Camera test: Moto X (2nd Gen) video and photo samples



We flew out to Chicago for the unveiling of Motorola’s all new product line, a handful of devices that included Motorola’s latest flagship, the all new Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen). With a little bit of time still left in our trip before we head back home, we wanted to give you guys a quick taste of the photo capabilities of the device.

As you all know, seems like every manufacturer touts a bigger, better, and faster cameras and with so much room left for improvement from the previous iteration, the Moto X (2nd Gen) was no different. Boasting a slightly bigger aperture than the original, it sounds like the phone is capable of capturing more light. But how does the camera actually stack up? Take a look at our sample video and photos below.


Low light

Quick thoughts

So, after taking the phone out for a quick spin around downtown Chicago, we have to say we were quite impressed the results. Not because it’s the best smartphone shooter we’ve ever used — far from it. But simply because it’s leaps and bounds better than the original Moto X and really, that’s all we were asking. With every camera carrying it’s own unique photo “signature,” you’ll have to decide whether or not the Moto X is adequate enough for your tastes. Aside from the weird stock camera software (seriously, just use the Google Camera on the Play Store), we were pleased.

With so many Android options to choose from these days, we know many of you put a high priority on a phone’s camera (this is actually one of the reasons we passed up on the original Moto X). Hopefully these test shots will help you form a better opinion before you finally decide to pull the trigger later this month. For more on the all new Moto X, stay tuned to Phandroid for more. Have a great weekend everyone.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I had no problems with the camera on the original Moto X. It took more good shots consistently than any other phone I’ve used. Not great shots mind you. But very good ones most of the time. My Xperia Z1C takes much better pictures, but there are still a high percentage of messed up ones like you get on an iPhone or Nokia.

    1. I really had problems with the Moto X camera indoors (low light or not). I could never really get a good picture. All that changed with 4.4.4 and I actually get pretty good pictures indoor even with low light. I have to adjust my exposure point on screen in low light situations, but I would agree that since 4.4.4 it’s been pretty good and consistent.

  2. Word.. Decent! A step forward by moto!

  3. The camera is much better this time around. Not the “best”, but really respectable this time around. Falls apart in low light, but most phones do. Could be a challenge for some that are really into high end cameras for their phones to switch, but I could live with this. Nice Moto! Only improve from here on.

    Hopefully the Nexus has a legit camera this time around. That’s the only phone left I’m waiting for to be shown off and reviewed.

    1. Yep yep. Right now, I’m going with this one unless the Nexus really wows me. It would have to really wow me too, because I am not sure I could go without the moto features I’ve grown used to with my current Moto X. Patiently (not really) waiting for the Nexus announcement.

  4. Wait, you didn’t take any pictures with the flash.

    1. He didn’t take night pictures either… we’ll be doing a full review, don’t worry. We’ve had a lot of people ask about camera quality so he got what he could before heading to the airport!

      Thanks for the reminder, though. If there’s anything specific you want to see in the camera review let us know!

      1. No worries, so far pictures definitely look more than acceptable. Looking forward to the full review if the battery doesn’t run out on the phone . jk

  5. No phone camera is going to do really well in low light. There’s just not enough aperture to collect photons no matter how dense the sensor is. You will get grain and noise and that’s only correctable by long exposures, assuming the camera and subject can stay perfectly still long enough.

    Still, not bad, considering. I’ve seen a lot worse.

  6. Camera is ok for me, but I recall Nexus 5’s night shots to be better than this :S

    1. Nexus 5 takes good night shots. OIS helps.

  7. Chavez…you sexy b****h ;)

  8. The new X is disappointing to me. Basically last year’s Galaxy S5 hardware, with a smaller, non-removable battery and no SD card. Yawn. And with many of the software features now available from independent developers, I have a hard time seeing the attraction of this device.

    1. You sound stupid…well.

    2. Last year’s gotcha or couple months ago? Or last years lg or HTC… Am I being punked right now is this real life?

    3. Last year’s Galaxy S5’s hardware was plastic.

    4. Lmaoo since when is April last year?

  9. You’re in Chicago and you’re eating Subway?!?
    Go to Portillos and get an Italian beef! Now !

    1. We ate at at Lou Malnati’s one night and it was the best thing EVER. Then that night and next morning – part of a working all-nighter – was spent… in not so happy land. So I’m guessing he just wanted to go with somethign that wouldn’t kill him while traveling.

      That being said, foodstagram pics of Subway are pretty lame. Tisk tisk at least he could have pretended.

      1. Lou Malnati’s and Portillos!!!! You two are making me hungry. I may have to go order both for delivery to Denver. Best thing I ever discovered was mail ordering these two. http://www.loumalnatis.com/ship-lous

  10. The quality of these pics is MORE than enough for me.

  11. Damn my nexus 4 takes better daytime pictures, smh.

    1. You got a special edition or something? The N4 camera is ass.

  12. That unlocked device price is so disappointing..

    1. its $400…what other phones(premium) besides nexus are that price?

      1. This is for Chris Chavez, does Phandroid have an article about which of the newer phones have the best cameras, (OIS)? I have been waiting on the Note 4/ Note 4 Edge but camera/video quality has become one of my most important features. No I’m not in the adult entertainment industry either. The wife and I just don’t carry the extra camera gear anymore and we need the quality in our phones. Thank you for your time.

        1. By the way we use our phones Taung pictures our videos of the kids in their school plays and music programs.

      2. starting at $500.

        oneplus one is $350 and it’s premium.

        1. Whats this oneplus one you speak of? Dude this is america stop speaking jibberish

          1. Are you joking?

          2. http://m.gsmarena.com/oneplus_one-6327.php $350 for 64gb version. Available in ‘Merica! Kind of. Need an invite at the moment.

            And the Moto X (2014) is $500. For 32GB

            Get lost troll

          3. The unlocked Moto X supports both GSM AND CDMA (Sprint), plus these LTE bands:
            Band 2, 4 (AWS), 5, 12, 17, 25, 26, 41

            So, it supports T-Mobile, AT&T, AND Sprint (CDMA 850/1900) + Sprint Spark LTE (bands 25, 26, 41) as well.

            The only other phone with those bands is the Nexus 5 (minus band 12). So, it’s a pretty good value.

            It probably supports all global LTE bands too, but just aren’t listed.

          4. I’ve been looking for the answer to, “Will the new Moto X be available/usable on Sprint,” and you answered my question. I hadn’t even thought to compare it to the Nexus 5. Thanks.

        2. Where can I buy this oneplus one for $350?

        3. One plus one is hidieus and there are no premium materials used on it. The new x has aluminum breather.

  13. Camera upgrade is nice, but phone size sucks.

  14. Will this be relaxed on mvno such as Boost Mobile when can we expect it to be out?

  15. This camera looks great. I think any kind of criticism is going to just be nitpicky.

  16. Great review Chris camera shots looks great think the shooter had too many drinks

  17. Camera is significantly improved. A lot of swings in exposure during video though with the auto focus; it should be slower so that exposure differences are less noticeable.

  18. I am impressed. Great review!

  19. Stills are more than acceptable for me, video was ok too

  20. Video is cool but the stills are more than acceptable, especially coming from a N4. So that’s checked off the list. Lets see these battery tests now.

  21. Very decent pictures. These are sooc, right? If so, then they are fine. Noting your comment about the weird controls, were these taken with the native app, or the Google Camera app? I use the ProCapture app on my SIII, as I think it just handles the process better and renders better pictures. It may be all in my head, but I think some app/camera combos just work better together.
    My upgrade is in late October and I’m considering the S5, the G3, the Note 4, the New Moto X, and the Nexus. It’s a nice time to upgrade. :) Decisions, decisions. (FWIW, I love stock on my 2013 Nexus 7, and run Nova Launcher on my SIII, so I’m ignoring the downside of TouchWiz.)
    In any case, can’t wait to see a more complete review!
    Thank you!

    1. I’m curious why the m8 is off your list? Not fanboying here, just curious.

      Also, touchwiz is more than a launcher. One of my pet peeves is when people say that putting Nova or any other custom launcher gets rid of touchwiz or fixes it in any way. The homescreen is prettier, but it’s still no less “laggy”.

      1. I’ve gotten a bad gut feeling from the M8, as much as I’ve wanted to love it. When you get to the perormance level of all these phones, gut feeling becomes as good an indicator as others, because some things just work better for your way of using things. It’s like the Nikon/Canon/Sony debate in a way on DSLRs. They are all good, but nothing trumps in hand feel, and how your brain and reflexes reach for certain things for making a decision. (I know the M8 has BoomSound, just for example, but I don’t need that – I’m 80% deaf. :P I want good reception for when I do call, as I route the sound via Bluetooth to my hearing aids, and then I want everything else.)
        Completely subjective, I know. That said, I will revisit it, though, thank you.

        Yes, TouchWiz is more than a launcher, and I didn’t state anything about lag, to be fair. :) It’s the asthetics and lmitiations of TouchWiz as far as customization that I work around. I know I can’t fix the engine, but I can at least tune some things and repaint the chassis.
        I used to root and rom, but I’m over that, honestly, and would prefer close to stock (though admittedly even stock has shortcomings which something like Nova, for me, fixes).

        1. Fair enough. For me, I can’t stand the system ui of touchwiz (such as the status bar and settings menus) but if it works for you, I’m not going to try to change your mind. As you said, it’s subjective, just like my distaste for the hardware home button. To each their own :)

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