Pros / With a smooth, crisp interface, this is how the Android operating system was meant to be experienced.
Cons / Next to other Android phones, its battery simply isn't good enough.
Verdict / The 2014 Moto X's biggest strength is in its software. This is a phone for Android purists; just be sure to have a charger handy on long days.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Motorola has three primary smartphone lines: its ultra-budget Moto E series, midtier Moto G series and flagship Moto X series. Sporting a wide variety of back plates, including wood and leather, and allowing you to pick accent colors and add customized engraving, the 2014 Moto X is all about personalization. Inside, it features an unsullied copy of Android 4.4.4, upgradable to Android 5.0 on most carriers.
It is, put simply, what the majority of users would seem to want in their top smartphones: beauty on the outside, cleanliness on the inside. And sure enough, if you were a fan of the Nexus 5 and crave a pure Android experience, there's no better phone out there for you. But however close it comes to being the best smartphone, it's not quite there, thanks primarily to its weak battery.
The Moto X's battery has a capacity of 2300 mAh. That's the same size found in the Nexus 5. Every single Android flagship since has sported longer life. In fact, the only smaller battery in our top 10 belongs to the iPhone 6, the one great flaw of a handset that is, in every other way, close to perfect.
Thanks to Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 standard – a feature that lets you charge a dead battery up over halfway in 15 or 20 minutes – having to refuel your Moto X sometime during the day isn't a huge problem. After all, most of us will be near an outlet at some point, whether it's at our desks or in our cars. But when the majority of Android users don't have to worry about their batteries so long as they plug in at night, the Moto X's limitation is a tiresome oversight.
Nor is it the only missing feature. Without expandable storage, you definitely want to invest in one Motorola's larger capacity models, lest the starter version's mere 16GB leave you scrambling for photo space. A removable battery would have helped alleviate our concerns about longevity, but despite the phone's plastic build and customizable back plates, you can't actually remove the plates to access the innards. Fun extras such as FM radio or an IR blaster are absent – they're never necessities, but they can still give a phone that extra pang of capability.
Yet we still love the Moto X. Its camera takes gorgeous pictures, can shoot 4K video and even has a dual-LED ring flash. It supports Bluetooth aptX for your inner audiophile and is water resistant, so you can splash it without worry. The device even performed admirably in our benchmark tests, beating out Samsung's Galaxy S5, LG's G3 and Sony's Xperia Z3 in a barrage of synthetic and real-world CPU and GPU trials.
We take a lot of different factors into account when we review smartphones, and only the very best devices make it to the top of our lineup. The 2014 Moto X has a flawed battery, a somewhat plastic build quality and lacks features like expandable storage that are all but necessities in the modern era. But for all its flaws, this is a phone we still love using. There's no finer representation of Android in the world right now, so if you're a die-hard Nexus 5 fan, this is the phone to get.