Motorola saved its best for AT&T. This version of the Moto X is a unique, great-looking fashion phone that’s more customizable than any other handset on the market. If you want a phone that tells everyone it’s yours, this is the one to get.
The key difference is Moto Maker, Motorola’s phone design Web site, which is currently an AT&T exclusive. Don’t buy the simple black or white, 16GB version of the X from AT&T; you’ll be losing out. Instead, go to Motorola’s Web site and use the Moto Maker to choose from hundreds of color combinations, wallpapers and the secret power boost: a $50, 32GB memory add-on.
Under the hood, this Moto X is very similar to the Verizon Wireless model we reviewed a few weeks ago. I’ll focus on the differences here.
Moto Maker and Physical Features
Using Moto Maker, you can give the phone 21 different back case colors, seven different “accent” colors (the Power button, Home button, and a ring around the camera) and two front colors (black or white). You can assign a greeting to pop up when you turn the phone on, pick black or white wall chargers, and get matching earbuds ($39.95).
A few other options are less useful. You can set the phone’s wallpaper, auto-configure a Google account or buy a case, all of which are perfectly easy to do with any Android phone.
Two Moto Maker features aren’t available yet. I got neat white custom text on the back just above the AT&T logo, a feature Motorola is still refining. The legendary wooden backs will only start showing up in December, so if you want a wooden phone, hang on a few months.
I got a brick-red phone with black accents and a white front, and it showed up in four days after I ordered it. The back is made of a lovely soft-touch matte polycarbonate that doesn’t attract fingerprints, and the seam between the red back and white front is pretty much invisible. My Moto X attracted comments; when I brought it into a phone store, the salespeople crowded around oohing and aahing. And I know I won’t mistake it for anyone else’s phone. See the slideshow below for a closer look at Moto Maker.
Can you achieve the same look with a colored case or skin on an iPhone? Sure, to some extent. But there’s a lot to be said for the design being integral to the phone. This isn’t just an outfit; it’s an overall look.
Motorola has clearly performed a little more quality control on this batch, than on the Verizon model I got a few weeks ago. The screen’s pink tint was gone, and the 720p OLED panel was better-centered in the case.
Voice Quality, Networking, Software and Camera
Voice quality here was strikingly good. The earpiece is very loud, punchy and trebly but not harsh; the speakerphone is back-ported, but loud enough to be heard outdoors. Transmissions through the mic were slightly muffled but above average in terms of AT&T voice quality. Transmissions through the speakerphone were a bit tinny, but completely acceptable.
The AT&T Moto X is carefully banded to be completely global, but work poorly with T-Mobile. You get the usual four EDGE bands; 850/900/1900/2100Mhz HSPA+ 21; and 700/850/AWS/1900/2600 LTE. It’s lacking HSPA+ 42 and 3G on AWS for T-Mobile, but is specced out properly for Rogers in Canada. In New York City, I got between 10Mbps and 25Mbps down and 4-7Mbps up, which jives with what we saw in our Fastest Mobile Networks tests. The GPS locked in quickly, and I didn’t have any problems with Bluetooth connectivity.
I got 12 hours, 53 minutes of talk time on the AT&T Moto X, which is about on par with the AT&T HTC One and considerably better than the iPhone 5. Toting the phone around for the weekend, a day’s worth of light usage was a breeze.
AT&T’s build is nice and light: There aren’t even any AT&T apps at all on the first page of the app tray. Flip to the second page, and only three bloatware apps pop up: My AT&T, Quickoffice, and Visual Voicemail, and they’re all quite useful. This is a huge step forward for an AT&T phone—no undeletable Yellow Pages app!
The more I use the cameras on the various Moto X variants—and I’ve now handled five of them, two Moto Xs and three Verizon Droids—the more I’m struck by how crazily inconsistent they are. The camera here has serious problems in shots with wide dynamic range—a shadowy foreground backed by a bright sky, for instance. I saw white-outs and even lens flare on the sky, and oddly, turning on HDR mode didn’t make a difference. The camera isn’t awful, but it isn’t as good as those found on the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Apple iPhone 5, not by a long shot.
AT&T’s Moto X, for now, is the best version of a very good phone. Moto Maker elevates the phone’s design, and the 32GB option means you don’t have to stress out about maxing out your capacity with music and photos.
While the Editors’ Choice Samsung Galaxy S4 outweighs the Moto X in features—with a better camera, a removable battery, a memory card slot, tuneable call audio, and a higher-resolution screen—the Moto X is a triumph of elegance, restraint, and human scale. The only thing holding the X back from a five-star rating is its camera, but even that isn’t a deal breaker. I can easily recommend this phone.
|Phone Capability / Network||GSM, UMTS, LTE|
|Screen Resolution||1280-by-720 pixels|
|Dimensions||5.1 by 2.6 by .4 inches|
|Video Camera Resolution||1080P|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||12|
|Available Integrated Storage||11.88 GB|
|Processor Speed||1.73 GHz|
|Total Integrated Storage||16 GB|
|High-Speed Data||EDGE, UMTS, LTE, HSPA+ 21|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED HD|
|Operating System as Tested||Android 4.2.2|
|Colors Available||21 back case colors|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||316 ppi|
|Bands||850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100, 1700, 2600, 700|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches|
|Capacities Available||16GB, 32GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc