Motorola Moto X review: Talk to me

Talk to me

GSMArena team, 23 August 2013.

Google Now taken another step up

Google Now was first introduced back in Jelly Bean 4.1 and is definitely one of the most interesting additions in the OS. Simply put, it's Google's version of a personal assistant. Google Now is in the same neck of the woods as Apple's Siri, but it learns constantly from your daily routine.

It's accessed by holding the home button and gives you short overview of information it believes is relevant to you right now in the form of cards. Going to work in the morning? Google Now knows this and lets you know there's a big traffic jam on your usual way to the office, so it offers you a re-route.

It can interpret a lot of things from your search history as well. If you've been searching for, let's say, your favorite football team, Google Now will prepare a card showing you the next match the team is playing and will provide you score updates once the game begins.

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Google Now

In Jelly Bean 4.2.2, Google Now has become even smarter and, if you allow it, can scan your email for upcoming flights, deliveries or restaurant reservations and let you know when they are due. There are also numerous kinds of cards like birthdays (yours and those of your contacts) and what distance you've walked in a particular month. The last one could definitely feel creepy for some users, but it's easily turned off from the Google Now settings menu. The latest addition to Google Now cards are TV and Offers.

Google has also integrated Voice Actions. They can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

However, Motorola wasn't happy with just that and has taken Google Now to a whole new level with the Moto X. Dubbed Touchless Control, the service is now always active and can be activated without even unlocking the smartphone - it is done by saying "OK, Google Now." That is enabled by a dedicated contextual computing core which has been developed by Motorola.

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Moto X offers a new dimension of Google Now functionality

With a duo of noise cancelling microphones on board, the voice-activated Google Now worked like a charm even in noisy environments. Before you start you set teach the service to recognize only your voice, so having someone else activate it with the universal command is usually impossible.

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Setting up Touchless Control

Touchless Control is optional. It can be enabled and disabled from the Moto X's settings.

One big advantage of Google Now is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making voice typing available offline also made it faster as it's not dependent on your connection. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost it anything in terms of accuracy.

Synthetic benchmarks

Motorola likes to call the Moto X chipset X8 and claims that it is a custom-developed 8-core unit. That's hugely misleading though, since as far as actual computing power is concerned this is a very standard S4 Pro chipset with two Krait cores clocked at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and the Adreno 320 GPU.

Single-core performance as measured by benchmarks is about what you can expect - it's the same as the Sony Xperia SP (which uses the same chipset) and about 30% slower than Snapdragon 600-powered smartphones .

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    132
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    132
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    147
  • HTC One
    151
  • Sony Xperia SP
    184
  • Motorola Moto X
    192
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    305
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    330
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    350
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    359
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    362
  • Nexus 4
    431

Multi-threaded performance is a little over a half of the Snapdragon 600 performance, according to Linpack and that's hardly surpsing to anyone.

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    791
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    788
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    743
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Oppo Find 5
    593
  • Motorola Moto X
    391
  • Sony Xperia SP
    348
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    214.3
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    189.1
  • HTC One X+
    177.7
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175.5
  • HTC One X
    160.9
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141.5

In the Geekbench 2 processing and memory speed test the Moto X was slightly closer to the Snapdragon S600 elite competition - 22% slower than HTC One and 34% slower than the Galaxy S4 - not quite what you'd expect from a smartphone more expensive than both of those.

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    3324
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    3227
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    3040
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • Motorola Moto X
    2123
  • Sony Xperia SP
    2105
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1845
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601

Compound benchmarks like AnTuTu and Quadrant tell a very similar story - the Moto X is a snappy device but some way off the Snapdragon 600 chipsets.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    26275
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    24716
  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    20056
  • HTC Butterfly
    19513
  • Motorola Moto X
    19031
  • Sony Xperia SP
    15874
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    15547
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    12446
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    12376
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    12105
  • HTC One
    11746
  • Motorola Moto X
    9018
  • Sony Xperia Z
    8075
  • Sony Xperia SP
    7897
  • HTC One X+
    7632
  • LG Optimus G
    7439
  • Oppo Find 5
    7111
  • HTC One X
    5952
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    5916
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    5450
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5170
  • Nexus 4
    4567

GPU performance is the strongest suit for the Moto X - it has a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU, which is the same as the one used in the current crop of 1080p flagships. The 1080p offscreen performance turned out about with the top dogs and when you consider that the Moto X only has to push 720p resolution to its screen, you can see that it will handle every game with unrivaled smoothness.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto X
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • HTC One
    37
  • Oppo Find 5
    32
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    17
  • HTC One X
    11

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    17.1
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    17.1
  • Apple iPad 4
    16.8
  • Motorola Moto X
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 GPE
    15
  • HTC One GPE
    13.9
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    13
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    13
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    12.8
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    4.9

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Motorola Moto X
    59.6
  • Sony Xperia SP
    58.0
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    54.2
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Oppo Find 5
    38.6

Web browser performance turned out excellent too. JavaScript performance is about average (when compared against 2013 flagships), but the Vellamo test yielded an excellent score.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    804
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    810
  • Samsung Ativ S
    891
  • Apple iPhone 5
    915
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    910
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    972
  • HTC One X+
    1001
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1011
  • Motorola Moto X
    1050
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    1059
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1116
  • HTC One
    1124
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1192
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1312
  • Sony Xperia Z
    1336
  • LG Optimus G
    1353
  • HTC Butterfly
    1433
  • Nexus 4
    1971
  • Oppo Find 5
    2045

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia SP
    2497
  • Motorola Moto X
    2446
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2418
  • HTC One
    2382
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • HTC One X (Tegra 3)
    2078
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    2056
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Oppo Find 5
    1658
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Nexus 4
    1310

There are two ways to look at the Moto X hardware performance. On one hand the smartphone is hardly a scrub and its GPU is on par with the big boys. On the other however, it has half the CPU cores and that shows in many of the tests - we wouldn't mind those scores if they came from a mid-ranger, but at this price point they are somewhat disappointing.

Don't get us wrong - lag is unfamiliar territory for the Moto X and the smartphone goes about its daily duties with ease, but the relatively limited CPU power is bound to show up when faced with more demanding tasks.

Reader comments

  • Lambert

unless If the update version is available

  • Lambert

Moto x is very good

  • Anonymous

yes moto x is very fast and i have being using it for almost 4 years now i don't have any fault. This is Good