Motorola just took the wraps off its 2015 range of phones, and the headline is a real gem – the Moto X Style goes toe-to-toe with 2015’s most beautiful “premium” flagships yet promises to come in at an affordable price – though it seems Motorola’s not quite ready to tell us what that price is just yet.
Motorola’s coming to the premium materials party that’s defining the 2015 smartphone landscape with a “premium phone that’s stylish and feels good in your hand”. We haven’t held one yet, but it’s certainly looking the part and I for one can’t wait.
The Moto X Style has Motorola’s now-signature curved back along with a coated silicon rubber soft-touch back that gives the device warmth and appeal while also ensuring that any of the bright colours you choose won’t wear out over time. As its the premium phone, you’ll also be able to upgrade beyond the standard materials to wood and Saffiano leather finishes.
The front of the phone boasts a 5.7-inch Quad HD display with some of the narrowest borders yet seen on a smartphone – Motorola says it’s got a 76% screen-to-body ratio around front, and they’ve managed to fit two front-facing speakers into that remaining space. They’re using the words “edge-to-edge”, and that’s probably pretty accurate.
Motorola also wants you to know they’ve listened to criticisms of the 2014 Moto X and have paid special, close attention to the camera this time around. They’ve had the Moto X Style’s camera out for review at a number of independent publications and have been told it’s one of the top three smartphone cameras in the world, besting the iPhone 6 and 6+ (we’ve also had two other devices that have held that mantle recently, so I guess it’s no surprise who the other two phones in that top three are likely to be)
Still, Motorola’s made quite the effort this year. The Moto X Style comes with a 21MP camera with a dual LED flash, but falls slightly short on the Galaxy S6 and LG G4’s aprerture at f/2.0. Still, aperture isn’t everything and they flashed up a few impressive sample shots during the presentation. The front of the phone features a 5MP selfie camera with an 87-degree wide angle lens, and a front-facing flash that wasn’t called out in the presentation but does feature on the spec sheet. The quick launch wrist gesture remains, as does the camera’s tap-to-capture feature.
Inside there’s a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB RAM and 4G LTE “universal banding” – there’s a huge number of LTE bands on offer in the Moto X Style, including the big Australian 4G and 4G+/4GX frequencies.
Powering the show is a 3,000 mAh battery that Motorola says is good for 30 hours of “mixed use”. I haven’t met a battery that can go the whole day in that capacity range yet, but we’ll have to wait until the Moto X Style lands on the test bench to determine that. Still, the battery bests the Galaxy S6 and that’s not nothing.
On the software side, it’s good to see that Motorola continues to beat the “pure Android” drum even after making the change from Google to Lenovo ownership. The Moto X Style comes with Android 5.1.1 along with Motorola’s Moto Voice, Moto Assist, Moto Display and Moto Actions features.
Getting charge into that battery should be pretty interesting – Motorola’s Turbo Power technology promises to make the Moto X Style the fastest charging phone, and in a sped-up demonstration video against the Galaxy S6 it had a 34% charge after just 15 minutes on the charger while the Galaxy S6 lagged a little behind with 26%. In reality though the turbo charging is a very welcome spec, regardless of exactly how fast it actually charges the phone. We’re hoping to see a significant improvement in battery life over 2014’s Moto X, which ended up proving quite divisive on the battery front.
Finally, there’s a water-repellant coating on the device, bringing it an IP52 rating. It’s not the most waterproof phone out there (it’s not meant to survive full immersion), but it’s likely to at least be splash-proof. It’s good to see companies bringing this feature to their premium phones.
The Moto X Style hasn’t been announced for an Australian release yet, with Motorola promising to confirm local availability, pricing and distribution plans in the near future. The phone’s official launch is September, although we haven’t heard about the countries in which it’ll launch. Still, September is but a month (and a bit) away.
Also launching in the US is the still-US-only Pure Edition, offering an unlocked off-contract experience. Motorola’s US site currently pegs the Pure Edition as “starting at $399.99” (about AU$550) with Fall 2015 availability (so anywhere from September to November). The Pure Edition had some moderate popularity with the import crowd last year, so we might see a repeat of this in 2015, especially if the phone delivers on its other promises.
Motorola seems to have delivered a welcome response to the 2015 premium flagship smartphone range. If they can get the Moto X Style to market here in Australia in a timely fashion and at a decent price point (they’re promising $200-300 less than the flagships in the US) then they might have a contender on their hands for my next smartphone.
Moto X Style
- 5.7” TFT LCD 1440p Quad HD (1440×2560) 520 ppi display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- Motorola Mobile Computing System including a 1.8GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 with hexa-core CPU (MSM8992)
- Adreno 418 GPU
- 3GB DDR RAM
- 16GB/32GB/64GB with Micro SD Card support (up to 128GB)
- 21 MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, Dual Color Correlated Temperature (CCT) flash
- Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF)
- Closed loop processing
- Quick Launch Instant On
- Tap (anywhere) to capture
- 4X digital zoom
- Burst mode
- Night Mode
- Auto HDR
- Drag to focus & exposure
- Video Stabilization
- 1080p HD video (60 fps)
- 4K video (30fps)
- Slow Motion video
- Video HDR (1080p and 4K)
- 5 MP Front Camera with f/2.0 aperture and Wide-Angle lens
- 1.4um pixel for better low light
- Night mode
- Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/b/n/ac + MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GPS, NFC
- UMTS GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
- UMTS/HSPA+ (800, 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
- 4G LTE (B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 25, 28, 40, 41)
- IP52 certified
- 3000 mAh, mixed usage
- Android™ 5.1.1
- 153.9×76.2xCurve: 6.1 – 11.06 mm @ 179 grams
Will you be looking to put a Moto X Style in your pocket later this year? Will you import a Pure edition from the US? Tell us in the comments!
Read all about Motorola’s 2015 device launches