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Motorola Moto X4 review: The X factor is back

Update: Video added

The Moto X series has been neglected at Lenovo and Motorola recently, and it’s been a long time since new models in the series have been released. Now the X-Factor is back at Motorola with the Moto X4, which is making its debut at the IFA 2017. We have already been able to try out the Moto X4 in our hands-on review.

Moto X4 release date and price

The Moto X4 is being launched on the market in silver and black, and its purchase price converts to $480. This price tag puts the Motorola Moto X4 in the highly competitive mid-range category, and it may encounter some tough competition there.

Moto X4 design and build quality

The Moto X4 is a truly sleek smartphone, and it’s obvious at first sight. The housing on the front and rear consists of curved glass surfaces that are held together by an aluminum bezel that feels stable. Depending on the lighting, the rear shines in assorted color shades, which we liked a lot when trying out the Moto X4 for the first time. Of course, the material is prone to fingerprints, but they can be quickly wiped off. The dual camera on the rear slightly protrudes one-and-a-half millimeters from the roughly 8-millimeter thick housing, but it’s not bothersome in practical use. The pre-production model has excellent workmanship, and we can’t find any faults with it.

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The back of the Moto X4. / © AndroidPIT

Since the Moto X4 is not part of the Z-Series, it doesn’t work with Moto Mods either. On the one hand, it’s a shame; on the other hand, it lets Motorola build the smartphone with a relatively compact design; the Moto X4 weights 163 grams.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: Motorola initially emphasized how misleading IP certifications can be and that they weren’t used, but the Moto X4 is a new model on the market with this exact same IP68 rating. But the explanation that they still cannot promise a waterproof smartphone, but rather water and dust protection that has been tested accordingly, is not very convincing. The important thing is that the Moto X4 comes off unscathed from such accidents in the review.

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The Moto X4. / © AndroidPIT

Moto X4 display

At 5.2 inches, the Moto X4’s screen is smaller than those of Moto Z smartphones and delivers a full HD resolution with a 424-ppi pixel density. The IPS Panel is covered with Gorilla Glass, but we do not know what generation of materials Motorola uses here. The image is pleasant with powerful colors for an IPS display and good viewing angle stability; even the brightness is more than sufficient. As is common with Motorola, there is a type of always-on display that can show the time and simple notifications.

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The Moto X4. / © AndroidPIT

 

 

Moto X4 software

The Motorola Moto X4 makes its market debut with Android 7.1 Nougat. Its interface is widely unchanged, but Motorola has definitely made some changes under the hood. These include the Moto voice assistant along with the familiar gestures for doing things like turning on the flashlight or starting the camera. Furthermore, Motorola has directly integrated the Amazon Assistant into the Moto X4 for the first time, and there is a standalone Motorola Alexa app for it. You can count on Motorola bringing the assistant to other smartphones as well.

Moto X4 performance

The Moto X4 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 and 4 GB of RAM. Depending on the model, it sports 32 or 64 GB of internal storage and can be expanded via a microSD card. During our brief review, the Moto X4 was pleasantly snappy, which is also due to its lean interface. Apps start quickly, and the Moto X4 should not have any extensive problems with more demanding games either.

Moto X4 audio

Among the Moto X4’s specialties are its wireless sound system, which is equipped with Bluetooth along with technology from the company TempoW. The TempoW Audio Profile (TAP) lets you connect multiple Bluetooth devices at once, allowing you to optionally play music on all or some of them. Your smartphone is used to control which loudspeaker or headphones should be active. Using special technology, Tempow has prevented differing latencies and ensured that the sound is precisely synchronized across all connected devices. As a result, you can set up a de-facto multi-room system with your smartphone as the main control center, and at a relatively lower price at that.

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 The Moto X4. / © AndroidPIT

Moto X4 camera

Like the Moto Z2 Force, the Moto X4 also sports a dual camera on the rear. It has a normal lens with a 12-megapixel sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 120-degree camera angle. The camera app has a real-time preview mode for the Bokeh effect and, if desired, recognizes attractions, decrypts QR codes, or digitalizes business cards.

During our brief test, we noticed that the Moto X4 takes a relatively long time to take images with shallow depth of field. Triggering already takes nearly two seconds, and background processing takes quite a while afterwards. It’s possible that the pre-production software is at fault here, but Motorola needs to step up its game here, because the competition can do it better.

Video aficionados will be happy to learn that the Moto X4 supports 4K shots at 30 fps, and up to 60 frames per second is possible at full HD.

The Moto X4’s front camera has a 16-megapixel sensor that Motorola equipped with a unique feature. To capture more light in bad lighting conditions, the images’ resolution can be reduced to 4 megapixels. Afterwards, the information from several pictures is added up to create a better image overall.

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The Moto X4. / © AndroidPIT

Moto X4 battery

On paper, the Moto X4’s 3,000 mAh battery is sufficient to get the smartphone throughout the day without charging. Once its juice runs out, you can quickly replenish it using the Turbo Charge charger. As is custom in 2017, the Moto X4 has a USB-C port, although the new Motorola smartphone does not feature wireless charging.
 

Early Verdict

The complete Moto X4 package gave a good impression in our initial review. Motorola’s new X smartphone is comfortable to hold in your hand, runs fast and smooth and has a display that is pretty to look at. Although the dual camera may still be lacking when it comes to the Bokeh effect, the combination of a normal and wide-angle lens has already proven successful with other manufacturers and is fun in day-to-day use. Furthermore, the wireless sound system gives Motorola an ace up its sleeve for music fans. Now the Moto X4 needs to prove it can live up to its expectations in the detailed review

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