Good Hardware for a Great Price

I didn’t really know what to expect when I took the Moto X Style out of its box several weeks ago, but now that I’ve used it as my daily driver, I come away liking Motorola’s latest high-end device more than I thought I would.

The most surprising aspect to the Moto X Style is its camera, where Motorola has really exceeded expectations. The 21-megapixel rear camera produces some great images, and although it’s not as consistent as the superb Galaxy S6 and LG G4 shooters, the Style is more than capable as a camera for the everyday photographer. Throw in 4K video recording and a front-facing flash and the camera becomes a well-rounded package.

Unfortunately, Motorola’s camera app is unforgivably bad, and in need of a major overhaul before it can compete with the best in the business. It’s a real shame, too, because the hardware has proven itself capable only to be let down by software that lacks basic functionality, uses a confusing interface, and is generally annoying to use.

One of the best aspects to the Moto X Style is its price. The 16 GB model is available for just $399 unlocked and off contract, with microSD expansion available to alleviate the strains of limited internal storage.

The Snapdragon 808 that powers the Moto X Style falls behind the Galaxy S6’s Exynos 7420 SoC in terms of performance, but it actually holds its own against the Snapdragon 810 in all but the most intense GPU benchmarks. Performance is simply not an issue on the Style, and the operating system is one of the smoothest and most responsive I’ve used, no doubt thanks to vanilla Android.

Speaking of the software, Motorola has done a great job keeping the OS as bloat free as possible. The only features they’ve included are genuinely useful, such as Moto Display and always-on voice functionality, and the lack of a skin keeps the software feeling cohesive as you move from app to app. Motorola also has a decent track record when it comes to updates, so the Style should be one of the first non-Nexus devices to receive Android 6.0.

I like the design of the Style, especially the metal edges, the great screen-to-body ratio, the front-facing stereo speakers, and the back panel that can be customized through Moto Maker. It doesn’t have the same ultra-premium look and feel as the metal-bodied iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9, but for a large 5.7-inch handset it’s very easy to hold and operate.

The 1440p display on the front of the Style is one of the best LCDs I’ve seen, with accurate color reproduction, great brightness and decent viewing angles. It’s not quite as good as the AMOLED display used on the Galaxy Note 5, mostly due to better contrast and more vibrant colors, however it still delivers a lot of screen real estate, which is great for gaming and media consumption.

One of the best aspects to the Moto X Style is its price. The 16 GB model is available for just $399 unlocked and off contract, with microSD expansion available to alleviate the strains of limited internal storage. Customizing the phone with different materials or extra storage will cost a bit extra, but the Style presents excellent value when considering the hardware in this phone.

...one of the big competitors to the Style is the OnePlus 2, available for $330-390 for its 16/64 GB models. The two phones are similar in size, but the Style comes with a larger, better display, a superior camera, essentially identical performance, fewer software issues, expandable storage, NFC, and fast charging

At this price, one of the big competitors to the Style is the OnePlus 2, available for $330-390 for its 16/64 GB models. The two phones are similar in size, but the Style comes with a larger, better display, a superior camera, essentially identical performance, fewer software issues, expandable storage, NFC, and fast charging. In my eyes this makes the Style a clear winner, especially as you don’t need to bother with OnePlus’ annoying invite system.

On the other hand, for just $30 more than the Moto X Style, you can currently purchase an LG G4. The G4’s design isn’t as nice as the Style, and its software skin is worse than pure Android, but for a little extra you get a superior camera and double the internal storage. Both devices present great value for money, so I’ll leave the decision of which one to buy up to you.

85
TechSpot
score

Pros: Good hardware for a great price. Surprisingly solid 21-megapixel camera. Large, high-resolution, attractive display. Stock Android is always awesome, especially with Moto’s enhancements.

Cons: Terrible camera app. Design isn’t as nice as the best flagships out there.