Review: US-made Motorola Moto X brings solid features and good looks

Oct 29, 2013 by Jim Rossman

The Motorola Moto X has been getting a lot of good press lately, and for a good reason - it's a well-designed phone, packed with features, and it's made in the U.S.A.

In fact, it's put together in Fort Worth, Texas, by Flextronics. I say "put together" because various components are manufactured overseas.

As you may know, Motorola's handset division was bought by Google, which also makes the Android operating system, so it makes sense the Moto X (starting at $200 with a two-year contract) has a few tricks up its sleeve.

You can get a Moto X from any of the major carriers, but you're limited to black or white phones unless you choose AT&T. AT&T has an exclusive on a very cool ordering website called Moto Maker that lets you customize the Moto X with 18 colors.

AT&T was nice enough to let me design my own . You can try your hand at http://.com/motomaker.

You start out by picking the rear case color. There are warm, cool and neutral colors that include a woven black or white that resemble carbon fiber. The phone's front bezel (the area around the screen) can be black or white, and you can pick a different accent color for the phone's buttons and the ring surrounding the camera lens.

If you'd like a red phone with a black face and metallic yellow accents - no problem.

I went with a more traditional black weave with a black front and metallic red accents.

You can pick your internal storage - 16 gigabytes for $199.99 or 32GB for $249.99 (these are two-year contract prices). I'd opt for the 32GB, as the Moto X does not have a microSD card slot to add more storage. What you order is what you get.

Other customizations deal with what happens once you turn on the phone. You can add your name to the welcome screen, pick the wallpaper and even link the phone to your Google account so it's ready to go when you open the box.

Preloading your Google account is one of the perks of Google owning Motorola.

Wall chargers and sync cables are included in your choice of black or white. From placing the order to delivery takes about four days. Shipping and returns are free.

The Moto X isn't going to wow you with its hardware, but all the internal components are solid and plenty fast.

The screen is a 4.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1,280 by 720 pixels. It's covered with Corning Gorilla Glass.

Internal storage is 16 or 32 gigabytes with 2 GB of RAM.

The processor is a dual-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon and it runs Android version 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).

The main camera has a 10-megapixel sensor with an LED flash. The front camera's sensor is 2 megapixels. Both can shoot HD video.

The 2,200 milliamp Li-Ion battery is good for 13 hours of talk or 24 days of standby. It's not removable.

The Moto X measures 5.09 inches by 2.57 inches by 0.41 inch and weighs 4.59 ounces.

It runs on 4G LTE and uses a nano-sim.

The Moto X has a few interesting features including voice command. Just say, "OK, Google Now," and you can interact with Google verbally to get directions, call up weather information, set an alarm and more.

Updates and notifications are visible on the phone's lock screen. A flick of the icon brings you directly to the message or notification indicated.

A quick flip of the wrist to twist the phone calls up the camera without having to press any buttons. Then a touch of the screen snaps a photo.

Speaking of buttons, the Moto X doesn't have hard buttons for home, menu or back. Those are displayed as icons.

Motorola also sells a small accessory called the Skip ($15), which is a fabric-covered clip-on magnet you wear on your clothes. Touching the Moto X to the Skip unlocks the phone.

I found it difficult to use correctly and finicky about where you had to touch the phone, and then I lost it. I think my washing machine ate it.

I'd skip the Skip.

The Moto X is a great phone. It looks good, the slightly curved back feels great in your hand, and it's the right combination of size and power to be unobtrusive. It has a nice big screen and still disappears into a pocket.

—-

MOTOROLA MOTO X

-Pros: Great design, customizable, made in the U.S.A.

-Cons: No external storage or removable battery.

-Bottom line: Solid choice if you'd like an Android phone, and it happens to be made by Google.

-Price: $200 and up with 2-year contract

-On the Web: motorola.com

Explore further: Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

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