We have come to expect some great smartphones from Motorola, thanks the Lenovo-owned company offering decent phones at affordable prices. Well, the compay has just launched its new smartphone in India, the Moto X4 and it seems pretty good on paper. The device was the first Android One device which was launched as part of the Project Fi in the US. However, it is now available as an unlocked version for the Indian consumers and no, it’s not an Android One device in India. Having said that, I have been a consistent user of Motorola’s devices,so I was very keen to try out the new Moto X4 (starts at Rs. 20,999). But does it really have what it takes to become a choice for consumers, or has Motorola played its game wrong? Let us find out as we take a deeper look at the device in our in-depth review.
Moto X4 Specifications
Before I get started with my personal opinion of the device, let us get the spec sheet out of the way. Check out the details in the table below:
|Dimensions||148.4 x 73.4 x 8 mm|
|Display||5.2 inches Full HD with 424 ppi|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 630|
|Primary Camera||Dual: 12 MP (f/2.0, 1.4 µm, PDAF, dual pixel) + 8 MP (f/2.2, 1.12 µm, no AF), phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Secondary Camera||16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p, LED flash|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery|
|Operating System||Android 7.1.1 (Nougat)|
|Sensors||Fingerprint Reader, Gravity, Proximity, Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Magnetometer, Gyroscope, Sensor Hub|
|Connectivity||USB Type-C Port, 3.5 mm headphone jack|
|Price||Starts at Rs. 20,999|
What’s In The Box
The Moto X4 comes with the standard Motorola packaging. While there’s nothing fancy about it, I still like it because things are kept simple and right in front of you. Also, unlike many other manufacturers out there, Motorola hasn’t done any cost-cutting, and have actually included a pair of earphones in the box.
- Moto X4
- Charging Adapter
- USB Type-C Charging Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- SIM Ejection Tool
- 3.5mm Wired Earphones
- Extra Earbuds
Design and Build Quality
The design of the Moto X4 is something that will certainly attract you the most. Motorola has finally changed its design language and has ditched the plastic body. This year, Motorola has switched to a full-glass body that steals the limelight, quite literally. If you were a fan of the HTC U11 Ultra’s shiny back body, the Moto X4 will definitely appeal to you.
That being said, I wasn’t really a fan of it to begin with. The back is too flashy and is a very big fingerprint magnet. Another big disappointment was the Moto logo on the back. I’ve been a long user of Motorola’s devices, starting with the Moto G, and extending that run to the X Play that I currently have in my pocket. Using the Moto X4, I certainly missed the damp Moto logo that used to be on the back. That was a signature touch, that not only looked unique but also added a decent amount of grip to the device.
Using the Moto X4, I certainly missed the damp Moto logo that used to be on the back. That was a signature touch, that not only looked unique but also added a decent amount of grip to the device.
Also, I would have loved to see some wireless charging on this device, considering it does come with a full glass-back. That being said, there is an upside to it, which is basically the biggest USP of this device. The Moto X4 comes with IP68 water-resistant rating. That’s a slightly better rating than the iPhone 8 and Pixel 2 and sets it right alongside the Galaxy S8. This means that the Moto X4 will survive underwater up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Now that’s seriously impressive for a device at this price point.
This means that the Moto X4 will survive underwater up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. Now that’s seriously impressive for a device at this price point.
Apart from that, the overall build quality is decent, it’s even good in some ways, but not great by any means. I mean, thanks to the metal and glass build, the device certainly looks very premium. However, it’s certainly slippery, and despite the curves on the side edges, there just isn’t the desired amount of grip on the device. The glass body looks attractive, but that’s just about it. I believe that looks can kill, and the Moto X4’s looks certainly have killed the overall grip of the device.
The display on the Moto X4 is a mixed bag of good and bad. Let’s talk about the positives first, shall we?
The 5.2-inch 1080p display is slightly smaller than the Moto G5S Plus but looks absolutely stellar. The 424 PPI density of the screen makes it looks ultra-sharp. The display also comes with modes to choose from, like Standard or a Vivid display, and the colors just seem to pop-out. Also, the X4 makes use of an LTPS panel, which offers superb colors without taking a toll on the battery life. While this does mean that you won’t get a wide range of viewing angles as offered by the LCD-IPS displays, it is still good enough for most people.
Also, the X4 makes use of an LTPS panel, which offers superb colors without taking a toll on the battery life.
But it isn’t all that merry. Maybe it’s just me, but for a phone launching in Q4 2017, I expect it to be 18:9 at least, if not bezel-less. The Moto X4 packs in some huge bezels, and some complimentary black borders around the display like the ones found on Xiaomi’s devices. Yes, the display is good, but it’s not 2016 anymore. Just to give you a scale of reference, the Honor 9i performs relatively similar to the X4, but costs quite less at Rs. 17,999, and guess what – it comes with an 18:9 display. All for a much lesser price tag.
Yes, the display is good, but it’s not 2016 anymore.
The Moto X4 ships with Stock Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) out-of-the-box with a few of Moto apps over it. I personally am a big fan of Stock Android, and it is always nice to see Motorola stick to this flavor of Android only. The device runs fluid and system animations look nice.
Also, like I said previously, the Moto X4 is not a bezel-less device. Rather, it has a fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the screen. Now, this fingerprint sensor can actually be used for gesture-based navigation button, thus allowing the Android system to utilize the entire 5.2″ screen size.
The included Moto Actions also work well. The ambient display on Moto devices has always been great, and it’s a pleasure to have the same functionality on the X4 as well. Other than the few Moto apps, everything is kept simple and as-it-is from the AOSP project. There’s negligible bloatware, and the system actually runs smooth.
The performance of a device is a factor that many of us are really concerned about. Let me just state it right off from the get-go – It is NOT what you expect from a device of this price segment. The Snapdragon 630 processor coupled with the 3 or 4GB of RAM works quite well, but it doesn’t offer any significant improvements over the Snapdragon 625.
As far as the benchmarks are concerned, Antutu got a score of 70,275, while Geekbench got a score of 4,112 on multi-core. While they are decent numbers, they are by no means, the expected scores of a device that costs more than 20k.
Now I know that benchmarks don’t tell the real story in play. As far as the real world usage of the device is concerned, apps run fast and fluidly, except that there is a minor lag whilst opening them. Multitasking is once again quite efficient thanks to the 3GB/4GB of RAM onboard. But then again, it is, literally, the same performance I got on the Moto G5S Plus. And this just leads me to think as to why should I upgrade from the Snapdragon 625 to 630, if the performance is going to stay relatively the same?
The dual-camera setup of the Moto X4 is probably the most-highlighted feature of the device. The stellar design succeeds in capturing your attention, but does it actually capture the moment that well? I’m afraid not. Unlike most dual-camera setups out there, Motorola actually opted for a regular and a wide-lens camera setup. Sadly, the performance is really underwhelming.
The primary shooter is packed with 12-megapixels with a f/2.0 aperture, and the second wide-angle camera has 8-megapixels with a f/2.2 aperture. The camera interface is simple to use, and there’s the depth mode for bokeh shots and even a pro mode if you want to fine-tune the settings.
The camera interface is simple to use, and there’s the depth mode for bokeh shots and even a pro mode if you want to fine-tune the settings.
But it’s not the interface that matters as much as the overall result. Sadly, like I said before, the results are just sub-par. The camera captures details decently well, but only in well-lit conditions. The camera performance in outdoor lighting is good, but then, it’s not great.
Oh, and the low-light performance you ask? A huge disappointment. The images captured by the Moto X4 in low-light are blurry, far too grainy, and largely unusable. While there are a few shots that did manage to look good, the camera’s performance is overall very inconsistent.
As for the front camera, Motorola offers a 16MP shooter with front LED flash as well. Photos looked average in good and decent lighting, and mediocre in poor low-light. The flash is handy, however, if you’re in a super dark place.
Telephony and Audio Quality
One of the best things about owning a Motorola device was that it came with dual front firing speakers. With Moto X4, the design language has changed a lot, and with that, the dual speaker setup is gone. In case you’re wondering where the speaker grill actually is, you can find it at the top of the face of the device. Yes, that’s right, the earpiece actually doubles up as the speaker of the device.
It may come down to as a personal preference, but I have never been really fond of such a design. But then again, had it performed well, I wouldn’t have cared that much. Sadly, the speaker’s performance is also just decent. While playing music, the mids seem to be fine, but the high notes are just not good. Also, there is next to zero bass from the speakers. From someone who’s been using Motorola devices for so long, this comes as a huge disappointment, considering how great Motorola’s audio quality has been.
As far as the telephony quality is concerned, there were no complaints there. I never experienced any call drops, and the earpiece seemed to work well in that case. The multiple mics on the device did well to cancel out any noise, and the audio was clear on both the ends.
The display might still not be 2017, but at least the connectivity options are. Motorola has included a USB Type-C port on their X4. Also, unlike most devices out there, the Moto X4 does actually retains the 3.5mm headphone jack. As for the SIM slot, the X4 makes use of a hybrid SIM slot, where you have the option of using 2 SIMs at the same time or swapping out the second SIM for a microSD card. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the X4 supports expandable storage of up to 256 GB, so that’s good.
The Moto X4 carries the same battery capacity as the Moto G5S Plus, ie, 3,000mAh. In a world that is becoming increasingly dependent on battery, the Moto X4 packs in just enough juice to last you through the day. Though, bear in mind that this on medium usage that included checking a bit of Twitter and emails, browsing through my mail, and the occasional calls. Add a bit of gaming to this, and you shall find yourself looking for a charger by the evening.
Thankfully though, that shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Motorola’s proprietary Turbo Charger is super fast, and can charge your device from 15-80% in merely 40mins.
Moto X4: Unjustifiable Price Tag
So, would I recommend the Moto X4? Truth be told, no, I wouldn’t. Except for its stellar looks, it offers nothing superior as compared to a mid-ranger. Its younger brother, the Moto G5S Plus, offers a much better value for money. Yes, the IP68 water-resistance is a unique feature at this price point, but let’s be realistic – how many times will one be actually utilizing that feature? If I’m shelling out 21K on a device, I do expect it to perform better than your standard mid-ranger. Sadly, the Moto X4 performs just good enough but comes with a price tag that is hard to justify.
If I’m shelling out 21K on a device, I do expect it to perform better than your standard mid-ranger. Sadly, the Moto X4 performs just good enough but comes with a price tag that is hard to justify.
To sum things up, if you are looking for a smartphone in the Rs. 20-25k price range and want IP68 water and dust resistance, I’d suggest you to go for the Moto X4 (starts at Rs. 20,999). However, if you are looking for a bezel-less phone, the Honor 9i, which will save you a lot of money as well, with its price being Rs. 17,999. You can also check out the Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro (Rs. 24,900), which brings decent specs, including a Super AMOLED display.
- IP68 Water-Resistance
- USB Type-C
- Motorola’s TurboPower is great
- The rich density display is awesome
- Mediocre Camera Performance
- High Price Tag
Moto X4: An Overpriced Midranger
Looks can be hugely deceptive. I won’t deny the fact that the first time I saw the Moto X4, I so badly wanted to try one out. Sadly though, my actual user experience with the device is a different story. There is no marquee feature, and the so-called looks are actually the downfall of the device. Unless you want a decent performing device that you can flaunt in front of your friends, the Moto X4 is not for you. Better yet, get the younger Moto G5S Plus, as it offers a much better value for money. Well, at least that is what I think of this device. But what about you? Let us know your thoughts about the smartphone in the comments down below.
Buy Moto X4: (Starts at Rs. 20,999)