Phandroid » Featured Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:31:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Moto G (2nd Gen) Tips & Tricks Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:39:37 +0000 moto-g-back-hero

The all-new Moto G went on sale last week, and the phone is already landing in the hands of the early adopters. We had our own chance to check out the phone, and we were pretty amazed at what this $180 smartphone can do. Here are some of the tips and tricks we discovered that every Moto G owner should know about.

Check out our full Moto G (2014) review

Transfer contacts, photos, and more to your Moto G


The Moto G includes Motorola Migrate, a service that makes it easy to move your precious data from your old phone to your new one, whether that old phone is an Android device, iPhone, or even a feature phone. Motorola Migrate can transfer contacts and calendar events as well as photos, text message history, and more.

  • When transferring from another Android device, you must first download Motorola Migrate from the Google Play Store and install it on the old phone. Then launch Migrate on the Moto G and select “Android” as the device type.
  • To transfer data from an iPhone, open Motorola Migrate on the Moto G and select “iPhone.” Use your iCloud and Google login info to easily move your contacts and more to your new phone (you’ll also want to separately make sure your new phone is playing nice with previous iMessage settings).
  • If your old device is a feature phone, open Motorola Migrate and select “Other phone type.” Follow the onscreen prompts to transfer data via the older device’s Bluetooth connection.

Use voice commands


You can control your Moto G with your voice thanks to Google Now. To access voice commands, simply tap the microphone icon in the Google search widget (or open Google Now and do the same).

Some voice commands to try include:

  • “Open [app name]“
  • “Call [contact name]“
  • “Text [contact name],” then speak the message you wish to send
  • “Directions/Navigate to [location name]“
  • “Set an alarm for [date/time]“

You can also try asking Google Now a question like, “How old is the president of the United States?” For more commands and a full tutorial, see our article on Google Now Voice Commands.

Motorola Alert


Motorola Alert allows you to quickly notify friends and family of your location, whether you are planning to meet up in an unfamiliar location or in case of an emergency. If the latter is the case, Motorola Alert can also sound an alarm or dial an emergency number.

Setup Alert by launching the the app (located in the Moto G’s applications drawer) and following the onscreen prompts. You will be asked to enter information about who to contact as well as how to contact them. You can also choose an emergency contact.

To notify specified contacts when you arrive or leave a location such as work, home, or school, tap “Give peace of mind by sharing your location with family and friends.” You will be prompted to choose a location and contact to be notified.

Motorola Assist


Your Moto G can help to filter out unwanted calls and cut back on distractions thanks to Motorola Assist. Motorola Assist smartly determines when you are in a meeting, sleeping, driving, and more and takes appropriate actions like silencing your phone or reading text messages aloud.

To enable Motorola Assist, launch the app from the app drawer. Then,

  • select “Meeting” to allow your Moto G to use your calendar events to determine when to silence your phone (you can create exceptions to this rule based on favorite contacts or urgent calls as well as enable a text message auto reply);
  • select “Sleeping” and silence your phone during the hours you normally sleep;
  • select “Driving” to enable your Moto G to read text messages aloud and tell who is calling (you can also set your phone to automatically begin playing music when driving);
  • select “Home” to set your phone in “Talk to me” mode when at home.

Unlock your Moto G with a Trusted Device


Have a Bluetooth headset or Bluetooth infotainment system in your car? You can list them as Trusted Devices that will automatically unlock your Moto G when in range. A Trusted Device can be any Bluetooth gadget or accessory, from your laptop to your Moto 360 smartwatch. Here’s how to set one up:

  1. Pair your Moto G with the Bluetooth device you wish to make a Trusted Device.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Security > Trusted Devices. Confirm your password or PIN when prompted.
  3. Choose the devices you wish to enable as Trusted Devices.

Now whenever your phone is paired with a Trusted Device it will not ask for a password to access your home screens.

FM Radio


The Moto G includes a built-in FM radio tuner. A pair of wired headphones is required to use this function. Why? The headphones double as the phone’s radio antenna.

While you must leave the headphones plugged in during operation, sound can be routed to the Moto G’s front-facing stereo speakers or even a Bluetooth speaker for your listening enjoyment.

Camera Tips & Tricks

The Moto G’s camera includes a number of helpful shortcuts to take your mobile photography game to the next level. With several shooting modes and the ability to capture 720p HD video, you’ll never miss the moment.

  • Zoom in and out by pressing anywhere on the display and dragging up or down.
  • Quickly access the gallery by swiping left.
  • Access camera settings and enable HDR, panorama, and slow motion modes by swiping right.

One-Tap Capture


Quickly and easily take a photo by simply tapping any portion of the screen to activate the shutter. Tap and hold to take multiple photos in quick succession (burst mode).

Pro Tip: By default, the camera will auto-focus before taking a photo with One-Tap Capture. To focus on the specific area of an image where you tap, enable the option in the camera settings.

Shutter Button


The Moto G also gives users the option to snap photos using the phone’s volume up or down buttons. Hold the volume rocker in to take photos in burst mode.

Protect your Moto G with Device Management

Motorola is offering peace of mind for owners of their most recent handset releases with Motorola Device Management. Enrolling allows users to remotely locate a lost or stolen phone, ring said phone, lock nefarious users out, and even wipe the internal storage of all personal data.

When first powering on the Moto G, you will be greeted with a notification inviting you to “Protect your phone.” Tap the item and follow the onscreen directions to enable the above mentioned features.

If you have already dismissed the notification but wish to enable device management, follow these simple steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security
  2. Tap “Device Administrators”
  3. Activate “Motorola Device Policy”

If your phone is lost or stolen, simply navigate to from any web browser, sign into your account using your Motorola ID, and select your phone and click “Lost Device.”

Note: for Motorola’s device tracking and remote features to work, you will need to make sure Location Access (found under the main Settings menu) is turned on. You can also follow the above directions to enable Android Device Manager, which provides a similar set of features accessible from your Google web account.

Connect your devices with Motorola Connect


The Moto G comes with Motorola Connect, an app that allows you to easily manage the Motorola devices linked to your phone. These include accessories like the Motorola Power Pack Micro or Moto Hint as well as a smartwatch like the Moto 360.

To pair a device:

  1. Make sure it is powered on
  2. Launch the Motorola Connect app
  3. Tap the “+”
  4. Select the device you wish to pair

Find your keys with the Motorola Power Pack Micro

If you picked up a Motorola Power Pack Micro along with your Moto G, you get a little more than a bit of extra battery power on your keychain should you need a quick charge. The Power Pack Micro can also be used to locate your lost keys using your phone (or vice versa).

To find a lost phone, simply double click the power button of the Power Pack Micro. Your Moto G will begin beeping.

To locate your keys, open the Motorola Connect app, select the Power Pack Micro from the list of connected devices, and tap “ping.” The Power Pack Micro will beep. For the feature to work the Power Pack must be powered on. It also goes without saying that it should be attached to the keys you are attempting to locate!

Take a screenshot


Taking a screenshot with the Moto G is easy. Simply simultaneously press the handset’s power/standby and volume down buttons.

Pro Tip: This shortcut should work with just about any newer Android device with a similar hardware button configuration.

Enable lockscreen widgets


Access your favorite widgets even when your phone is locked. To enable lockscreen widgets:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Security
  3. Tap the checkbox next to “Enable widgets”

Access and add lockscreen widgets by dragging your finger from the left edge of the lockscreen and taping “+.”

Extend battery life with Battery Saver


If battery life is running low and you are far from a charge, you extend your uptime by enabling Android’s Battery Saver mode. This mode will restrict background data access and cut back on excessive power drain. Turn it on by navigating to Settings > Battery and switching Battery Save to “On.”

More Tips & Tricks

Have your own Moto G tips and tricks not covered here? Don’t keep them a secret, share them in the comments below. If you can’t find the answers to your specific questions here, you might try your luck over at the Moto G section of our Android Forums. While you’re there, be sure to let us know what you think about Motorola’s latest budget handset.

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Google “active watching” patent aims to track and identify everyone in the room Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:05:27 +0000 Android users who have grown to love their voice commands could be in for a treat: Google’s been working on some crazy improvements. Recent updates have already improved how voice search works with Google Now, tightly integrated voice commands with Android Wear, and added an always listening “Ok Google” voice command to all search screens, but perhaps the best is yet to come.

Deep inside a September 4th patent – titled “detecting the end of a user question” – we find some hidden gems that show us how Google could soon add “active watching” technology to futurize Google Search and beyond. But at what cost?

The patent starts off fairly straightforward, describing some features already available in some Android devices such as the new Moto X (2nd gen). The phone uses multiple microphones to detect the location of voices, enabling it to ignore speech input coming from unintended sources. But the patent takes an interesting turn when it mentions capturing visual indicators, and not just any visual indicators- video.

The digital capture device may be a digital video recorder, digital camera, a webcam, etc. The visual capture device may capture visuals and represent the visuals as a stream of images that may form a video.

On the surface (at least to some) this might seem innocent and run-of-the-mill: earlier this year we showed you some Galaxy S5 Tips & Tricks which include a Samsung feature called Smart Stay that keeps the screen on whenever it detects you’re looking. As depicted below, Google is suggesting combining visual indicators with audio indicators to improve Google Search functionality. It doesn’t take long for things to get a lot more interesting, though.


Google attempts to detect “deliberation” between people with audio/visual indicators, and depending on what their algorithmic statistical mojo recommends, can offer answers as if engaged in an ongoing dialogue or choose to stop actively listening altogether.

Capturing video and identifying people

This Google patent goes deeper though, not only actively watching and capturing visuals, but collecting a bunch of other information along the way.

“the visual analyzer may determine the number of people in an area represented by the visual data, the identity of the people, the vertical and horizontal angles of the heads of the people, and lip movement of the people”

Determine the identity of people? Yes… and then using audio and video together they can further:

“determine the identity of the person providing the voice input based on the lip movement of people and the acoustic characteristics of the voice”

If you thought Google only wanted to extrapolate this data to differentiate between the different speakers it was hearing, you’d be wrong… it doesn’t stop there. Not only does it watch, listen, capture information about people it successfully identifies, it then stores this data in user profiles. Directly from the patent:

“the system may analyze audio and visual data and store information in a user profile…”

Google even describes some examples of the data it may want to collect and store, further explaining the data would be used to serve content that is more relevant to the user:

  • User’s social networks
  • Social actions or activities
  • Profession
  • User preferences
  • Current location

My reaction when reading this? Awesome!

What’s your reaction? Today’s Google searches at are already able to identify this type of information and store it in your Google Account history to improve performance and features, but that won’t stop some people from feeling paranoid. This patent is open ended and far reaching; I’m sure plenty of freedom fighters have already rushed to the comments in defense of our civil liberties and protection of our privacy.

Ok Google… stop reading my lips

There are often two opposing camps in the privacy debate:

  1. If you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have to worry
  2. Private life should be private. After all, what happens if Google gets hacked, or shares my info with law enforcement, or people with access to this information abuse their privileges?

Regardless to which camp you belong, Google has made it clear in their patent that these settings will be optional, allowing the user to choose whether or not their personal information is stored:

“For situations in which the systems discussed here collect personal information about users, or may make use of personal information, the users may be provided with an opportunity to control whether programs or features collect personal information”

Notice the users “may” be provided with- it’s not necessarily guaranteed. They also mention anonymizing data so that they can still collect it in aggregate without connection to personally identifiable information.

Patents serve to protect intellectual property, not as an operating guide, so critiques in advance of a formal Google announcement should be hypothetical. Google would attempt to address privacy concerns once implementing, and if overlooked, they’d be sure to face backlash.

What type of backlash? Probably the type Microsoft faced earlier last year, leading up to the launch of the Xbox One and Kinect. The main issue? Kinect was always listening, always watching, and you couldn’t turn it off. Sound familiar?

Microsoft later backtracked on that demand and most of the Kinect privacy hysteria has subsided. Dissenters likely purchased the Playstation 4 or Nintendo Wii U instead… and the world went on.

Whether the tech from this patent sees the light of day remains to be seen. If it does, privacy will certainly be an imperative issue to discuss, and I urge you to begin that discussion in the comments below. But I’m hopeful that Google would implement it responsibly. A more interesting discussion, I believe, is what this patent could mean for the future of Android devices.

How will Google use this data?

I love Google voice commands and it’s a feature I use daily. If you don’t, you really need to try it. It’s not perfect though and can be especially irritating when you’re not the only person in the room. At the very least, Google’s hopes of improving voice commands through visual indicators is promising.

This patent could mean much more than voice search improvements and its parallels with Kinect aren’t only in the privacy department. When most people think “Android” they think “smartphone” but Google’s scope is much broader and motives more sweeping. The “detecting the end of a user question” patent may feature a mobile phone in its illustrations, but it explicitly mentions computers, web cams, and other types of video and audio equipment that can collect information from what seems like a much larger and more physically static area than is likely with your phone.

Three obvious places (beyond smartphones and laptops) where Google could awesomely employ these features to create stunning new experiences:

  • Android TV
  • Android Auto
  • Android @Home

Television is still in the stone ages, begging to be revolutionized. Google’s initial attempt – Google TV – failed quite miserably, but they’ve since announced Android TV. In its current alpha form it’s a direct competitor to products and services like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Netflix, but it could be so much more. Advanced voice operation that smartly “lives” with you and the people in your house could make the difference between a cheap set top box and truly next generation multimedia solutions. At the ground level, consider an Android TV that greatly improves upon the voice functionality already found on Xbox and PS4.

The auto industry hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past few decades, either. Google isn’t waiting two decades for their self-driving cars to become a reality, they’re launching consumer vehicles with Android built-in later this year through Android Auto. What interesting experiences, apps, and games could Google create by knowing who is in the car, where each person is sitting, when each person is talking, and what they’re each saying? That’s a challenge I’m sure developers would love to tackle.

Then we’ve got the ever-cliche, George Jetson style “home connectivity” vision. We’ve been hearing about and seeing Android appliances since 2010, but even with the advent of Android @Home, truly connected homes have made few inroads into your typical homes. Google has shown a recommitment to home connectivity after buying Nest for $3.2 Billion. Being able to communicate with your home, hands-free and with great accuracy, could be the missing link in helping the connected home emerge as the next cultural revolution.

Creepy? Awesome? Or both?

The three main takeaways from this article (and Google’s patent):

  1. This could help immediately improve Google Voice Search
  2. Extending the idea could revolutionize voice commands across many devices
  3. There will be no lack of privacy concerns

Using visual queues and pairing them with audio queues is a brilliant way to improve an already wonderful product, but is capturing video, listening to voices, watching lips, identifying real people, and correlating it with personally identifiable information going further than you want your relationship with Google to go? Let us know in the comments!

Note: the term “active watching” is not used by Google in this patent. They do, however, call the existing audio functionality “active listening”. I’m using the term “active watching” for this article as a logical extension of an already understood and well accepted concept. In reality, I’d hope Google would announce this feature using a term that seems less intrusive, such as “active aware” or “always aware” (which could include both audio and video).

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Motorola Moto 360 review Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:23:15 +0000 Moto 360 DSC06937

When it comes to new tech, wearables like smartwatches have landed themselves in a unique position. While everyone agrees that an aesthetically pleasing smartphone or tablet can be seen as a bonus, it’s not mandatory. These devices spend the majority of their day tucked away out of view inside our pockets, backpacks, or hidden behind protective cases. But because smartwatches are actually worn, they’re just as much a fashion accessory as they are a piece of tech. This could be why Google Glass (at least in its current form) may never hit the mainstream and why tech heads were chomping at the bit over the newest kid on the smartwatch block: the Motorola Moto 360.

Like a girl at a Justin Bieber concert, it seemed like the tech community was eager to award the Moto 360 the distinguished honor of taking their Android Wear virginity based on looks alone. But underneath the chamfered glass and aluminum, is there more to the 360? Or is its primary success merely as an expensive piece of eye candy? We’ll answer all these questions and more in our Motorola Moto 360 review.

Design / Build quality

Moto 360 DSC06958

After visiting Motorola’s all new HQ in Chicago, we literally got a full tour of the facilities as Motorola employees showed us every step that went into making the Moto 360, from design, to early prototypes, manufacturing, and the final gorgeous product you see today. Having seen all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that went into making the 360, we have to admit, we appreciate the watch a little more than we would have otherwise.

So by now, we get it: the Moto 360 is round. It’s the most defining characteristic of the smartwatch and one that — at least when pitted against the current crop of Android Wear devices — sets it apart from the pack. You’ll notice Motorola has been careful to avoid calling the 360 a “smartwatch.” Instead, Motorola chooses the term “modern timepiece,” a fancy way of saying it’s the traditional round watch you’re all used to, only smarter (you know, a smartwatch).

At first glance it appears as if the Moto 360 is floating on the watch strap and, like any other fashion accessory (smart or not), reactions to hockey puck-design have proven to be somewhat polarizing. Some will say it’s the sexiest smartwatch they’ve ever laid eyes on, while others will say it’s something better suited for the ice rink. Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying the Moto 360 at least looks expensive.

Moto 360 DSC06955

On the face, you’ll find Gorilla Glass 3 raised ever so slightly from its brushed metal frame. The glass uses chamfered edges that cleverly reflect the light as to hide the side pixels of the LCD display when viewing the watch directly. All the distinct layers and pieces really give the watch some character, especially when looking at the lifeless design of rival devices like the LG G Watch. Even the single physical button on the side has a gold layer surrounding it, once again playing into that layered design aesthetic.

It’s these small details that help the watch appear less like it was slapped together in some Chinese factory and more like it was carefully assembled by a master craftsman. The watch looks premium and is further extended by Motorola’s choice in offering Chicago-sourced 100% genuine Horween leather wrist straps out of the box. There is no lower-end, rubber strapped sport “edition” or anything like that. This is the plate Motorola serves you and it’s delicious.

If leather doesn’t particularly suit your tastes, Motorola’s stock bands can be swapped for most standard 22mm bands, you’ll just have to make sure they’re thin enough to slide into the 360′s undercarriage. Motorola’s own official stainless steel link straps will be available later this year for an added $75.

Moto 360 Horween Leather strap DSC06984

Upon picking it up, the first thing you’ll notice is how absurdly light the Moto 360 is. For a second we actually thought there was some sort of mixup at the plant and we ended up with a dummy unit by mistake. After strapping the 360 on, the watch sat perfectly in the middle of our wrist and the leather was light and comfy. There’s was no chaffing or pulling of our vast abundance of arm hair when adjusting the strap. It was easy to forget the watch was even on our wrist.

The Moto 360 is IP67 rated and means you wont have to worry about getting the watch wet while vigorously washing your hands everyday, but if you plan on jumping in the pool or hitting some waves at the beach, it’s best to leave it somewhere dry.



Moto 360 DSC06981

There’s no denying the Moto 360′s body is a full 360-degrees round, but the same can’t be said for its display. At 320×290 (205ppi) resolution, the watch is almost perfectly round save for a small black bezel along the bottom which houses the ambient light sensor and the watch’s “display drivers.” Although the circular display can sometimes cutoff UI elements along the sides, the added screen real estate actually allows the 360 to display more words per line when compared to the LG G Watch.

Out of all the Android Wear devices, the Moto 360′s display is definitely the brightest, acting as a small flash light if for some reason you aren’t using the auto adjusting brightness setting. Speaking of which, the 360 is currently the only Android Wear device to come with an ambient light sensor, something that takes away the hassle of having to manually adjust the display. This is especially convenient when traveling from a dimly lit room out into daylight where the 360 was still tough to read (like most LCD devices), but at least it auto adjusted the brightness accordingly.

Moto 360 direct sunlight DSC06956

Something we should note, the review unit we were provided with actually came with 2-dead pixels. Although we’d normally dismiss it as a fluke, we’ve been hearing reports from other 360 owners experiencing similar on their units, even after getting it replaced. You might want to check yours out of the box (it’s easier to see with an all black background) and make sure you purchase from a reputable retailer with a convenient return policy. You know, just to be safe.

Like on our LG G Watch, we also found the display on the Moto 360 wasn’t always the most responsive. Often times, you’ll find selecting UI elements on the display requires multiple taps because the first tap didn’t register. It’s annoying and interesting that we can now confirm it happening on two separate Android Wear devices, so this isn’t necessarily a Moto 360 thing.

Power button

Power button DSC06983

The Moto 360 is actually one of the few Android Wear devices to come equipped with an actual physical button. Located on its side, we thought it odd how it primarily acts as yet another way of waking the display on the watch if for some reason tapping the display was just too easy. We originally thought this was a conscious decision by Motorola simply to keep the device looking traditional but we soon learned the button serves a another purpose: long pressing the button actually acts as a shortcut to the device’s settings. This normally requires a ridiculous amount of effort (tap to wake, tap to voice search, scroll down to settings, tap again to select).

Another bonus is when turned off, you can even — brace yourself — power the device on. I know, your mind is blown, right? Although this might not sound like such a big deal, the LG G Watch has no buttons and once powered down, requires you to dock and connect the device to its charger (or use a paperclip to press the tiny button on its back) before it can be booted up again. Let me tell you, there has been more than a few occasions where I was rushing out the door, only to realize I forgot to boot up the G Watch, forcing me to go about my day with a watch I couldn’t power on. For having the foresight to see the convenience in something as simply as an easily accessible power button… for that, I tip my hat to you, Motorola.

Heart rate monitor

Moto 360 back heart rate sensor DSC06964

The 360 isn’t just a pretty face. The watch also packs a few tricks up its sleeve that you can’t find in competing smartwatches (like the LG G Watch). For all you fitness types, Motorola threw in a tiny heart rate monitor located on the bottom of the device with a glowing green LED (see above pic).

This hardware feature is supported by Motorola’s own specialty apps and while great for tracking your daily fitness goals, is actually quite finicky when trying to get an accurate reading on the go. We found that you have to remain almost completely still to check your heart rate, so you’ll need to jump off the treadmill to get an update on your progress. We’ll go over both Heart Rate and Heart Activity apps more during our software portion of the review.

Wireless Charging

Moto 360 charging dock DSC06925

Because manufacturers want to keep their smartwatches looking as svelte as possible, just about every Android Wear device — with the exception of the Moto 360 — feature their own proprietary methods of charging. This can make it difficult in the event you forget to pack a charger or, heaven forbid, lose your charger and have to pay through the nose for a first-party replacement.

The Moto 360 on the other hand features wireless charging. Since this is using the Qi wireless charging standard, it’s the same kind of wireless charging found on many popular Android handsets. This means if you or someone else already has a wireless charger for their phone, you also have another means of charging your Moto 360.

Moto 360 wireless charging DSC06797

When it comes to Motorola’s supplied wireless charging dock, it’s actually quite small and features a smooth, soft touch finish. Since the dock faces outward, it’s meant to act as a bedside clock when charging the Moto 360 overnight. Because the Moto 360′s battery is so small, it won’t take more than an hour to reach a full charge, giving you plenty of time to charge while performing your normal morning ritual.

Moto 360 portable wireless charger  DSC06851

For those instances when you happen to be away from a wall outlet, don’t forget it’s possible to power the charger using one of the many portable battery chargers on the market. We paired our Moto X with Motorola’s tiny Power Pack Micro for a quick charging solution on-the-go. Surprisingly, it made for a nice mini charging station without all the wires or bulky battery packs.


Moto 360 DSC06951

Inside the Moto 360, you’ll find an aging single-core TI OMAP3630 running the show. It’s by no means a powerhouse (not that it needs to be), just an odd choice by Motorola given the fact that rival OEMs all went with the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 400.

While actions are executed relatively quick, it’s the smoothness of the UI that suffers from the former Motorola DROID X SoC. That may not sound like a huge deal — and things have gotten smoother since the latest 4.4W.1 update — we have a feeling that over time, the OMAP will ultimately hold the smartwatch back and in some cases, it already does. Check out our battery life results below.

Battery life

Moto 360 Battery DSC06823

By now you may have noticed that battery life reports are all over the place. Since the latest software update, I’ve been able to consistently hit 20+ hours with the Moto 360 and its tiny 320mAh battery, but that wasn’t always the case.

Elsewhere, I’m still seeing reports of 12-15 hours and all we can do is scratch our heads, wondering why the experience differs so greatly person to person. It could have something to do with half-baked software, poor internal components, or even a shoddy Bluetooth connection with the paired handset. But the bottom line: I consistently got a full waking day, which passes the minimum expectations for these first generation smartwatches.

Unlike its Android Wear rivals, the Moto 360 comes with “Ambient screen” mode turned off right out of the box. Ambient mode is a fancy way of saying the display is always on, so you can quickly glance at the time without having to lift your hand and face the watch towards you (or press the physical button). While it only makes sense that battery life would suffer as a result, it’s nowhere near as big of a problem on other Android Wear devices as it is on the Moto 360.

With ambient mode on, you’re looking at barely 10 to 12 hours of battery life, a stark contrast to the 20+ hours with other devices like the LG G Watch. Again, we have a feeling the culprit is the Old-Man Jenkins OMAP which isn’t anywhere near optimized to run in a low power state like the Snapdragon 400. Simply put, it’s a shame and probably the only thing keeping the Moto 360 from unfettered greatness.


Moto 360 disconnected DSC06929

I’ve seen more than a few reports of Bluetooth connections dropping in and out, and where I’ve only experienced this once or twice since my 2 weeks with the device, it could be due to any number of causes. Outside interference, the connected phone, the OS, the Android Wear app — who the heck knows. The bright side is it only takes a simple disconnecting/reconnecting of my watch using the Android Wear app to fix the problem.

I was hesitant to mention this in our review because I’ve had similar experiences with Google Glass and other Bluetooth devices. Again, it’s tough to figure out exactly what is to blame — the Moto 360, smartphone, or something else entirely — but thankfully it seems this was largely remedied in the latest 4.4W.1 update.

What’s missing

Because the Moto 360 is a first generation device, of course there are going to be some things Motorola left out whether to add for its inevitable sequel, or because they simply aren’t supported. We’re not going to hold it against them — especially given battery life is already at the bare minimum of what we would deem acceptable — but the Sony SmartWatch 3 has a GPS sensor, while the upcoming Apple Watch features NFC for quick mobile payments.

And although it’s never been discussed, we also wouldn’t mind seeing an IR blaster for quick universal remote functionality. Just file this under Motorola Moto 360 (2015) features we would like to see.


Android Wear

Android Wear reservation

As one of Google’s flagship Android Wear devices (it was announced back during Google I/O alongside the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live), we’re sure by now you know everything there is to know about the modified Android OS that powers the watch. One of its main functions is simply quick access to Google Voice Search and if you’re curious to see all the information it can deliver, check out our video of 40+ voice commands you can do with Android Wear.

Aside from its handy Google Search functions, the primary goal for Android Wear is not to act like a tiny smartphone, but more of an extension of the notifications already found on your Android-powered smartphone. We don’t have statistics, but in our own experiences we’d say that anywhere between 80 to 90% of notifications you receive throughout the day don’t require an actual response, or perhaps just a quick one.

This is why Android Wear exists. Instead of pulling out your phone every 5 seconds to view a notification — which can add up, slowly diminishing your smartphone’s battery life — you can briefly check your watch instead. If something needs addressing, you can perform quick actions like a voice reply, delete, or “open on phone” and quickly get back to whatever it was you were doing.

Android Wear voice reply action

This also applies to apps that run on Android Wear, which are meant to have low attention costs and, in most cases, are installed simply by downloading its full Android counterpart from the Google Play Store. There aren’t too many Android Wear apps at the moment, but the list is definitely growing. As the platform continues to grow and evolve, expect these mini apps to become more helpful in the future (our favorite is Google Maps which shows turn-by-turn directions on your watch). For those worried about the here and now, outside of quick notifications, Android Wear’s usefulness is limited.

There are some that feel like Android Wear isn’t quite ready for prime time and in some ways, we’d have to agree. The UI isn’t all that intuitive (we like Google Glass’ timeline UI much better) and it’s clear Google still has their work cut out for them. But in terms of overall philosophy, Google is definitely on the right track by using Android Wear as a way to alleviate the heavy attention costs associated with using a smartphone OS (a stark contrast to Apple’s approach with their smartwatch).


Android Wear app

Setting up the Moto 360 is a snap and involves downloading the Android Wear companion app from the Google Play Store. After that, you simply pair up your watch upon first boot with your smartphone and you’re ready to go. Because, chances are, you have a few apps on your phone that have the same general function — multiple note apps for instance — you can specify which apps you’d like to launch by default when feeding your watch with voice commands.

If fiddling around in your watches settings is too difficult, you can also adjust these inside the Android Wear app by pressing the cog icon at the top.

Motorola apps and watch faces

Moto 360 heart activity app DSC06969

It’s true Google forbids Android Wear manufacturers from adding their own UI skins, but that doesn’t mean they can’t add their own specialty apps. In the case of the Moto 360, Motorola has added their own apps, watch faces, and even a bedside clock mode that displays while the watch is charging.

Motorola Connect

Using the Motorola Connect app (yes, you’ll need to download another app), you can customize the look of the Moto 360′s round watch faces, update your wellness profile, or view the last known location of the connected device (in this case, our Moto 360). The app actually works for a variety of Motorola’s Bluetooth connected devices like the Power Pack Micro and we’re guessing the Moto Hint will soon be added as well.

Although the app is now available for a variety of Android devices, the Motorola Connect PC Extension (which allows you to send receive/send SMS from your computer) is still a Moto-only affair.

The Moto 360′s Heart Activity app monitors your heart rate throughout the day, letting you know once you’ve hit 30 minutes of light exercise. Of course, fitness buffs likely wont bother with this and that’s fine. The app is more or less geared to couch potatoes like myself who want to live a little healthier, but need something to help track it.


Moto 360 DSC06941

After its initial unveiling, most everyone was ready to declare the 360 the undisputed king of Android Wear based purely on design. Turns out, there’s more to a device that just its looks. By now you know the the Moto 360 isn’t the “perfect smartwatch” and as a first generation device, we never really expected it to be.

Thankfully, reports of dismal battery life weren’t as terrible as some made it out to be, the the Moto 360 has proven it has the chops to be a successful contender in the smartwatch device segment. Now we have round watch faced competition from LG and Samsung looming around the corner, there’s no question Motorola’s window of opportunity is closing fast.

There’s all these other little things that make up a pleasant experience in consumers devices, hardware features you don’t really think about at first. The convenience of wireless charging, a simple power button — sure the Moto 360 has its share of short comings, but in life and tech you always make a trade off. The Moto 360 is no different, but whether it was for the better or worse is ultimately up to you to decide.

The Moto 360 nails it in the looks and comfort department, while offering premium build materials and hardware features like ambient light sensor and heart rate monitor the other guys aren’t offering. Add this to the fact it supports wireless charging — a common standard amongst Android devices — and you have all the makings of a winner.

At $250 for the leather strapped models, we can’t help but feel the Moto 360 is offered at a reasonable price. With features and a design that bests other Android Wear offerings, it’s not a bad deal. Especially when you consider the Apple Watch is retailing for $350 just for the base model in contrast to the Moto 360 which, we feel, has superior design and functionality. You can buy the Motorola Moto 360 from Best Buy, Google Play Store, or direct from Motorola.

Looking ahead

We have a feeling the mad push for Android Wear devices aren’t about to slow down, with bigger and badder smartwatches are just around the corner. Now that the Apple Watch has a general launch date, expect sequels for all these watches to arrive around then (or earlier) with more features and better internals than today’s models.

While we won’t fault anyone for passing up the current crop of wearables, tech addicts like myself have grown accustomed to the growing pains associated with first generation devices. Nobody ever said living on the bleeding edge of tech was easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


  • Looks and feels great
  • Wireless charging
  • Auto dim display
  • Power button
  • Leather out of the box


  • Small battery
  • Underpowered, non-energy efficient processor
  • There’s an ambient mode, but you don’t wanna use it
  • Most expensive Android Wear smartwatch

Final Score: 4 out of 5

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Moto G (2nd gen) Review Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:35:38 +0000 moto-g-front-hero

The Moto G is a rare beast: a budget-priced phone from one of the most respected players in the mobile industry. Motorola doesn’t just stamp their name on any old handset, and it’s more apparent than ever with the 2014 refresh to the company’s best selling smartphone of all time. While the Moto G makes some sacrifices to reach its $179 retail price, it more than makes up for them with its combination of pure Android and attractive design.

Build & Design


Little has changed year-over-year in the design of the Moto G. At a glance, it features the same rounded edges and curved back that imbue the handset with a subtle classiness you might expect from a phone twice its price. The design language is borrowed from the Moto X (both the 2013 and 2014 iterations), though the build differs. Where the second generation Moto X introduces aluminum construction and accents, the Moto G retains its plastic frame. Still, the phone feels solid in a way that we’ve come to expect from Motorola device, regardless of the materials used.

The Moto G has increased in size and weight ever so slightly. The phone is a hair over 4mm wider at 70.7mm and grows by 11mm in height to 141.5mm. Weight sees a barely noticeable increase from 143g to 149g. What hasn’t changed is the handset’s thickness, which remains 6.0mm at its thinnest edge increasing to 11mm at the peak of its curved back.

That curve, by the way, serves a dual purpose. It not only give Moto some flashier thickness figures to throw around, but it also creates an inviting feeling to the hand. It adds an ergonomic shape that keeps the Moto G from feeling big or unwieldy. Bezel snobs will also be happy to know that Motorola has once again done their best to increase the overall screen-to-body-size ratio.


Buyers are given two finish options when buying the Moto G (white or black), but Motorola has extended a touch of the personalization available for their pricier Moto X to its cheaper counterpart. This includes a replaceable back that can be swapped out for a variety of colored Motorola Shells. New to the 2014 edition are Motorola Flip Shells, which provide a folio-style screen cover for added protection.



As for that screen? The Moto G’s display has increased in size — quite literally the biggest change from first generation devices — but not resolution. The result is a display with a lower pixel density but more real estate for enjoying apps, games, movies, and more. At 5 inches (half an inch larger than the previous models’s 4.5-inch display) and 1280×720 pixels, the Moto G lacks the flashy resolution other devices of a similar size employ, but it’s hard to argue with what you get for the price (a recurring theme when reviewing the handset).


While top-tier Android devices move into the realm of Quad HD, let’s not forget that the Moto G’s resolution is on par with that of Apple’s iPhone 6, a phone with a top-of-the-line price and marketed as such. 720p might seem like old hat for Android users. It might even seem like a cop out. It still looks sharp and clear, however, and leaves little room for complaint.



As a low-priced handset aiming for a premium experience, the Moto G’s hardware is a bit of a mixed bag. Whereas Motorola went bigger with the display, the Snapdragon 400 processor within the handset remains identical to the previous generation. This is almost unheard of in the world of Android devices where we might at least expect a bump in clock speed or other performance factors. Instead we see the same 1.2GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 305 GPU as last year.

That’s not necessarily a knock on performance. The Snapdragon 400 gets the job done efficiently and effectively (a stock build of Android 4.4 helps), but as the latest handsets move toward Snapdragon 801 and 805 platforms, it would seem logical to at least see a jump to Snapdragon 600. We digress, though.

Motorola instead chose to focus on feature-focused hardware updates for the Moto G, the big two being the addition of front-facing stereo speakers and a MicroSD card slot. The latter allows users to expand on the 8GB or 16GB of internal storage the Moto G carries with up to an additional 32GB of removable storage.

Some potential buyers will be disappointed to learn that Motorola did not introduce an LTE-ready Moto G out of the gate, nor is the phone compatible with CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint. With the original Moto G, Motorola eventually released versions of the device that addressed both of these shortcomings. We might expect them to do the same here.

As is, the handset is outfitted with GSM radios capable of HSPA+ speeds on AT&T and T-Mobile’s network. Globally, a dual SIM version of the device is compatible with a broad range of GSM networks and service providers.



One aspect of the Moto G Android enthusiasts are sure to find appealing is the decision to go with a “pure” infall of Google’s KitKat operating system. Officially Android 4.4.4 out of the box, the Moto G benefits from the same software capabilities available to owners of higher-end Nexus and Google Play Edition handsets.

Motorola has included a few helpful software benefits, however, for Moto G users. These include Motorola Migrate, a service that makes transitioning from anything from a feature phone to an iPhone extremely easy. Just a few taps will transfer contacts, photos, and other stored data. Motorola Assist puts a filter on incoming calls and alerts when you are sleeping or in an important meeting. Motorola Alert helps notify friends and family of your whereabouts, whether you are arranging a meet up or experiencing an emergency.

One awesome feature we don’t see enough in smartphones is the inclusion of FM radio software (to go along with a built-in FM tuner). Using wired headphones as an antenna, the Moto G can pick up and playback local FM feeds without the need for a WiFi or cellular connection. A little more old school than Spotify, but nifty nonetheless.


Another software/hardware combination feature that comes in handy is Trusted Devices, which allows the Moto G to operate without password protection provided it is in range of a “trusted” Bluetooth device. This could be a headset, a computer, or even a Bluetooth speaker. When the Moto G is paired to the device, waking the phone skips the lock screen and gets you right into the action.

Beyond these additions, the Moto G has access to Google services like Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, Chrome, and more. With a stock Android implementation, there is no confusion between these apps and competing services that manufacturers and carriers typically include. It also enables the handset to take full advantage of Google Now’s predictive info cards and helpful voice actions.

While on the subject of stock Android, Motorola is guaranteeing at least one version upgrade beyond what comes installed on the phone. This means when Google has Android L ready to ship, Moto G owners will be on the short list to receive it. And while they are only promising one update, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Motorola support the phone for at least a few more.  It really doesn’t get much better than what Motorola is doing here.



The Moto G sees an improved 8MP camera as part of its updates as well as the introduction of a few software features (and one more hardware goody). The camera itself has improved with an f2.0 aperture and also includes LED flash and 4X digital zoom. Shooting modes include slow motion video, burst shot, HDR, and panorama.

moto-g-photo-sample-2 moto-g-photo-sample-1 moto-g-photo-sample-4 moto-g-photo-sample-5

Users have options when it comes to actually capturing a photo. By default, tapping the screen will focus the image on the area of interest. A flip of a setting enables One-Tap Capture, which will focus and snap a shot at the touch of a finger. The Moto G can also take advantage of a hardware shutter button (a secondary function of the phone’s volume rocker).

Image quality is solid, and 720p video is smooth. We’ve seen better on other smartphones, but the full package is impressive for a device of this class.


Motorola promises “all day battery life” for the Moto G, and the phone’s 2070mAh battery certainly has the qualifications on paper. This is where a sub-1080p display, Snapdragon 400 processor, and a lack of LTE come in handy, as their power draw is theoretically reduced.

The battery itself is the same size as the power cell of the first generation handset, and it did well enough in our testing. It is reasonable to expect the phone to get similar performance in this spec compared to last year’s model, but mileage will vary by usage. “All day battery life” really depends on how you define “all day.” A single charge will certainly get you from sun up to sun down, but cracking the 24-hour mark might be a rare occurrence.

The Bottom Line


It would be easy to recommend the Moto G as the phone to buy for those on a budget. Saying that, however, sells the handset a little short. The Moto G is a perfectly respectable phone to buy for almost anyone who was already planning on spending $200 up front for a phone with a required two-year contract. In fact, at $180 said shopper will save money and be free of any sort of carrier obligations or restrictions on when he or she can upgrade their phone.

The Moto G most certainly is not a phone designed for folks seeking a powerhouse along the lines of the Galaxy S5 or LG G3, but for users who can avoid falling prey to the hype of octa-core processors and Quad HD displays, it does everything you need and more. The decision to stick with a stock install of Android 4.4 adds even more appeal to the Moto G, making it a great choice for fans of the pure “Google Experience.”

Wrap the solid specs and powerful software in a quality build that not only looks great but offers room for personalization via its replaceable back cover and the Moto G is even harder to deny. Did we mention all of this comes at a price of only $180?

The Good

  • Stock Android 4.4 with guaranteed upgrade
  • Solid, attractive build with customizable back
  • $179 off-contract

The Bad

  • No LTE version or CDMA support
  • No upgrade from first generation’s Snapdragon 400 SoC

The Bottom Line: 4/5

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Battery life test: Moto 360 vs LG G Watch Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:40:38 +0000 Moto 360 vs LG G Watch DSC06818

Although beauty is often said to lay in the eye of the beholder, there’s no denying the raw sex appeal of the Motorola Moto 360. Motorola did a great job at making their first Android Wear entry as svelte as possible. In fact, according to your own votes, many of you find the 360 the best looking smartwatch to date, even when compared against upcoming wearables like the Apple Watch or ASUS ZenWatch.

When the Moto 360 launched late last week, many of you were ready to throw your money at the screen as soon as stock became available. But early reports of less than stellar battery life may have tarnished the smartwatch’s desirability for some of you (our own Joe Fedewa can attest to this). Thanks to an all around smaller 320mAh battery, we didn’t expect the Moto 360 to last quite as long as rival offerings from LG or Samsung, both of which feature larger 400mAh batteries. We knew this going in. But because of the 360′s unique ambient light sensor which allows the watch to automatically control the brightness of the display according to its surroundings, we were willing to give the 360 the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, we wanted to settle this once and for all and after putting the device through our own 2-day battery life test, we’re now ready to share those results with all of you. For some, the results may be surprising and for others, some relief.

How we performed our tests

Before we start let’s cover a little background information on exactly how we performed our test. For the first day, we connected our Moto 360 to our Moto X (2nd Gen), while the LG G Watch was connected to our HTC One M8. Both handsets are running the same apps and since both have active cellular service, push the same amount of notifications to their connected watches. Both devices were running the same 4.4W firmware on day 1, then updated to 4.4W.1 on day 2.

Since this was more or less an endurance test, we didn’t perform any voice searches or interact with the watches much more than viewing notifications and checking the time every so often. Since both watches were attached to the same arm, both would activate their displays simultaneously when viewing the time or peeking at notifications To keep everything fair, on the second day, we simply swapped the connected devices and started over. This, we hope, helped keep things fair and the margin of error to a minimum.

Here’s what we found:


As you can see, concerns with the Moto 360 not lasting a full day are, for the most part (at least in our test) completely unwarranted. The watch has consistently taken us through an entire work day (8 hours), with more than a little juice left over when we laid our heads to sleep at night (17 hours). Since there was plenty of juice left in both devices, both tests saw each watch left unplugged overnight. Although essentially in standby mode with no movement, they continued to receive notifications throughout the night.

We will note that despite their low power state, the Moto 360 saw the same discharge rate as during the day, a full 20% decrease over 9 hours. The LG G Watch? Barely 11%. Upon seeing this, we have strong suspicions the dramatic difference in battery life between the two devices has more to do with the processors employed in each than actual battery capacity.

As a refresher, the LG G Watch uses a newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor manufactured using a low power 28nm process. We’re not sure exactly why, but for whatever reason Motorola sought fit to go with a single-core TI OMAP 3 processor — similar to the one used in 2010′s Motorola DROID X — using a far more power hungry 45 nm process.

So, what of those reports of “10-hour battery life?” We will note that although ambient display mode — which keeps the display always powered on and dimly lit — taxes the battery on both devices, the Moto 360 saw an incredibly huge dip to about 10 hours of battery life when active (the G Watch, not nearly as much). It’s a good thing Motorola keeps ambient display mode turned off out of the box — different from the LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live where ambient mode is on by default — and if you have a Moto 360, you’re going to want to keep it off. Always.


Moto 360 wireless charging DSC06797

Nobody wants to have to charge yet another device every night, but with a solid average of 20+ hours of battery life, you shouldn’t be all too concerned with charging the device at any point during waking hours (only while you sleep). In the event you should forget to charge your watch before bed, the good news is that because of the teensy, tiny little batteries in these smartwatches, charging the Moto 360 is super quick. It’s possible to have a fully charged watch in less than an hour and you can do that during your morning rituals.

All-in-all, we’d still consider the Moto 360 the absolute bare minimum of smartwatch battery life. Keep in mind that as Android Wear progresses and more features are rolled into the OS, there’s a pretty good chance battery life could be further impacted by future updates. Google already said music streaming over Bluetooth was coming in the near future, along with custom watch faces and more. But in its current state, the Moto 360 will do you just fine and looks great too.

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Everything you need to know about the Moto G (2nd Gen) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:03:39 +0000 moto-g-white-front

The Moto G might not be the flashiest new device unveiled by Motorola last week, but it holds an important place in the company’s product line. Priced to sell, the Moto G offers something almost no other Android phone can: solid hardware from a trusted manufacturer for below $200 off-contract. Along with the Moto X, Motorola has updated the Moto G for 2014. Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s new?


Motorola has updated their Moto G for 2014 in several ways, but the most obvious is a larger screen. Whereas the first generation Moto G has a display measuring 4.5 inches, the latest model sports a 5-inch 720p screen. Naturally, the increase in display size makes for a slightly larger handset with a bit more heft to it. Many other aspects of the phone have remained the same, including an identical Snapdragon 400 SoC and Adreno 305 graphics as well as 2070mAh battery. One spec that did see a bump was the Moto G’s camera, which increased from 5MP to 8MP.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the price. Buyers can still grab the Moto G for the appealing off-contract price of $179.99. We repeat: this is the price of the phone outright without the aid of carrier subsidies or other discounts.



We’ve already briefly discussed the updated specs of the Moto G above. Below, find a complete rundown of the low-cost handsets technical details.

  • Android 4.4.4 (KitKat)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 450MHz GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB & 16GB versions
  • Supports up to 32GB microSD
  • Dimensions: Height: 141.5mm Width: 70.7mm
  • Weight: 149 grams
  • 5.0” 720p IPS HD display at 720×1280 (294 ppi)
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • 2070 mAh battery (mixed usage up to 24 hours)
  • Rear Camera: 8 MP (4:3) 6 MP (16:9) (LED flash, 4x digital zoom, HDR, panorama, burst mode, slow motion)
  • Front Camera: 2 MP + 720p HD video
  • Water repellency
  • Micro USB, 3.5mm headset jack
  • FM Radio
  • Dual SIM with Intelligent Calling

Moto G carrier compatibility

The Moto G is currently available in two variants, a global GSM model and a US GSM model. The latter is compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile’s GSM and HSPA+ networks, though all variants of the phone lacks support for LTE. Motorola released a 4G LTE version of the original Moto G several months after the device initially launched. The company did not comment on potential availability of an LTE-ready version of the 2014 Moto G.

Likewise, Motorola did not announce a CDMA-compatible version of the second generation Moto G, so Sprint and Verizon customers are out of luck for the time being.

US GSM Model:

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 1700 (AWS), 1900 MHz)

Global GSM Model:

  • GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)

Unboxing, Hands-on, & more

We’ve already had our chance to check out the new Moto G firsthand, and we came away impressed with what Motorola was able to accomplish for the price. See our initial hands-on and unboxing videos below. We were able to get a decent feel for the handset, and Moto has gone above and beyond what we saw with the first generation. We’ll have a full review in the coming days; stay tuned.

Motorola Shells & Accessories


Unlike the Moto X, the Moto G is not privy to the straight-from-the-factory customization options available by way of Moto Maker. Like the last generation of Moto G handsets, however, Motorola is making available a variety of interchangeable back covers, including new folio covers that feature added screen protection. These backs start at $14.95 for the standard colored shell while the flip shell model sells for $29.99.


The Moto G is available now for $179.99 off-contract. It can be purchased direct from Motorola’s site. We might expect Motorola to launch both CDMA-compatible and 4G LTE-ready versions of the handset somewhere down the road. It took a few months for these secondary editions of the first generation Moto G to launch, and we have no reason to believe the same won’t be true in this case.

Will you buy the Moto G 2014?

Moto G_Hero Lifestyle Shot

The Moto G has quietly become Motorola’s top-selling smartphone of all time thanks in no small part to its ridiculously affordable pricing and global-ready carrier compatibility. The Moto G launched alongside the Moto 360 smartwatch on Friday, September 5th, but didn’t receive quite the same attention. While the Moto 360 quickly went on backorder, the Moto G is ready for the taking. With solid specs and a tempting price tag, is this your next Android phone?

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Everything you need to know about the new Moto X (2014) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:14:21 +0000 moto-x-front-whole

Last year Motorola released the Moto X to much fanfare. It was the perfect size, ran an almost stock version of Android, and could be customized with a plethora of colors and materials. People who own the original Moto X really love it, so creating a successful sequel is important for Motorola. Enter the new Moto X. Same name, but new in almost every way. This is everything you need to know about it.

What’s New?

motox compare

Motorola decided to keep the same name for their new flagship, but this Moto X is completely different from last year’s. The screen has been bumped up to 5.2-inches and 1080p resolution. The camera improved to 13MP. A more powerful processor has been thrown in. The battery is slightly bigger. Motorola even added more materials to Moto Maker.

Another thing that has changed is the price, but for the better. The new Moto X only costs $99 with a new contract, compared to the $199 price tag on the original. One reason for this price cut may be the closing of Motorola’s Texas factory. “Made in America” is a great tagline, but it makes things more expensive. So while the name may be the same, you can see why this is an all-new Moto X. A flagship that can compete with Samsung, HTC, and LG’s big dogs.

Moto X Specs


We’ve discussed what makes the new Moto X different from last years model, but here are the nitty-gritty details.

  • 5.2-inch AMOLED display
  • 1920×1080 resolution
  • 13MP camera with LED ring flash
  • 2MP front-camera
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of storage
  • 2300mAh battery
  • 5.54 x 2.85 x 0.39 inches
  • New Moto Maker materials: 4 colors of leather, more wood

Here are the specs put up against the best from Samsung, HTC, and LG:

Moto X S5 M8 G3 chart

Moto Maker


One of the big selling points of the original Moto X was Moto Maker. This handy online interface allowed users to choose colors, materials, and engravings for their device. This year, Moto Maker has been updated with a refreshed color palette and features new natural materials. Wood materials were added in 2013 and include Bamboo, Teak, Walnut and Ebony. The leather, a brand new material in 2014, comes in four colors: Natural, Cognac, Black, and Navy. There are thousands of combinations.

Moto X hands-on, unboxing, first impressions

On paper everything looks great so far, but what about the Moto X in real life. We were at Motorola’s private event in Chicago last week to get a bunch of one-on-one time with the new phone. Check out our hands-on, unboxing, and first impressions videos below to get a taste of what this phone looks and feels like.

Moto X Pricing & Availability

Now that we’ve got you salivating over this device you are probably wondering when you can get it. The new Moto X will be coming to countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia starting later this month. Moto X will be available for as low as $99.99 with a new two-year customer agreement on select carriers in the US. It will be available off-contract and unlocked in the US from $499.99 on

Will you buy the Moto X 2014?


Now that you know everything about the new Moto X it’s time to decide if you will be getting one. Are you impressed with the changes Motorola made? Do you wish they would have kept the size of the original? What is holding you back from buying it? Let us know in the comments and vote in the poll below!

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Apple Watch vs Moto 360 & Android Wear: the smart watch wars are just beginning to heat up Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:57:23 +0000 iWatch vs Moto 360

After a year of silence while all of their competitors have gotten moving on the smart watch arms race, Apple has finally decided to reveal their plans to launch a smart watch. Dubbed the Apple Watch, the device struts its stuff in typical Apple fashion: it aims to be beautiful, and Apple — as usual — feels like they’re the only ones who have done the smart watch “right.” Whether that’s accurate is a different story altogether and certainly remains to be seen. Let’s take a look at its design and some of its early features up against some of the latest Android Wear smart watches ahead of its early 2015 launch.

Apple Watch Design vs Moto 360 Design

GoldeEye watchface Moto 360

When Motorola set out to make their smart watch they weren’t satisfied with something that just worked. They wanted something beautiful, yet still every bit as functional as anything else. The use of metal outer bands for the watch body and genuine Horween leather for the wrist straps certainly do drive that vision home.


Even better are the steel band editions that will be made available in a couple of months’ time. The device looks like a fashionable accessory more than a child’s toy sitting on your wrist, and that’s probably what caused it to sell out so fast compared to the competition — turns out people care just as much about looks as they do its performance and features. It impressed the pants off us when we first unboxed it and got our first deep look at the thing, and that seems to be a consistent feeling throughout the tech world for anyone else lucky enough to have used one.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.19.07

For Apple’s bit, they naturally wanted to make sure the design for the Apple Watch was stunning. While they didn’t opt to go with a circular watch face, they did manage to create a squared form factor that looked about as nice and neat as anyone can ask for. It’s made from stainless steel that’s been polished quite well, and features a physical dial — something Apple refers to as the “Digital Crown” — that will be used to help you move through user interfaces without having to touch the display.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.04.22

Apple’s planning to offer many different wrist straps for the Apple Watch. So far they’ve announced leather, polymer, metal mesh and stainless steel options, though we’re not sure if you can select which one you prefer at checkout (nor are we certain any of these cost more than the others). All of this will come from three distinctive collections consisting of the base collection, the Watch collection and the Sport collection. It all looks pretty nice and it certainly contends for the “best looking smart watch” crown with the same tenacity that the Moto 360 does.

Apple Watch Display vs Moto 360 Display

Motorola made a pretty bold design statement with their Moto 360. While everyone was naturally inclined to use rectangular and squared displays for their smart watches, Motorola was the first to consider a circular form factor. It made it look and feel more like a smart watch, and it was the driving force behind everyone’s excitement for its arrival. LG has since matched Motorola’s form factor with their circular LG G Watch R, though everything else is still largely square.

Moto 360

Motorola’s Moto 360 officially clocks in at 1.56 inches and has a resolution of 320 x 290. It’s a bit odd on paper, but it all comes together nicely on a display that looks crisp and leaves plenty of room for displaying whatever it is you need it to display. Motorola caught a lot of flack for it not being fully circular — there’s an unseemly black strip on the bottom to hide ambient light sensors — but the end result is a lack of an ugly bezel and a form factor that puts the focus squarely on the display.

Apple didn’t go into too much detail about the size and resolution of the display for the Apple Watch, though they did drop the Retina name to speak about its clarity. It’s pretty much a given that Apple will use a display that’s just as sharp as any on the market. Apple also shares one key distinction with the Samsung Gear S — the display is flexible. Not sure that much means from a user-facing perspective, but I’m sure it had to be flexible in order for Apple to create the design they wanted.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.25.18

Interestingly enough, Apple also has a smaller model alongside it for those who want something a bit more petite. It looks the same and should have all the same features, but the smaller form factor is there for those who are turned off by the physical bulk of most smart watches.

The Apple Watch display is covered by sapphire to provide crystal clarity and durability. Apple’s display can also apparently tell the difference between a tap and a hard push as it’s pressure sensitive. Again, not sure what that would be useful for in the context of a smart watch but it’s neat anyway. We’ll be looking into the nitty gritty hard specs of the display as more details spill out, but it’s one area we’re sure Apple certainly won’t be losing in.

iOS on Apple Watch vs Android Wear

Android Wear, as you know, is the driving platform behind many of the most popular smart watches today. Like the phone and tablet counterpart, Android Wear is open and available for use by any manufacturer able and willing to make a smart watch.


At its core, the operating system is powered by Google Now, the search platform that delivers the information you need whenever  It works best when paired with an Android smartphone loaded up with apps that have Android Wear functionality built-in.

For instance, you could control music playback of Google Play Music using small controls on the smart watch. Navigating to Starbucks will bring the directions up on your wrist so you only need to glance at your watch instead of looking down at your phone (this is an area where Google Now would come in handy — searching for local Starbucks locations on your phone would likely automatically prompt you to navigate to the nearest one on your smart watch). Use voice to respond to messages or search for pertinent information.

LG G Watch Android Wear DSC06113

On watches like the Moto 360, heart rate monitor apps (loaded up at the OEMs’ discretion) and other health-related solutions will help you track workout information without much work on your part. It’s a pretty good mix of value-packed features added by OEMs and integration by the collection of apps already available in the vast Android ecosystem. Google set out to make a platform that wasn’t simply “Android Mini,” and it’s worked out quite well for them in the early going.

Thankfully Apple has decided to do the same with the Apple Watch. Instead of shrinking the iPhone user interface down to bite-sized goodness, they crafted a new take on it that puts emphasis on telling you the time, helping you track your fitness, helping you find your way around your city and more. At the center of it all will always be your favorite watch face telling you the time, and getting to apps and notifications are only a quick swipe away from that initial “home screen,” of sorts.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.23.50

Siri is loaded up to help you search for information and reply to messages in a non-cumbersome way. The health apps will use the watch’s four LED sensors, accelerometer and gyroscope to give you updates on your heart rate, the amount of steps you’ve taken and other information relevant to a good workout. Incoming notifications display the latest information about everything going on in your digital life, and some of them are actionable in case they require some sort of response.

Apple took things a step further by introducing the ability to use Apple Pay (their new NFC-based payments option) with the Apple Watch. Instead of having to tap your phone against a PoS terminal, you can tap the smart watch that’s already on your wrist.

One annoyance with the Apple Watch is that it requires an iPhone to use. That prerequisite unfortunately ties you to one ecosystem. That’s not to say Android Wear is different — it does require you to pair it to an Android 4.3 or higher smartphone — but at least you have a wide variety of choice in manufacturers. It’s up to the OEMs to sway you to go all in with their products by adding features no other OEM can offer, but if you want to pair your Motorola smart watch with a Samsung, LG or HTC smartphone there’s nothing stopping you from going that route. With Apple, it’s all Apple or nothing.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 11.08.48

Both platforms have taken a similar approach to the smart watch — they don’t want to be bigger than they need to be. The phone is where you should do most of your heavy lifting, and the smart watch simply acts as a convenient bridge for quick information and the quick actions you need to act on said information. It shouldn’t be any more inconvenient to use than a traditional timepiece, and we feel both platforms tackle that problem quite effectively. Anything more they feel need to be added will certainly come in the way of software upgrades down the line, and it’ll be interesting to see how these two platforms evolve side-by-side.

Apple Watch vs Moto 360: Battery

Well, this one’s a bit hard to talk about — we have no idea what to expect from the Apple Watch in terms of battery. Apple didn’t touch on many of the specifics, though that information should makes it way to the forefront ahead of launch.

Early reports suggest it shouldn’t be hard for Apple to best Motorola, though: seems a great deal of people are rather unhappy with the Moto 360′s juice. Motorola generously rates the battery life for a full day, though most people claim to only be able to get 12 to 16 hours out of it. That’s likely to be quite unacceptable for many folks’ needs as many people spend at LEAST 16 hours of the day away from home.

Moto 360 wireless charging DSC06797

At least charging on both of these options are cool, though. The Moto 360 features Qi wireless charging and can simply be docked into a convenient desktop charging cradle or used with a number of existing Qi-based charging mats. The Apple Watch uses a magnetic MagSafe charger for its wireless charging needs. Needless to say we’re very happy about these qualities over the pin-based charging solutions of other smart watches.

Apple Watch Price vs Moto 360 Price

And now we come down to one of the most important factors of them all — price. The Moto 360 comes in at a base price of $250, and the premium steel band option will run you $50 more. Apple, on the other hand, ain’t cheap — a base price of $350 is what they’re asking, and we’re not yet sure if that includes any of the premium wrist band options that showed off at the event.

Apple’s always been known to be a bit on the pricey side when it comes to their wares, but recent pricing trends on the phone side of things led us to believe they’d look to keep it under control for the Apple Watch. Whether a $350 purchase atop the cost of one of the latest iPhone handsets is worth the cost of admission is up to you to decode. Thankfully you have a bit of time to decide as Apple doesn’t expect the watch to go on sale until some point early next year.

Which one gets your money?

Even with all that Apple showed today we don’t know much about the Apple Watch. Questions about water resistance and battery life still obviously hang in the balance, and those are major factors in the worth of a smart watch (just ask all the folks disappointed with the poor battery performance of the Moto 360).


For now, let us know which of these smart watches will have your attention, and since we know many of you won’t be looking to grab an iPhone just for the sake of using the Apple Watch, let us know what you think about its design up against all the rest!

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iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5 (and Android) Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:43:57 +0000 iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5

The iPhone 6 is finally here, and with it comes a hype that only Apple can produce. Regardless of what features they stole from Android, the iPhone 6 will undoubtedly be a huge success for Apple. In the Android World we also have a device that prints money for its maker: the Samsung Galaxy S5. These two devices will dominate the mobile market for the remainder of this year, and most of next. It’s time to put them up against each other to see which device reigns supreme (check below for more comparisons).


This has been a big area of focus for Apple since the iPhone 4′s “Retina Display,” and of course Samsung also takes great pride in this area. The iPhone has been slowing growing over time, but the iPhone 6 has been significantly increased in size. Apple has implemented a 4.7-inch display to finally answer the wishes of many users. Android fans will likely joke about how it took Apple so long to make the display bigger. It’s still smaller than the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5, but the competition is getting closer.

Resolution is another story. Apple now has what they call “Retina HD” displays in the new iPhone 6. It’s only 1334 x 750 compared to the 1080p display on the S5. Apple’s displays have traditional been great despite lower resolution compared to their Android counterparts. We expect the same from these new devices.


Camera is one area where numbers don’t matter so much. The Galaxy S5 has a whopping 16MP camera, but even the iPhone 5S takes better photos. With the iPhone 6 Apple is sticking with a 8MP sensor, but the sensor is all-new, and they’ve added faster focus, and “digital” image stabilization. Android devices are getting close to the iPhone (and Windows Phone devices may be better), but the iPhone is still king. Still, unless you’re a real photobuff you will be happy with the photos from the S5 and other high-end flagships.


“iOS, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be just like Android!”

The iPhone 6 comes with Apple’s latest version of iOS. In iOS 8 they’ve added many new features, many of which have a distinct Android flavor to them. For example, the keyboard gives “QuickType” word suggestions, and you can even use 3rd-party keyboards. A feature that has been a staple of Android for years. They’ve also added “Hey Siri” command for always-listening  support, widgets in the Notification Center for 3rd-party apps, and actionable notifications. Android still has the upper hand in software functionality, the gap is closing.

We should also note that Apple has added a bunch of features called “Continuity.” These features are designed to make your iPhone work seamlessly with your MacBook. For example, you can “Handoff” webpages from Mobile Safari to you desktop, send texts and receive phone calls on your Mac, and more. Android has the capability to do this, but Google has not yet fully integrated it. This is one area where Apple is leading the way.


By far one of the biggest differences between the iPhone 6, Galaxy S5, and other Android devices is design. You can see similarities in Android skins from device to device, but iOS 8 and Android look nothing alike. Hardware is, of course, extremely different as well. The Galaxy S5 is plastic and a little cheap feeling. The iPhone is the ultimate premium device. The design of the iPhone is a status symbol to many people. Samsung is getting close to that level, but still has a long way to go.

For my money the HTC One M8 is the Android device that comes closest to Apple’s build quality. Ultimately design is up to the individual. There are some people who actually prefer the way the Galaxy S5 looks. That’s perfectly fine. The size of these devices will also play a big part in your decision. The iPhone is bigger now, but there are still plenty of much larger Android phones.

iPhone 6 vs Android

So, which phone is the best? We want to hear from you! Are you ditching Android for the iPhone 6? Are you unimpressed by Apple’s latest iPhone?

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Is the Galaxy Note Edge doomed to the same fate as the Samsung Continuum? Sun, 07 Sep 2014 15:00:20 +0000 The year was 2010 and Samsung was riding the high of their debut Android flagship, the Galaxy S. That Galaxy S spawned a smartphone line that has since gone on to sell millions of handsets; the sales figures growing exponentially for each new iteration. The most recent, the Samsung Galaxy S5, garnered sales of over 10 million units in its first month alone. But back in 2010, before Galaxy devices carried the banner for Android, Samsung’s strategy was quite a bit different.

At that time, carriers still depended on device differentiation to draw customers to their network, and the policy was that each US service provider would receive a unique version of the Galaxy S. In the end, consumer desire and other factors in the smartphone industry that favored a unified device experience led manufacturers and carriers to ditch the strategy for future generations of Galaxy devices, but not before the DNA trickled down to one of the most disastrous Android releases of all time: the Samsung Continuum for Verizon.


The Contiuum, which did or did not carry a Galaxy prefix depending on the marketing materials you reference, was released several months after the original Galaxy S. The specs for the phone aren’t even worth mentioning today, but they were mostly identical to the already popular Galaxy S and among the best you could get in an Android phone at the time. What set the Continuum apart was the presence of a secondary ticker display — a gimmicky second screen placed below the phone’s navigation keys and measuring 1.8 inches and sporting a whopping resolution of 480×96 pixels.

This ticker showcased notification info, the date, time, weather and updates from your social feeds among other things, but it ended up looking more like a constant banner ad on your smartphone. It could be awakened independently to quickly access info without tasking the Contiuum’s larger primary Super AMOLED display. The benefits were touted as battery saving and distraction reducing — don’t interrupt the meeting by waking your bright smartphone display, discreetly check the Continuum’s ticker. Perhaps the idea was ahead of its time.

Perhaps its place as a one-off feature on a Samsung device running Samsung’s version of Android meant developers weren’t too keen to take notice. What we can agree on is the fact that Samsung utterly miscalculated in launching this phone and believing that a ticker gimmick would be enough to get consumers interested in buying a different version of a phone that had already been available for months.

Four years later, why are we talking about the long-forgotten Continuum now? Earlier this week Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge, a device that is reminiscent of the Continuum in both its unique functionality as well as the strategy surrounding its upcoming launch.


The Edge, like the Continuum, offers users a secondary display that will act as a notification ticker, shortcuts drawer, and information hub. The secondary display can be awakened independently of the main display. Samsung  is hoping once again that developers will buoy the idea by introducing novel uses for the “Edge Screen.”

The Edge, like the Continuum, is also a repackaging of another Samsung device. In this case, it’s the upcoming Galaxy Note 4. Slightly different this time around was Samsung’s decision to announce both devices simultaneously and launch them concurrently across several carriers (including the big four in the US).

So how is the Note Edge different from the Continuum? For starters, the technology has evolved since 2010. The Edge utilizes flexible display technology developed by Samsung to present its secondary display as a curved portion sloping off from the primary Super AMOLED pane. It’s an impressive technical feat, and Samsung has fleshed out functionality to an extent that wasn’t seen on the Continuum. The screen’s placement, higher resolution, and larger surface area help it blend into the overall design of the phone. Moving frequently used shortcuts to the Edge Screen frees up space on the main display, adding precious real estate for multitasking.

The question we must ask again echoes the Continuum: does the secondary display functionality provide reason to choose this phone over the standard Note 4? Maybe that’s a bit of a loaded question. After all, the Continuum’s chances for success were hampered by availability limited to a single US carrier. The Galaxy brand wasn’t a household name in 2010.

Samsung Galaxy Round hand

As a counter, we might look toward the Galaxy Round, another device designed to showcase Samsung’s curved display technology. The Galaxy Round also was limited in release, but folks weren’t exactly clamoring for the device. The device’s namesake roundness seemed to exist only as a neat parlor trick not as a form factor that added any particular useful functionality. With the Note Edge, Samsung seems to have found a much more novel and useful way to deploy flexible AMOLED tech, but we’re still not sold.

The Continuum, Round, and Note Edge seem to highlight Samsung’s insistence on making available to the general public devices that should have never left the R&D department. In fact, the Note Edge is nearly identical to a prototype device Samsung showed off nearly two years ago at CES 2013. We’re not saying the Note Edge will be the next Continuum or Galaxy Round, but you can’t blame anyone for making the comparison.

We applaud Samsung for pushing the boundaries of what the smartphone can be, and devices like the Edge certainly seem refreshing in a market that has seen plenty of stagnation lately. One handset won’t do it, however. Proprietary form factors are not favorable to developers and hardly ever last more than a single generation. Is the Galaxy Note Edge just another of these oddities? We’re as eager to find out as anyone.

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Moto 360 unboxing and first impressions [VIDEO] Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:09:20 +0000 We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the Moto 360 following Motorola’s big event in Chicago yesterday, and we were just as anxious to give you all a close look at it. We were fortunate enough to receive a retail copy to unbox for you folks so you can see what you’d be getting into should you purchase one for yourself.

The packaging of the Moto 360 is quite symbolic in that it’s circular, no doubt a move Motorola made to highlight the watch’s circular form factor. It’s the first smart watch we’ve seen of its kind and it certainly does stand out against its squarish competitors. The device’s stainless steel exterior is the first thing that jumps out at you — something about that shimmer that you can’t quite get from other materials.

Also adding to that premium look and feel is genuine leather provided by Horween, the same brand that’s going on the back of the new leather-backed Moto X. The model we received was black with black leather straps, but you can also get it in silver with gray leather. It makes for a much nicer touch than that of, say, the cheap rubbery material used on the LG G Watch. None of it looks as good as the premium versions with metal bands Motorola’s planning to sell for $300 later this year, of course, but it still looks quite nice.

moto 360 trio

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the thing is light — so much so that you would probably forget it’s on your wrist throughout the day. “Light” is typically associated with “cheap and flimsy” in the smartphone world, but it’s a trait that you’ll definitely want on your smart watch. Doesn’t matter how good a watch looks on your wrist if it’s weighing you down all day.

Motorola provides a wireless charging cradle in the box so you can prop the smart watch up on your nightstand and have it charging — say hello to your favorite new desk clock. There are no external charging pins to be had. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you to decide, but we’re sure glad folks won’t have to deal with cumbersome clasps and copper that could be susceptible to corrosion. The charger Motorola gives you a wall outlet to microUSB setup. Unfortunately the cable doesn’t detach from the adapter so you’ll need to use an actual USB cable if there’s no wall outlet present.

moto 360 lg g watch 1 moto 360 back 1 moto 360 front 1 moto 360 side

On board is standard Android Wear, and that piece of software is being powered by 512MB of RAM and a TI OMAP 3 processor. All of it is displayed on a round 1.56-inch display with 320 x 290 resolution, and it should last up to a full 24 hours with its 320mAh battery. It remains to be seen whether the TI OMAP chipset can keep up with the Snapdragon 400 found in competing models, but considering you don’t need a ton of power for a smart watch we’re not too concerned.

We’ll be getting our hands dirty with this thing in the days to come so expect a pretty full plate of coverage. In the meantime the unboxing video above should satiate your appetite (unless, of course, you decide you can’t wait and go out to buy one for yourself as early as today).

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Moto G: Unboxing & first impressions [VIDEO] Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:35:39 +0000 The all-new Moto G was announced in the wee hours of the morning and went on sale almost instantly via Motorola and carrier partners. While early adopters await the shipment of their new smartphone, we already have one in our hands. We cut to the chase and unboxed this bad boy to save you the suspense.

The Moto G is updated for 2014 with a larger display, jumping from 4.5 inches to 5 inches even. While the final display size isn’t equal, the increase in size is equal to bigger display of the new Moto X announced alongside the G. Unlike the Moto X, which saw an increase to 1080p resolution, the Moto G remains a 720p handset.

Apart from the display, the hardware of the phone is a mixed bag of premium and mid-tier specs. Moto wanted to get as close to a premium experience for the Moto G’s budget price as possible, but obviously some concessions were made. You get Snapdragon 400 quad-core processing, 1GB RAM, and an 8MP camera. The battery offers up to 24 hours of use with 2070mAh worth of charge.

The size of the phone is the biggest change you will notice when first freeing the new Moto G from its cardboard packaging. In most other regards, the new edition retains the same overall design of its predecessor. The construction quality is similar in that regard, as well. Whereas the new Moto X moves into the realm of aluminum construction and accents, the Moto G remain all plastic. It’s a solid plastic build (just like the last generation G and X), however.


The Moto G has never offered the customization options available to the Moto X, but Motorola once again offers a removable backplate and a variety of replacement options to add your own personal flavor to the phone. This time around we are also getting some folio-style replacements that offer an added layer of screen protection.

All in all, this is a solid upgrade to what has become one of Motorola’s best selling smartphones. The design and build feels like a phone that could easily cost twice as much, and the specs, though nothing spectacular, leave little room for complaint. Where the Moto G really wins is its price. The phone is available without a contract for $179. If concessions needed to be made to reach that mark, Motorola has done an excellent job in accomplishing the task.

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Moto X: Unboxing & first impressions [VIDEO] Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:37:59 +0000 While most won’t be able to get their hands on the all new Moto X until later this month, we walked away from Motorola’s Chicago headquarters with one in hand. Naturally, the first thing we did was pry that sucker from its cold cardboard tomb and power it up to get a closer look at what consumers can expect when they unbox the device for the first time.

The packaging is nondescript, opting for the traditional as opposed to the circular box that the Moto 360 smartwatch will come in. But what’s in a box? Well, the smartphone, to be frank.

The new Moto X at first glance looks a lot like the old Moto X. It keeps the same design language down to the little accents, but there are a few differences worth noting. The first is a larger display, which sees a bump up from the first generation’s 4.7-inch panel to 5.2 inches (we also get an increase in resolution from 720p HD to 1080p). Metal has also become a primary build material with an aluminum frame wrapping the device and aluminum accents that include the power and volume buttons.

Still, the larger size and the added metal don’t contribute to a bulkier phone. At it’s thinnest edge the new Moto X is a mere 3.8mm thick, while it expands to 9.9mm at it’s thickest. This increase is accommodated by a gentle curve (much like with the original Moto X) that has the ergonomic benefit of producing a rather pleasing handfeel (yeah, I just said handfeel, which might be worse than mouthfeel).


Moto Maker is back with device customization, and this time around Motorola has added leather options in addition to the woodgrain and plastic finishes available for the first Moto X. While the model we unboxed was a standard Verizon edition with a soft touch back, the leather may just be the best finish option for the Moto X we have seen yet. We can imagine the leather picking up a nice patina as certain areas get worn down and shaped by use, adding a truly personal touch.

Internally the specs have seen a bump in most areas. You get Snapdragon 801 processing with Adreno 330 graphics, a 13MP camera with an innovative dual-LED “ring flash,” and a 2300mAh battery. Added IR sensors enable enhanced gesture interaction; perhaps the biggest software upgrade is the ability to change the “OK, Google” voice command to a custom trigger phrase of your own choosing.

Much like the name, a lot about the new Moto X remains familiar while experiencing the benefit of mostly subtle upgrades. It’s the ultimate iterative update, but we don’t mean that in a derogatory way. The new features are just the sort of thing Moto fans were asking for. There is a certain understated beauty to the device’s design and feature set that doesn’t disappoint.

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Hands-on: the all new Moto G [VIDEO] Fri, 05 Sep 2014 12:44:46 +0000 While the new Moto X may be the powerhouse to get Android enthusiasts and power users excited, the Moto G should excite folks who don’t have much of a budget to splurge on smartphone. Like its predecessor from last year, the new Moto G provides a pretty powerful experience for those short on change. A quad-core processor, HD resolution and an 8 megapixel camera for under $200? Sign us up! You can find the full specs and details right here. We’ve got a nice gallery of photos sitting below, as well as hands-on video for those who want to see the thing in action. Be sure to give all that a good look-see straight ahead.









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Premium Edition Moto 360 with metal bands launch this fall for $299 Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:31:07 +0000 We’ve been slobbering over the Moto 360 for so long that we thought Motorola couldn’t slip in any surprises, but they did: two metal banded versions of the Moto 360 will launch in time for the holidays for $299.


Black titanium? Steel? Which one better suits your fancy? We know: holiday season sounds SO far away.

If you’re obsessed with having a premium style metal band to go with your premium looking smartwatch, you won’t have to wait until the Fall: the Moto 360 band can be removed and replaced with regular watch bands with relative ease (we’ll show you how soon enough).

Down the road you’ll also be able to buy these bands separately- it will just cost you a few extra bucks. The standard Moto 360 is $250 and the premium metal version will be $300, so you’re paying $50 more. It’s likely the band alone will cost around $80, which would mean an extra $30 down the drain (if you buy leather now and upgrade to metal rather than waiting for metal). But let’s not forget you’ll then have 2 bands instead of one.


Why buy these watch bands from Motorola at $80 a pop or wait for the ones you prefer if any old watch band will fit? Here is what Motorola has to say about just that:

Moto 360 comes with genuine leather straps that use a standard watch pin and are therefore removable. That said, we’ve created the straps to be a custom fit for Moto 360 and tested the materials for compatibility, so if you choose to go with an off-the-shelf band, we can’t guarantee it will be a great experience.

After seeing the extensive testing they do in their headquarters, I’m not inclined to disagree. That being said, I wouldn’t hesitate to invest in some alternative looks while I’m at it.

All the nitty gritty details on these premium metal bands have not yet emerged, but we’ll report back to you as soon as we hear back from Motorola.

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