17 Mo­torola Moto X4

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Android Advisor - - Contents -

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.

De­sign

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.

Dis­play

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.

Per­for­mance

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.

Cam­eras

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.

Bat­tery

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.

Soft­ware

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.

Ver­dict

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

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 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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GFXBench T-Rex

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