Rather than write a full-length review of Motorola’s latest trendy Android device, the Moto X, I’ve decided to round up my thoughts in an easy-to-read pros and cons list. I’ve used the device for over a month now, which is enough time to give me a good idea of its long-term Hopefully it gives you a good idea of the experience from a former iOS user’s perspective.
Update 28 November
Well, after two months of using the Moto X, I would have expected most of the bugs to be worked out. They were, but then Android 4.4 KitKat released. I didn't even expect to get this update until next year, since I'm on Verizon. But the carrier surprised its customers by being the first one to release the update last week — and I hate it. The device has become unusable. Unlocking it yields a black screen for four to five seconds and eventually makes its way to where I was before. Despite it supposedly "using less RAM than any other version of Android", I have had more apps crash this past week than ever. Google Voice no longer lets me send messages unless I keep it open; Chrome always reloads my tabs if I switch to another app (even with one tab open); the takes too long to focus now; the system buttons often stop working even the app switcher freezes when I try to do something. I could go on and on.
You are probably thinking, "Oh, he has too many widgets on his home screen". No, I don't. In fact, I took them all off a few weeks ago because I felt they were overwhelming. Strangely, things have gotten slower. The only widgets I have now are a clock, quick settings toggle for Bluetooth, and a quick calendar. I almost always have 1 GB of RAM free, but there's still a problem somewhere. Can Google just not get it right? At times I consider that I may be the problem; that's something a user should never feel.
Back in September, I had faith in Android. Well, more than I did in Apple. I didn't like the way iOS was moving, and now I find myself missing the community, apps, and polish, despite the sluggishness of iOS 7. At least Apple has been updating its software with bug fixes. I'm stuck with a completely unusable device that gives me more stress than anything. I still think Motorola is headed in the right direction with its nifty feature set, but other than that all is normal in the Android ecosystem. I had hope, but lately it's dwindled, and today it's completely gone. I'm selling this phone and going without one entirely. What a shame, indeed.
- The battery lasts nearly two days.
- You can see what’s using the most energy in Settings, and Bluetooth barely has an impact (for once).
- It’s fast enough for everything I’ve thrown at it.
- It’s ready to unlock when you pick it up — buttonless goodness.
- Active Notifications are incredibly useful and don’t drain battery.
- Google Now is incredibly helpful; so is Moves.
- I use Touchless Control every time I’m in the car.
- Carbon is the best Twitter app I’ve ever used, and it’s free!
- Easy Voice Recorder is better than anything on iOS, especially with three microphones.
- Google Voice integration is, as expected, phenomenal. The app isn’t amazing though.
- Android is, for the most part, significantly smoother than it used to be.
- The camera gesture is unexpectedly convenient, compared to swiping up on an iPhone.
- There’s very little bloatware, and it doesn’t pop up to annoy you.
- 16 GB of storage is not enough for some people, like me, and there’s not a 32 GB model on Verizon.
- The rear speaker, despite being crisp and loud, can easily be blocked when the device is sitting flat.
- The volume and power buttons feel very cheap and can be heard tapping back and forth as if they aren't fit to the chassis.
- The Verizon model’s camera is rubbish in low light, and VSCOcam isn’t available yet.
- The earpiece is small and hard to find at times.
- The default email client is terrible at scaling messages (and many other things), the potential alternative Evomail is jittery, and everything else in the Play Store is ugly.
- Voice typing is mostly solid, but sometimes encounters strange hiccups.
- Switching off notifications for an app — if it doesn’t have a permanent setting like Facebook Messenger — is confusing.
- Some apps are unusable due to intolerable lagging (namely Vine, Evomail, Line, and Yahoo Weather).
- Byword, Fantastical, and Day One aren’t available on Android. Yes, they’re the only apps I miss.
- Pocket Casts sometimes freezes the device, which is annoying when you're on the road listening to a podcast.
- Despite the fancy batter-saving features, the phone dies quickly once it gets as low as 15 percent.
Score: 4/10 — unusableI will update this list when something catches my eye. Overall, I've found this phone to be remarkably more interesting than an iPhone 5 with iOS 7. Note: I am not a "fan" of anything.
Score was originally 8/10. It was revised when I decided to sell the phone on 28 November.