It’s hard not to feel sorry for the fourth generation Moto X. It wasn’t too long ago that Motorola launched the Z2 Force, which, for all intents and purposes, is its 2017 flagship. This has pushed the Moto X brand down to the somewhat mid-range market. And what was once the pride of the company is barely making a splash at IFA 2017. Nonethelss, not all Moto fans have bought into the whole Moto Mod promise that comes with the new Z line. For them, the Moto X4 might still offer a bit of a reprieve, if not a disappointing one at that.
Design-wise, the Moto X4 is sadly forgettable, looking not unlike any other Moto X phone or even a Moto Z from the front. It’s most noticeable part of its design is perhaps also its least flattering. Like many smartphones these days, the Moto X4 sports an extra glossy back, thanks to a Gorilla Glass covered back, making it scratchproof but snot smudge-proof. At least it’s IP68 waterproof too. The downside is that the 3,000 mAh battery, though large, isn’t removable nor does it support wireless charging.
On that same back you will meet a very large camera bump, which is the aforementioned distinguishing feature. It is, by far, the largest camera bump on any of Motorola’s recent devices. And it has none of the elegance of the “flat tire” design of the others. What is has, instead, is a play of light that seems to form an “X”, perhaps a reference to its name. There are 12 megapixel and 8 megapixel sensors flanking that X, looking like eerie eyes staring down on you.
Spec-wise, the Moto X4 is pretty much on par with the mid-range smartphones of this year. Which is to say, “just enough”.
• Operating System: Android 7.1.1
• CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
• RAM: 3 GB
• Storage: 32 GB
• Display: 5.2-inch 1920×1080 Full HD
• Main Camera: 12 MP + 8 MP
• Secondary Camera: 16 MP
• Battery: 3,000 mAh
The Moto X4 is one of the few smartphones that boast of Amazon Alexa integration out of the box. A bit ironic considering how Motorola was once a Google company. It’s not the only one, mind, nor the cheapest. The recently launched Coolpad Splatter owns that title.
At the end of the day, the Moto X4 will simply be competing on brand recognition, because at its price or just a bit more, one can already get a flagship smartphone like the OnePlus 5. There are also other mid-range smartphones that might offer more than the very plain and vanilla experience that the Moto X4 has. Then again, there will always be users who do value that over any special, and often easily broken, feature.