To put it bluntly, Motorola has never created a true flagship ubersmartphone on the level of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. But the company aims to change that with the Moto X. The $199 smartphone is Motorola’s first handset fully developed under the auspices of its corporate parent (and Android godfather), Google. And it’ll be available on most major U.S. carriers when it hits stores later in August.
Make no mistake; the Moto X isn’t a fire-breathing mobile monster that will blow away the competitors in a spec sheet battle — the screen isn’t cutting-edge, and there’s no expandable storage. Storage is the phone’s biggest weakness: with just 16GB in the $199 model (the 32GB Moto costs $50 more) and no SD card slot for adding more, it’s got an uphill battle on the value scale versus the HTC One (32GB by default) and Galaxy S4 (expansion slot onboard).
Storage qualms notwithstanding, though, the X is a nimble, compact handset with advanced capabilities that targets ordinary phone users. The Moto X boasts many of the same features that Motorola’s new trio of Verizon Droids flaunt — especially always-on Google Now voice control — plus a few slick extras. Better yet, they’re all crammed into a highly customizable design built for maximum comfort. This is a scrappy smartphone with enough going for it to bring the fight to the big boys.
Editors’ note, October 3, 2013: This review has been updated with experience using the Sprint version of the Motorola Moto X.