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Motorola Moto X (4th Gen) review: Hands on at IFA 2017

Moto X has taken a back seat for the past couple of years, with Motorola focusing on other projects. No longer, as IFA 2017 saw Motorola unveil the fourth-generation version of the Moto X – the company’s affordable, feature-ridden range of smartphones.

Moto X (4th Gen) UK price, release date and specification

  • Screen: 5.5in Full HD IPS LCD
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB or 64GB, microSD slot
  • Camera: 12MP & 8MP wide-angle rear dual camera setup, 16MP front-facing camera
  • Price: €399 or €439
  • Release date: TBC

Moto X (4th Gen) review: Design, features, and first impressions

The Moto X range is made up of affordable but still relatively high-spec smartphones. Nestling in somewhere between the basic Moto G and the more premium Moto Z, the Moto X is a cornerstone of the middle-of-the-road smartphone market.

READ NEXT: Best smartphones 2017

Moto X posits the perfect solution for those who want to ramp up the specs a tad from the Moto G, but aren’t willing to shell out for the swisher and more feature-ridden Moto Z. What’s more, the Moto X’s two-year hiatus seems to have done it a world of good: the fourth-gen smartphone is back with some refreshing new design shake-ups.

The metal and plastic casing has been banished, with Motorola rolling in a foil-backed “3D glass” rear, which has an aesthetically pleasing shimmery effect. There’s a dual-camera setup, a fingerprint sensor and an IP68 rating to boot. All promising stuff.

The real successes lie, however, in the integration of a host of handy new features. Moto Key is a new one, which permits users to pair with a computer, using the Moto X fingerprint readers to unlock passwords and verify identity. It’s not going to change the way we live our daily lives, sure, but given a sufficiently integrated link with Windows, Mac or Chrome OS, it could be an eminently handy addition.

Speaking of integration, Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is supported by the fourth-gen Moto X. This means you can use Alexa instead of Google Assistant for conducting tasks like setting reminders and alarms, if you’d prefer. All smart, useful stuff.

The camera setup warrants commendation, too. There’s a dual-camera rear setup, with a 12-megapixel sensor working alongside an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera. The quality of the camera system serves to rival the Moto Z Force, with its capacity for real-time depth effects, image-manipulation tools and background defocus. Excitingly, it boasts landmark recognition, and will automatically scan barcodes, QE codes and business codes, without the need to snap pictures of them first.

The front-facing camera follows suit, with similarly high standards. It touts an impressive 16 megapixels, which, Motorola has assured, will ensure utmost image clarity for those all-important selfies. To our delight, the front camera performed well in low-light conditions too. Meanwhile, Instagram veterans will be delighted to learn that Motorola has installed a panorama mode for selfies, allowing users to make a coveted (but hitherto difficult to execute) personal appearance amidst their sunset/waterfall/mountain pictures. Or, you know, whatever the carefully curated backdrop du jour might be.

Moto X (4th Gen) review: Early verdict

The Moto X is shaping up to be a very worthy mid-range smartphone. It’s got features aplenty, which has always been the clincher of the Moto X line’s success, but its two-year hiatus seems to have borne some seriously promising refreshments. From the excellent camera system (both front and rear), to the sleek new “3D glass” design, to support for Amazon’s Alexa, the fourth-gen Moto X looks very good from where we’re sitting.

The only notable omission is a top-of-the-range chipset; with plenty recently launched smartphones wielding the Snapdragon 835, it’s tough to know how the 4th Gen, with its Snapdragon 630 chip, will fare against competitors. That being said, the price is nothing if not reasonable (€399 in a world where the iPhone 8 has been rumoured to cost up to $1,000), particularly given its array of exciting, entertaining, and timely features.

We don’t have much information on the UK pricing or release date just yet, but we will update this page as and when the information rolls in.

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