17 Mo­torola Moto X4

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Mo­torola’s mid-range X se­ries of smart­phones is back with the new Moto X4, which fol­lows 2015’s Moto X Play, X Style and X Force line-up. This time, Mo­torola has opted to go back to just the one model to keep things sim­pler, and it’s cer­tainly a com­pelling of­fer­ing with plenty of in­ter­est­ing and im­pres­sive fea­tures. But it has stiff com­pe­ti­tion from Honor and OnePlus.


In a bit of a de­par­ture from the rest of its phones, Mo­torola has gone for glass on the front and back

(like many of 2017’s phones) mated to an an­odized alu­minium frame. This re­sults in a pre­mium-look and feel that’s lovely at first glance but lit­tle too shiny and smudge-prone. It’s avail­able in Ster­ling Blue or Su­per Black.

The back is de­scribed as a 3D con­tour, which es­sen­tially means that it’s slightly curved to feel com­fort­able in the hand. That’s aided by its 5.2in screen, which keeps the X4 at a man­age­able size that’s easy to use one-handed.

The X4 is 7.99mm thick for the most part, aside from the 9.45mm cir­cu­lar por­tion that houses the cam­era. It weighs 163g. While those mea­sure­ments aren’t par­tic­u­larly out­stand­ing, they’re good for a phone of this price.

Im­pres­sively, the X4 has an IP68 wa­ter re­sis­tance rat­ing, which we tested by drop­ping the phone into a shal­low pool of wa­ter and can con­firm that it still worked per­fectly when we took it back out. That’s

ac­tu­ally bet­ter than the flag­ship Z2, which is sim­ply de­scribed as “splash­proof”, and the Honor 9, which isn’t wa­ter­proof.

Like the Honor 9 you’ll find a stan­dard head­phone jack along­side a USB-C port on the bot­tom edge, but the X4 has just one speaker, which dou­bles as the ear piece for phone calls. It’s fairly loud, and pretty much on a par with the Honor’s sin­gle bot­tom-fir­ing speaker.


The X4’s 5.2in screen is Full HD, which means a res­o­lu­tion of 1920x1080 pix­els. Dur­ing our test­ing, we found the screen to be bright, colour­ful and crisp. It’s doesn’t live up to the stan­dards of flag­ships from the likes of Sam­sung and LG, and its bezels pre­vent it from be­ing as im­mer­sive as an edge-to-edge would, but for the price it’s very good. In fact, the colours are so bold in vivid mode that you’d be for­given for think­ing it was an OLED panel. In fact, it’s a top-tier LCD screen with great view­ing an­gles.


In­side the X4 is ar­guably its big­gest weak­ness: Qual­comm’s mid-range pro­ces­sor, the Snap­dragon 630, paired with 3GB RAM. In it­self, that’s a fine combo for a mid-range phone. The prob­lem comes from the com­pe­ti­tion, namely the Honor 9 which is a lot faster for only £30 more. You can see the dif­fer­ence in the graphs be­low. But in the real world, with real use, the phone is suit­ably speedy, launch­ing and run­ning apps with­out a prob­lem and al­low­ing us to switch be­tween them with­out de­lay.

The worry is that although ad­e­quate for now, you’ll prob­a­bly han­ker after the Honor 9’s ex­tra per­for­mance in a year or two’s time when the X4 could well feel slower than it does when you get it out of the box.

Stor­age-wise you get 32GB stor­age built-in, but there’s sup­port for a mi­croSD card up to 2TB. This fits into the tray above the nano SIM card, which can be ejected from the top of the phone.


One of the Moto X4’s key fea­tures is its dual cam­era. Like the LG G6 and Asus ZenFone 4 it has stan­dard and wide-an­gle lenses rather than tele­photo.

And like the ZenFone, it has 12Mp and 8Mp sen­sors re­spec­tively, so your wide-an­gle shots ( im­age 1) aren’t

go­ing to have as much de­tail as pho­tos from the main cam­era ( 2). How­ever, un­like the Asus and LG, the X4 sup­ports depth ef­fect so you can get nice blurry back­grounds for your por­trait pho­tos. And there’s a handy slider at the bot­tom so you can ad­just how much blur you want. Dual Aut­o­fo­cus Pixel tech­nol­ogy means fo­cus­ing is quick, and auto HDR is en­abled by de­fault. There’s a very slight de­lay after tak­ing some pho­tos for pro­cess­ing, but in most sit­u­a­tions there’s no per­cep­ti­ble lag.

In good light, the main 12Mp cam­era takes great pho­tos which look nice and sharp. They’re a tad

over­sharp­ened, but we’d rather this than be too soft. Colours aren’t al­ways the best: they tend to be a lit­tle dark and drab but this is all eas­ily sorted in Snapseed or your favourite An­droid photo ed­i­tor.

As you can see above, there is no­tice­able dis­tor­tion when us­ing the wide-an­gle cam­era. With enough nat­u­ral light, it’s per­fectly pos­si­ble to get lovely, sharp shots. In dim light there’s a bit of noise, but colours and de­tail are still good. How­ever, in very low light, the X4 sim­ply can’t cope and man­aged this dis­mal at­tempt of our stan­dard low-light scene (see the im­age 3 over­leaf).

Around the front is a 16Mp front-fac­ing cam­era for self­ies which of­fers an adap­tive low light mode as well as a Panoramic Selfie fea­ture to cap­ture big­ger groups or the en­vi­ron­ment be­hind you.

In terms of video, it can shoot 4K up to 30fps, and 1080p at 60fps. Un­for­tu­nately, like even cer­tain flag­ship phone (such as the Mate 10 Pro) sta­bil­i­sa­tion is only pos­si­ble at 1080p30 or lower. That’s frus­trat­ing as the sta­bil­i­sa­tion is pretty good. But as it’s done in soft­ware, it seems there’s not enough pro­cess­ing grunt to work at higher frame rates or res­o­lu­tions. The cam­era app also in­cludes a 3D De­tec­tor, which scans an ob­ject in front of the cam­era, at­tempts to iden­tify it and then give you rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion. We tried it on an iPhone X and it suc­cess­fully rec­og­nized it and brought up Ap­ple’s web page for the phone. You’ll also find an AR fea­ture for both the rear cam­era and self­ies. It al­lows you to add an­i­ma­tions to pho­tos and videos, like Snapchat, but this isn’t go­ing to ap­peal to ev­ery­one.


The 3,000mAh bat­tery is a non-re­mov­able and Mo­torola says it’s ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing power “all day”.

It charges via USB-C and sup­ports Tur­boPower fast charg­ing with the bun­dled adap­tor, which means six hours of power is achiev­able with just 15 min­utes of charg­ing time. And it cer­tainly does last all day, even with pretty heavy use. Ob­vi­ously, if you play games for hours on end you’ll need that charger be­fore the day is out, but with mixed use you can usu­ally make it through to the fol­low­ing morn­ing.


The Moto X4 runs An­droid 7.1 Nougat (not Oreo, sadly) out of the box. As with all Moto phones, it’s al­most plain An­droid with no an­noy­ing over­lays or heav­ily mod­i­fied menus and set­tings. Even the icons are the de­fault An­droid ones.

And, as any Mo­torola owner will know, you also get Mo­torola’s Moto app which in­cludes a va­ri­ety of fea­tures such as Moto Dis­play and Moto Ac­tions. With Moto Dis­play you can get no­ti­fi­ca­tions to fade in and out when the screen is off, and the ‘one-but­ton nav’ fea­ture lets you use taps and swipes on the fin­ger­print sen­sor in­stead of the on-screen nav­i­ga­tion keys.

There’s the usual ‘karate chop’ to turn on the torch and dou­ble-twist to launch the cam­era. Moto Key means you can ac­cess pass­word-se­cured web­sites us­ing your fin­ger­print rather than hav­ing to type your pass­word ev­ery time.

Built into the US ver­sion of the Moto X4 is Ama­zon’s Alexa voice as­sis­tant, which is a first for Mo­torola and it can be used hands-free. Google As­sis­tant is still avail­able, so you’ll be able to take your pick. As of yet, there’s no sup­port for Alexa in the UK model.


We’re pleased to see that Mo­torola has re­vived the Moto X. For the most part, we like the new glass de­sign and the specs and fea­tures are good for the £350 price – it looks like a more ex­pen­sive phone.

Wa­ter­proof­ing and the dual-lens cam­era sets this apart from ri­vals, and we like the 5.2in screen size for com­fort and prac­ti­cal­ity.

It’s slower than the Honor 9, and has half the stor­age as stan­dard, but if you’d pre­fer the wa­ter­re­sis­tance over the ex­tra speed, the Moto X4 is a great choice for any­one that can’t af­ford the hefty price tags of the cur­rent flag­ships. Ash­leigh Macro


• 5.2in (1920x1080, 424ppi) IPS dis­play • An­droid 7.1 Nougat

• Qual­comm Snap­dragon 630 pro­ces­sor • Octa-core 2.2GHz Cor­tex-A53 CPU • Adreno 508 GPU • 3GB RAM • 32GB built-in stor­age, up to 2TB mi­croSD card slot • Dual-lens 12Mp and 8Mp rear cam­era with Dual-LED

flash • 16Mp front-fac­ing cam­era • 4G LTE • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 5.0 LE • Fin­ger­print sen­sor • A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO • NFC • Wa­ter Re­sis­tant IP68 • 3,000mAh bat­tery with Turbo Charg­ing • 148.4x73.4x8mm • 163g




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