Motorola as a company has gone through what can only be described as a roller coaster ride over the past several years. The company was once highly recognized solely for their popular Droid line (which is so well-remembered that many people synonymize the term “Droid” with “Android”, when they in fact do not mean the same thing), but soon became irrelevant as other manufacturers came along with more powerful products (which also had better availability). When Motorola was purchased by Google in 2011, it felt like forever before the name Motorola resurfaced again. When it finally did, we were greeted with the Moto X.
The Moto X in itself has gone through its own roller coaster round, from being highly scrutinized to being “not all that bad in the end” once certain changes were made. The first mistake was that the Moto X, which was rumored to be called Google’s “X” phone, was supposed to be the phone to end all phones. While the phone indeed has the letter X in it, it wasn’t exactly the phone that people were hoping it would be. Some of the specs were dated and the price was fairly high. Yep, the first impressions of the Moto X were pretty much disappointing.
After a couple of adjustments and additions (price drop, introduction of Moto Maker) the Moto X actually broke away from wallflower status and became sort of an anomaly on its own. The price wasn’t just appropriate for the phone, it was comparable to the affordable Nexus line. The level of customization given to users through Moto Maker was unlike any level of customization we were used to when it came to smartphones - or really, any phones. Moto X now had redeeming qualities, but it had still failed at making a great first impression, which is pretty important.
So what about this year’s Moto X? Is it possible to make a great first impression the second time around? Honestly, I feel like this year’s Moto X deserves a fair chance, even if the price tag isn’t exactly as friendly as I had hoped.
First of all, the expectations we set for the Moto X this year were more realistic. We didn’t have that crazy hype about the mysterious “X Phone” that we had last year; those dreams have been long shattered. We could take what the Moto X offered last year and kind of put two and two together on what we could expect this year. Really, the Moto X just needed a spec tune-up. A better processor, a better camera, and a crisper screen was pretty much all that was necessary to make the phone a decent contender. Adding leather backs and dual front-facing speakers wasn’t a bad move, either. All of these needs (and more) were met, which is really all we could ask for.
The second thing that Moto X has going for it was something that I initially checked of as a con rather than a pro, but Motorola’s hands-off approach to smartphones is actually quite handy and kind of cool to use. Is it a little weird knowing that my phone is always listening to me? Kind of. At the end of the day, I figure whatever I have to say isn’t that important anyway, so even if there were tiny CIA agents hiding in my phone then I probably have nothing to worry about. I just like being able to ask my phone what the weather is like when I’m too lazy to get out of bed to go outside and check for myself. And maybe the score of the Royals’ game the night before (postseason, baby!).
Between Motorola’s improvements to the Moto X, the amount of customization that one has control over using Moto Maker, and Motorola’s dedication to hands-off smartphoning, the Moto X has earned a certain amount of respect in the smartphone industry. If last year’s Moto X was too big of a disappointment for you, I would highly recommend you at least take the time to check out this year’s version if you’re in the market for a new phone - it really does have something different to bring to the table (even if the price isn't as enticing as it was last year).