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Moto X is a solid option, but price might keep people away

The Moto X smartphone is the first taste consumers are getting of what's possible from the Google-Motorola union, and it's a solid option despite being pricier than it should be.
by Richard Hall Modified: October 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm •  Published: October 8, 2013
/articleid/3890982/1/pictures/2233437">Photo - Pictured is a screengrab of Moto Maker, which allows users to customize their Moto X smartphone. <strong></strong>
Pictured is a screengrab of Moto Maker, which allows users to customize their Moto X smartphone.

Succesful user interface

Remember Motoblur? Developed by Motorola just several years ago, Motoblur replaced Android's user interface and was a dismal failure. It was clunky, broke at times and, though packed with ingenuity, it just didn't have a strong foundation to become a contender in the smartphone market.

With the Moto X, it's as if Motoblur was completely redesigned without the push for it to be the hero of the device. Motorola X8 blends into the background of Android 4.2 without feeling intrusive or obtuse, and handles push notifications. When a user has a text message, email, missed call and/or social media notice waiting, the screen will display a small notification icon that blinks. If the Moto X is in the user's pocket, then the notification will light up once it's pulled out of the pocket.

The notifications aren't distracting or annoying.

There are also touchless controls like “OK, Google” voice commands. I was able to use the voice commands without error, even when asking long questions, like finding movies playing at a specific time in a specific city at a specific theater.

If there are serious issues with the Moto X, they are its lack of expandable memory, price and the exclusivity of Moto Maker.

The 16GB version of the phone is $200 with a two-year AT&T contract. The 32GB is $250. Since other phones like the S4 and 5s also come in at $200, the Moto X might be a tough sell.

Then there's Moto Maker, which allows users to customize their phones by choosing colors for the casing, buttons and accent pieces. Moto Maker also allows users to set inscriptions that appear when the phone boots up. The review model I used read “The Dude abides,” which is all kinds of awesome.

What isn't awesome is the exclusivity of Moto Maker, as it's currently only available through one carrier, and that's AT&T. It might hurt the Moto X's accessibility and sales since it isn't available to many potential customers, but it's definitely a good thing for AT&T.

The Moto X shows that how something is built is more important than a spec list. It's not without faults, but it ushers in a new, improved Motorola. And that's something to get excited about.

by Richard Hall
Digital Media Specialist
Richard Hall is an award-winning newsroom developer, editor and blogger for NewsOK. He was born in Austin, Texas, spent his childhood in southern California and has lived in Norman since 1999. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008.
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