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Motorola Moto X Style review

 Review: November 2015  
 

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Motorola Moto X Style is a bit of a curiosity. Priced as a high-end phone, it offers some flagship features, such as an impressive Quad HD display and a 21 megapixel camera. The screen is an enormous 5.7 inches, making the phone large and heavy, and not particularly stylish, in our opinion.

Best buy: EXOGEAR ExoMount Touch Air M ... from Amazon (£24.95)



 

Design and style

We want to warn you right now that there's a strong possibility we've totally missed the point of this phone. The clue is in the word "Style." To us, that suggests something that looks extraordinary. But the Moto X Style looks quite bland to us.

We know that it's possible to customise this phone, by adding a back panel of your choice. Just like all current Moto phones, in fact. They come in many different colours, and we've even seen photos of leather-backed and even wood-backed versions. Those would definitely add something unique. But the standard version that we tested rather lacked style.

Plain black plastic on the front, and a rather ugly rubberised surface on the back. It looked quite ordinary and cheap. With a wooden back, it would be transformed, no doubt. We just haven't seen any like that.

The X Style is a big phone in every sense. It has a big screen, and is far from being slim, measuring 11mm at its widest point, although the curved back tapers at the edges. It's heavy too, weighing 179g. The only phone to weigh more than this is the Apple iPhone 6s Plus. It could have been called the Moto X Massive. We're not saying that a phone this big is a bad thing. We're just saying, be warned!

The phone has a water-repellent coating, although it isn't fully waterproof. Another nice feature worth noting is the front-facing stereo speakers.

The reason the phone is so big is because it has a huge screen, so let's talk about that. It's an outstanding screen. A bright IPS display measuring an impressive 5.7 inches, its secret feature is its extraordinary Quad HD resolution. 1440 x 2560 pixels translates to a pixel density of 520 ppi, which is impressively high, and makes text and images incredibly sharp. It's one of the phone's key selling points.

Hexa-core processor

This phone comes with a 6-core Snapdragon 808 running at 1.8GHz. Despite having a massive 3GB of RAM, this isn't the fastest configuration on a smartphone. It would be fast for a mid-range phone, but the Moto X Style is priced as a high-end product, and this doesn't quite make the grade. Although the phone is fast and can handle just about any app, it isn't instantaneous in its responses, and can even be sluggish at times.

The amount of onboard memory is generous, with a choice of either 32GB or 64GB, plus a memory card slot.

Android Lollipop

This is a phone for those who like their Android vanilla-flavoured. Motorola has resisted the temptation to customise the OS and bundle bloatware. Instead, the phone runs an almost pure version of Android 5.1.1, which should ensure that an upgrade to the next version is made available at the earliest possible date.

There are a couple of additions though. The Moto Assist feature adapts the phone's behaviour according to whether you're at home, in the car, etc. For example, in the car it will read your texts aloud. At night it can silence the ringer automatically. It's a useful feature that adds functionality without ever becoming annoying.

The phone also has voice recognition.

21 megapixel camera

The Moto X Style is full of surprises. Just when you think you have its measure, it throws you another curve ball.

Like the Moto X Play, the main camera has a 21 megapixel HDR sensor and an f/2.0 aperture, enabling it to capture pin-sharp images even in poor lighting. It's fast to focus too, thanks to Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF), and the two-tone dual flash with auto colour correlation is handy after dark.

It can capture 4K video too, at 30 frames per second, and can record slow motion video too.

The front camera has a 5 megapixel sensor, and is unusually good at night-time photography, thanks to a front flash.

Overall, this is an excellent camera phone, so perhaps it ought to have been named the Moto X Photo.

Connectivity

Motorola has covered all the bases here, with a wide range of 4G bands, plus 3G HSPA and GSM. It also includes GPS, fast Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, USB, a headphone jack and NFC.

Battery life

The Style's 3,000mAh battery is larger than average, but the exceptionally large Quad HD screen makes larger than average demands on it. We'd estimate that you'd get around 10 hours of continuous use before the battery runs flat. Don't worry too much though, as a quick 15 minute recharge can supply enough power for another 10 hours of mixed use.

Conclusion - a mixed bag

OK, we admit it. We have no clue what the Moto X Style is trying to be. Considering its name, it ought to be all about design and looks, but these are nothing special to our way of thinking. In fact, in its standard kit, it's quite ugly. In terms of pricing, it's expensive, so it ought to be stuffed with high-end kit. And in some ways it is, but in other ways it isn't.

Overall, it's a mixed bag, and we're not sure what kind of user it's supposed to appeal to. Taken on its own merits, it offers decent value for money, with some outstanding features, and others less impressive. If it meets your needs, then go for it.


Motorola Moto X Style features include:

Best buys
£24.95
EXOGEAR ExoMount Touch Air M ...
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Reviewed by Rob from UK on 3rd May 2016
Thought i would write a quick review of this phone, as there aren't any so far. I have had this phone for less than a week. Decided on a change after 2 years of a Sony Xperia Z2. First things first, the battery life of the Moto X Style is not as good as the Z2, but i would not describe it as terrible, it has easily seen me through a regular day at work from 7am and at 8pm was still 58% charged. The screen is simply beautiful to behold, much crisper than my Z2 imho. Colour rendition is also very good. I have experienced no lag at all when switching between apps. The camera, well, i was sort of expecting it to be vastly inferior to the Z2, which had a great camera in my view, however the Moto X Style would appear to be pretty much as good as the Sony was. Yes the camera app isn't as full of features as the sony was, but in reality how many times do people use things like the AR mode of the Sony????. The sound from the speakers of the Moto is excellent, i would say far superior to pretty much any phone i have had, ever. I notice in most reviews for this phone it gets slightly criticised for its size, well guess what, its a 5.7 inch screen!, what do reviewers expect. lol. The phone itself is not much larger than my old Z2 and because the rear is curved, feels much more comfortable in your hand. The turbo charger is great, a quick 10 minute charge seems to add 30%+ battery charge. Excellent it you do need to top up following heavy use. Finally, lets look at the price of this thing. From Motorola using Motomaker (so you can customise the colour scheme to your tastes rather than just black, or white) mine was 330. As far as i can see this is roughly half of what a Samsung S7 would cost. Admittedly the Samsung is a better phone, but its not, ever, in any world or reality, twice as good as the moto x style, which does pretty much everything anyone would ever want to do on a phone. Get yourself one, i doubt you will be disappointed, then use the money saved from something like a Samsung for something else.
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