Mo­torola Moto X4

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Tech 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 aren’t go­ing to

have as much de­tail as pho­tos from the main cam­era. 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 over­leaf).

GFXBench T-Rex

Stan­dard shot

Wide-an­gle shot

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