Motorola’s last big Australian product launch was back at the end of June, and today we were treated to a look at their next wave, available in Australian stores and online direct from the manufacturer from Thursday.
The Moto X line still holds an important place in the hearts and minds of Moto fans. The X was Motorola’s shot across the bow of the big Android manufacturers while it was under Google’s stewardship, and it set a lot of standards that Motorola still follow today (and some other OEMs, too). It’s important to many fans (Ausdroid included) to see Motorola continue to embrace those values and bring
Motorola’s high end focus has shifted to the Z range and its Moto Mods attachments, moving the Moto X into the high end of the midrange. The Moto X4, launching on Thursday at $699 runs a Snapdragon 630 processor and a 1080p screen, but those are really the only compromise on specs with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage with a Micro SD slot with a 3,000 mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3 support.
It also moves Motorola’s needle on dual camera support, with dual 12MP and 8MP (wide angle) rear cameras working together to bring a “bokeh” effect to portrait photos and allowing effects like selective black and white photography. The front-facing selfie camera moves up to 16MP with improved low light performance and a “panoramic selfie” setting – to let the family photobomb your pictures.
The Moto X4’s body features Gorilla Glass 3 front-and-back with a front-facing fingerprint reader. It’s also stepped up the IP-rating game to IP68 for great water and dust resistance.
There’s also a few neat tricks packed within, like support for up to four Bluetooth audio devices (engage party mode) and a new way to take screenshots (place three fingers on the screen for a moment) … and Amazon Alexa (we assume like other phones, that’ll be pending the official launch of the service in Australia).
For the price, the specs are pretty attractive. The Moto X4 has a strong, solid feel in the hand and a little heft (owing to its metal and glass construction) but that’s okay. It launches with Nougat, but it’s been announced to be getting Oreo.
You’ll be able to pick up the Moto X4 for $699 at JB Hi-Fi, or direct from Motorola from Thursday September 28.
Why no Android One?
Motorola’s Danny Adamopoulos explained why the Android One variant of the Moto X4, launched in the US on Google’s Fi network, won’t be coming to Australia. It’s a custom order from Google for Fi.
While you might think Google would be better served using its own Pixel phones, because of the nature of Fi devices connecting to available cellular networks they needed a device that was certified to work on all of them — the Pixel is only on Verizon in the USA.
Additionally, according to Adamopoulus, while the reference specification for Android One devices seems to be trending towards faster and better hardware, the Moto X4 doesn’t actually match that specification — Google’s made an exception and taken on the task of supporting the device in the Android One program because they wanted the phone. It remains to be seen how well its software updates keep in step with the rest of the Android One devices around the world.
It’s a shame, but it’s understandable. Still, Motorola has a well-earned reputation for software updates — even if it’s slipped to a quarterly cycle of late.
G5S & G5S Plus
The Moto G series has become Motorola’s bread and butter. It’s their best-selling devices, so it’s no surprise to see them keep it bang up to date on with the launch of updated G5 “S” models, G5S and G5S Plus. The main difference is of course the size – the Plus has a 5.5-inch screen to the standard model’s 5.2-inch screen. Both are Full HD (1080p).
The Moto G range is about bringing some of the best features and specs from premium phones and making it available to all. In this revision we’re seeing the dual camera setup from the Moto X4 make its way to the G5S Plus with dual rear 13MP f/2.0 shooters, and a single 16MP f/2.0 sensor on the back of the main G5S.
The G5S features a lower-spec Snapdragon 430 processor with 3GB of RAM, while the Plus is kitted out with a Snapdragon 625 and 3GB of RAM. Both models feature 32GB of storage. It’s all wrapped up in a metal unibody design with a 3,000 mAh battery on offer for both models.
You’ll be able to pick up the Moto G5S for $349 and G5S Plus for $429. If you buy the G5S Plus direct from Motorola, you can bump the RAM up to 4GB for a little extra outlay – the choice is yours. Otherwise, you’ll find them on sale at The Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Officeworks.
Side by side comparison? Sure:
New Moto Mods
One of the best things about Motorola’s Moto Z phones series is seeing what Mods they come up with. With add-ons like cameras, projectors, battery packs and speakers can’t argue with the variety on offer, or the versatility of the phone.
Motorola’s seen some success with the Mods in Australia, with around 63% of Moto Z owners owning one or more Mod. Most popular of the Mods is the JBL SoundBoost speaker, and we did get a hint that another Mod could launch in Australia by the end of the year – we’re hoping it’ll be the updated JBL model.
Today, Motorola showed off a couple of new Mods (new for Australia) that will be arriving in Australia for the first time – a 360-degree camera, and their game controller pad.
Both the new Mods work with all the existing Moto Z series devices. Motorola runs Mod compatibility to around a 3 year cycle which means that while the Moto Z is unlikely to change its industrial design much over that time, purchasers can be guaranteed a decent life for the Mods they purchase from today into the future.
Moto 360 Camera
Originally announced in July, Motorola’s bringing the Moto 360 Camera (that name sounds a little familiar, eh?) to Australia.
The 360 Camera Bestows any Moto Z series device the ability to shoot 4K 360-degree photos and video, or use the individual front- and rear-facing 180 degree cameras individually to take 160-degree 4:3 fisheye photos and video. There’s 4 microphones on board to properly record spatial audio, and a button on the back to start and stop recording, and you can edit your creations in-app and share them from Google Photos, and live stream in 360 degrees direct to Facebook and YouTube.
Motorola’s priced the Moto 360 Camera quite aggressively at $369, and you can buy it direct from Motorola.
Motorola wants to make sure you can do everything you want with your Moto Z phone, including advanced gaming on the go with extra controls like shoulder buttons, analog sticks and more.
The GamePad, which has attracted Lenovo’s “Legion” gamer branding, will work with any game that supports Bluetooth controls but isn’t a Bluetooth controller. It’s using the Moto Mod pogo pin connection to bring the gamepad experience to your phone without the latency that gamers dislike about Bluetooth connections.
Motorola’s also operating a curation service that highlights apps in the Play Store that work with the GamePad, and they’re working with some developers behind the scenes to encourage them to support it so you should always be able to find something new to play.
There’s also a 1,035 mAh battery packed in that both runs the GamePad and keeps your phone charged while connected
The GamePad is priced a little higher than some other entries in the market at $139, but does offer a few more features. You can buy it direct from Motorola.
Will you be making one of Motorola’s new Moto X4 or G5S phones your next device? How about picking up a new Mod for your Moto Z? Tell us what you think of the new products in the comments.