Motorola Moto X Style first impressions: a steamroller with sex appeal

“The Moto X Style is a gorgeous blend of design and power. We went hands on at IFA 2015”

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This year, Motorola was expected to launch the third-gen Moto X, but instead the company surprised us all by launching not one, but two smartphones – the Moto X Style and Moto X Play. While the Moto X Play is a mid-range smartphone, the Moto X Style is a premium flagship that’s loaded to the gills. At IFA 2015 in Berlin, we got a chance to go hands on with the devices. Here’s our first impressions of the Moto X Style.

Motorola’s smartphones have always scored brownie points in the design department, and the Moto X Style is no exception. Featuring the trademark curved Motorola rear, the Style also features a sturdy metal frame. While the smartphone isn’t the thinnest available – it measures 11.1mm around the waist and weighs a hefty 179g – that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The extra bulk makes it feel very sturdy to hold, and the curved back panel ensures it fits snugly in the hand.

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Motorola is offering the Style with a range of rear panel finishes. Apart from a few natural wood back panels, you’ll also be able to pick up the smartphone with a Horween leather finish, as well as coated silicon rubber in a bunch of colours. The Style does away with the flash ring seen on the 2nd-gen Moto X, and instead opts for a metal strip that incorporates the rear 21MP camera and dual LED flash, the same unit seen on the Moto Turbo (review). A smaller version of the dimpled Motorola logo also fits into the strip.

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Coming to the port and button placement, you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack and ejectable tray for the SIM and microSD card on top, micro-USB port at the bottom, and volume rocker and power switch on the right. 

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The front of the smartphone is taken up by the large 5.7-inch display, which features 2K resolution that brings it up to par with the current premium flagship standard. With a pixel density of 520ppi, the screen appears incredibly sharp and clear. The display gets Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection, and also features a water-repellant coating that should safeguard it from accidental spills. Motorola has also done away with AMOLED screen technology used in the first and second-gen Moto X, opting for a TFT LCD display. Like previous Moto devices, the Style features dual front-facing speakers situated above and below the display. The bezel above the screen houses the earpiece, front 5MP camera and a front-facing LED flash. Apart from the standard sensors, you’ll also find a few intelligent sensors on the facade, which help the Moto X Style to turn on the Active Display and detect gestures. 

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Powering the smartphone is a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, consisting of two Cortex A-57 cores clocked at 1.8GHz and four Cortex A-53 cores spinning at 1.44GHz. While some might wonder why Motorola didn’t use the more powerful Snapdragon 810 chip, the heating issues associated with that processor might be worth the trade-off. In the memory department, the Moto X Style gets 3GB of RAM, and comes in 16GB/32Gb/64GB storage options. There’s also a microSD card slot for expansion by an additional 128GB. 

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As always, the Moto X Style runs an almost vanilla iteration of Android Lollipop, in this case v.5.1.1. You do get the usual Moto enhancements like Moto Display, Moto Voice and Moto Actions, but these add to the stock Android experience rather than take away from it in our experience. Fuelling the smartphone is a meaty 3,000mAh battery. Accounting for the battery guzzling tendencies of a 2K display, Motorola has equipped the Style with a TurboPower 25 charger, which the company says is among the fastest in the world. As far as the connectivity options go,  the Moto X Style features support for universal 4G LTE bands, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS and GLONASS.

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The Moto X Style has been priced at $399 for the 16GB edition in the US, which roughly translates to Rs 25,700. If priced below Rs 30,000 in India, the device would make a compelling option in India’s flagship space, which has been widely divided between affordable flagships from the likes of Xiaomi and Honor on one hand, and ultra premium offerings from Samsung, LG and HTC on the other. Motorola has been teasing the launch of a new device on its social media channels for a few days now, and we expect both the Moto X Style and Moto X Play to be launched next week on Flipkart. We’ll update you with the price and availability details when we have them.

Disclosure: This writer attended IFA 2015 in Berlin on Lenovo’s invitation, the company which now owns Motorola.
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