Moto X4 First Impressions: Impressive design and improved 'Moto Experience' makes it a serious mid-range contender

Lenovo, the parent company of Motorola has announced the launch of it's latest device, the Moto X4 for the Indian market. The company wants to ensure that they can compete with rivals like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Samsung and others by offering a smartphone that stands apart in terms of design and the experience that it offers.The company has priced the device at Rs 20,999 for the 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage variant and Rs 22,999 for the model with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. But, competition like Xiaomi Mi A1 and its own Moto G5S Plus and Z2 Play will give it tough competition. The device will be available on Flipkart and the Moto Hub starting 11:59 pm on 13 November 2017.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

We reviewed the Xiaomi Mi A1 and concluded that Android One and respectable mid-range specifications make for and great value proposition, especially in a price conscious market like India. We got our hands on the Moto X4 that was launched today. The smartphone looks stellar and packs a dual camera setup along with Android Nougat 7.1.1, which offers a near stock experience along with Moto Experiences. But does the resurgence of the Moto X series along with refreshed design and improved features improve on the strategy that Motorola has been following in its product portfolio? Let’s have a quick look at how Moto X4 fares.

Build and Design

Motorola has opted for a new and refreshed design with glass screens on the front as well as the back of the X4. The company confirmed that both the front and the back glass panels come with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3. Motorola emphasised on how the X series is known for its differentiating design and style in addition to the entire experience to highlight the design of the device.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

The smartphone looks great and feels sturdy in hand without any squeaking parts. As is visible from the photographs, the design has changed significantly. Lenovo has taken steps to ensure that it looks like a new streamlined design and that it cannot be confused with the Moto G or the Moto Z lineup of devices. The company has changed the shape of its fingerprint sensor on the front of the device to ensure that the experience is better for ‘One-key navigation’.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Little details with antenna bands neatly running along the borders to integrate with the design and polished metal finish make a huge difference.

Features

The Moto X4 features a 5.2-inch full-HD LTPS IPS LCD display panel with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen for protection. Lenovo has packed an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC clocked at 2.2 GHz along with Adreno 508 GPU to handle graphics intensive tasks. The phone will come in two variants, the first with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage and the second variant with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. Both the variants will get the option to expand storage up to 2 TB using an external microSD card.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Moto X4 comes with a dual camera setup with a 12 MP sensor and an 8 MP camera sensor with phase detection autofocus on the back of the smartphone. There is a 16 MP camera module with f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash unit on the front of the device for good selfies. Moto has packed a 3,000 mAh battery with Turbo Charge.

The device will come with Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box along with Moto experiences that include the newly introduced Moto Key, existing Moto Actions, Moto Display and Moto Voice. Lenovo has added accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, compass and fingerprint on the front as sensors to enhance the user experience of the smartphone.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Connectivity options include a Type-C USB port, GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v5 with A2DP, LE, aptX, and EDR support, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and Dual nano-SIM slots for connectivity. The company has also stated that the device comes with IP68-rating.

Display

The Moto X4 features a 5.2-inch full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) LTPS IPS LCD display panel with a protection of Corning Gorilla Glass. The LCD panel comes with a 424 ppi pixel density and a 68.4 percent screen-to-body ratio. These things seem to be improved when compared to previous Moto G devices or the Moto devices launched earlier this year. The display looks bright and vibrant with good viewing angles and good brightness levels. The screen did seem reflective but we will have to check the readability of content under direct sunlight at a later point in time.

Chipset, RAM and storage

X4 comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 clocked at up to 2.2 GHz along with Adreno 508 GPU to handle graphics intensive tasks.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

The company is offering two variants of the Moto X4 to ensure that customers have options to choose from. The first variant comes with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage and the second variant comes with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage. Both the variants will get the option to expand storage up to 2 TB using an external microSD card where the second SIM slot will work as a hybrid.

OS and Software

Moto X4 comes with Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box along with the 1 September 2017 Android security patch. Motorola stated that Android Oreo 8.0 update will come in early 2018.

The company has continued the Motorola philosophy of not adding any bloatware except the ‘Moto’, ‘Device Help’, ‘File Manager’ apart from the standard Google apps. However, this is the first time that Motorola has added ‘LinkedIn’ and ‘Outlook’ apps with the software. Users can use the ‘Moto’ app to access the ‘Moto Key’, ‘Moto Actions’, ‘Moto Display’, and ‘Moto Voice.’ Each adds on additional functionality to the stock Android experience to improve overall usability.

Motorola's native apps like Moto Display and Moto Actions return with the Moto X4.

Motorola's native apps like Moto Display and Moto Actions return with the Moto X4 with Moto Key being the latest addition.

Moto Key, the latest addition to the Moto Experience is probably one of the coolest additions where Motorola is aiming to bring multiple device authentications, down to your smartphone. The company mentioned that it will release a Windows app for Moto X4 soon so that you can use the fingerprint scanner on your smartphone to log in to your Windows device. The company mentioned that it did not feel the need to launch the Android One-powered Moto X4 because of the presence of near-stock Android experience on Moto devices in India.

A look at the various options available under Moto Key.

A look at the various options available under Moto Key.

The company pointed out that the reason Moto X4 launched with Android One in the United States is because it wanted to get on the Google Fi network. The US variant of the device also packs Amazon Alexa with it. Motorola stated that it is waiting for Amazon to roll out Amazon Alexa in India after which it can load the Mobile Alexa app in Moto X4 devices.

The user interface is familiar Motorola territory for the most part.

The user interface is familiar Motorola territory for the most part.

Similar to the Moto Z2 Play and the Moto G5S Plus, the company has supposedly added some Pixel-centric features in the software that include the support to ‘circular’ icons along with support for ‘App Shortcuts’ including the subtle ‘Google Assistant’ animation when the user long presses on the home button to activate Google Pixel.

Camera

Moto has packed a dual camera setup with a 12 MP f/2.0 sensor and a wide-angle 8 MP f/2.2 camera sensor on the back of the smartphone. The dual camera setup packs in phase detection autofocus (PDAF) along with a dual-LED dual tone flash unit. The X4 comes with a 16 MP camera module with f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash unit on the front of the device for good selfies. The back camera can shoot 4K video at 30 fps and the front camera can shoot 1080p video.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

One of the most interesting features that Motorola has introduced is the ‘Adaptive low light’ mode for the front camera where the software combines the pixels of the camera to give a considerably smaller resolution image but with low noise and better quality. The company has packed a wide angle lens on the back of the device and switching between the normal mode and the wide angle mode felt sluggish. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a simple software patch.They can also apply actions like ‘Spot Color', 'Selective Focus', or even ‘Replace background’ in the ‘Depth Editor app’. The rear camera has a tendency of over-exposing the images in my limited about of testing the device.

Connectivity and Battery

Moto X4 comes with Type-C USB port, GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v5 with A2DP, LE, aptX, and EDR support, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and Dual nano-SIM slots for connectivity. Bluetooth 5 can allow users to connect to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time using the Moto X4. The second SIM slot will work as a hybrid SIM so the users can add the microSD card in the slot instead of a SIM when the slot is not is use.

The company has also stated that the device comes with IP68-rating which means that the device is water-resistant, protecting the internals from splashes, spills and puddles of water in addition to dust. The device will be available in two colour options, Super Black and Sterling Blue. Users will get 3,000 mAh non-removable Lithium-Ion battery along with a 15W Turbo-Charger inside the box.

Conclusion

Motorola has announced a compelling device in terms of the build quality with a great design that makes the use of glass finish on the back. The company has improved the design and added more interesting features on the software side of things. The dual camera implementation is better on the Moto X4 during my limited hands-on time with the device. It certainly felt better than the camera on the the Moto G5S Plus.

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola Moto X4. Image: tech2/ Rehan Hooda

Motorola is sticking to the tried and tested formula that has worked for the company. Stock Android, solid build quality, impressive design quality and good hardware. The price point of Rs 20,999 and Rs 22,999 allows the device to be demarcated from Moto G5S Plus and the Moto Z2 Play in terms of pricing.

However, we still have to test the smartphone and put it to its paces to check if the latest device in the Motorola Moto X series is worth your hard-earned money or not. Watch out for our full review that should be out soon.


Updated Date: Nov 13, 2017 21:18 PM