Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Moto X Review

Today's post is by guest author Josh Miller, creator and producer of "Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey."
To begin I want to say I overcame a small fear of transitioning to this Moto X. I mainly was able to sum up the guts to make the switch because Google played a role in making this phone and being the first "Assembled in America" smartphone I felt I had to take the leap. Obviously, I'm a big "Made in USA" advocate, but I do not support products only because they are Made in the USA, I support those products because of what "Made in USA" is supposed to represent, which is quality.  This stays true from clothes to electronics. Also, I believe my biggest fear was switching from the iPhone to an Android phone. I've heard rumors about operating on Android that would give anyone nightmares.  However, I pushed through the doubt and put my money where my mouth was and bought the phone. Needless to say I'm very pleased with the phone and below contains my honest review of the Moto X. I will explain what I like about the phone and what could be done better. On top of that I have a nice offer for Google at the end of this review. I'll add more later as well, I've only been using this thing since Friday.

1.  Design

This phone was built with the operator in mind, easy to hold in your hand and very lightweight.  I don't find myself fumbling and trying to adjust or stretch for buttons on the screen. Overall the design along with practicality of operating the phone leads me to say that this design is at the top of the game, and yes this is coming from a long-time iPhone user. One more thing, the ability to customize your phone really is pretty cool as well.

What could be done better with the design?

Yes, this one time I will compare the Moto X phone to the iPhone.  I would really like to see the toggle switch that allows you to switch from ringer to silent, unless I'm missing something you have to adjust the volume by using a volume up and down button and push it down until it hits vibrate or silent.  If I missed an easy shortcut then please feel free to share.  Remember, I'm not big on tech stuff, I'm simply trying to give a review based on the ease of use and the ease in the ability to operate.  Many of these views if not all are subjective.  I have some other ideas for material and design, but overall great design.

2.  Google Now

When I first heard about Google Now I thought it was just a knockoff version of Siri on the iPhone (oops another iPhone reference), but I was pleasantly surprised that is not the case.  The ability to activate Google Now by voice recognition instead of having to push a button was pretty awesome. Also having it do something productive and accurately reading your voice was something I wasn't expecting.  The thing I always loved about Apple was imagining the possibilities that Siri would be able to do in the future, well Google Now is making some of that possible now.  I'm laying in bed and I want to sleep an extra 15 mins I simply say "OK Google Now Set my alarm for 6am" and it's done, simple as that, didn't have to push a single button.  Are you a trivia pro?  I said, "OK Google Now, how old is Michael Jordan?" Google Now replies "50 years old."  You can play with it more, very neat stuff.

What could be done better?

I know this is probably something that will develop well overtime, but my biggest pet peeve with this thing is many states are pushing for hands free devices and such while driving, you can use Google Now to call your friend without even touching your phone, but you can only form a text message with Google Now, you can't send it with your voice unless I missed something.  I've only played around with this device for a few days and will post other videos and such as I continue to experiment with the device.  Google, you're usually 99% accurate with my voice, why not give me the ability to send a text message by confirming that you got it right.  If I'm driving I don't want to have to push a button, that's what we're trying to get away from.

3.  Google Play

I'm going to be short and sweet with Google Play, that's basically the "Fun Zone" as I call it.  You can find anything from Apps, Movies, Games, Book, Magazine, etc.  Awesome! Have no problem with Google Play yet and I've found I play many more games on this phone than I did my previous phone. Not sure why, but just thought I would mention that.

What could be done better?

I know I'm really being picky and I don't want people to think I'm taking shots at Google, but I really don't like the name "Google Play." Nor do I like the design of the App, I'm not talking about the stuff inside once you click on it I'm talking about the actual design.  It looks like a bag with a play button on it, which I think that's what it is.  Change the name and change that app design.  I know that is very picky, but I'm just weird about those things.  Keep it simple and  powerful.  I don't get either of those feelings when looking at the app design or hearing the name "Google Play."
4.  Apps

This was my biggest fear when moving to the Android arena.  I thought the apps were going to suck and crash all the time.  Not the case, I have the same apps that I had on my iPhone and they work just as well.  I actually think the Twitter App is evening better on Android for some reason.  I'm big on visual and the look and feels of some of these apps not only make me feel comfortable from a visual standpoint, but the functionality is even better.  I enjoy having my gmail synced to everything and the phone immediately notifies me of all updates and notifications on my social networks which has actually allowed me to connect more quickly with fans.  This was something I really didn't explore with the iPhone, but came to like with the Moto X.

What could be done better?

I can't think of much to say in regards to that I really enjoy the app experiences so far, I'll update more as I continue to progress exploring the app market.

5.  Contact List

Easy to scroll through contacts, but much different format than the iPhone.  They keep this plain and simple.

What could be done better?

I don't really have much to say about this, it's simple and gets the job done, but I do think there is room for improvement in regards to visual.  Once again, I'm big on visual so I might change some colors and fonts types, but that's just my preference.

6.  Messaging and Emails

Messaging and emails are quite easy to do on this device, gmail and google+ are already ready to go on the phone.  I've been texting friends and family with ease and have learned to send photos and share on my social networks  which I may add is pretty simple when using this phone.  I always thought I would have difficulty adjusting in my ability to share photos on social networks when switching to the android.  One aspect I really like and when taking photos I can automatically back them up on Google+ and not risk losing all of my photos, this is nothing new, but once again I didn't really explore backing up my photos when I had my iPhone.

What could be done better?

Took me a little while to adjust to sending emails on the Moto X, just a slightly different setup, but I adjusted quickly.

7.  Video/Camera

Video I haven't had time to explore, but that might be an opportunity to make another review on the Moto X using this phone.  Playing Youtube videos, the display looks great and haven't had a problem, even when I'm not connected to wireless I still get a great picture.  I know many are upset resolution 720p or something of that nature, but I haven't noticed any difference in my personal opinion between the iPhone and Moto X when it comes to display.  I've had no problems with photos, great stuff and easy to share.  The wrist flick feature that allows you to quickly take a picture is very cool as well.

Here are a couple of quick photos I took with the Moto X:

8.  Battery Life

I know many of you have been waiting to hear about this, from my personal experience…yes the battery does last MUCH longer than the iPhone's battery.  I always plug my phones in at night, but haven't even came close to low battery on my Moto X yet.  Now the whole 24hr thing I've been hearing I think is a bit of a stretch, but let me tell you the battery life is longer with the Moto X.  I'll update about this again in a month or so to let you know if any changes in battery performance

9.  GPS

I thought I would mention this real quick, the Google Maps are in Beta Phase when I tried to use them, but I didn't have a problem finding any of my destinations so far with the GPS feature.

10.  "Assembled in USA"

I'm going to guess most of you reading my review wanted to hear me talk a little bit about the "Assembled in the USA" aspect because you know I'm not a tech genius and I can't tell you about how awesome or terrible all of the internal components are, for the most part you and I are the same and we want to know, can the phone do what we need it to do and does it give us a simple, pleasant experience when using it.  In other words, how easy is it to do what I need do with my phone.  Obviously, the "Assembled in the USA" is a big reason I bought the phone, and quite frankly if I didn't like the phone I planned on taking it back and using the 14-day return policy.  I'm pleased to inform you I will be keeping this phone and breaking away from the iPhone.  I'm proud of the 2,000 jobs this phone has created in Texas, and hopefully the number of jobs continue to rise as I expect the popularity of this phone to go up.  Even if the product wasn't put together in America it would still be at the top of the list in my book.  One thing you know well about me is that I support "Made in USA" because it means quality, if I don't like it I won't buy it, simple as that.  Even better some of the components inside the device were sourced here in America according to ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.  I think Google made a good move with the Moto X and I'm anxious to see what they do next and hopefully source even more in the USA next time around.  I'd like to see some of the future phones from Google literally say "Made in USA", but for now I'm pleased with this device and have enjoyed it so far.

More to come, I've only been using this phone since Friday. :)


Who knows if my review will ever be looked at by Google, but I have an offer on the table for them. First, I would like to thank Google for assembling the first smartphone in America, I 'm proud to be an owner of this phone not only because of where it is made, but because I truly enjoy it.  MY OFFER to Google is to let me help lead the design of Google's next smartphone, that will be designed and manufactured in America, if you do not get 1 million pre-orders or 5 million sold in the first three day of launch, you don't have to pay me a dime.  Give me 6 months to lead a design team and I'll make it happen.

Thanks, Josh. I'm jealous of your phone.

(Photos courtesy of Josh Miller.)


  1. FYI, Google Now does more than voice commands. It will show you information that it thinks is relevant to you. Here's a video that describes in detail what Google Now is capable of: To access Google Now just long press the home key and swipe up. Enjoy your moto x!

  2. My wife and I both got a Moto X just before New Years and we are both quite happy. My wife especially loves the calendar which is much more user friendly and flexible. -Jack A

  3. My wife and I both purchased Moto X's before New Years and we both love it. My wife especially likes the calendar function which is more user friendly and flexible than our previous Android. -Jack A