The original Motorola Moto X was a unique phone when it launched in 2013. Motorola’s handset didn’t have the fastest processor or the highest-resolution display. But it offered decent specs at a decent price, some innovative software including an always-listening mode for voice commands even when the screen was off, and the option to customize your phone with the online Moto Maker tool.
Now Motorola is refreshing the Moto X with a 2nd generation model. It comes from a company that’s transitioning to Lenovo ownership rather than one owned by Google, but it seems to have the same DNA as the original… but it has a larger screen, an aluminum frame, and the kind of improved specs you’d expect from a 2nd-gen device.
The new Moto X should be available in September for $100 with a 2-year wireless contract or for $500 without one.
The phone has a 5.2 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel Super AMOLED display, a 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB to 32GB of storage.
That’s up from last year’s model which had a 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and a 4.7 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel Super AMOLED screen (but the same memory and storage options).
Motorola has also bumped the quality of the rear camera with a new 13MP Sony IMX135 image sensor and a flash that rings around the camera lens.
Other hardware features include 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC, a 2300mAh, 8.74 Whr battery, a 2MP front camera, stereo speakers, and a nanoSIM slot. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat.
The new Moto X has an aluminum frame around the edges of the phone, but you can still use the Moto Maker utility to customize the front color and back panel of your phone. There are also new options so you can choose from plastic, wood, or leather covers for the back of the Moto X.
Like last year’s model, the new Moto X will run something pretty close to the stock Android experience although Motorola and wireless carriers may load a few extra apps.
It also retains some of the features that made the original Moto X… original. They have new names and some enhancements. Moto Voice lets you interact with the phone by talking to it without even first unlocking it. You can also use custom phrases to perform actions such as saying “What’s up?” to get the latest notifications or “Play YouTube” to… open the YouTube app.
Moto Display lets you see notifications when you wake part of the screen to view notifications using gestures or motions.
Moto Actions lets you do other things without touching your phone, such as snoozing an alarm or rejecting an incoming call by waiving your hand over the screen.