Watches and smartphones and Android, oh my, and this week, we’ve seen all three, as we take a look at Motorola’s circular smartwatch and its new flagship, two products that aim to really grab your attention.
It’s been an interesting year for Motorola, with the company returning to Australia after so long away, back with smartphones that surprise with simplicity and compete on price.
But ease of use and value driven aren’t the only areas Motorola wants to play in, with a new flagship model poised to take on some of the big boys on the way, and a smartwatch that looks more like a traditional watch.
First, the phone: Motorola’s new X, the 2014 model.
It seems like it has only been a few months since we saw the Moto X, and it has, but that was technically the old X, with Motorola bringing it to Australia later because of Motorola’s late return to our humble country.
In that model, we saw the start of Motorola’s revival, with a completely different approach than its previous attempts in the RAZR Android phones. While those models were about keeping it thin, the new generation of handsets cater more to hands with a soft plastic back that is easy to pick-up and keep in the hand, the shape arching into the palm. The screens are vibrant, the display always capable of providing notifications, and the microphone always listening, waiting for you to talk to it, because phones in the future apparently do this.
The new model is slicker than before, with still the right amount of grip. In front of us were a few variants, with black leather and wood finish both possible for the back, both eliciting feelings that made them feel just as comfortable as some of the metal finish phones we’ve seen in recent months, but much more unique.
Motorola’s metal frame helps to reinforce this strength, however, and the 5 inch screen is not just an improved size, but also an improved display altogether, boasting an increase to Full HD.
Of particular note for us was the camera, which now features a ring flash with two LEDs. Technically, it’s not a ring flash, but it’s a close approximation, delivering what should be an evenly lit subject for the 13 megapixel camera on the back.
Motorola’s special sauce screen is also included, providing detailed touchscreen notifications when the display is off and on standby, while the microphone is always listening, waiting for your “Ok Google” command, which can in this model be changed to a greeting of your own design. You’ll apparently even be able to speak to it for more than just the regular Google commands, asking it to open other applications, which could prove very interesting.
All up, we’re intrigued, except for the lack of upgradeable storage, which like the previous Moto X is fixed to a mediocre 16GB.
We asked Motorola why this was the case, and were told it had to do with design and how it the Moto X’s didn’t accommodate this feature, a fact which surprises us given how upgradeable storage using microSD cards is available now on pretty much every other Motorola handset, models which cost far less.