So it finally happened. I finally got my Moto X in! Being that I've already owned and used the Moto X (1st Gen.) for quite a bit now, this one had no real secrets or surprises for me. In point of fact, there was almost nothing new about it beyond updated specs, coming out of the box with the latest version of Android (which in this case meant Kit Kat 4.4.4) and a few minor changes to the appearance and workings of Motorola's own added features and software. Despite the seemingly little things it's how they they all combine that once again make this a phone I am truly happy to own and that I highly recommend to others. Seriously, before you even read the rest of this I want you to know if you are in the market for a new phone and want something that will stand apart and work for you to your benefit on a number of levels then there's really no choice. Get the Moto X, you won't regret it.
But tonight I say we must move forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!
I am not just throwing that clip in there because it's hilarious, but also because it's from far and away my favorite Treehouse of Horror Halloween episode of The Simpsons. (Honestly, those are the only episodes that I think still get made that are reasonably interesting and funny.) 'Tis the season and all!
The entire episode for those who may not have seen it (for shame!) can be seen here.
For once I forgot to take pictures of the box and everything inside it but it differentiates little from the previous Moto X's box. Not that I think that matters, we know why you're reading this and it ain't cause you want to see pictures of the packaging the device came in. Well, maybe just one picture of the box. Right? Right!
So we can see what the device looks like (nice inscription on the back by the way), but what does it feel like in your hand?
It feels phenomenal! It is noticeably bigger than the previous Moto X but despite being so doesn't feel any heavier. Both with cases on, although the case I went with for the new device doesn't feel as heavy or rigid as the one I went for on my old phone. It is still a great case, the Gelli Case for Moto X ($24.99). Naturally, I also got another Shock-Absorbing screen protector by Power Support ($19.95) since I don't want anything to happen to that lovely display. This despite the fact that I went with 2 year Moto Care coverage just in case anything happens. (Although that added $85 or so bucks to the cost of the device itself.)
As far as overall look and feel though, you can't tell by the pics but it is significantly better than the previous Moto X in build quality and that's saying something. Nothing about it feels cheap and the fact that it is bigger and feels practically the same in hand, weight-wise that is, says a lot about the quality of the materials used here.
Alright, fair enough. So sleeker and bigger than the old one. What about the display?
Well, it's bigger. Way bigger. It doesn't look different to me, but that real estate gain. Mmm. So lovely! Not much I can say about it. It's just more room to work with and you have to come from a smaller device to notice it, but I like it. I don't think I have big hands, but I can' reach the top and bottom of the device easily enough and that's all that matter. It also fits relatively comfortably in my pocket.
No pic on this one since I wiped my old phone before I remembered to send via Pushbullet to Chrome so I could post it here. Sorry, guys/gals.
Okay, so not too big and definitely an improvement. What about the software?
Depends which software you're talking about. If you mean the operating system then it's the same, stock Android with a few Motorola tweaks. Specifically though it's running Kit Kat 4.4.4 out of the box and it's got the Google Now Launcher ready and waiting for you to swipe right to see Google Now in action. (No pics of that, I changed it to Nova Launcher quick, fast and in a hurry because I love my customization and gestures and all that.)
If you're referring though specifically to Motorola's software tweaks and additions to the software though then that has evolved and it's been put in one place now. No more having to dive into settings and messing with Touchless Control here and Active Display there and Assist in the app drawer and all that. It's all in one place now, baby! It's also a lot better looking this time around, previously it had a cards-like UI and I didn't have any problem with that. It's been improved though and now looking at things on my old phone I feel the way I did when I made the OMFG huge jump from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich.
Launching the Moto app will take you where you want to go and maybe play with the Voice/Touchless Control feature, but tapping on the Gear/Settings in the right corner opens up the world where you can change things to your liking. From setting parameters for Sleep, Driving, Home and Meetings within Assist to the individual actions/responses of your display while looking at it or waving your hand over it to your hot phrase to trigger Touchless Control ("OK Moto X" in my case, although "Wake up, Hal" might be the new one here shortly) and setting what you see hit the Display (via the Active Display feature as it was previously known).
It's all there and all very easy to understand and mess with. Motorola took what were previously separate features and which were found strewn across with the OS Settings and various apps and packaged them together. Updates on this front should be quicker and you no longer have to worry about figuring out where to go to do this or that. A great move all around.
Not bad. So "if it ain't broke, don't fix it but make it pretty and accessible", pretty much?
Pretty much. On this front there truly were no surprises and there shouldn't have been anyway. I've said time and time again that what Motorola has done has basically given us a phone that for all intents and purposes should be lovingly referred to as a Nexus+. It takes stock Android and adds genuinely useful features to it, unlike the majority of other OEMs who more often than not throw in everything and the kitchen sink and yet all of it is gimmicky in nature and not something that translates well to general real world usage by the average person.
Don't get me wrong, features and gimmicks are great when they add to a device in a meaningful and useful way. It's just when they don't that they're there solely for showing off and not actually for doing anything that matters.
Fair enough. So we've got the software down, the build, anything else worth mentioning?
Yes! The battery! Okay, battery life and use and all that is always subjective but I've noticed a few things in my time with this phone (that time being a little under a day so far).
First off, it charges noticeably faster than my previous Moto X. I don't know if it's the charger it came with (since it's the stock one out of the box, as my Turbo Charger won't be here til Friday) or the phone itself thanks to the Qualcomm guts within. But seriously this things charges relatively quick. I murdered it out of the box just transferring stuff to it and playing with it yesterday afternoon until I crashed out around 1 AM. I mean murdered it. Out of the box it was at less than fifty percent battery life, I started messing with it then and there and while out and about running an errand and breaking down on the side of the road on the way home in my bestie's Jeep. I was fiddling with it as I walked to a store to get water and walked back so we could pour it into the radiator. By the time I got home the phone was at less than five percent battery life, that's with some heavy usage for going on three hours.
I promptly threw it on the charger. Noting that my OG Moto X was slowly also bordering on the verge of death I realized I had a conundrum. Which phone gets priority as far as charging goes?
It was then that I remembered something I never made full use of on a Motorola product. The charger has two USB ports!
The day, or better said evening/night, was saved!
I have a six foot USB cable I got off Amazon some time back, which I use near my bed so I can lie down and use my phone or be at my desk (which is next to my bed) to do the same thing.
The issue is I only have one such cable, leaving me with a rather short (three feet, which is the standard length and a silly one at that) cable to use for one of the phones. Since I wanted to chat with a few friends and do some reading per my usual nightly activities (at least the ones I can discuss here) it was a simple choice. Throw the short cable on the new phone (since it was just going to be doing updates and app installs and general charging anyway) and the longer one on the old phone.
But as I just said, I was still doing some stuff on the new phone that required interaction on my part. Dong this between bouts of talking trash to my bestie (because we are children and guys after all) and also trading barbs about a show we were watching (separately at the same time, Top Gear the U.S. version for those wondering), I noted something interesting. The new Moto X was charging crazy fast, even with more than moderate usage. It was also doing so faster than my old Moto X and I was doing minimal chatting and almost no reading at that point thanks to Top Gear. (I'd never seen the U.S. version before but I was entertained.
So it seems to charge faster. My guess is magic!
Also, here's the other thing that's tripping me out. The battery isn't much bigger than what's on the OG Moto X. It goes without saying that I'm a power/heavy user. I've been here setting up my Moto 360 to the new phone and just fiddling with it (cause I'm like a kid and this is my new toy) and showing it to some of the guys here at the office (cause they're all Android fans too, which is awesome, and everyone is thinking about upgrading to a new phone at the moment and they know I always have the latest and greatest) and just generally going off on it. My battery life hasn't taken as big a hit as I'd expect for all I'm doing. I've thrown it on a charger here and there out of principle, but by 10 AM despite heavily messing with it I'd only got it down to like 70% before I even thought about throwing it on a charger (which I've done on and off since then).
Is this phone messing with me? No phone does that well on battery life in this office (when it's not connected to WiFi because that's acting screwy) with it's government building thick walls that force you to fight for any signal strength you can get whatsoever. Especially not one in my hands, while I'm shooting out messages and checking emails and updating this and that and surfing the web between bouts of redditing. None.
My theory: MAGIC!
Get this fucking phone! It is awesome! Like in every possible way, it is awesome. It's big but not too big. It's got some pretty good specs, definitely some damn fine software. It feels good in hand and the build quality is phenomenal. Battery life is likely better than last year's model. I mean seriously, I can't think of anything negative about it.
Well, minus the off contract price and even that isn't too hard to stomach. I paid $669 for this bad boy but I went the off contract route and threw in some additional protection. If you buy it on contract or through credit or whatnot, it's not a bad price. It's still below what the average flagship device from all the other OEMs cost and you're talking easily a hundred dollar savings at worst and even more at best when compared to the other guys.
Questions, comments and all that other good stuff can go below. The new Nexus devices and Lollipop have dropped and I have some serious fucking reading to do during my lunch here in a bit! Expect the usual Wednesday Android Update post sometime after lunch. There be some bad news on that front though. You'll know it when you see it!
Peace for now, kiddos!