Motorola has announced Australian release details and pricing for their new 2015 range of handsets – the Moto X Style, Moto X Play and third generation Moto G. Motorola’s John Demezieres and Sohail Hafesjee were available to answer questions and oversee our hands-on on time with these three gorgeous new handsets, and now we’re able to share with you the local launch information.
Motorola gets smartphones. It isn’t hard, but they get them.
As we heard during the global launch for the handsets, Motorola knows that smartphones are some of our most (if not the most) personal possession we own. They know our secrets, they know where we’re going and where we’ve been, and they hold many of our most personal moments. Motorola says its research showed them that the smartphone would be the thing most of us would try and save first in a fire (after family, I guess), and a surprising number of us have confessed to falling asleep, smartphone in hand. We’re more afraid of losing our phones than we are of shark attacks … well, when Mick Fanning isn’t around, anyway.
We love our phones, and Motorola says it wants to create devices worthy of this love. Our phones should be personal and responsive, and they should be able to be a part of the life we want: water resistant, tough, and yet visually appealing and enjoyable to hold and to use.
2015 Moto G
The latest Moto G is a moderately chunky handset, but previous devices in the series have never tried to be super thin so this isn’t surprising. For 2015, the addition of IPX7 waterproofing necessitates some changes the design, but it remains simply a nice handset to hold, and dunking it into a fishbowl full of water is delightfully fun despite the shiver it causes somewhere deep inside you.
The rear of the phone is removable, and Motorola will be selling a number of colourful shells to allow a little customisation in the absence of Moto Maker.
The Moto G feels fast and fluid thanks to the move to 2GB of RAM, which helps system performance and multitasking. The Australian model will also feature 16GB of storage, a welcome decision given the paltry storage we’ve seen on low- and mid-range Moto hardware in the past.
Moto X Play
If you want a phone that has a good chance of lasting all day without compromising on style or performance, Motorola’s Moto X Play might be the one for you.
The ‘mid-tier’ in Motorola’s 2015 range is anything but the second fiddle to the high-end Moto X Style. The Moto X Play has a welcome, solid tactile feel and despite its size it doesn’t feel chunky and overwieght – you won’t believe that Motorola has managed to squeeze a massive 3600mAh battery inside.
The Moto X Play’s screen is quite the looker – it’s bright and showed great contrast indoors at Monday’s launch event. The phone feels fast to use despite the mid-tier Snapdragon 615 processor inside which, coupled with the phone’s 1080p screen may see the phone sip gently from the massive battery.
Overall, the Moto X Play feels every bit a premium smartphone even though Moto isn’t pitching it as one.
Moto X Style
Motorola shows it can go toe-to-toe with the giants of the smartphone industry with the high-end Moto X Style.
The Moto X Style is oh-so-nice to hold – the build screams “premium”, and for a phone with a 5.7-inch display, it’s surprisingly compact in the hand, sitting far more comfortably than the slightly-larger Nexus 6. The rear of the phone has seen a surprising shrink of the famous Moto “dimple” and is now set in a lovely panel with a slight metallic accent around it.
The Moto X Style runs well – really, really well. It’s powered by the same Snapdragon 808 we saw in the LG G4, and its been put to good use here. On first boot, and simply loading apps or swiping around the phone’s home screens, it’s fast – really fast.
All three phones will hit the market in early September, so there’s just a few weeks to wait. Motorola’s release cycle has come under some scrutiny in the last couple of years, especially in 2014 when the Moto X was subject to a constantly-sliding release date, alienating potential customers and sending them elsewhere. Rest asssured, the complaints were heard and Demezieres – although not promising the keys to his house this year – promises the phones will be in store on time in 2015.
The Moto X Style will be available exclusively through Vodafone, marking a return to carrier arrangements for Motorola which has long opted for the direct retail offering. The Moto X Style will be just $3 a month on an $80 Red Plan over 24 months, and it’s likely (though not yet confirmed) that an outright purchase will be available through Vodafone stores. The Moto X Style will be available in Bamboo and Black, with no Moto Maker option for Australia just yet and it’ll work on all Australian carriers’ 4G and 4G+ networks.
The Moto X Play will also be available through Vodafone, but it will also be offered for direct sale via a number of currently-unannounced retail channels – likely the usual suspects for Motorola devices, being JB HiFi, The Good Guys, and Harvey Norman. Vodafone pricing starts at $5 a month on the $40 plan over 24 months, and will likely drop on higher level plans. Outright pricing is suggested at $569, though we expect some retailers to undercut this in accordance with usual practice. Disappointingly for those of us who were caught drooling over the orange Moto X Play during the launch event, it’s only available in black at launch.
Finally, as with previous models, the 2015 Moto G will be a direct retail offering priced at $369 and also only available in black, though with removable rear covers you’ll be able to customise your handset a bit via Motorola’s accessories store.
A note on software updates
One of the most appealing factors of Motorola’s handsets in the past few years has been the “stock Android” experience, with the company delivering Android OS updates quickly to retail handsets without being hindered by carriers, sometimes even beating Nexus phones for major upgrades.
You might be thinking that with Vodafone offering the Moto X Style and Moto X Play there could be delays with software updates down the line as they’ll be submitted to carrier certification and testing. Motorola assures us that this won’t happen.
As part of their agreement with Vodafone to distribute the handsets, Motorola says there are streamlined protocols in place to ensure that software updates are timely, and rolled out quickly after they’re released by Moto to Vodafone for testing. No-one would be pinned to a specific timeframe, but we’re reassured that it will be very quick, and shouldn’t impact on the reputation they’ve built for quick updates in the past.
Besides core OS updates, Motorola’s experience on top of “stock” Android is mostly updated through the Google Play Store, so most functional updates won’t need any carrier testing, keeping your handset nice and up to date.
We’re excited to see Motorola’s new phones land here, and happy to see them getting here so quickly after the global launch – something we haven’t seen in a few years. We’ve got a brand new Moto G in-hand for review, and we’re working on getting the Moto X variants to review in the near future.
Are you planning to make one of these new phones your own? Which one, and why? Tell us in the comments!