I feel the need to begin with a story. So feel free to skip it, TL;DR and all.
I have had a plethora of different devices over the years, but my first taste of smartphones began with a Blackberry Bold 9000 in 2008 (being Canadian that used to be THE smartphone to get. You have to buy from your own country, amirite?) After that, I had an iPhone 4 (I know, I know..) in 2010. In 2012, I met my husband Jeff Trocchio, and he introduced me to the world of Android.
Wow, had I ever been missing out!! I dove into Androids with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I figured, go big or go home! Sadly, Samsung’s UI left something to be desired for me, and it wasn’t long after purchasing it that I rooted it, and installed Cyanogenmod.
After moving to the United States and getting my Note 2 set up on T-Mobile, it turned out that the LTE bands used on T-Mobile, were not available on my Note 2! Wow. I had never experienced lack of service coverage before. Well, that certainly wouldn’t do. How was I supposed to play Ingress when my phone could barely send a Hangout message? As a result of this incompatibility, we switched it out for a T-Mobile Note 3. Although the Note 3 was a better experience, as I could now get LTE speeds, the coverage in my area, is spotty, to say the least. It is not exactly in a huge city with cell towers all over the place. When I used my Note 3 in Boston, it was excellent.
Now, I suppose I can get to the point. After being a ‘Samsung Girl’ For two-ish years. (Not very long I know, but longer than some folks keep their phones around) I’ve decided to try something new. My husband has a Moto X, and I have always been jelly of the features those devices have. When we heard about the 2nd Gen Moto X being released, and the fact that it would only be 0.5″ smaller than my Note 3, it was decided this was the time to move back to Motorola. After having a Motorola V.Box, and a RAZR V3, could they capture my heart again?
Unboxing My Moto X
I was thrilled to discover that my Moto X was being delivered on my day off. Yay! I awaited with anticipation for the delivery! Thanks to the wonderful people at FedEx, it was left outside in the rain, without so much as a knock to let me know it had been delivered. With a sigh of rage, I finally discovered it, and brought it inside.
I sat down on the floor, legs crossed, like a child on Christmas. Inside of the soaking wet FedEx box, the Moto X box was wrapped in plastic. Whew! The packaging for the Moto X was fairly standard. Most devices these days are boxed the same way. I opened the box which opened like a book, and there it was. The green trim sparkled in the sunshine from the slider door. I picked it up, and my first thought was that it was heavier than expected. It felt sturdy, but not cumbersome. The back of the phone feels rubbery, but smooth at the same time. The power button, contrary to the original, has ridges in it, thus allowing your fingers to feel the difference between it and the volume button, without having to look.
Setting Up My Moto X
When I held down the power button, and the screen came to life, I watched the boot animation for the first time and actually enjoyed it. Since the unlocked version of the phone comes with a T-Mobile SIM already installed, it was only a matter of calling them, to get it activated. Using a different SIM card meant I had to wait for my husband to get it switched over later. When he got home, and called T-Mobile, there was a bit of confusion over which SIM number was correct (hint: it’s the one on the box).
However, I didn’t wait for him to get home to get started. Initially, it didn’t allow me to proceed in setting it up, due to the fact it said I had no cellular service. It prompted me to call my provider. It wasn’t until a reboot, where it finally prompted me for the WiFi password, where I could at least get the “smart” part of the phone, set up. Once WiFi was connected, my Moto X suggested I install Motorola Migrate on my old device. From there, it transferred all of my pictures, text messages, media files, call history and contacts from my Note 3 seamlessly over WiFi.
The software on the 2nd gen Moto X is a bit different than the previous version, as the suite of apps are now one, called Moto. There are four areas in Moto; Assist, Actions, Voice and Display.
With Voice, I was faced with the difficult task of giving my Moto X a catchphrase. Unlike it’s predecessor, the 2nd Gen Moto X gives you the option of naming it instead of saying “Okay Google Now.” What a chore this was! I hummed and hawed for hours, and after deciding my initial choice may not be the best for public use, I finally settled on getting as close to Star Trek as I could with “Hello Computer.” Unfortunately, “computer” simply wasn’t enough syllables to be recognized properly by the software.
Setting up the voice recognition was a little painful. The instructions were simple and easy to follow, but I had to repeat myself multiple times. My Moto X accused me of pausing in the middle of the two words, or for the area not being quiet enough, even though I was in a closed off room in my house. Apparently devices simply have a hard time understanding me. I have tried speech to text many times, and the results are generally hilarious but not at all what I had said. Once I had gone through the Moto setup, it was ready to rock!
After a brief time, I received a notification from Moto, letting me know that with Assist it could adjust settings on my phone automatically. When I selected this notification, it asked me if the location my phone was in now, was my home. Then it let me know, it would read aloud my text messages and tell me who is calling.
Later, after being reminded by my husband, I set up sleeping mode in Assist, where it would silence my device, and keep the screen dark between certain hours. This feature is one that I thoroughly enjoy. There is nothing worse than being woken up by portal attack notifications in the middle of the night. Stay away from my guardian!
A Week Later: Thoughts On My Moto X
This phone has been a dream to have. Motorola has obviously spent a lot of time getting the feeling of this phone right. Motorola has carried over the things you loved from the original Moto X and made slight improvements. Now, for example, if you have an email and a Google Hangout message, you can swipe up to the most important one from the lock screen, as opposed to just the most recent.
I have never used voice to anything on any of my other devices. I always felt odd being alone and talking to my phone. With Moto X, that oddness has been removed. I feel like Moto X and I have gotten to know each other and we’ve become good friends; I mean, she reads all of my text messages! (This certainly comes in handy during a raid in WoW. No need to stop the healz to send a text!) I feel comfortable asking “What’s Up,” initiating Google Searches or asking what the weather will be.
I was a little concerned that the reduction in the battery size compared to my previous phone, would be an issue. I have found that despite what the internet says, my Moto X has not failed me yet. On a typical day, I lose 15% from when I get up, to when I get home from work. This is with light use. During times when I’m taxing the battery, it has lasted 14-15 hours, with anywhere from two to four hours of screen on time. Your mileage may vary.
The camera is typical for a 13MP. It has panorama mode, HDR, multi-shot, and twist to open, which is a shortcut directly to the camera, by wiggling your phone, while it is in any state. The camera hasn’t wowed me yet. I have found I miss the ‘Front back’ option the Samsung camera had, which allowed you to take a selfie while taking a picture of what you were looking at, however, as they say ‘there’s an app for that.’
The addition of being able to silence alarms or phone calls by simply waving your hand above your phone certainly makes me feel like a Jedi using my mind tricks. “This is not the phone call I am waiting for.” I also use these tricks while my screen is locked to see what kind of message I have waiting. If its not something I deem important, it can wait.
I feel as though I’ve barely scraped the surface of all the things my Moto X will be able to do for me. This may be a device that will last longer than a year, in my hands.