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Welcome back, Motorola | The Gadget Consultant

Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade. “I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher... Read his full bio

Welcome back, Motorola

Last year Motorola announced two phones that took the tech word a bit by surprise; the Moto G and the Moto X. Not only were these REALLY good phones, but they began the war on the thought that a good phone needed to cost a ridiculous amount of money, and needed to be purchased from a carrier directly. On September 4th, Motorola announced the successors to the Moto G and X …. the Moto G and X 2014. I guess they were waging a war on naming conventions as well. The phones from last year were well received, but they weren’t earth-shattering and didn’t necessarily take a lot of thunder away from the likes of Samsung and HTC. This year, though, maybe that will change …

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Let’s start with the updated Moto G, because honestly, there are a lot of people who won’t need much more than this from a phone. The Moto G has a 5-inch 720P display, a quad-core 1.2 Ghz processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera, and it also has front facing stereo speakers which is a really nice addition. Storage wise you can get either 8 or 16GB of storage, and it can take an SD card if that isn’t enough for you. So all of that makes it sound like a good phone, but with all the other phones on the market, why consider this one? Well, it starts at $179. Off contract. If you’re looking for an inexpensive phone to just buy outright, you really aren’t going to find something better than this.

Need something with a little more *oomph*? The updated Moto X has a 5.2 inch 1080P screen, a 2.5Ghz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel front camera and a 2-megapixel camera in the front. No stereo speakers like the Moto G, which is unfortunate. Storage comes in either the 16 or 32 GB variety, with no (!) SD card expansion. Price? $99 on contract. Yeah … $99. Don’t want to deal with the contract mumbo-jumbo? $500 it’s all yours.

And it isn’t just that these are great phones. It’s the other things that Motorola is doing with these devices that make them so awesome. First, there’s Moto-maker. You can customize your phone with different colors and materials, even having it engraved. Also, what they’ve done with the software I’m very impressed with. I’ve posted before about how an Android phone isn’t truly an Android phone because of all the software customization’s manufacturers to with their phones to differentiate them from the pack, not to mention the additional useless software that tends to get installed. Motorola decided to not weigh down Android with a bunch of gimmicky tricks; instead, they added things like IR sensors so that you can wave your hand over your phone, and the screen will light up for a few seconds to show you the time and any notifications that you may have missed (Moto Actions and Moto Display). They’ve added an always on, always listening voice capabilities (Moto Voice and Moto Assist) that you can customize. So in the morning, you can use your voice to wake the phone up, and prompt it to tell you what’s on your agenda for the day without actually touching the phone. While driving it can read your text messages to you, and then ask if you want to reply with your voice. There are plenty of gimmicky voice recognition applications out there, but the one that Motorola has implemented is nothing short of amazing.

If it sounds like I’m gushing over this phone, it’s because I am. Are they the perfect phones? No, but I don’t know a phone that doesn’t have *something* that could be improved upon. They could have better camera software, I suppose. I’m not convinced that the photos on the Moto X or Moto G is going to give you the best pictures when you compare them to something like the iPhone or the Galaxy S5/Note 4. And the battery life isn’t as good as say the Galaxy S5. But I’ve had nothing but respect for Motorola since the Razr. And for a while I was a bit concerned about their future. With devices like the Moto G and Moto X, not to mention the Motorola 360 smart watch and the Moto Hint Bluetooth earbud, it looks like they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. And that’s a good thing …

 

Freddy C.

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