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I’m so over the specs race, and it’s all thanks to Motorola [OPINION]

phones

In the early stages of Android, phones kind of sucked. Anyone who has owned a G1 or several phones after that knows how much of a “love-hate” thing it was. The phone was great — for its time — but you couldn’t resist wanting to test the waters with a new one that promised more RAM, more storage, more speed, and pretty much more of everything.

We’ve gone from 192MB of RAM to 384, from 512MB to 1GB, and even that wasn’t enough — 2GB is now the golden standard. From 512MB of internal storage up until the minimum of 16GB that we demand today. From single core processors that didn’t even break half of a gigahertz in clocks speed to the quad-core beasts that we all drool over now. The specs race has been on from the beginning.

But for me, things have changed. Android has evolved into an operating system that no longer relies on heavy specs to create a smooth, fast and clean experience. Google and the great folks on the Android team have worked to optimize Android to the best of their ability, and anyone who has used a stock Android phone (meaning, without any heavy framework changes or custom skins) knows they have almost reached their goal.

And with all that, a recent epiphany has hit me — I don’t care about the gaudy specs anymore. I couldn’t care less whether or not I have a non-removable battery, or the latest and greatest processor. I don’t need a 100-inch (not a typo, because the way these OEMs are going it seems we are headed that way) 1080p display on every new phone from here on out. I don’t need any of that, and it’s all thanks to Motorola that I’ve finally realized that.


User experience comes first

Motorola, a company now enjoying new ownership by Google, has made a pretty bold statement with their latest phones. They won’t quantify the quality of their phones based on how many gigamegaultrahertz they can squeeze in, or how big their display can be up against the competition (yes, it does remind me of little boys comparing their junk on a bored summer day).

For Motorola, user experience has become the main focus. It’s proudly on display in the company’s latest wares, with their flagship Moto X and Verizon exclusives DROID MAXX, DROID Ultra and DROID Mini implementing key features that have consumers wondering how they could have ever lived without them in the first place.

DROID MAXX-13

Take Google Now (and the entirety of the new Google Search experience), for instance — I would have loved to have used it more up until now, but the fact that I had to interact with the display before issuing commands had me using it (with voice) just sparingly. Why bark like an idiot when my hands are already on the display ready to type out what I need (sometimes faster than Google can understand my voice)?

But with Touchless Controls, I find myself getting more and more use out of it all, because it doesn’t require me to touch my phone to initiate it. It’s the very definition of a killer feature, and one I didn’t anticipate contributing so much to the overall experience.

For instance, I don’t have any sort of desktop alarm clock in my room, nor is my cable box visible from my bed, so being able to wake up in the middle of the night and utter to my phone “OK Google Now, what time is it” without having to move an inch is something that has proven to be invaluable for me. (Because who doesn’t hate having to get out of bed or open their eyes at 3AM just to check the time?) Or how about that times when you’re crafting the world’s greatest taco and you just can’t pull your hands away to respond to a text?

And that’s just one of several different things. Active display notifications provide a new way to be alerted to incoming notifications that is infinitely more useful than a lone LED notification. Not only do you know that new notifications are waiting, but you know what they are (well, up until the 4 most recent ones, anyway) and even get a bit of info about them.

DROID MAXX-12

I’ve always wondered how long it would take for companies to start using AMOLED technology to its full potential (this allows the phone to light up only the pixels it needs, so it’s really only sipping on battery), and Motorola (as well as Samsung with their S View covers) have finally done it.

In the case of the DROID MAXX, being able to squeeze a 3,500 mAh battery into this slim, 5-inch form factor — as well as the custom computing system Motorola’s implemented here (read on for more) — gives us the most battery-efficient smartphone we have ever seen, and that is infinitely more valuable than a lot of other gimmicky, borderline useless trinkets we tend to get on typical smartphones.

There are many other aspects of the new Motorola experience — such as Motorola Connect, Motorola Assist, and more — that all come together to create a useful experience across the board, and you can read about all of that in our current Moto X review.


Less is definitely more

Motorola’s been able to do several of these things thanks to what they’re calling the “Motorola X8 computing system” sitting inside their latest phones. It really is just a custom version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro MSM8960DT, and yes — that is a dual-core processor. But they changed the name for a very good reason: it’s because they’ve optimized the ever-living crap out of it.

Motorola’s goal with the X8 was to be able to provide performance in all the right areas. They didn’t need more than two application processors, because which applications even appropriately take advantage of four different cores at this point?

DROID MAXX-4

That said, the phone is still “quad-core” in a way, except Motorola has used two added custom cores for very specific purposes. One extra core handles Motorola’s natural language dictation engine, which is the extremely low-powered core that is always listening for the “OK Google Now” command that is used to activate the aforementioned Touchless Controls feature.

The second core is a “contextual” core that is used to monitor several “events,” so to speak. For instance, when a new notification comes in the contextual core is what handles displaying that information on the display for active notifications.

Similarly, flicking your wrist twice to open the camera app from anywhere, and knowing when the phone is face-down or in your pocket to mute active notifications are all handled by this contextual core. This allows the phone to be able to “listen out” for your various commands while it’s in sleep mode, and all without having to sacrifice battery (which, if my time with the DROID Ultra and DROID MAXX is anything to go by, is definitely the case).


Specs will only get you so far

This is the perfect case of using every ounce of what’s available to you to your full advantage. Having used the quad-core Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy S4, I can tell you that having the horsepower of a Formula 1 racer doesn’t mean anything if it’s not being used in an efficient manner.

Despite having a “weaker” chipset (note that the Motorola X8 uses the same Adreno 320 quad-core graphics being used in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 chipset), the X8 actually meets — and, in some cases — exceeds the performance expectations of phones with chipsets that are considered to be a class higher.

Whether that’s due to low-level optimizations made by Motorola or due to their latest phones using mostly stock Android we can’t say, but in either case it makes for an experience that is more snappy than mostly anything else you can find on the market. Motorola didn’t try to do too much in their latest attempt at smartphone mastery, and it’s because of that thinking that has allowed them to fire on all cylinders.

DROID MAXX-10

I beg of other manufacturers — stop shoving every ounce of power you can into your phones thinking your gaudy list of technical specs alone is what’s going to provide the best overall experience. I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to put a Snapdragon 800 inside, but if you’re going to do that then use it to its full potential, because the Motorola X8 has shown me that we’re not getting nearly as much out of these powerhouses that we should be.

It’s like gaming consoles, I think. Sure, they’re bound to be weaker than top-end and even mid-range PCs, but as time goes on developers eventually figure out how to tap into every ounce of energy those consoles have, and can push weak hardware to do some amazing things.

It’s how you use what you have that’s going to make the difference. It’s not about how big and nice your boat is, but how well you can navigate the waters, and all that jazz. I liken it to photography: having the best equipment doesn’t mean anything, because the best photographers can create a good photograph with whatever is at their disposal.

Through all of this, I’m not saying you can give me a smartphone with the world’s slowest processor, no internal storage, a 1,000 mAh battery and a terrible camera and expect me to be happy. But in the same breath I will admit that I am no longer excited by a phone that has to be “best” in class in every category. Give me a phone that does everything I need (in my case, the Motorola DROID Maxx) with great speed and efficiency, and I won’t even take a second look at the spec sheet.




  • Troy

    I agree with most everything you said, and would have seriously looked into the moto x or maxx, but they one place they appeared to have skimped where they shouldn’t have is the camera.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      It kinda makes me think if the AOSP camera prevents manufacturers from adding image quality optimization, looking as how no device that runs stock Android seems to have great image quality. But I guess that’s not the case.

    • Devon Warren

      I agree, they were very close to the mark but the camera ultimately is what held me back. Also would like more battery life in the moto x, or the build quality of the x in the maxx.

    • ari_free

      it could be software issues

      • taz89

        I doubt it, motos cameras have always been bad compared to others..considering how much they talked the clear pixel, even if the camera software wasn’t final it should still have been decent but from pretty much all reviews , they have all said the camera is very poor.

    • bob

      The pictures I’ve seen aren’t that bad but the camera is also the most important feature to me so I still tend to agree. I hope the nexus 5 really steps up with the camera cause my nexus 4 is pretty disappointing.

    • Joshua Hill

      The battery life also fell far short of expectations. If your producing a device that’s not bleeding edge fast but just fast enough it needs better battery life than the bleeding edge competitors.

    • jnt

      I have a Maxx and the camera is… ok. An improvement over previous Moto devices, but still subpar. UI is fast and simple, refreshingly simple and intuitive. But image quality still suffers from the same stuff older Moto devices have suffered. I think they just use poor optics or weak hardware, honestly.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

    Speak for yourself. Better yet, don’t speak. {{-_-}}

    • Jerel Butler

      it is his opinion. you weren’t forced to read it, and he was speaking for himself..

      • http://twitter.com/JohnnyACE562 GRAND MASTER SEN$Ei {{-_-}}™

        Some opinions are better kept to one’s self. Especially when it’s utterly stupid like this. {{-_-}}

        • TalkingMoose

          Practice what ye preach.

          What makes you think anyone wants YOUR opinion?

        • AtomicGadget

          How about you let mature people discuss here, while you go up to your room and play with some transformers? Could you do that? I’ll give you a cookie.

          Thanks, Timmy :)

        • malcmilli

          what is stupid about what he said?

        • Joshua Hill

          Once again, take your own advice.

    • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

      Heed your own advice, friend.

    • Joshua Hill

      What is an op-ed, opinion piece? Hmmm let me see it means they are speaking for themselves. Maybe you should take your own advice about speaking.

    • John Andrew Stuart

      I hear iSource calling your name…

  • Jerel Butler

    coming from the sites resident samsung fan….I think he found something worth it.

  • Rammstein

    When it comes to a mostly stock android experience, beastly specs aren’t really needed. However, other manufacturers lay on a bunch of crap/bloatware into the software that the specs are needed to at least get a smooth experience. As a result, specs do still matter if people are into Touchwiz, Sense, or other OEM skins. Not everyone is into the stock android look/feel. Touchwiz packs in so much stuff that they are far from being optimized.

    • ari_free

      Or you can change the software and keep the specs :)

  • arthur mendez

    Why charge $579 for a phone if the specs are lower than the rest of the android flagships? If I want to pay flagship prices for a device that lacks top of the line specs I’ll go with Apple. The argument for user experience makes no sense when the camera is terrible. If I want a great user experience I’ll pick up a nexus 4 with better specs for 1/3 of the price. I want a future proof phone, and the Motorola X is not that phone. I do admire certain aspects of the phone, customization, and lockscreen, but these features cannot justify the steep price. I want flagships to have great specs coupled with optimized software. Some users are willing to buy a phone with weak specs at the same price as a true flagship, but I am not one of those users.

    • Jerel Butler

      thankfully it’s cheaper

    • taz89

      Exactly fine boast how specs don’t matter etc but don’t try and charge the same as a device who’s specs are better and charge the price of phones that have similar spec…it dont matter if it’s lower spec but atleast sell it in the same price range as the ponies that have similar spec… if there’s one thing majority agree on is that the the moto x is in the wrong price range..I don’t care what you say about 1080p not making a difference but its like having 2 TVs and one is 1080p and the other is 720p and both cost £500 and made by top OEMS,you would say the 720p is over priced becasue you can get a better spec tv for the same price but all you people saying specs dont matter are saying that you want the 720p TV.

    • justin middleton

      true. its like buying a banana for the same price as other bananas but it is only half the size and using the excuse that it tastes the same

  • Dan

    The phone may be optimized, but I have feeling apps won’t. In that case, specs are important imo. Ie: Some games work great on my Note 2, but don’t run very well on my wife’s GS3.

    • Rammstein

      This is why games run so well on iOS. The iPhone may have “inferior” specs but almost every app is optimized for the hardware. Android is so fragmented when it comes to the hardware that it would be difficult for every app developer to build a top notch experience for every device.

      • Dan

        Yeah I agree. On the other hand, if I was on IOS, I’d miss out on a lot of features I’ve come to love (swype typing, being able to download torrents, all the perks apps like tasker brings). Nothing’s perfect :)

        At least by buying a high-end phone with greats specs (ie: Note) I’m sure everything will run fine.

        • Roaduardo

          Oh… I miss my Note… :(

      • Adamos Makis

        truw and thats why specs do matter and will matter for a long time just like the pc space. Also having better specs means more future proofing since not every one can change their phones every 6 months.

      • delahaya

        yeah, and on iOS you have exactly two phones to choose from unless you want to go older – and then you have fragmentation too!

  • simpleas

    Motorola still make phones?

  • Paul Taylor

    You didn’t use Google Now because your fingers were already touching the screen? That doesn’t even make sense. I use Google Now all the time, swiping up from the bottom of the screen. I never use it with voice recognition. The whole point is that half the time it anticipates what you need, without you telling it – by voice or by touch.

    • malcmilli

      he was saying with voice recognition. that it was stupid to have to open up a voice recognition app with your fingers and then use your choice. he has been converted to a voice command user

      • Paul Taylor

        Ah right… he did say Google Now, not specifically voice recognition. But anyway I get you now.

  • TalkingMoose

    You realize that this is like telling the Flat Earthers that everything they believe is wrong. Once people get an idea in their heads they’re loathe to change it, regardless of any outside evidence. They’ll do whatever they can to justify their position, rationalize it, and attack anyone who says otherwise because (they falsely believe) that there’s no better way to destroy a message than to discredit the messenger.

    Kudos for keeping an open mind.

  • Nathan Bryant

    The specs have reached a more than enough for what we need a while ago. Not much has changed with software to take advantage of it. Essentially we have just been using the same phone that does what the last one did but faster or a little better. They need to capitalize off of it.

  • Anotherworld

    Moto X is still a over hyped budget phone and they want to charge $600 unlocked?

    • puppeteer23

      use it every day. you’ll see the difference.

  • Morris

    I was hoping for some note 3 or galaxy gear news to start my day off with…

  • OMFCody

    If you’re not going to run for top specs then drop the price a bit or the whole purpose becomes redundant.

  • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

    Great article. After playing with my coworker’s moto x I can safely say that it is the best android experience to date. All of Motorola’s additions enhance stock android and make the moto x the new benchmark phone in my book.

  • ari_free

    Look at the snap 800

    http://www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/processors/800

    “Voice activation enabled by Snapdragon processors even
    listens while on standby. The result? You enjoy power savings and voice
    control experience that you can use without even touching your device.”

    • Balthazar_B

      The problem is, that’s using a full powered core, not one of the specialized DSPs developed in Motorola’s labs. It’s like providing a jackhammer to set a nail. Yes, you can double the size of the battery to compensate, but that’s just inappropriate technology.

      I’m curious about the Nexus 5, but I’d be very surprised if it has Motorola DSPs onboard. That’s a competitive differentiator at the moment, and possibly Moto has about a year’s lead on the competition. The partnership with Qualcomm was also very savvy on their part. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Snap800 variant with the DPSs in a future Moto device (Son of X?).

      • ari_free

        But qualcomm is for everyone. Nobody from outside the US will develop for motorola’s proprietary technology because moto x won’t be available

  • Kyle Cordiano

    The Nexus 4 is plenty fast for me. Quad Core processor and 2GB of ram, 720p display with IPS, and the newest updates directly from Google. Plus you can get the 16GB for $249 unlocked, which is crazy good. LTE is not here which is the only gripe. I agree I do not need a 1080p screen.

    • malcmilli

      nexus 4 could use some battery optimization however

      • Kyle Cordiano

        Absolutely. I’m trying Qualcomm’s Battery Guru. See if that helps at all.

  • Anthony Walker

    I have the S4 and while the phone seems to stutter on occasion it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. It has top of the line specs, a ton of features (granted I don’t use most of them but I like that they’re there) and an excellent camera. I have no problem with the notification LED alerting me to my messages and it also has an always listening feature built into S-Voice if you like that sort of thing. I’m also finding that I use the IR blaster more than I thought I would. The Moto X hasn’t given me a compelling reason to switch especially with that price point – I buy my phones unlocked. I think Motorola made a mistake in thinking it had to be either top of the line specs or a great user experience. Why couldn’t it have been top of the line specs and a great user experience.

    • simpleas

      on the stutter, every damn electronic devices stutter once in a while, yes my pc does, mac book pro does, ipad does and note 2 the all stutter. The ipad 3 stutters like crzy zometime.

    • jnt

      I’ve found the IR blaster pretty handy as well… I live in Apple TV world, and it can even control that – VERY handy. And at times I prefer LED’s to the Active Notifications – they’re handy until they get in the way. LED’s never get in the way.

  • Modman

    Apple will die. Moto Hardware and software will be just as integrated as iphone. Screw all the naysayers.

    • Arieos

      You know that Motorola is not available in multiple European countries? I can’t even remember if the ever sold smartphones in the Netherlands cause I have never seen a Motorola smartphone.

  • http://milespt@cox.net nick

    I went phone shopping recently. I played with the HTC one and GS4. They were beautiful phones. I purchased the droid maxx. It seemed superior to me and the battery life is amazing. To each his own but I agree that Motorola hit a home run with the maxx

  • ari_free

    I care about specs because I want to see some pretty good games on my phone computer. I am not interested in 2D puzzle games.

    I’m a PC gamer and I lovelovelove ArmA3′s new 270 km^2 island based on Lemnos, Greece. That’s just not possible on consoles because they don’t have the specs. Moto X will also have to settle for games that are not the best.

  • Len Waugh

    Please dont post this nonsense. specs are not about the snappy ui… that should always be there anyways. specs are about pushing the tech. also note, just because you do not use a technology, doesnt mean others do not. i cant wait for the day my phone or tablet can run console/pc quality games while still having power left for multitasking. Devices as is are barely powerful enough to use as a very cheap htpc. even that isnt done well yet. 3rd party apps need more power to work with.

    • bmg314

      ↑↑ This.↑↑

  • steveb944

    I came in wanting to vote on a poll to support you. I wholeheartedly agree with you and bravo on the writing, cept for Moto 8X (forth to last paragraph)? That threw me off and had my mind wandering for a new unknown device.

    I hope this is a new direction for Android where the user experience comes before monster specs. Fingers crossed.

  • taz89

    Spec race matters, if it wasn’t for spec race we wouldn’t have 720p screen or 2gb ram which exists on the moto x. You say let’s not use the s800 unless you use its potential but people have 2 year contracts, so even though the suited may not reach its outgrowth at the beginning the fact that better spec means that along the 2 year contract and beyond the s800 will get it’s too potential used by the OEM or app developers. If there never was a spec race we would still be using non HD screens,less than 1gb ram and single for phones.. yes the moto x is well optimisd but should that mean we shouldn’t have phones that have better specs. Shall we just stop on what we have now. Better specs allows new ideas. Ideas may not come imidiately but the fact that the better specs exist means there is potential for someone to make use of it. Are you saying if there was a moto x with a s800 and was £50 more than the current moto x you would pick the lesser one? I doubt it because even if both run exactly the same right now the the potential of a s800 means that maybe in a years time with newer updates the s800 will show it’s potential as well as be future proof.. moto x is a fantastic phone that is optimisd but that doesn’t all of a sudden mean specs don’t matter. Like I said further 1080p screen or 3gb ram or 5″ screen, the fact is if there was no such thing as a spec race between OEMS we wouldn’t even have phones with 720p screen or a 4.7″ screen or 2gb ram, past spec race gave the Moto x the specs it has today.. Spec isn’t always what the phone can do now but what it may/can do in the future.

    • Charles Chambers

      He was saying that we finally *now* got to a place where specs don’t matter.

    • squiddy20

      Wow. Someone didn’t read the last paragraph of the first section…
      Show me where he actually stated that the spec race doesn’t matter at all.

      Also, it’s been proven that the average person generally cannot distinguish 1080p from 720p on a screen < 5" a foot away from the face (unless they have extremely excellent vision and/or are reading a very very small font size). Not to mention the extra battery drain of the processor having to push that amount of pixels and the display having to light them all up.

      • taz89

        Lol your right I did miss the last paragraph my mistake..but i still think spec race matters..my whole point is even if current spec is good enough we shouldn’t stop as better spec will bring innovation too..the 2 IMO work hand in hand ..for great software innovatiions you need the hardware to back it up..the reason I like to have the best spec possible is mainly for future proofing and I like to get the best spec money can buy so if I am shelling out £500 I want the best spec that £500 can buy even if at that time I don’t need the spec it can be useful in a couple of months down the line..but I admit I missed the last paragraph completely lol..too much skimming through articles with trying to stay up to date with tech news aswel as watching the football transfer window.

  • TheDome

    There really is no point in arguing if specs matter or not. It depends on what you use your phone for.

    The people who play games on their phones will obviously favor higher specs while the rest of us who only use their phones for web surfing, email, etc., will only care about a smooth user experience.

  • zorxd

    If the spec race is over, the price war need to begin. We need more $200-$250 beasts such as the Nexus 4.
    We certainly don’t need any other over $600 phone.

    • TheDome

      Could not agree more.

      I’m so tempted to buy a Nexus 4, but it doesn’t have LTE :/

      • Ryan Stewart

        HSPA+ is quite fast as it is and doesn’t impact the battery the same.

        • TheDome

          HSPA+ on AT&T is awful though

          • Ryan Stewart

            Is that your only option? Im on T-Mobile here in Atlanta and its blisteringly fast, in most cases as fast as my coworkers LTE connection and HSPA is more common. I even get it going down the highway to rural parts like Newnan (and in Newnan).

      • malcmilli

        there are ways to get lte on there

    • Ron_Swanson

      This for sure. Although the Moto X is still in the price range of the S4 and HTC One…..its a nice phone. But, I’m still gonna pick either the S4 or HTC One everytime over the Moto X …..I personally want more bang for my buck.

      • Balansi Kherwyn

        A post that make sense! Finally

        • Defenestratus

          Ron Swanson always makes sense over his hair-brained, irrational co-workers.

    • scoter man1

      The nexus 4 is the prime example. Its a beautifully smooth device. Additionally it has one of the some best developer support that I’ve seen on any of devices I’ve seen. Paranoid android just takes it to a whole new level.

    • malcmilli

      no company besides Google could stay in business selling phones at cost

      • TheDome

        That’s why Google beats all

        • ari_free

          So far, they haven’t sold that many Nexus phones

          • TheDome

            That’s because no one knows about the Nexus 4 except us geeks.

          • Arieos

            That’s cause the n4 was only a available through the play store that’s still not available in a lot of countries.

  • supremekizzle

    I think I’ll hold off for the Nexus 5. Google may do a lot of these things with KLP on the N5

    • TheDome

      I think the addition of LTE is going to be more important considering KLP is coming to the Nexus 4 anyway

      • Kristoff119

        And hopefully less breakable will be an important aspect!

  • Ryan Stewart

    I was easily over it when my coworker got his new S4 and compared it to my nexus. The software on the Samsung is terrible, it slows it down and makes it feel dated.

    Newer processor and more memory couldn’t make up for the terrible software on it.

    • ari_free

      He should head down to xda developers

      • Ryan Stewart

        Its his first smartphone, he can’t handle custom software.

  • Michael Quinlan

    There’s nothing wrong with specs – they’re a valid selling point. Software for a device can improve over time, but specs can’t. Once I buy a device, the specs are set in stone, yet ongoing software improvements can yield an improved user experience, and with better specs, this can continue for a longer period of time before I eventually replace the device.

    While I can’t say with certainty (since I haven’t used a Moto X), I find some of the features you’re drooling over to be gimmicky at best. Who’s going to use touchless controls when there’s anyone else within ear shot? Unless I’m already using it (or asleep), my phone is in its holster – I’ll never see an active notification. Sure, not everyone is like me, but not everyone is unlike me either; I don’t think these features will have the wide appeal you think they will.

    And I still care about a removable battery. It has nothing to do with performance, but has everything to do with user ability to replace the sole component that has an inherent limited life span and performance that continually degrades with use.

  • Balthazar_B

    Only thing I wish was available on the X is support for photospheres.

    • Kristoff119

      No photosphere support?!? Well, that killed it for me…

  • James Arlow

    I’ve been steering clear of Motorola for a long time because they were such wieners about locking down their phones before Google bought them, and their design principals seemed out of touch. Lately they’ve looked a lot more attractive.

    They were the first to cater towards customers who didn’t care if their phone was 2/5/10mm thinner, but wanted their phone to actually hold a charge. For the record, I think mm/weight nitpickers are to blame for the fact that most phones are still terrible in this department (here’s looking at you every phone blogger and half the commenter ever).

    You’re anecdotal discussion here is also encouraging, showing that the Google buyout helped steer them towards actual achievement in design as opposed to pumping out another carrier specific spec option, with a fancy casing of course.

    The reason I’m still steering clear is that I haven’t seen any evidence that they have abandoned their lock-down principals, developed a standardized method of flashing/unlocking (ala heimdal/odin for Samsung), or implemented a brick-proof recovery option (ala the wire trick for HTC). Being the worst offenders in these categories before, they need to prove to me that trivial customizations of my phone are not an uphill battle against the manufacturer and service provider.

    With these principals in mind, Samsung is the only manufacturer I feel comfortable buying. I would buy an HTC for the brick-proof element, but I’ve had two different HTCs with terrible intermittent touchscreen issues, and their official unlocking process, while accessible, is a hassle that seems more lip service than respect for customers.

  • curiousfox

    It’s already 12:03pm central time and y’all guys only rolled out one article! I use to use Phandroid as my go to source, but to be honest y’all have been slacking.

    • harold

      To a a holiday in the USA

      • curiousfox

        There’s no holiday in U.S.for news buddy

        • harold

          It’s always slow on holidays and weekends

        • ari_free

          It’s labor day. Today we pay respect for all the moms who had to endure 9 months of it so that we may be here.

    • blackjaguar25

      If you’re waiting around for your favorite website to post articles, you need to get a life. Android devices are awesome, yes. But they are not nearly as important as a life that you should be living. Jesus.

  • Alu Zeros

    i don’t care about the spec race either, but here’s the thing, this phone = no google wallet, not updated by google on a timely manner as the nexus line, just doesn’t make sense to get. People want timely android updates, this is Google’s fault. Sorry, hate saying it, but Apple does a better job.

    • harold

      Apple designs their hardware and software so it’s easy for them.

      • roberto.elena

        Google owns Motorola. No excuse is valid.

        • harold

          And they just came out with their first phone under google

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          Google should buy HTC, im sure the hardware, software , specs and user experience would be awesome.

    • Daniel Walsh

      Hardware is a lot too. The Moto X fails because it’s not as good as the other phones It might prove that specs don’t mean anything, but the other high end Android phones still perform better. The Moto X has a shitty camera, lame hardware and boring design. Hardware should have more emphasis, why would want a phone that feels cheap and lackluster. HTC made the One with epic hardware and design and I love holding and looking at my One.

    • Lee McLaurin

      No Wallet on Verizon. There’s no reason other companies won’t have it.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      While i agree with you about the X not getting timely updates, lets be honest, Apple’s software is going on 5 years old now. They made miniscule updates to it, but if you actually used it you would realize its the same software over and over and over again.

  • Gideon Waxfarb

    Well, specs definitely DO matter, but they’re not the ONLY thing that matters. For example, if you put a cutting-edge CPU into a phone that lags like hell because of crappy vendor bloatware, then specs don’t do you much good. On the other hand, if the phone runs smoothly with sub-par hardware inside, then what’s it gonna feel like in a year and a half, once you have KLP installed, and apps (and esp games) are being made for better hardware? IMO, when it comes to good specs and a good user experience, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

    • RockMarz

      it really doesnt matter.really.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Agreed. If we start settling for less, we will continue to get less. How long till we settle for 1 software update every 2 years because itll create a better “user experience” Its a copout, and its dangerous to go down this path, a path already travelled by the iPhone.

  • Charles Chambers

    This is the same discussion I had with my Windows friends. I was telling them it didn’t matter what the specs were, my Mac was simply faster. (I don’t play games on it though because that is what my ps3 is for.)

    • ari_free

      You’ll need a PC to play ArmA3 :)

  • Adamos Makis

    what matters to me ? Buying a 600euros smartphone i want the best specs available since i’m gonna be locked in an 18-24 month contract. Also features like touchless controls i care not . What i do care i removable battery and been able to expand memory with a microSD.

    Also i much prefer touchwiz and the amount of customizations and features that offers over the minimalistic way Moto went and i can stand the occasional lag every now and then ( which you will barely notice unless your a*** about it let alone if you disable most of those features the lag will almost completely disappear ) .

    Then comes the camera . A 600 euro device with a sub par camera ? I dont know about you but i do consider the camera an important user experience

  • ianken

    there is one place where specs still matter. The camera. And unless your using a lumia 1020… well you don’t know how good a phone camera can be.

    And speaking of making the best of limited hardware: Microsoft has been doing this since the relaunch of Windows phone. Nice that someone has managed to get Android into that space.

    But I still prefer my nexus 4. :-) :-)

    • agaceoehlert

      мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

      You realize that this is like telling the Flat Earthers that everything they believe is wrong. Once people get an idea in their heads they’re loathe to change it, regardless of any outside evidence. They’ll do whatever they can to justify their position, rationalize it, and attack anyone who says otherwise because (they falsely believe) that there’s no better way to destroy a message than to discredit the messenger.

      • chuckles87

        Prostitution is illegal

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          Not in Vegas. LOL

  • Joe Mihalich

    Well said, and agreed. However, I’m stuck on my galaxy nexus cuz i ain’t giving up my unlimited plan. :(

  • Balansi Kherwyn

    Having a better spec does not mean you will not get a good user experience.

    If 2 phones (phone A and Phone B) have similar user experience and price but phone A has a better spec so which one will you choose? No brainer, you will choose phone A since they both have the same user experience and price anyway.

    This marketing of Motorola is just an excuse not to improve phone specs anymore. Their strategy is, if you cannot compete in the game, change the game. This marketing also assumes that other phones do not have a good user experience.. Like saying, Nexus 4, GS4, HTC One have good specs but does not have a good user experience.. Bullcrap!

    • AD1980

      “Their strategy is, if you cannot compete in the game, change the game.”

      I think it’s more about finding a way to differentiate their devices from the competition. It’s not like Moto couldn’t make a device with the most megaultrahertz/pixles, but that they feel they could sell more units going a different direction.

      “Like saying, Nexus 4, GS4, HTC One have good specs but does not have a good user experience”

      That’s a strawman. To claim that the Moto X user experience is better does not mean the other devices are “bad”… just not quite as good. Something I’d agree with.

      • Balansi Kherwyn

        “but that they feel they could sell more units going a different direction.”

        Then why is the price so high? If you want more sales, you have to lower the price and that’s where they should basing from the low specs. C’mon, breakdown the MotoX into pieces and see how much they spent for the low end materials they’ve used compared to SGS4 or HTC ONE. I am talking about tangible physical expenses here. It seems like Motorola did not spend too much on the hardware but right now spending so much on marketing. PROOF: Here we are now posting because of their marketing.

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Id say the experience with the ONE is much better than the X.

  • Rob

    Makes ya wonder where they pushed some of that 500 million in advertising
    for this phone lol

    • paxmos

      These are the same bloggers who predicted Moto won’t make it not too long ago. I wonder what happened?

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Google bought them and its like they went to church and had their sins removed. Thats what happened. But just like when you go to church to confession, it just makes you feel better but nothing has really changed.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      500 mil in advertising, still havent seen even one commercial. Some people at Motorolla bought houses and cars apparently. lol

  • ThreeFourSeven

    I agree it’s about the experience but let’s not be blind to Google. It’s a midrange phone with an average camera. It’s still overpriced.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      I say midrange and i get downvoted, you say it, and you get upvoted, what gives ?? LOL

  • schitzengigles10

    The echo chamber is unusually loud over this one

  • BigMixxx

    Not sounding like a troll. But apple has really been pulling off this balancing act for years. This really changes the game for all phone manufacturers.

    This also will dilute the price of the IPhone AND make high spec’d android phones value go waaaaay up.

    Still don’t like the price…

    • lolwut

      +1

  • androidscales

    motox gpu is 4 core …that is where it counts

  • Montisaquadeis

    As long as a tablet has no issue running my 10GB+ 1080p files while downsampling the 5.1 to stereo for headphones while doing this all over DLNA I don’t rightly care about the specs personally.

  • wapakplit

    I use my phone as my music player. I have 32G built in and 64 G SD card, most of my music is high bit rate. I also like being to swap a battery when I don’t have time to recharge. Specs and interchangability are huge in my world.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      When you grow up and get a job you wont need all that room.

      • wapakplit

        I was going to ask you to explain, but I see reading the comments you are just the resident troll.

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          Dont see how you came to that conclusion. Then again you dont seem too bright.

  • Mix

    Please remove your lips from Motorola’s nuts! I’m over the spec war too but a removable battery and storage are still pretty important to a large number of Android users.

    The phone is awesome right up until it doesn’t turn on anymore. And it’s easy for you to charge yours from that comfy little desk with the company supported WIFI leaving you all good storing tons of data on the cloud. Not everyone has it like that. People are going to be pissed when they read your article buy in and find out that their batteries are dieing and they are pushing the limits on data because they don’t have storage space on the internal memory drive.
    I agree that the new phones are buttery in performance now a days though. Yes I definitely agree mid range is good so long as you have a removable battery and SD card.

    • Ryan O’Neill

      If you’re one of the very few people who store 20 movies on their phone and want to go 3 days without a charger, then obviously you’ll buy a phone that meets your needs.
      But let’s be realistic – 32GB and 3500mAh are more than 90% of phone buyers will ever need. The author specified that this phone meets HIS needs/wants, not yours.

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Agreed , my HTC ONE has enough space and battery power for me, and i consider myself a power user. I dont need a removeable battery or an SD card slot. Honestly I think the removeable battery was the thing causing my old phones to freeze. Ever since i have had phones without removable batteries not one phone has froze, not even once.

  • Clay Ginn

    I agree to a point. The issue is that with the Moto X is price. Specs aren’t everything. the 720p screen and the dual core would have been cheaper parts than what is in the other flag ships but Moto charged the top price. Now there hook was customization but they fail again by signing the deal with AT&T. the lost 2 phones sales from me as I’m on T-Mobile. Might lose a 3rd as I’m waiting to see the Nexus 5. If the price drops to were it should have been, say 450ish and we will look at again. of coarse then there will be more phones on the market. the third fail was leaving out wireless charging. You have no idea how nice it is until you use it. I get to work and set my phone down on the charge pad. I get ready for bad and I set my phone on the charge pad. I never connect a cable to my phone anymore. I never have to. my battery is rarely below 50% ever.

    So I do agree with you but the price must justify the difference. I mean I like the phone but normal people will buy a phone and want to get 2-3 years out of it. Will the Moto X get that? I know with the HTC one and the GS4 their specs will most likely last but the Moto X I can’t say that. That is the biggest reason I don’t recommend it to anyone at the price they are asking. I push people to HTC or Samsung for now.
    Before anyone ask what about LG. Buttons on the back, Really! LG have you ever set a phone down. I guess no one will be using a case with that phone. Just seams stupid to me.

  • Lee McLaurin

    I’ve got to rely less on reviews and specs. I went into the Verizon store to play with the Moto X and the new Droids. I like the look of the X better, but I’m more likely to get the Maxx. This much I do know; the screens on all 3 are beautiful. If you didn’t tell me they weren’t 1080p, I wouldn’t know the difference, maybe some can, but I can’t. The only thing is I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth with Motorola with my Bionic experience. I’m trying decide if I should give them a shot after the Google transition. I’m leery of a phone that ends up being behind on features because of being locked down, late software updates, etc.

  • New_Guy777

    I still have times when I record more than an hour of video in a day. Removable batteries is, and always will be, a must. I can go from 0 to 100% with a spare battery tucked neatly behind my wallet, adding no extra bulge. All other solutions with these non-replaceable battery phones is needless bulk and hassle.

    • Killa Thraxx

      ha! id love to see that battery.

      • Defenestratus

        I keep a spare Gnex battery in my wallet at all times.

        I forget its there most of the time.

  • Mark S

    I agree with most of this…but does why does the “user experience” cost so much? I was hoping this would be a $300 phone…

    • malcmilli

      well the Note 2 and Optimus G arent $300 phones and this phone has a better chip than both of those.

    • AD1980

      I think people are underestimating the costs associated with being made in the US and with the customization options available. Both increase costs. (I know I saw the article claiming that being produced in the US only increases the costs by $4. I don’t buy it.)

      • ari_free

        So specs don’t matter but a custom wood trim does?

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          Apparently this is the case, sad isnt it ?

        • AD1980

          Said no one in this thread?

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        The price of this phone is an example of why people dont buy American made good. Too expensive, and low quality. Give me Korean or Japanese made stuff any day. We suck at making just about everything.

  • S.Scott Turgeon

    I have the same phone and could not have said it better myself! I cant imagine using another phone and this is the best phone I’ve ever owned in my entire life in any capacity!

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Till a better one comes out less than 6 months from now.

      • S.Scott Turgeon

        Troll don’t you have a cave you should be living in? You don’t know me so shut your pie hole.
        that will be my only response because I’m above you and your maturity level

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          LOL Oooooh tough guy !! Calm down idiot. Maybe you wont buy it, but there will definitely be better 6 months or less from now. You should get used to people disagreeing with you, its part of life. If youre this tense over a very unagressive comment like the one i made you need help, or a good porn. Internet toughness is for people that are cowards in real life. Youre more mature than me ?? With your comment you proved youre not…..grow up.

  • Lennatron

    Great article Quentyn, my thoughts exactly!

  • louched1

    This echoes Apple’s arguments when faced with spec sheet comparisons to Android phones (which Apple always lose). While user experience is certainly an extremely important factor, one also has to look into the future a little bit. Will those mediocre specs hold up in a year or two as things advance?

    I’ll use RAM as an example. Desktop PC’s have pretty much reached their peek for RAM
    usage. Whether someone is running 16 GB of RAM or 128 GB of RAM there really won’t be much difference for the average user. 2 years ago that would apply and I think it’s safe to say that in 2 years this will still be the case. I don’t believe mobile technology has reached this maturity level yet. Mediocre specs may currently be adequate, but the phone will just get outdated that much faster.

    Finally, it’s not an either/or thing. It’s possible to have top of the line specs and a great user experience. Android is proof that these two things can coexist. We can have our cake and eat it too!

    • malcmilli

      the only argument i have to say to that is, the processor is better than all of last year’s crop. And if the Nexus S can get supported till jelly bean, than this thing which is practically almost an s600 shouldnt have to worry about being outdated.

      • AD1980

        While I am a fan of the Moto X, I don’t think we can make any comparison to the Nexus devices regarding upgrades. At least not yet. Only time will tell how much support Moto gives this phone. It’s entirely possible that it’s hardware will be sufficient for years to come, but the software may get left behind as all phones do that aren’t named Nexus*.

        *Statement does not include VZW Galaxy Nexus because the Big Red is lame.

        • malcmilli

          yeah i mean im not saying its going to compare to the Nexus in software lifecyles, i’m just speaking strictly hardware wise, i think this processor will be more than good enough to handle any upgrade since its “engine” if you may, on paper is better than that of the Nexus4/gs3/onex/note2/optimus G.. and is almost as good as the one inside the gs4/htc one.

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Too bad processing power has ZERO to do with getting software updates.

  • Defenestratus

    Get back to me in a year and a half when your precious little Moto X is a worthless brick of a phone because software has left it by the wayside.

    You don’t by a phone for its specs NOW. You buy it for its specs in a year and a half.

    • malcmilli

      The specs are only barely underneath that of the gs4′s/One’s. The internals are better than Nexus 4′s. It will be ok.

      • ari_free

        Yeah, it will be OK for Angry Birds sequels

        • malcmilli

          the GPU is actually the exact same GPU from the s600… the CPU slides right in-between the s4 pro from end of 2012 and the s600 from early 2013… so it has a better chip than the Optimus G, Nexus 4, and Note 2.

    • aeok18109

      Actually I’m pretty sure one buys a phone for their own personal reasons. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest.

    • DroidnTech

      Don’t think so. I have a 2011 phone that still does everything I need it to do, and it does it very well. I demo-ed the Moto X and really like the size. And it does everything that I would need it to do, and does it very well.

    • Jerel Butler

      have you ever used a samsung admire or a huawei m835? those were phones i used last year, yeah you can use a 2.2 phone for most things a 2.3 phone for just about everything and the same 4.0 phone , just pick up a single core phone see what it can do

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Agreed. But people assume because Google owns Motorolla that timely software updates are a given. I agree they will be disappointed. Especially when Motorolla makes a new Nexus or other high end device. This has to just be a tease, because if this is the best that a Google/Motorolla combo can do its really a big disappointment. If thats the case i hope Google partners with or buys HTC, theyre in a bit of trouble and HTC makes quality hardware. Ive only owned HTC phones, id be psyched.

  • ineversl33p

    Having owned all of the top android devices since the G1 and recently purchased a moto x, I would have to agree with this article. People who don’t share this sentiment, good for them. I’ll enjoy my moto x.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      I had the G1 as well, but only owned HTC devices. I went from G1 to G2 to ONE S to ONE. I prefer to keep going up in specs, not down. Im sure the user experience will be just fine.

  • john248

    This phone has great specs. It’s just that when the leaks were coming out, people were focused on “dual core” and “720p” all too much. As the author mentioned, it is indeed a dual-core…based off the S4 Pro which might not be as sexy as other quad-core offerings (Snapdragon 600). The Krait 300 CPUs were just available last year, so again the spec is still current aside from it having 2 instead of 4 though Motorola has put 2 smaller cores to work with the design and intent of the phone. So in the future, we’ll see newer, more efficient CPUs that are out. Of course the general public don’t know this info, but this is what it is.
    Additionally, this phone is running an Adreno 320 GPU which is found in newer phones like the GS4 and One, so in this respect, its spec is up to date. This is likely the reason the phone works so quickly and measures up against the competition…along with a slightly lower resolution. Now we’re going to see the Adreno 330 GPU in the Galaxy Note 3 when its release later this month or after its confirmed on Sept 4th when Samsung has its unboxing.
    Basically, it’s not hardware from 1 or 2 years ago that’s in this phone. It is the same stuff that makes up current models like the GS4 and One.
    But about the resolution. It’s running 720p RGB rather than 720p pentile which is why the display looks better. I’m not aware of any 720p RGB display other than these Motorola phones. We’ll likely see a 1080p RGB in the future as well. But the less pixels also aide in battery saving.
    The main thing that is lacking on the phone is the camera. Motorola needs to figure out how to properly use the hardware.
    So is it a dated phone? Absolutely not. Will we see a quad core Motorola offering in the future with maybe 2 additional smaller cores? Most likely. Maybe with a 1080p RGB? Yea. The “spec wars” don’t necessarily just go away as Motorola still has to up the ante as these phones are required to do more.
    People were expecting this to have dated, old internals and hoped for a lower price when the reality is it has current hardware aside from a true quad core.

  • hatboysam

    Got the Droid Maxx on launch day and I agree 100%. My review here echoes some of the same sentiments, but focuses more on the Maxx in particular:
    http://samuelstern.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/motorola-gets-android-right-with-the-droid-maxx/

  • MIKEEEEE

    patiently waiting for DROID MAXX to show up on ebay.

  • Hvacmanjc

    I am still rocking an LG Optimus G and the specs and hardware blow the Moto X away! The OG is almost a year old and has a quad core versus the Moto X dual core. They made way to much hype over a phone with two year old specs. Why would someone pay $600 off contract or waste an upgrade for close to ancient specs? Just doesn’t make sense. My OG, IMHO has more power and never attempts to lag at anything you throw at it. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I am not trying to argue with anyone. I have only been keeping upon with the phone industry for a year or so. Maybe I can learn from my mistakes, LOL!

    • Max

      Lets be honest there is only one OG… the droid 1

      • ari_free

        I thought it was the T-mobile G1…

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          definitely the G1 !! Id love to put an old school gen 1 G1 up against this MOTOcrap. I bet it would be about even. The G1 was one of the smoothest phones ive ever used, and it was Android 1.0

  • John

    Camera is the only thing I care about being truly top of the line. Otherwise I 100% agree with you. I don’t need a processor that can computer teleportation and time travel instructions, but I do like having the pictures I take be as clean and crisp as possible.

    When I see the camera on the Moto X compared to the Note 3 and Honami, I’ll know which direction I’m going in. Although Verizon will probably still have their head up their ass and not release the Honami anyways.

    • jnt

      The camera is decent – an improvement for Motorola, but still not on par with the Note 3 (I’m assuming), S4, iPhone 5, etc. It’s refreshingly simple to use, and fast, and video is pretty solid, but picture quality is inconsistent and suffers from similar problems from past Moto devices.

  • Vaibhav Gupta

    Very biased analysis. The moto x is an expensive phone compared to it’s specs. I agree in today’s world specs mean nothing as a dual core processor with 1gb ram is good enough for most people using the phone for clicking pictures making calls social networking and browsing. But this should be Motorola’s B phone and they must have an high end phone. Specs wise it doesn’t compare to the S3 which I still rate as the best phone ever.

    • Lou_Sasshole

      Yeah spec wise it does’t compare yet it runs much better.

    • rabidhunter

      DROID Mini is not expensive, though. At any rate, is your S3 always listening for your command? Will your S3 show you the relevant info you need without pushing the power button? Can the S3 do all of that and be battery efficient? No! Why, the S3 isn’t optimized for that. Motorola tweaked and modified the processor so it ain’t your daddy’s dual core. The Motorola’s give all that while having great useful features.

      • Ha lala

        always listen is becoming a new standard for smartphone now, I hope. Next year all top phones will have it.

      • jnt

        I don’t disagree with the overall premise or what Moto has done (I have a Maxx and S4 currently). But, the *S4* will do all of that except for the listening. But here’s the kicker with the “always listening” – S-Voice and Siri are much more intuitive and truly touchless after the initial wake-up. The “always listening” thing is cool and fun to show off, and it’s cool to be able to wake your phone like that – but until Google ups the ante with Google Now’s intuitiveness, it’s still somewhat gimmicky, and you still have to touch your phone a lot after you wake it with “ok google now”.

    • Sean Royce

      Biased isn’t the right word. It’s his opinion.

    • john248

      Too focused on the dual core; even though the new Motos are dual core, they have 2 additional smaller cores with specific functions. The cores/cpus are in fact current as is the gpu. While I do agree that these phones are about $50 to $100 overpriced as some of them are missing features like wireless charging and the subpar camera though they shouldn’t be priced as a mid-range phone or bargain phones.

  • blue720

    I agree to certain point where these phones need to be more efficient across the board. However, you fail to mention the optimization input that Google provided. What if Google provided the same input sans the GE versions? I bet the upgraded hardware would really shine then, huh?

  • blue720

    Hey Google, here’s an idea…let’s make the smartphone and tablet truly customizable as a PC. Removable internal memory, CPU, GPU, audio, etc.

    • ben7337

      It’s already a small cramped space. Even if they could do this, it would mean significantly bulkier phones. There’s a reason the RAM, ROM, and SOC are soldered to the mainboard.

      • Ha lala

        nope. The main reason is they need to sell their newest phone every year.

        • Max

          look at an ultrabook vs. a small laptop and tell me that bulk wouldn’t be added. Connectors take up space. Not to mention the fact that swapping Hardware would require a bios check every time you booted up… plus individual drivers, and a host of other problems you may remember from using Windows. The only i could see as being remotely possible is internal memory, but really at that point you’d just us a microsd and save yourself reinventing the wheel.

          Plus you have to look at the practicality. The percentage of people who ever swapped out their cpu in a pc is microscopic, barely a blip on intel’s radar.

          On a slightly different subject…
          One of biggest questions in terms of power from cpu’s, is could some sort of better cooling system, drastically increase continual performance of the cpu and battery performance? (seeing as how the nvidia shield seems to gain most it’s extra power from running a massive heat sink)

    • ari_free

      At least have sd and removable battery. Also, I’d rather have a slideout keyboard than something made out of wood!

  • Du

    I totally agree with your opinion. It’s more less the foolish rush to provide megapixels into digital cameras, in amounts that the user never needs (and it only makes him spend more money on storage). Technology grows up and evolve, but it also needs to know when to stop and focus somewhere else.

  • Princeton

    REALLY hate to say this but Apple has been doing this all along as far as great software/battery optimization with chill specs

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      The software is great because its essentially the exact same software since 2007. If we start settling for sub par specs in exchange for a good “user experience” how long will it be before we accept miniscule software updates like Apple ? Major software updates and high powered specs are what Android is all about.

    • Aditya Sunkara

      Oh yeah?? check battery on 3Gs and 4! they seriously suck

    • Steve

      I dont think their Battery life is anything to write home about, they sell the clean pretty user XP. For the average person that’s more than enough. But we are on Android because we want more than that.

  • Chris

    It’s a Motorola gimmick. 600 dollars for a low end phone? And hype the mess all up. We are about to have some” iPhone cult” in android.
    Specs don’t matter indeed!….. are you having a laugh?
    Thank God for Samsung or we’d be following apple’s bull crap.
    For goodness sake that’s a $199.99 phone because it’s not even at par with the nexus 4.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Agreed, at least youre getting more upvotes than down. Mid level at best, but it has a “good user experience”. Lets all go run and get that. Ill take a Nexus, a GS4 or the ONE, a phone i actually own.

    • Aditya Sunkara

      seriouslly dude you can’t be more on point! but the hell with specs even a midrange phone from MOTO is working like a nexus, what the hell did SAMMY and HTC did to their phones???

    • AD1980

      I haven’t seen the actual retail price. $600 you say? Any links to substantiate?

  • jnt

    Good article, and I agree with you overall, but I have one problem…

    “Or how about that times when you’re crafting the world’s greatest taco and you just can’t pull your hands away to respond to a text?”

    You neglected to mention that you do still have to pull your hands away to finish sending the text!

    • TheScientists

      Unless you use a 3rd party app that allows for hands-free texting.

      • jnt

        Indeed, but that sort of defeats the marketing behind this feature.

        • TheScientists

          I don’t think they marketed hands-free texting via Google Now, but I agree it seems like an obvious feature that should be included. Google really needs to add that ability to Google Now. And Moto should have included a voice SMS app that works w/ Moto Assist.

  • BELIEVEinMYTH

    Its a sad day indeed when someone, especially someone that works for a smartphone blog, excuses the mid level crap that Motorolla shat out as “user experience has become the main focus.” If all we want is good “user experience” we all would have had our iPhones years ago. Specs are the point, the only point.

    • Robbo

      It’s a sad day when someone believes that in 2013, iOS has undeniably and unequivocally a better user experience. Apple just changed the whole user experience in their latest iteration in a reaction to the popularity of Android’s user experience. So we would not all have iPhones, sir.

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Im not saying its true but iPhone people scream how good their user experience is. Im saying user experience is not as important as specs.

        • Robbo

          Just to confirm, a phone that looks great on paper is more important to you than a good experience? Are you 5’6″ tall with something to prove?

          • ari_free

            You can be in charge of your own user experience simply by changing the software. Give us the canvas and let us paint anything we want instead of telling us what the painting should look like. THAT’S the problem with Apple.

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            I agree. Accepting a better “user experience” over good specs is a copout. Its the same as a car dealer advertising a car with great gas mileage but no wheels. There is no reason to sacrifice specs for user experience. We can have both. When Motorolla makes THAT phone let me know.

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            Typically phones that have good specs have a good user experience. To settle for less because the experience “may” be a little bit better is really sad. No one should have to, or want to settle. Your quips about me having “something to prove” just show how much of a quivering little douche you are, with no crutch to stand on. I understand Motorolla had become the new Christ to you geeks since Google bought them, but they produced a mid range phone, and to most of us, its disappointing. Specs do matter, id rather have a powerful smartphone than settle for a multicolored good experience. Its sad that tech bloggers would actually even write an article suggesting as much.

        • Arieos

          For the majority it is most people use there phone for stuff like WhatsApp, Facebook and simple games so why should the Have high end specs? I am still satisfied with my n7000 and that isn’t a fast phone anymore but the overall experience is good enough for me

        • jschu22

          You’re still an idiot.

        • John Wentworth

          user experience is what the high end specs are supposed to deliver, high end specs don’t fix piss poor buggy and inconsistent user experiences and the best software in the world won’t help if the hardware isn’t there to back it up.

          Specs and user experience should go hand in hand, omit either and your SOL. Early Android devices had higher specs than apple, but the user experience still was lacking, these days we get both generally, though some spec driven companies (Samsung, I’m looking at you) still manage to screw up android with their skins.
          I own a S4, but use GPE or AOSP roms because touchwiz is seriously crap.

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            You should try a ONE, its awesome.

      • jschu22

        No they didn’t.

      • Aditya Sunkara

        And what the hell they copied everything… honestly if Android isn’t a open source, Google could have earned a billion already from Apple and honestly Apple lost its flair for innovation. It just stuck up with one phone thats a niche, one tablet line that’s losing glory ( all other products, they are just GREAT, i don’t deny).

    • ObviousNinja2

      whatever makes you sleep better at night home boy.

    • jschu22

      You’re an idiot.

    • Aditya Sunkara

      You really are stuck up, aren’t you?

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        How does what i wrote even relate to being “stuck up” I simply stated that specs are the point, we shouldnt have to sacrifice specs for user experience. We can have both, and i have both with my HTC ONE. To settle for less is equivalent to buying an iPhone. iPhones have great user experience but outdated mid level hardware and software. That is wha

        • CalypsoArt

          How many HTC ONEs sold, how many iPhone 5s. Which sales figure do you think Google/Motorola wants? Have you ever heard an iPhone user talk about RAM or cores? 90% of the millions of smartphone users don’t care about specs. What they care about is that the phone feels like it works right.

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            Yea but do we want to be like iPhone users ? Think about that for a minute.

    • AndroidUser00110001

      Have you used a Moto X? I got one for my wife and performance wise it feels on par with my S4. Actually Thr X scores better on Quandrant than my S4 running CM 10.2. The X is smooth and some of its features are handy and not that gimmicky at all.

      There is no reason to knock the specs of an X when it performs just as well as The S4 or One.

    • CalypsoArt

      “If all we want is good “user experience” we all would have had our iPhones years ago.” And how many tens of millions chose to go with the iPhone with it’s smooth simple OS and mid-level specs, over phones requiring cutting edge specs to even come close in user experience. Motorola/google could care less about the few geeks who peruse phone forums. But they do care about the millions who might buy another iPhone.

  • Cenarl

    I understand the point, but…

    • Balansi Kherwyn

      EXACTLY.. not to mention the price is similar to the phones which is really suppose to be more expensive…spec wise.

  • Anderson Casotti

    Althought I do respect your opinion I can never agree with a statement like “I couldn’t care less whether or not I have a non-removable battery”.
    A non-removable battery give a “pull date” of 300 – 500 cycles of recharge. Its serves only to manufacturers and obligate us to buy more and more constantly even if we didn’t need a new phone (in this case).
    I cannot compromise that, and honestly I don’t think we need to.
    Manufacturers always will create means to limit our rights, I say F**ck them, it cannot become a standard, I heard that Sony has a removable battery in the honami, they know what is best for us, and force the best for then for how long they can.

    This is it, the only way to change my mind would be with a big fat check payment!
    :-)
    :-)
    :-)

    • jaren parker

      That is EXACTLY the statement I wanted to make. Batteries are only warented for 1 year.

    • John Wentworth

      Does every discussion of phones on phandroid have to devolve into the repetative removable battery and sd card debate?

      • John Andrew Stuart

        Yes…

  • rushmore69

    This articel sounds more like marketing propoganda from Googarola……… Yep, read it again and it really does. I will stick with the S4. Replaceable battery and SD slot, plu much better display for the win. Gooooaaaaaal!

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Propaganda, without the timely upates if it was a Nexus device. Ill get a Nexus when HTC makes one. If Motorolla makes a Nexus im scared itll be as bad as the X…notice im not using the M word before that ? Ill never use that gay prefix in reference to this phone.

  • chris

    it’s far from over in my opinion, when motorola continues to put in some of the crappiest cameras in their devices. if it wasn’t for the shittastic reviews the cameras been getting, i’d get the moto x. but i have kids, and i’d like for their pictures to atleast look better than my galaxy nexus currently takes, thanks.

    • jnt

      Agreed… though I will say it’s not bad, especially in scenarios with decent light. It’s fast, it’s simple, and it’s pretty intuitive – but it still can’t touch the S4, the iPhone 5, or even the One in *some* situations, when it comes to straight up image quality. I only had a Galaxy Nexus for a few months, so I don’t remember how well it did. But it could still be worth checking out for you.

      I’m convinced Moto just uses poor hardware, or poor optics maybe, especially compared to Samsung.

  • jnt

    I think a lot of the problem that people are having with the latest Moto devices isn’t so much about the specs being “subpar” (I don’t necessarily agree with that). But it’s the price – and I believe this is an important point that we shouldn’t forget…

    The problem with basing everything off of user experience is it’s incredibly subjective *in the Android world*. An iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone. You know what you’re getting all the time. They charge the same, year in and year out. It’s always been a part of the “apple premium” – you’re buying the experience, not the specs. Not so with Android…

    An S4 vs. One vs X(Maxx, etc) vs. LG…. all very different user experiences. John Doe might love what Samsung provides, and since the S4 is, overall, a very smooth experience, Mr. Doe might not like the UI changes moving over to an X – or at least not enough to change.

    Jane Doe might love pure stock Android and appreciate what Moto has done. She has a One that she really loves because it never hiccups like the S4 does sometimes – but since she’s an Android purist, she might really love the idea of what the X provides and it be enough for her to change.

    But the fact is, an iPhone owner isn’t going to move to Android because of the X any more than he/she’d move because of the S4 or One. An average every day S4 user isn’t going to see any compelling reason to switch to the X vs. the experience they get on the S4… especially with Samsung’s marketing behemoth (speaking of – has ANYbody seen any of this $500m marketing budget Moto supposedly has put to work any where?). An average every day owner of the One has no compelling reason to switch unless they’re extremely turned on by the voice-activated commands. Once they see that they don’t work as well as advertised, they’ll be turned off of that immediately because since they’re not used to having that, it’ll be more of a hassle than it’s worth. And in the case of the X, battery life won’t be much (if any) better than the One. And I guarantee you if they’re used to that SLCD screen on the One, they’ll really notice the difference in the AMOLED screen. SLCD is simply easier on your eyes in just about every scenario except a pitch black room.

    So then it comes down to price. Price is really the only thing Motorola could’ve used – even if just a $50 difference. The average user has no compelling reason to change except for price. The average user doesn’t care about X8 chip architecture. An average power user isn’t going to want to pay for what he/she considers (whether true or not) average specs because they’ll be able to pay for “better” specs at the same price. Plus the retail shops have to be able to market it – and if you think a retail rep can sell the X8 architecture over a quad-core chipset, you’re fooling yourself.

    I really like what Moto is trying to do, but unless they pull off some magical marketing campaign, I think they’re in for just moderate success, if that. Though, they sure seem to have sucked in the tech bloggers… unfortunately those don’t represent the average every day consumer.

    • Aditya Sunkara

      bro! thats a nice argument but I would say an average customer needs hell lot of smoothness @ lower price.why do you think the nexus range most awaited even though the specs are of previous year??? because pure android and smoothness it offers and almost it never hangs. Google puts android on handsets to work great. Not like sammy or HTC which have a heavier skins! Why do you think people are not towards xperia range? because it sucked in terms of user realiability and smoothness in beginning (though later phones are way better)… An average user like me not only looks at cost but the performence which makes it worth it.. Thats why NEXUS rocks and new moto is creating waves

      • jnt

        I think we might be arguing to the same point – price is important *alongside* experience. Problem is Moto isn’t beating anybody in price with the X. Plus, a lot of average users like Samsung and HTC’s skins, and don’t even know what a Nexus device is.

  • G1andonly

    I also agree to a point. I’m tired of specs that make the phone conjure dead spirits and are more powerful than the Hubble telescope. My note 2 will be more than great for the next 2 years, I’m not sucked in to the note 3 even a little bit but I disagree with removable battery as well as memory. Those are and always will be a nessesity for any phone I purchase. 1080p screens is way over rated and just not needed when 720 does just fine..thanks for listening and have a nice day.

    • mcl630

      You’ve hit on the real question. Will the phone’s performance be adequate at the end of 2 years? If you buy a phone with mid-range specs today, it may perform well today, but how will it be at the tail end of your 2 year contract?

    • Mutomi Sconi

      720p is overated unless youre a movie producing watching hi def all the time, 640 is good on a phone screen

  • Nick Mantzoros

    I care more about battery life and camera strength than I do hard specs. I think Android has hit the comfort zone in a sense where it doesn’t need to a phone with high end specs to provide a positive user experience.

    • jnt

      Battery life and camera strength… Motorola’s strongest and weakest points… :/

      • Nick Mantzoros

        totally. I wish Microsoft hadn’t acquired Nokia. I was hoping for a Lumia Android phone. :-/

  • shooter50

    With all due respect, this sounds more like trying to justify a lesser phone because you wanted to believe and support Google/Motorola. I just purchased an international Xperia Z Ultra and trust me, when you get your hands on a phone with Snapdragon 800 quad 2.2
    your Moto X will seem like a model T in comparison. The phone just screams speed.
    Granted, it’s huge, but the Z1 should be a good compromise at 5″, so I cant understand buying a mid level phone for the price of a high end phone.

    • Nick Mantzoros

      that makes sense. if you’re going to pay the same price, why not get more for your money? The speed isn’t necessary, but why not if you can?

      • BCoils

        my wife has an S4 and i can’t stand the experience. the specs go to the moon and back but what good is that when the experience is bad.

    • spicymeatball

      Yeah, we really want both. Great experience and hardware and I want the must haves to be in stock Android. Samsung has a lot of very cool features but many of them are only great if everyone has a samsung. Great features should extend to all Android to make the whole stronger and more useful.

  • spicymeatball

    I totally agree that the touchless experience is going to be amazing, but I need convincing. I went to ATT to play with it and there was no way for them to truly let me play with it so I can see it works as well as it is supposed to.

    The hardware still matters or at least the look and feel that the hardware is high quality. I’m very disappointed in the way the Moto X feels and looks in person.

    The saddest part is that the nexus 5 most likely won’t have these features and they won’t be rolled into Android.

  • jackdubl

    I’m with you everywhere except for the removable battery not being important. I haven’t plugged in my phone in a year, regardless of level of uae(which is always high). No battery size can beat that.

  • phinn

    The non-pentile OLED screen, incredible battery life (per Engadget), perfect size, and near stock Android UI are what really impress me with the Moto X. It’s the one I’d recommend to most people at this point.

  • Max

    So I just happened to mosey on by a verizon store today. For those saying that a moto x isn’t as premium the htc1 and gs4. They had them all right next to each other. The moto x, droid ultra, droid mini and droid maxx are all shockingly light and really solid. That same sort of lightweight shock you get when you reach for an iphone 5. In fact the s4 feels outdated compared to the others. In portrait the curvature of moto x and the maxx feel amazing, couldn’t really try landscape cause of all the antitheft stuff on them at the store. The ultra’s ergonomics are way worse than maxx, there is very little difference between the 2 (far less than between the razr and razr maxx). So other than price the maxx is superior in everyway. The moto x also felt better in hand to the similarly sized droid mini, although I have big hands, so i imagine the droid mini feels great in a smaller hand. The droid maxx/ultra are a tiny bit too big for 1 handing everything, i imagine small handed people will need 2 hands quite a bit.

  • myrna652

    just as Janice explained I cant believe that someone can get paid $9033 in one month on the computer. see this w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

  • Wes Loveday

    I agree with a lot of this, but there’s a few holes:

    #1.) I was set to get a MAXX until I saw that Camera. It is GOD AWFUL! My 2 year old Rezound takes better pictures!

    #2.) After you play with the GS4 and HTC-One for awhile, the Motorola just looks cheap. So yeah, the display MATTERS!

    #3.) I am fine with non-removable batteries. I don’t carry extras and I insure my phones.

    #4.) I DO have a problem with this trend of disappearing SD slots. I want the phone memory for APPS, now that these phones are finally powerful enough to really use them. Pictures and Video go in the SD slot and makes picture retrieval EASY if the phone gets smashed without having to worry about “The cloud”.

    #5.) I agree with the “Experience” being important (Google now was nifty in the store), but that doesn’t mean everyone wants a “smartphone” for stupid people. That’s what an iPhone is for ;)

    #6.) I still say we’re a couple of gens away from “specs don’t matter”. When the specs are fast and BATTERY “doesn’t matter”. THEN we’re on the right track!