The Moto X is an unsung hero among superphones. It doesn’t have a monster-size phablet screen or the ability to pause video when you look away, but it makes up for its lack of flash with sheer utility and convenience. The touchless voice controls alone blew me away during my Moto X review, as well as the smartwatch-like notifications on the screen when you’re not actively using the device. Being able to customize your own design is pretty neat, too.
So why did Google’s smartphone unit just post a $248 million loss in the third quarter and Motorola’s revenue plummet 33 percent from a year ago? For one, the Moto X hasn’t been on sale for a full quarter yet, but there are some other key reasons shoppers aren’t opting for the X. Here’s what Motorola is up against — other than the obvious Apple and Samsung duopoly.
Spec and Benchmark Snobs Won't Give It a Chance
Right now, the most cutting-edge smartphone processor is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 CPU, and it absolutely flies in handsets such as the Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2. However, the Moto X doesn't get enough credit for its unique X8 Mobile Computing System, which is comprised of a 1.7-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 CPU, a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU and two other processors for natural language processing and contextual computing.
In our tests, the Moto X offered silky smooth performance with virtually no lag, and it also beat the S4 in several real-world benchmarks (instead of synthetic ones you can cheat on). This includes everything from opening the camera and apps to transcoding video. Unfortunately, too many shoppers assume that quad-core is simply better.