Moto X Pure Review!


Moto X Pure is a new phablet device from Motorola with the same size class as the Galaxy Note 5.  It’s certainly not for those of you who want a small phone but for those of you who want to enjoy a large 5.7-inch screen for easier viewing and typing.  So bear that in mind before deciding to get the Moto X Pure (or the international version Moto X Style which is identical in hardware specs).

As far as build quality goes, Motorola has done a terrific job of giving the Moto X Pure a sturdy metal frame along with customizable colors for the back cover, back metal, speaker grills, and the front.  Moto X Pure comes with real metal buttons along with micro USB port on bottom that supports Quick Charge 2.0 technology at full 12 volts (unlike 9 voltes on the Note 5).  Up on the top, Moto X Pure features a nano-SIM/micro-SD card slot.  Overall, Moto X Pure is one of the most customizable phones you can get right now.  Also, make sure to order straight from Motorola’s website to get all the customization/engraving options, which are free of charge.  (Don’t buy from Amazon or eBay as you don’t get to customize it.)

Probably the best feature on the Moto X Pure isn’t the customizable colors but its price and 1440P display.  While many phones similarly priced feature 1080P screen (such as the OnePlus Two), the Moto X Pure gives you a crisp, clear 1440P screen that allows you to enjoy 4K content (in 1440P) on YouTube and also play back 4K videos you took with the camera in 1440P resolution.  This may not sound like much but for those of you who have seen 1440P videos, you will never want to go back to 1080P.  Compared to the Note 5, Moto X Pure screen isn’t as bright (414 lux vs. 770 lux at full brightness) but in my personal experience it will not hinder your experience unless you work outdoors all day long as a lifeguard on a sunny beach.

4K video recording on the Moto X Pure is simply amazing.  Even without OIS, video stabilization on Moto X Pure is just as good as phones that have OIS (like Note 5 or LG G4).  With a use of tripod/stabilizer, the videos are much more stable than Note 5 without any wavering effects from OIS trying overcorrect already-stablized scene.  However, it does lack manual focus controls and if Motorola could add it with a software update, this could well be the best 4K video camera I’ve used on a smartphone.

As for still photos, the Moto X Pure does quite well in bright light conditions with its 21MP camera.  In comparison to Note 5 or G4, I feel like the Moto X Pure does not do as well in low-light conditions.  It’s still helluva decent camera, just the competition is much better.  But for a $399 price point, perhaps you can live with it.

For UI, the Moto X Pure runs “pure” Android just like Nexus devices with a tiny addition of Motorola voice commands, which actually make the phone better.   If you don’t like TouchWiz, LG UI, or any skin that the manufacturer puts on your phone, then you will love the stock Android experience on the Moto X Pure.  Of course, Moto X Pure’s bootloader can easily be unlocked then rooted.  For flasholics out there, this is one of the most customizable phones with plenty of custom ROM support, meaning it will have longer shelf live when Motorola stops updating its software.

Moto X Pure’s battery life isn’t the best I’ve tried for a phone with a whopping 3000mAh battery.  I would say it’s somewhere in-between a Note 5 and a Galaxy S6.  Although it has the same capacity battery as the Note 5, I believe the LCD technology on the Moto X Pure is much less energy-efficient in comparison to AMOLED screens.  This results in shorter battery life than expected but it will still get you a full day depending on your usage.  On the bright side, its Quick Charge 2.0 is one of the fastest in the world (faster than Note 5) and you can charge from 0 to 100% battery life in just 50 minutes.

Performance is excellent on the Moto X Pure with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.  It won’t let you down for playing the latest and greatest Android games.  The phone does heat up at times but it shouldn’t effect your daily driving unless you play games all day long.  Qualcomm has really botched their new processors this year with the Snapdragon 810 and 808 as performance gains are that much over its 805 processor but it still gets the job done and keep your Moto X Pure future-proof for 64-bit processing.

Voice commands on the Moto X Pure is excellent and I would say its better than any other Android smartphone out there.  You can easily set your own phrase to wake up the phone and command it to do anything you want including taking a selfie, opening an app, or even finding your phone when its lost under your bed.  And best of all, you can wake up your phone even if the screen is off.  This may not sound like much but once you start using it, it may automate a lot of daily tasks you do without ever touching your phone, such as setting alarm for the next day.

Moto X Pure is offered at just $399 for its 16GB version and it’s not subsidized under a carrier like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon.  If Moto X Pure was subsidized, we would surely see a jump in price to near $600-700 but as a 100% unlocked phone, the savings are passed onto the customers.  And yes, you can use the Moto X Pure on all U.S. carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Cricket, Virgin Mobile, etc…   I was able to get full voice, data, and 4G LTE working on AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.  This means that if you ever need to switch your network, you can keep your phone and not have to be stuck with carrier-only phone (like on Sprint & Verizon).

Overall, Moto X Pure offers an excellent phablet that rivals its flagship competitors at fractions of the price.  It’s not the best phablet in the world but it comes darn close and if you want to save some money this year, Moto X Pure is an excellent choice and I highly recommend it.

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.