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Motorola Moto X4 Review

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Motorola Moto X4 Review

James Shisiah

Available From


What We Love

  • Dual camera setup
  • Stock Android version
  • Powerful Octa core processor
  • Impressive battery life
  • A great graphics processing unit
  • Incredible Storage Options
  • IP67 certified water and dust resistance.

Overview

If you have been looking for a midrange gadget that ships with stock Android and impressive flagship features, then you are on the right page. The Moto X4 released in August 2017, sits between Motorola’s previous flagship the Moto Z2 Force and the lower end Moto G. The Moto X4 packs a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 Octa-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz. Apart from the Google Pixel line of phones, the Moto X4 is luckily one of the phones that gets the Android updates as soon as Google rolls them out. It boasts a beautiful 5.2-inch display, an impressive dual camera setup, and a battery life that won’t stop till you are done.

Unboxing

Everyone likes a nice packaging, and the Moto X4 doesn’t disappoint in this sector. The Moto X4 is available in two colors, depending on your choice of color, you can have either the Super Black or the Sterling Blue. Blue being my favorite color, and certainly what I ordered for, I fished out a sterling blue gadget from the box. Other accessories in the box include the 15W turbo charger, USB type C, SIM removal toolkit, standard user manual, and a quick setup guide.

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Design

The Moto X4 is more or less like the Moto Z2 Play in matters design, save for the difference in display size. While most recent gadgets are going the bezel less way and having to sacrifice the space for the front fingerprint scanner, the Moto X4 still maintains this design. I am actually glad it does, because I have always been a fan of having the fingerprint sensor on the front, which means a slightly larger bottom bezel. It’s quite unclear why Motorola didn’t set up the fingerprint to also work as a home button like in the case of the Galaxy S7. Instead, it has the in-software floating navigation keys for the recent apps, home, and back navigation that show up at the bottom of the screen. To the upper part of the display, we have the front camera lens, LED flash, and the earpiece.

The Moto X4 is a full glass unibody gadget, giving a shiny feel to the back, and an aluminum frame. Discontinuing the flat back panel is the slightly protruding dual camera setup with its LED flash. This is typical of most Motorola phones. To the top edge sits the SIM card or microSD slot. We have the power/lock key and the volume rockers on the right edge. The USB/charger and the headset jack are found on the lower edge of the phone. That sums up our tour around the device.

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Display

Display technologies have had major improvements from back when we only had TFT capacitive screens. Presently, we have major players in the display technology industry such as the AMOLED and IPS LCD. The Moto X4 has a 5.2-inch LTPS IPS LCD display which I find to be incredibly crisp. It is bright with vivid and great color balance. The display resolution is 1080 x 1920 pixels with a 424PPI pixel density, exactly matching the display on the HTC U11 Life. For a midrange device, this display offers value for the money. It has great viewing angles, and the outdoor visibility is also nice, even in harsh sunlight. Overall, the Moto X4 is sufficiently good; it’s not too small, and still not so big that it makes it possible for one hand operation.

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Camera

In the camera department, Motorola never fails to impress. Like most recent flagships, the Motorola comes with a dual camera setup, even though it is in the midrange tier. On the back, are 12MP f/2.0 and an 8MP f/2.2 quite capable camera lens. One thing that dual cameras are good at achieving is elevation of every shot. The Moto X4 stood up strong, from stunning portraits to wide-angle landscapes. The 12MP lens with Dual Autofocus Pixel technology delivers crisp photos, whether in good lighting or poor lighting conditions. The back LED flash is incredibly bright and the big f/2.0 aperture lets in just enough light to ensure the capture of brilliant photos in limited lighting. The 8MP lens is for wide angle photos, giving you up to 120-degree view. Check out the LG V30, another competitor in the wide-angle camera sector, similarly with 120-degree view.

We have a staggering 16MP wide-angle lens on the front, certainly more than I would ask for on a midrange device. This too is blessed with a capable LED flash to ensure that no lighting condition will deter you from capturing your best moments. The wide-angle lens gives you a room to capture more faces in your selfies.

The Moto X4 camera app is intelligently designed with the ability to allow cropping out the foreground, turning the background black and white, or entirely replacing the background with another color, to put more emphasis on the subject. This feature is referred to as bokeh. The camera does have some great color reproduction which I specifically liked.

4K video shooting is a major factor in today’s flagship cameras. We are glad to have such an option in the more affordable Moto X4. Even though it can’t compete with what we have on the flagship Moto Z2 Force, the recordings were pleasant. It is capable of 4K shooting at 30fps, 1080p shooting at 60fps, as well as slow-motion capture.

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Storage

The Moto X4 packs some incredible storage options. There are three options to choose from depending on your memory and storage needs. To break these variants down, Moto X4 is available from Republic Wireless as well as an unlocked smartphone directly from the Motorola website. The variant from Republic Wireless comes with 32GB internal storage, 3GB of RAM. The unlocked version is available in three options, which are 64GB with 4GB RAM, 64GB with 6GB RAM, and 32GB with 3GB RAM. 

Our test device is the Republic Wireless version with 32GB of internal storage and it has performed impressively. We have installed all the necessary utility apps and a few games, and we are yet to receive the low memory notification. For additional storage requirements, the Moto X4 has a micro SD card slot for memory expansion up to 256GB. 

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Battery

The Moto X4 ships with a 3000mAh non-removable battery. Battery life is a major factor in deciding what phone to buy. Packing up to 3000mAh power in the mid-range tier is quite respectable. The Moto X4 can easily last a day of moderate to heavy usage with about 40% left for evening use. Even some flagships I have gotten a chance to put to test couldn’t match this resilience. Additionally, the Moto X4 has the full advantage of quick charging, mostly available in Motorola’s flagship line; this is made possible with Turbo Charging. With just 15 minutes of charging, you get up to 6 hours of power.

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Performance

The Moto X4 packs great resources inside its glass and aluminum frame body. Motorola doesn’t stoop low in terms of hardware and software resulting in superb performance in the Moto x4. Out of the box, the phone comes running the stock Android 7.0 Nougat. By having a stock version, you are not only getting a clean user interface with no customization, but you also have access to timely updates as soon as Google releases them. With no skin running on top of the Android software, Moto X4 gives you a pure Android 7.0 Nougat. As of now, we have Android 8.0 Oreo in the market, and as it’s the case, you can upgrade and experience the updated Android features.

In matters concerning hardware resources, the Moto X4 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset. This is a capable octa-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A53 processor, that is blazingly fast. The phone is great at multitasking with no noticeable lag when switching between apps. Under the hood, it has an Adreno 508 GPU to handle the graphics tasks. Graphically intensive games like Marvel’s Contest of Champions and Need For Speed ran smoothly with no hiccups or loss of frames. This can be attributed to the ample 3GB runtime memory, and the uncluttered Android version that is quite light on the processor.

The Moto X4 has stable connectivity specs such as the USB Type-C, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi and of course 4G LTE for incredibly fast internet browsing. When you upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo, the Bluetooth version will be improved to version 5.

We are using the Republic Wireless as our service provider. This is basically, a mobile virtual operator offering affordable mobile phone services. To keep the phone costs low, Republic Wireless relies on Wi-Fi hotspots spread across the country, with Sprint or T-Mobile cellular networks as the backup. It guarantees a wide and strong nationwide coverage whichever side of the country you are. A major advantage to this is the way it tries to give you a better connectivity and call experience even if you ended up in the deep of a building where cellular signal coverage is an issue. Isn’t that impressive? When there’s no Wi-Fi hotspot within range, it switches to the Sprint or T-Mobile network. Because of this ability to blend Wi-Fi and mobile networks, Republic Wireless boasts of delivering the best call quality. We discuss the wireless plans’ pricing options in a section below.

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Specifications

  • GSM / HSPA / 4G LTE / Wi-Fi.
  • Display: 5.2 Inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution, 424 PPI density.
  • Display Type: LTPS IPS LCD.
  • Android 7.1 Nougat, upgradable to Android 8.0 Oreo.
  • Back Camera: Dual 12MP (f/2.0) + 8MP (f/2.2); dual-LED dual-tone flash; video capture 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps.
  • Front: 16MP (f/2.0) front camera; video capture 1080p, LED flash.
  • Memory: 64GB with 4/6 GB RAM or 32GB with 3GB RAM. MicroSD slot for memory expansion up to 256GB.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630.
  • CPU: Octa-core 2.2 GHz.
  • GPU: Adreno 508.
  • Battery: Non-removable 3000mAh; fast battery charging.
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (front-mounted), proximity, accelerometer, gyro, compass.
  • USB: Type-C reversible connector.
  • IP67 certified water and dust resistance.
  • GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS.