After a lot of hype, delays and even a cancelled launch, Motorola has finally launched the Moto X4 in India – the fourth incarnation of the company’s beloved X series of smartphones – at a mouth watering starting price of Rs 20,999.
Unlike the previous X series of phones, which were flagships, the Moto X4 is a mid-range smartphone that comes with a metal and glass design, some nifty Bluetooth tricks, a near stock build of Android Nougat and decent specifications for the price.
This time around, the plastic and rubber seen in past Motorola X smartphones has been abandoned for metal and glass. There is glass (protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3) on the front as well as the back sandwiched between a metal frame that not only makes the smartphone more rigid but adds to the premium factor.
The most impressive aspect of the Moto X4’s design is how compact and solid it feels in the hand. The curved back and rounded edges aid one-handed usability to a great extent. In a day and age of behemoth phablets, the compact and pocketable Moto X4 comes across as a breath of fresh air.
Design wise, the Moto X4 is really reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7 – which is a great compliment to say the least. The smartphone looks sleeks, suave and classy – much more so than its price tag suggests.
The biggest problem with the Moto X4 is the fact that the design, while sleek and classy, comes across as a bit too familiar and even a bit stale. With glass on the front and back, durability might also be a major concern. A case is a must with this one.
The rear camera unit juts out a fair bit from the chassis – which is quite disappointing. The classy looking ribbed texture surrounding the camera unit which Motorola claims has been inspired by high-end watches makes up for that to an extent. The way it catches the light really looks elegant.
As mentioned above, the Moto X4 is a mid-range smartphone and its specifications reflect the same. It is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor paired with either 3 or 4GB of RAM depending on the variant, the Adreno 508 GPU and a 3,000mAh battery with TurboCharge support.
While a proper evaluation will have to wait till the full review, in my limited time of use, the Moto X4 seemed more than competent at handling day to day tasks. The fast and fluid build of Android Nougat on board really helps matters – UI elements are fast to load and there is little to no bloat to be found.
In a day and age of behemoth phablets, the compact and pocketable Moto X4 comes across as a breath of fresh air
The few additions Motorola has made to Android only add to the experience and do not take away from the soul of stock Android in any way. Some of the additions include gestures such as twist for opening the camera, double karate chop for turning on the torch, an always on display and a blue light filter.
The Moto X4 comes with a new feature called Moto Key which basically works as a password manager and allows users to browse the net securely via their fingerprints. What makes this feature so special is the fact that your fingerprint can be used to authenticate passwords on your Windows laptop/PC as well – via a special Motorola application for Windows.
On first impression, the 5.2-inch Full HD display seems fairly competent – with punchy and vibrant colours and excellent viewing angles. The maximum brightness level seems to be disappointing though – I struggled to use the smartphone under harsh sunlight.
The Moto X4 has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve that most of its competitors lack such as the ability to transmit audio to up to four Bluetooth devices simultaneously. While I am yet to test this feature, from the little I saw (and heard) from Motorola’s demo, it seems extremely impressive and future forward.
The Moto X4 is also one of the rare mid-range smartphones that is IP68 dust and water resistant. All technical jargon aside, what this means is that you can use the smartphone in the rain, near pools without any worries whatsoever. Drop it in the toilet by mistake? No issues.
The design, while sleek and classy, comes across as a bit too familiar
On the imaging front, the Moto X4 comes with a dual camera setup at the back. However, unlike the Moto G5S Plus which comes with a regular sensor and a dedicated depth sensor, the Moto X4 comes with a primary 12MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and a secondary 8MP wide-angle sensor (120 degree field of view) with an aperture of f/2.2. The dual camera setup is accompanied by a dual-LED flash.
At first, images taken by the rear camera seem to be above average with adequate detail. A deeper analysis reveals that the camera has a tendency to over-expose shots. You can easily spot an over exposed area in photos which means the camera is probably not reading light uniformly.
There is also a significant delay while shifting to the secondary wide-angle sensor – which is also slightly inferior to the primary sensor in terms of detail. On a positive note, the 120 degree field of view allows you to take ultra-wide angle shots – which will be appreciated by many. A detailed analysis of the camera and its low light capabilities will have to wait till the full review.
On the front, there is a 16MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, a dedicated low light mode that trades resolution for more light and an LED flash. In my limited testing, the front camera produced images with adequate detail and natural colours but also suffered from exposure issues.
The Moto X4 seems like a pretty compelling smartphone for the price. It has a vibrant display, a sleek and classy design, fairly powerful internals and the fluidity of stock Android. IP68 dust and water resistance and the ability to stream music to up to 4 Bluetooth devices at a time help the phone stand out from the competition.
However, the X4 is not perfect. It just feels a bit too familiar and safe and the cameras, on first impression atleast, seem slightly weaker than the competition. How the smartphone fares against heavyweights like the OnePlus 3T will have to wait for the full review.