material choices for the rear back plates include a coated silicon rubber in various colors, premium Horween leather, and natural wood. You also get to play around with the color of the metal frame and accent on the back, for a truly customized device, along with the ability to have a personal message engraved.
A new addition is the metal accent on the back that houses the rear camera, dual LED flash, and the Motorola logo, which is much more subtle and classy than the large, in-your-face, logo and dual flash ring around the camera seen with the Moto X 2014. Motorola has never strived for offering the thinnest and lightest devices around, and this current generation Moto X has a significant thickness and heft to it, which isn’t actually a bad thing though, and allows for a very substantial and comfortable feel in the hand.
The display size has seen a bump up to 5.7-inches, with the resolution also going up to Quad HD, resulting in a pixel density of 515 ppi. The jump to Quad HD certainly brings the Moto X Style up to par with current generation flagships. This display is vivid and colors do pop, viewing angles and brightness are also as expected, and overall, media and gaming-centric users will certainly appreciate the additional real estate the device provide.
It also should be noted that Motorola opted for a TFT LCD display this time around, unlike the AMOLED displays found in the Nexus 6 and past Moto X devices. We’re not sure if the company’s Moto Display feature will drain battery life more than usual now that there’s a different panel, though we’ll definitely test this out in our full review.
Under the hood, the Moto X Style packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, clocked at 1.8 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 418 GPU, and 3 GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 808 may feel like a step back, but as we have seen with the LG G4, it’s all about software optimization, which is something that Motorola is known for. As such, the performance is still as smooth as ever, and any differences between the 808 and the 810 aren’t easily evident in real world use, helped along by Motorola’s fluid and light software experience.
The Moto X Style comes with 16, 32, and 64 GB of on-board storage options, but with expandable storage available via microSD card, by up to 128 GB. While the device doesn’t come with the water resistance like what’s available with the new Moto G, there is a water repellant coating, which should help with splash protection when out in the rain. It won’t be a good idea to take the phone for a swim though. Also great is the availability of dual front-facing stereo speakers, which should allow for a quality audio experience. The Moto X Style will be available in an unlocked iteration in the US, and the great news is that the device comes with universal LTE banding, which means that the same device will work on every network in the US, like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
The other big story here is with regards to the battery, with the Moto X Style packing a massive 3,000 mAh cell, which should provide for some long-lasting battery life. With that said, battery life is something we can find out only during the full review treatment. The device does comes with “Turbo25” fast charging capabilities, which Motorola claims is the fastest implementation of this tech in the world, and so, if you do run out of battery, you’ll be up and running once again in no time.
On the camera front, the Moto X Style packs a 21 MP rear shooter with dual LED flash, similar to what was seen with the Motorola Droid Turbo, as well as a 5 MP front-facing shooter, which also comes with an LED flash. Images captured by the camera as shown in the presentation were certainly fantastic, and Motorola guarantees that this will be the best in-class camera. Of course, more thorough testing will be required, and we can’t wait to put this camera through its paces.
As has Motorola has always done, the software is perfectly optimized to make for a smooth and fluid experience. While retaining a lot of Material Design elements of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, Motorola’s extras are also available, such as gestures, and the Moto Display, hands free mode, and a lot more. Other than the few Motorola add-ons, things remain as close to stock Android as ever, and as always, keeping it simple certainly helps keep it fast. Motorola will also be releasing a Moto X Pure Edition in the US, which allows for the “Nexus experience” with Moto X Style hardware, and will be running stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, and will also be one of the first recipients of future software updates.
Quad HD resolution, 515 ppi
1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
Adreno 418 GPU
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
21 MP rear camera with dual LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens and front-facing flash
Universal LTE bands
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Coated Silicon Rubber
Horween leather and natural wood
Pricing and availability
It all comes down to price though, and the Moto X Style definitely impresses in this regard. Flagship specifications and features will be available to you at a price point around $200 to $300 cheaper than other current generation high-end smartphones, and we already know that the Moto X Pure will be priced starting at just $399, which is just fantastic.
Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more great coverage from today’s Motorola event, and of course, for the upcoming full review of the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, Moto G (3rd generation), and a lot more.