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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Moto X4 first impressions: A shiny new smartphone in the mid-range category

Moto X4 debuted in India with a starting price of Rs 20,999. Read our detailed first impressions of the smartphone.

tech Updated: Nov 14, 2017 09:56 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Is Moto X4 the new mid-range champion?
Is Moto X4 the new mid-range champion?(HT Photo)

Moto X4 aka Moto X 4th generation is a shiny new smartphone from Motorola. The smartphone debuted in India in September and almost after one and half months, it launched in India on Monday.

With price starting at Rs 20,999, Moto X4 is positioned at the top spectrum of the company’s mid-range portfolio, sandwiched between the budget Moto G and premium Moto Z lineups. The smartphone isn’t big on specifications but rather aims to achieve a balance of style without compromising on the performance.

In line with the company’s aim to tap style-focused users, Moto X4 comes with a combination of glass back and front along with metal sideframes. Both front and back come with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, making it little sturdier than usual glass panels.

Thankfully, the glass is not a fingerprint magnet, which has been the flipside of most glass panels for a very long time. Although Moto X4 is not much different from most Motorola phones, there are a few elements about the design that stand out.

The first is the compact size — Moto X4 features a 5.2-inch screen, smaller than the trend, the 5.5-inch screen or larger. And it’s not a bezel-less screen, a hot new trend in 2017. A Motorola executive told us they are aware about the bezel-less trend but also cited that not all the bezel-less phones are truly bezel-less. In all fairness, not offering an edge-to-edge screen is not a downside, though looking at the flashy back panel and beautiful ergonomics, it could have enhanced the aesthetics in our opinion.

The fingerprint sensor also supports some gesture-based actions.
The fingerprint sensor also supports some gesture-based actions. ( HT Photo )

When you hold the Moto X4, you just cannot overlook the camera module on the back. Fitted in a circular ring, the setup consists of two camera sensors and a flash. The ring is reminiscent of the dials of Rolex wrist watches, and looks pretty cool. There’s a minor camera bump, which we think can be overlooked considering the overall proposition.

A closer look at Moto X4’s unique camera ring.
A closer look at Moto X4’s unique camera ring. ( HT Photo )

The compact form factor and overall glittery design may have won me, but not everyone seemed impressed. One of my colleagues told me the shiny design was a bit too much for her taste. So, it’s sort of subjective. Some people might like the design while some may prefer a much subtle, sober look. The IP68 certification is a welcome addition that makes the phone water and dust resistant. Do note that this is the same certification available for Samsung’s top-end Galaxy S8 series.

Apart from the design, one of the cool features of the Moto X4 is that it can connect to multiple Bluetooth audio devices (up to four) and play music on these devices simultaneously, creating a stereo sound system. While we haven’t tested the feature yet, we did get a preview of it during the demo session earlier today. Motorola revealed that the feature can come in handy while listening to music or watching a movie. The technology has been optimised for different Bluetooth radio frequencies to ensure there’s bare minimum latency. Expect this feature on more Motorola phones in the future.

Moto X4 impresses with its compact design.
Moto X4 impresses with its compact design. ( HT Photo )

One of the talking points of Moto X4 was the support for dual digital assistants (Alexa and Google Assistant). Currently, the phone does not support Alexa. As mentioned in our detailed review of Amazon Echo Plus, Alexa’s Indian version is quite impressive. Availability of the assistant on non-Amazon devices is likely to help it gain wider adoption in the country. Motorola too hopes the feature should be available on the phone very soon.

Moto X4: Key Specs
  • 5.2-inch Full HD Display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC 
  • 3GB/4GB RAM + 32GB/64GB Storage
  • 16MP + 8MP Rear Camera and 16MP Selfie Camera
  • 3,000mAh battery

The smartphone comes with smart gesture-based features under Moto Actions. For example, you can use the fingerprint sensor on the front to navigate the screen, use three fingers to quickly capture screenshots, twist the wrist twice to launch camera or lift the phone to switch incoming calls to vibrate.

There’s a lot more left to explore in the Moto X4. For starters, we would like to know how good the dual-camera setup is. The unit we received lagged a bit, but we’d like to give the phone a benefit of doubt. The combination of Snapdragon 630 and 3GB/4GB of RAM is quite decent for a mid-range phone, but we’d like to see how well the phone has been optimised. That’s it for now; stay tuned for our detailed review of the phone.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 16:26 IST

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