Hands-on: Moto X4 review

Motorola’s mid-range X series of smartphones is back with the new Moto X4, which follows 2015’s Moto X Play, X Style and X Force line-up. This time, Motorola has opted to go back to just the one model to keep things simpler, and it's certainly a compelling new offering with plenty of interesting and impressive features. Take a closer look at the Moto X4 in our hands-on review.

Moto X4 price and availability

Starting at £349, the Moto X4 firmly sits within the mid-range category, designed for budgets that can stretch beyond the likes of the popular Moto G series, but can’t quite reach the high prices of the flagship Moto Z series.

There’s not long to wait for the X4, either. It’s set to become available at the end of September, and will be available from Motorola’s own website, or from Carphone Warehouse.

For those in the US, the phone is set to be released slightly later, with no specific date yet aside from "Fall 2017". There's also no US price for the Moto X4, but we estimate that it'll be around the $400 mark, and you'll be able to buy it directly from Motorola's online store.

Moto X4 design and build

In a bit of a departure from the rest of its phones, Motorola has gone for a Corning Gorilla Glass glass body paired with an anodised aluminium frame for the X4, which results in a premium-look and feel that’s lovely at first glance but little too shiny and smudge-prone. It’s available in Sterling Blue or Super Black.

The back is described as a 3D contour, which essentially means that it’s slightly curved to feel comfortable in the hand. That’s aided by its 5.2in screen, which keeps the X4 at a manageable size that’s easy to use single-handedly.

The X4 measures 7.99mm thick for the most part, aside from the 9.45mm circular portion that houses the camera. It weighs 163g. While those measurements aren’t particularly outstanding, they’re good for a phone of this price.

Impressively, the X4 has an IP68 water resistance rating, which we tested by dropping the phone into a shallow pool of water and can confirm that it still worked perfectly when we took it back out. That’s actually better than the flagship Z2, which is simply described as “splashproof.”

Moto X4 specs and features

Screen

The X4’s 5.2in screen is Full HD, which means a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels. During our testing, we found the screen to be bright, colourful and reasonably crisp. It’s not going to live up to the standards of flagships from the likes of Samsung and LG, and its bezels prevent it from being as immersive as an edge-to-edge would, but for the price of £350 it’s a good offering.

Processor, memory and storage

Inside the X4 is Qualcomm’s mid-range processor offering, the Snapdragon 630, paired with 3GB RAM. We’ll put it through our full benchmark tests soon, but during our time with the phone we found it to be suitably speedy, laughing apps without a problem and allowing us to switch between apps seamlessly.

You’ll get 32GB storage built-in, but there’s support for a microSD card up to 2TB.

Camera

One of the Moto X4’s key features is its camera. With dual lenses, you’ll be able to capture higher quality images and add depth effects. Those lenses are 12Mp and 8Mp, and there’s dual Autofocus Pixel technology to help keep things sharp. We thought that the depth effects were gorgeous and the images in other modes were crisp and clear, so we’re very much looking forward to spending more time with it to put it through its paces.

There’s also a 16Mp front-facing camera for selfies, and that offers an adaptive low light mode as well as a Panoramic Selfie feature to capture bigger groups or the environment behind you.

Battery

The battery is a non-removable 3,000 mAh, which Moto describes as being capable of providing power “all day.” It charges via USB-C, with TurboPower, which means six hours of power is achievable with just 15 minutes of charging time. We’ll run full battery tests on the X4 when we get it back to the Tech Advisor labs to find out how accurate these claims are.

Additional features include a fingerprint sensor built in to the home button, as well as NFC and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Something that we’re really interested to try is the Moto X4’s ability to pair with up to four Bluetooth speakers at once, which means you’ll be able to place even the most miss-matched speakers around a room and stream music to all of them simultaneously. It also allows volume control for each speaker individually.

Moto X4 software

The Moto X4 runs Android 7.1 Nougat. You’ll also get Motorola’s Moto Experiences, which include Moto Display and Moto Actions. Moto Key means you can access password-secured websites using your fingerprint rather than having to type your password every time.

Plus, built-in to the Moto X4 is Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, which is a first for Motorola and can be used hands-free. Google Assistant is still available, so you’ll be able to take your pick.

Within the camera of the Moto X4 is a Landmark Detector, which is designed to help you learn more about Landmarks within your viewfinder.

You’ll also find an AR feature when taking selfies, that allows you to add animations to photos and videos, but this isn’t going to appeal to everyone.

Motorola Moto X4: Specs

  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor
  • Adreno 508 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB built-in storage, up to 2TB microSD card slot
  • 5.2in display, Full HD (1080x1920)
  • 424ppi
  • 3000mAh battery with Turbo Charging
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Dual-lens 12Mp & 8MP rear camera with Dual-LED flash
  • 16Mp front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0 LE
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • NFC
  • Water Resistant IP68
  • GPS148 x 73 x 8mm
  • 163g
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor
  • Adreno 508 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB built-in storage, up to 2TB microSD card slot
  • 5.2in display, Full HD (1080x1920)
  • 424ppi
  • 3000mAh battery with Turbo Charging
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Dual-lens 12Mp & 8MP rear camera with Dual-LED flash
  • 16Mp front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 5.0 LE
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • NFC
  • Water Resistant IP68
  • GPS148 x 73 x 8mm
  • 163g

OUR VERDICT

We’re pleased to see that Motorola has revived the Moto X. For the most part, we like the new glass design and were satisfied by the specs and features for the £350 price tag.

Waterproofing, the multi-speaker Bluetooth capabilities and the dual lens camera sets this apart from rivals, and we like the 5.2in screen size for comfort and practicality.

We’re looking forward to spending more time with the X4 to offer our full verdict, but our overall first impressions are certainly positive and we think this could be a popular option for smartphone buyers that aren’t happy with the budget offerings available but can’t reach the hefty price tags of the current flagships.

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