The Moto X Pure Edition is the third generation of the acclaimed Moto X series, which was launched in 2013. The original Moto X was a compact device with modest specifications; this new edition is impressive in terms of both specs and design. The Moto X Pure Edition (known as the Moto X Style outside of the US) maintains the series' features while adding some exciting new functionality. But just how good is Motorola’s most premium smartphone? Find out in our Moto X Pure Edition review.
- Beautiful QHD LCD display
- Strong camera
- Convenient design
- Superior audio
- Relatively small battery capacity
Motorola Moto X Style release date and price
The Moto X Pure Edition release date has not been confirmed, but you can pre-order the device now at the US and UK Motorola websites. The Moto X Pure Edition price starts at US$399.99 for the 16 GB version, which is available in a range of customizable colors. In the UK, the Moto X Style price starts at £399 for the 32 GB version.
Motorola Moto X Style design and build quality
The Moto X Pure Edition is larger than its predecessor and, despite the visual similarities, brings a host of unique features to the series. Inside the box you get all the essentials, such as a charge-cable, instruction manual and in-ear headphones (the same model that was shipped with the Moto X 2014). The supplied power cable fits into a wall-socket, but the X Pure doesn't come with a separate USB cable for data transfer, sadly.
The handset can be customized in Motorola’s Moto Maker store, with options including a genuine leather or bamboo rear cover, but our review unit came in the standard silicone variant. Silicone is a material that might divide opinions, but personally, I like the soft grip. Not only does it feel good, but Motorola says that it won’t yellow over time.
I did notice that it’s easier to clean fingerprints off the back of Moto X Pure Edition than the Moto X Play, which has a rubberized polycarbonate coating. Up close, the raised diagonal lines of the back panel also look rather elegant.
The back of the handset is slightly curved, making it comfortable to handle, and it has an oval aluminum detail around the main camera and dual-tone LED flash, like on the Moto G 2015, with the company logo at the lower end.
Despite its curved spine, the Moto X Pure Edition is perfectly usable even when it's lying flat on a table – it doesn't wobble – and unlike a number of devices released this year, like the Galaxy S6, the Moto X Pure Edition’s rear camera lens doesn’t protrude. This all adds to its premium looks.
At the top of the device is the slot for two SIM cards and just behind the chip tray is a slot for a microSD card up to 128 GB. On the bottom of the device is the micro USB port and on the right-hand side is the power button and volume control.
As on other Motorola models, the power button is lightly textured so that it isn’t confused with the volume controls. All of these buttons are easily reachable when using the smartphone with one hand.
The front of the device is the same as on the Moto X Play, except that the LED flash is now in the upper right corner. Additionally, Motorola has included stereo speakers on the Pure Edition for multimedia and audio playback, but they protrude from the surface of the device a little.
We're not sure we like the look of the speakers sticking out so visibly. On the plus side, they do help protect the screen from being scratched when the device is placed face down on a flat surface.
All in all, Motorola has once again delivered a high quality design. While the Moto X Pure Edition isn't visually bold or fresh, Motorola has nailed the key components and crafted a well-rounded and very comfortable handset.
Motorola Moto X Style display
The Moto X Pure Edition features a 5.7-inch display with QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolution and 520 pixels per inch. The company chose a TFT LCD panel with IPS technology for its new flagship, rather than the AMOLED screen of the previous model.
With TFT LCD, Motorola was able to achieve a more balanced and less intense color tones. Whites are purer and the reproduction of colors in photos and videos is much more accurate. For me, the shift from AMOLED to LCD TFT was a good choice.
What’s more, the display is designed to be energy efficient, making the impact of the new display tech on the phone's on battery life less severe than it otherwise might have been. The viewing angles are excellent and it remains readable even when viewed at 57 degrees.
The brightness of the Moto X Pure Edition is not as intense as its predecessor, though, making the screen visibility a little less good in outdoor environments.
Motorola Moto X Style special features
The Moto X Pure Edition’s voice features are an amalgamation of Google Now controls and special commands enhanced by Motorola, which expands the possibilities further. I had to wait a couple of days for the software to become optimized, but once it had, it went beyond the functionality offered by Google Now because it had learned from my behavior.
The commands present in the Moto X Pure Edition are the same as the X Play and the Moto X (2014), which were standardized with the arrival of Lollipop 5.1. However, there's one novelty that's specific to this device that caught my attention: you can activate Moto Voice by moving the device to your ear like you would if you wanted to talk. It’s useful even if only to avoid saying "OK Google" out loud in a public space.
The speech recognition is accurate even in a relatively noisy space, far moreso than even the Moto X Play.
The Moto Assist software now comes with a new feature for recognizing locations, which was introduced in a recent update, and it can detect when a user is at home, work or at school.
The settings can be easily configured for each of these locations. For example, you can assign a 'work' profile. which automatically changes your phone's volume to the silent while you’re there. It’s a simple idea, but can be very useful.
Motorola Moto X Style software
The X Pure arrives running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with the promise of an upgrade to Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the future. The software delivered by Motorola is cleaner than ever, mainly thanks to the removal of the voice features and gestures from the system settings. All of Motorola’s extra features can be found in the dedicated Motorola application.
The device comes with 32 pre-installed applications, and only four of them belong to Motorola: Help, Migration, Connect and Moto. The normal suite of Google apps are there, with the exception of Google+ and Google Play Games. The software experience itself is the same as we have come to expect from Motorola’s more recent devices: almost stock Android, hopefully providing for a swift upgrade to Android Marshmallow in the fall.
Motorola Moto X Style performance
Like the LG G4, the Moto X Pure Edition is packed with a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor (MSM8992) clocked at 1.8 GHz, with 3 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The decision not to go with a Snapdragon 810 means that the threat of overheating is reduced.
The GPU is an Adreno 418 (600 MHz), which provides for exceptional visual performance. The latest games and videos can be displayed at high-resolutions without any dips in frame rate.
The X Pure also comes with two co-processors called natural language and contextual computing. These processors are responsible for managing the unit's sensors, voice capture and power saving to do things such as reduce background processing while the device is in a pocket, for example.
We ran an AnTuTu benchmark test to assess performance and learned that the Moto X Pure Edition scored above the Asus Zenfone 2 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with 53,692 points.
Motorola Moto X Style audio
Finally we have a Moto X model with stereo speakers at the front. The audio on the device is excellent, pumping out clean treble and bass frequencies without distortion. The level of immersion in videos and games is enhanced by the speakers being on the front of the device – they sound great even at full volume.
There is no EQ in the system settings however, and Motorola lacks the audio features that the likes of the Sony devices boast.
Motorola Moto X Style camera
The Moto X Pure Edition camera is said to be the best Motorola has ever produced, it performs accordingly. The rear camera comes in at 21 MP (5,344 x 4,008 pixels) and is accompanied by a dual-tone LED (CCT) flash, with f / 2.0 aperture lens. The pictures obtained by this camera are superb, with good color balance, exposure and definition.
Night mode reduces the images to 3 MP, but does a decent job of taking photos with little noise and blur. Check out the results of our camera tests in the gallery below:
The front camera has a 5 MP sensor with LED flash and the results in daylight are good, but not perfect – it’s better to find a good lighting source than use the flash.
Motorola Moto X Style battery
Before I start talking about numbers on the battery life of the Moto X Pure Edition, I want to talk a little about the charger that arrived with the device. This is the same Turbo Charger that also arrives with the Moto Maxx. It has 25 watts of power and is capable of reachingabove average charge speeds. In my tests, I could fully charge the Moto X Style in 1 hour and 23 minutes, and it charged to 16 percent in the first 15 minutes of being plugged in.
This initial 15 minutes was fastest, then the unit dropped in speed a little, but these are still impressive figures. The fast-charging only works for the X Pure, not other Quick-Charge 2.0 compatible handsets, but it will charge other Motorola devices normally.
And the Moto X Pure Edition battery itself? It has a 3,000 mAh capacity, and even though it charges fast, the life of the battery isn't great. I usually had my display brightness set at around 35 percent and the device never provided more than a day of use. You can expect it to last until night-time on a full charge, but with heavy use and higher brightness will reduce this further.
Motorola Moto X Style technical specifications
The Moto X Pure Edition is easily capable of competing directly with the latest Android flagship releases. Motorola did an impeccable job with its new flagship phone and the quality can be seen from the design right through to the hardware specifications. It's just unfortunate that the battery life isn't better.
This device is the best evolution of the Moto X line – the Moto X Play looks unimpressive by comparison. At US$399 for the base model, the X Pure offers incredible value for money. With turbo-charging, expandable storage, a QHD display, premium design, strong performance and excellent camera, there's no reason this shouldn't sell very well indeed.
What did you think of Moto X Pure Edition? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.