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Motorola Moto X4 Review: Moto’s Best Mid-range Phone?

We review the Moto X4!

Motorola has slowly been carving out its own space in the mid-range segment, content to let other companies duke it out in the flagship arena. Their Moto G5s Plus was a great entry into the mid-range category, and the company is looking to expand to the premium mid-range market via the Moto X4. First announced in IFA, the device is the company’s dual-camera wunderkind that sports a premium exterior that’s also water resistant.

Motorola Moto X4 specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 2.2GHz octa-core processor
  • Adreno 508 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.2-inch AMOLED full HD display with Gorilla Glass 3 panels (front and back), 1920 × 1080 resolution display
  • Gorilla Glass 3 (Front and Back)
  • 64GB of expandable storage, up to 2TB via microSD
  • 12-megapixel primary camera with 8-megapixel secondary rear camera, dual tone LED flash, AF, PDAF
  • 16-megapixel front-facing camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C, IP68 water and dust resistance
  • Turbo Power Charging, Quick Charge tech
  • IP68 Dust and Water Resistance
  • 3,000mAh Li-Po battery
  • Android 7.1.2 Nougat

Glass and metal body make a beautiful, if smudge-prone phone

Last year the design trend was full metal bodies, this year it’s all about glass and body designs. Motorola isn’t one to shy away from design bandwagons, so it’s not surprising that the Moto X4 has a metal frame sandwiched in Gorilla Glass.

The phone has a mirror finish at the rear, and while it looks pretty striking in person, the design also means that the rear is a magnet for smudges that you’ll be wiping off all the time when you handle it. The rear has a slight curve, and the corners are rounded for better ergonomics.

The Moto X4 does not take Motorola’s Motomods, though the rear camera module is still circular, which looks a little like the one in the Z2 Play. While the edges of the circular camera module looks to be knurled, it actually is pretty smooth, with the knurling set underneath the glass.

The power button and volume rocker is on the right side of the phone, with the power button having a bit of knurling for easier operation when you’re not looking at the phone.

The 3.5mm jack is on the bottom of the device, as well as the USB Type-C plug. There’s no speaker grille at the bottom, instead the phone’s earpiece doubles as a speaker, which means audio gets piped directly to you instead of to the side of the phone when you’re watching or listening to music.

What’s nice about the Moto X4 is that it’s IP68 rated, meaning it can be submerged in water for 30 minutes without anything bad happening to it, further life-proofing it.

The fingerprint scanner is located at the bottom of the display, which should be familar to anyone that currently has a Motorola phone. It’s not an actual button though, but you can remap it to work like the home button of most Android phones.

Display is a little small and not 18:9, but does it’s job well

In a world where 18:9 aspect ratio phones are becoming more common, the Moto X4’s display is a regular 16:9 one that’s 5.2-inches big. The display is an IPS LCD one instead of an AMOLED panel, which is a little disappointing given the phone’s price. But despite that the display is sharp, bright and colors look correct. We really can’t complain about the phone’s display.

Snapdragon 630 has enough oomph for most

The Moto X4 is one of the first few phones available in the Philippines that uses Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 630 processor. The chipset is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage.

The Moto X4’s performance with the chipset pretty much means that it’s capable of running any and all apps you throw at it with ease. That includes Android games that are graphically complex, thanks to the chipset’s Adreno 510 GPU. The phone felt quick and snappy during its time with us.

The front facing speaker is pretty loud and clear, with little distortion on higher volumes. No issues or problems at all with voice quality with calls made with, and to, the Moto X4.

Almost stock Android experience

One thing we like with Motorola’s phones is that you’re pretty much getting a stock Android experience with it. Motorola doesn’t put in a UI layer on top of the phone to confuse you, though they do include a few things to make the phone stand out. There’s Moto Display, which shows notifications on the display when it’s idle much like the always-on affairs of Motorola’s competitors. Moto Actions allow you to bind actions to shortcuts: twisting the phone twice, in rapid succession turns on the camera; a double karate chop turns on the LED flashlight, for example.

Camera needs a bit more work

Just like its competitors, Motorola added two rear cameras to the Moto X4. The primary rear snapper is a 12-megapixel deal, while the secondary camera is a wide angle camera that has a lower resolution, coming in at just 8-megapixels.

The camera setup is not new, and has been tried by other companies most notably LG with their G6 flagship, but the idea is the same: the primary camera is to take regular photos of people, pets and things, while the secondary camera is for taking wide shots of sprawling vistas.

Photos taken with the main camera looked ok if there was enough light, though the phone’s snapper struggles with uneven lighting. The camera also has a tendency to overexpose photos as well. The phone also allows you to take photos with artificial bokeh added later, though we did notice that the phone had a bit of a hard time finding the edges of the subject that we’re taking photos of to apply the effect.

The camera app on the phone is a little slow to focus on subjects even in well-lit situations.

Battery life is what you’d expect

The Moto X4 has a 3000mAh battery, which is pretty much par for the course for phones of its size. Battery performance of the phone is pretty good though, as it recorded at runtime of 8 hours and 47 minutes on our PCMark Battery benchmark test. That translates to around a day’s worth of battery life. In the unlikely event that you completely drain the battery of the phone or are dangerously low on juice, the phone has quick charge capability to get you up and running in no time.

Verdict: Price is a little steep for a mid-range phone, especially considering the competition

Motorola’s Moto X4 is a great little mid-range device, and while we were a little put off by its camera performance, it has more than enough pro’s to counter its cons. Its gorgeous design, solid build quality, water resistance, excellent battery life and fast processor makes the Moto X4 a solid phone.

That being said, it’s priced a bit too high to be a serious mid-range contender. With a price tag of Php 23,999, it’s going up against Motorola’s own Moto Z2 Play, as well as several solid smartphones priced a few thousand pesos less. Motorola’s going to sell a bunch of these, though the phone’s potential is hampered by unusually strong competition locally.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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6 Comments

  1. Is that the Sterling blue color? Last I heard they haven’t launched that color yet in the country, only the black is available.

  2. A little steep? This, in my opinion, should not exceed 20k. This will go against nova 2s which has better specs and cheaper by 1k. Anyway, its their marketing. Good luck…

  3. If i’m not mistaken Moto X4 is Motorola’s first Android One phone.. The article mentioned it’s an almost stock android but didn’t said it’s an Android One phone..

    It’s direct competitor are Xiaomi’s Mi A1 and HTC’s U11 Life, both are also Android One phones..

  4. what 24k? pang xiaomi mix 2 na ung presyo niyan. ang layo naman ng difference between Snapdragon 630 at snapdragon 835 for that price. at hindi pa yan bezel less

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