Just yesterday OnePlus launched its Flagship Killer, the OnePlus 2, but already the company is not the only brand offering flagship quality for a low price. Motorola has swooped and stolen much of OnePlus’ thunder with the launch of the Moto X Style, the American company’s new smartphone flagship. A stunning mix of looks, specs, and affordability, the Moto X Style may be the true flagship killer of this year.
It’s not a device without history either, Motorola has plenty of experience in delivering affordable smartphones, with the Moto G being a prime example (that also got a new handset at the company’s launch). The Moto X Style is something new though, it marks the first time that the company is aiming directly for affordability while cutting few corners and delivering a flagship experience. Lenovo purchased Motorola last year and being under the huge umbrella of the Chinese company means Motorola can be more creative with price, and the Style reflects that.
Previous Moto X models have hardly been design trail blazers and in fact have been among the blandest flagships out there, not ugly, but boring. Moto Maker was employed to make the original and second generation Moto X more beautiful, while making it arguably the only true personalized device on the market. Moto Maker returns on the Moto X Style and has even more options (wood rear panels, multiple materials, colors, and more), but this is the first X that is beautiful on its own, Moto Maker or not. The Style looks good with a 76% screen to body ratio, a rubberized rear plate, and curvy portrait sides, it follows the LG G4 in showing that plastic devices can still look cool in a world of “premium means metal”.
While you would not want to drop the Moto X Style in the bathtub, you could probably get away with accidentally passing it under the tap. That’s because it has an IP52 rating which makes its innards entirely dust proof and splash proof. That protection also serves the two stereo speakers that are nestled on the front.
Motorola never wowed with specs, but this time the company is really putting some top hardware in its flagship range. The X Style comes with a huge 5.7-inch LCD screen with Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution. We would have preferred IPS of AMOLED over LCD, but the bump to Quad HD is welcome and should produce stunning visuals.
Motorola decided to go with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor under the hood, and this was likely because of the problems with the flagship Snapdragon 810, and not because Motorola wanted to cut corners. Sure, the 808 is clocked slower than the 810, but it is 64-bit and unless you are a power user or a real grinder on intensive games you should not notice the difference. It is a compromise we can live with considering there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the overheating problems caused by the Snapdragon 810.
3GB of RAM supplements the processor, a standard amount in the flagship bracket and Motorola’s easy use of the Android platform should result in beefy performance without much lag. Speaking of Android, the Moto X Style ships with a near stock Android 5.1 out of the box and is all but guaranteed to be one of the first third party devices to land Android M when Google makes it available.
Other specs include 32GB of native storage (a 64GB version is also available), and finally a micro SD card slot has finally been added to the X series, allowing up to 128GB of additional storage space. A 21 megapixel camera serves on the rear as the main lens, and it comes with all the software tricks we would expect from a flagship, including F2.0, phase-detection autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash. Around the front there is a 5 megapixel snapper that is ideal for selfies with its LED flash.
A 3000mAh battery will be keeping everything running and the lights on, while Motorola has included its Turbo Charging software that allows 10 hours of mixed use from just 15 minutes of charge time.
All in all, this is a very enticing smartphone and really announces the Moto X range as a true flagship, arguably for the first time. The most decked out version of the device, the Style is ironically the most affordable too as it is reported to cost just $399 when it launches. That price is unconfirmed as is the launch date, but anywhere around $400 will make the Moto X Style (Pure Edition in the USA) a true bang for your buck bargain.
Is it better than the OnePlus 2? It’s a tough call to make, the OnePlus is admittedly $70 cheaper, but you get far more guarantees with the Moto X Style. OnePlus’ frustrating invite system means you are unlikely to even get its Flagship Killer anytime soon, and with Motorola you get Moto Maker, solid customer support, a non-forked near stock Android experience, a Quad HD screen, and a micro SD slot. The OnePlus 2 gets a beefier processor on paper and a fingerprint scanner, but is that enough to sway you? Which do you prefer?