It’s a funny old world, you can go on for months without any major stories and you then take a week off and every company decided to drop their new products at once. One such company was Motorola, who announced the 2015 editions to their highly popular Moto line. And boy they were busy, three phones in two smartphone lines was certainly more than we hoped for and bargained for.
To kick things off, Motorola gave the mid-range Moto G a 2015 refresh that it badly needed. The G now has a quad-core 1.4 GHz Snapdragon CPU, 1 or 2 GB of RAM (Variant dependable, 2GB available on the 16GB storage version), a 5 inch HD screen on the front with a 5mpx front facing Camera and a 13mpx main camera capable of 1080p 30fps video. To power all of this, the Moto G has a 2470 mAh battery to give reasonable usage over 24 hours. Other added features, aside from the phenomenal £179.99 price tag is the Moto Maker website which allows you to go as wild as you like with personalisation with tiny details as speaker covers to back plate colours and materials. Motorola has also gone the extra step to make this device differentiate itself from the crowd of affordable lower end smartphones with extra IPX7 water resistance and memory expandability via microSD up to 32GB.
All in all, a good attempt from Motorola. For a smidge under £180 you get similar specifications to the 2014 Nexus 5 which for its time was considered a market leader, with its features. To see such high specs in an affordable package makes me quite happy that we are finally seeing the rise of the affordable smartphone, which does not skimp out on quality features like the camera or the processor. In my own personal opinion, this device should be huge this year. It is the perfect device that could be the first step into the world of smartphones for many. Its affordable qualities and great specifications should be a hit with anyone between the teens to those in their golden years. A phenomenal all-rounder.
Now, this is where things get a little more interesting. We saw the Moto X announced in 2013, and refreshed in 2014, but I certainly didn’t see a magic multiplication and diversification in the Moto X range for 2015. Unlike the previous instalments, the X comes in two different flavours, and not just for storage. In the UK we shall see the Moto X Play and the Moto X Style. Confused? So was I, but when you glance at the specs it’s all clear as daylight. The Play is the slightly cheaper version and the Style is the more premium version. In fairness, the two mainly just share a name and a few styling cues and that is about it. To be specific the similarities are the software as both have Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and cameras, front sits at 5mpx like the G and the back is a 21mpx, a big jump from last year. What is interesting about the cameras is that the Style can do 1080p Video in 60fps and 4K in 30fps whereas the play tops out at 1080p 30fps. A big difference maker if you ask me. From then on, you are looking at two half-brothers in a sense. The style has a Motorola Mobile computing System including a 1.8GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 with hexa-core CPU (MSM8992), Adreno 418 GPU, Natural Language Processor, and Contextual Computing Processor which is responsible for all the cool features that the X line was known for such as Ok Google and all the power saving that goes on inside. Alongside this myriad of processors, there is 3GB of DDR RAM with a 3000mAh battery to power the beast. The screen is top drawer quality. 5.7 inch TFT LCD Quad HD 520ppi display with Gorilla Glass 3 shall be a mesmerising handful to hold. Much like the G, the X Style is waterproof and has expandable storage via microSD, this time all the way up to 128GB. The device comes in 32 or 64GB flavours.
The more shaffordable (shit & affordable) sibling has Motorola Mobile Computing System including 1.7GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615 Octa-core CPU, Adreno 405 @ 550 MHz GPU, Natural Language Processor, and Contextual Computing Processor. Hypothetically more powerful with 8 cores vs 6 in the Style. The RAM inside is only 2GB with a slightly enlarged battery of 3630 mAh battery, and two storage flavours of 16 and 32GB. The display in the Play is a 5.5 inch 1080p 403ppi display, which is a step down from the Style. Both devices offer front facing speakers and all the standard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE connectivity.
What is interesting about these two is that the only the Style will be offered in the US, whereas the Play wont. At least that is what I gather from the Motorola Websites in the UK and US. As for pricing, Mums the word for the UK just now, with no pricing available online. The Style will be available as the Pure in the US for 399.99$.
Personally, I see this as a sort of benchmark for top end devices this year. The Moto X was never intended to be top end, but its features really pushed it towards the deeper end of the market where you may find your HTC Ones or Galaxy S’. With the features that it brings, for its price, it’ll be very interesting indeed to see what Samsung drops this Thursday, but more importantly how the likes of Google, LG and HTC will react. This year’s Moto X isn’t too far off the Nexus 6 for features, but a lot more down to earth for the price. In the end, I guess the main rival for this phone is the OnePlus 2, and I think this might spark a rivalry that may take a little away from the top end of the market, and bring the fight more into the territory where value for money becomes more of a factor than gimmicks.