Moto by Lenovo has been actively launching some excellent mid-range smartphones that stayed well on top, and mostly ahead of the competition. That could be stated as one of the reasons why the company hasn’t pondered much into the other segments, though there were a few phones in the budget segment, and there it had to face some heat from the likes of Xiaomi. Now, after quite a long wait, we see Moto coming up with a “X” series smartphone in India, as the Moto X4 with the killer design gets launched.
The Moto X4 is priced at Rs. 20999 and at that price, we are certain that there are only a few well-performing phones and in a way, Moto has hit the sweet spot. But then, pricing it well and the phone justifying that price are two different things, and thus, let’s check out how well does the Moto X4 do, in the review below.
Let’s begin with the specifications of the Moto X4.
- 5.2-inch Full HD display, Corning Gorilla Glass protection
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, octa-core, 2.2GHz
- 3GB RAM, 32GB storage for one variant, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage for other
- Dual-lens rear camera: 12MP dual Autofocus pixel sensor, 8MP wide-angle lens
- 16-megapixel front facing camera with F/2.0 aperture
- Android Nougat OS, Moto experience
- 3000 mAh battery, 15W turbo charging support
- USB Type C connectivity
What’s good about the Moto X4?
The phone is still compact. I’m using the word “still” because Motorola has maintained that size for years now, and is not ready to change the size of the phone, and that is what is good about the device, to begin with. Almost every mid-range phone these days have a 5.5-inch display and that results in a large body making it unusable with one hand. The X4 has a 5.2-inch display and the body is compact enough to be easily held and used with one hand.
To add to the goodness, this is a good looking all-glass + metal body that can easily catch some attention with the glittery back shining with vertical lines reflecting from any light source. This can easily remind me of the Honor 8, which had a similar glass body with those reflective lines. One thing that Moto fans will miss is the wooden back and the customizable options that were present with the previous X series devices, especially the Moto X 2nd gen. that I had got only for that reason.
The Moto experience
Moto phones are known for the smooth Android experience, sometimes even better than what the stock Android offers. The smoothness, the extra features in the form of Moto experience, and the timely updates. Keeping the last part of that list aside, the other two are still intact – smoothness, and the Moto app.
There’s a lot in the Moto app, including the Moto Actions including gesture screenshots, one-button nav, double chop for torch light, twist for quick capture, swipe to shrink screen, pick up to stop ringing, flip for Do Not Disturb, Approach for Moto Display, and under Moto Display, you have the options for Night Display for reducing Blue light, and Moto Display to show up notifications when the screen is off.
Some of these Moto experience features are ones that are present only on the Motorola phones and someone who has used that will agree to the fact that they do help in several instances.
Though a software feature, Moto Key is an excellent addition. Taking advantage of the fingerprint sensor on the front, one can sign in to apps and websites, unlock their Windows devices around, and this very helpful in the security and easier app usage. A reason why I have this separately under the Pros of the phone is because it works well, and is quite helpful.
The Moto X4 offers an excellent performance and that is in every way, including the high-end gaming, heavy app usage, and frequent switching between them. I’ve used the device for a considerable amount of time and it was rarely a time when I saw any sluggishness of the UI and a certain lag, as the performance has been top-notch.
The IP68 water and dust resistance
Not many phones in this price range have an excellent build quality, a great design, and still retain the resistance to water and dust ingress. The Moto X4 has IP68 certification, which means one can dip it into water with depth up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes and the phone will still stay good.
The X4 has excellent connectivity, with the LTE network reception having no issue and the speed of latching on to the networks, both data and Wi-Fi is swift. Wireless sound system is an excellent feature that helps connect with multiple audio devices and then listen to music on them simultaneously to create a stereo sound system. The feature works well, and while not always one would want to use it, the feature is good if you find a good use of it. The device also has NFC.
The 16-megapixel camera on the front is what the phone can boast, rather the dual-lens camera on the back. This front-facing camera can actually take some good selfies, and the F/2.0 aperture lets some light enter and not keep the pictures noisy. Moto has also given the soft LED flash in case that is needed when there is no adequate light available. There is a good level of detailing retained, and even the colors are aptly reproduced when taking selfies.
What did we feel is average?
The rear camera
The dual-lens camera that has a good combination but then, the performance is not top-notch. Except the fact that the application of dual-lens camera is good as you see a wide-angle lens on the secondary camera, which helps in giving you 120-degree wide shots without having to manually pan and take a panorama capture.
That probably already ends the good part of the camera, as the other purpose of the dual-lens camera, i.e. bokeh captures are close to a fail most of the times as the resultant picture has artificial blurring and haziness is seen in some pictures.
In broad daylight, the color reproduction is excellent and the focusing is swift. It is the opposite in low light conditions, where the device struggles to lock focus on the object, and even when it does, the pictures lose colors and there is noticeable noise.
It isn’t so bad as a regular user can see a single charge offering a full day’s usage, but when the phone is used with data connectivity, the battery drain is noticeably so quick that it can sometimes see the device going down to zero battery from a full one before the day ends. The screen-on time is about 4 hours on average and while that is decent enough, you’d expect more when the company says that the display used is also an LTPS one only so that the phone is able to offer a better battery life.
What is not so good?
Rigidity is at question
While having such an excellent design and a glass body, Moto should have taken care of having a glass protection that could resist a fall. Here, the Moto X4 is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that can only keep the scratches away and you might already know the fate of it, if the device slips out of your hand to land on a concrete floor.
The camera bump on the back
While it is nothing new if you take a look at the recent portfolio from Motorola, as most of the phones have a camera ring on the back to house the modules and give them an aesthetic appeal, but these bump becomes the first point of impact when placing the phone on a flat surface. Only by using a case that is as thick as the bump can keep the glass cover safe, but having such a good back glass would not make sense if a cover is used.
Final Verdict – Is the Moto X4 a good phone for its price?
To be fair, it offers an experience that you would want from a smartphone by paying over Rs. 20000. Sometimes, that is what makes Moto phones better than several others, in offering a better user experience, but while doing that, the compromises made in the form of not-the-sturdiest glass, and not-the-best camera offered makes it a winner and loser at the same time.
Overall, even if the phone is offering a cameras just as good as the ones on Moto G5s Plus with the addition of a wide-angle lens, it is that design and the perfect experience with the added features like Moto Key that makes it an overall excellent phone for its price.
The Moto X4 takes you back a couple of years when one used to adore the designs of the phone, for the comfort they offered and for the look they had, but has also maintained the other aspects at their best to be competitive enough in 2017.