Motorola Moto X4 – SMART, TIME-SAVING INCLUSIONS IN A UNDERSTATED HANDSET.
WE’RE NOT SURE if we’ve ever called a smartphone ‘polite’ before. Not in the sense that it says ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you offer it a cup of tea [Ed — Why are you offering your phone a cup of tea?], but one that’s very aware of your time, and that you want life to be simple so you can get on with it.
The Motorola Moto X4 is a polite phone.
It’s packed with shortcuts — activated by gestures — to make your life easier. Aware that not everyone has either a thumb long enough or possesses the sheer dexterity to reach to the opposite far corner, a simple diagonal swipe from the centre of the bright 5.2-inch display to the bottom right- or left-hand corner shrinks the screen by about 20% to make one-handed navigation easier.
Other classic Motorola shortcuts return, like a double karate chop to turn the flashlight on, or twisting the phone (like you’re trying to turn a key in both directions in a lock) to open the camera lens. These two can be done from standby, and while they’re common to other Moto phones, they still impress. Just be careful you don’t flick or twist too quickly, as while the phone is lightweight and nicely balanced — despite the camera bump — the edges are a little slippery.
Should it fall out of your grasp, the tough Gorilla Glass screen offers some peace of mind, and the IP68 waterproof rating will save it if you pitch it into water.
Beyond gestures, you have the ability to send the same audio source to multiple Bluetooth speakers or headphones, synchronising your tunes. Elsewhere in this issue is a feature dedicated to speakers that do just that (page 64, to be precise), but the beauty here is that the X4 doesn’t care if you’re using a Bose and a Bang & Olufsen, or a Sony and a Samsung. You could also pair two sets of Bluetooth headsets so you and a friend can go for a run and have the same tunes playing.
Motorola’s also packed in a rear-facing camera that takes lovely, clear shots in good light, and puts up a decent fight in dark situations. The 8MP snapper has a 120° lens, which pulls in more of the scenery than the 12MP sensor. We’d recommend using the former for big, beautiful vista shots. Thanks to that dual lens, the X4 also pulls off the same trick performed by many other dual-lens cameras, which is to offer a bokeh effect, blurring the background or foreground of your photo to add more depth. If you’ve never seen it before, you’ll be amazed, as the focal point can be adjusted after you’ve taken the shot. Compared to the poster child for this effect, the Huawei P10 Plus, it comes away second-best by a mile, though there’s a sizable difference in price between the two.
The 16MP front camera also has a flash, and does a fine job at balancing the colour of the photo.
Day to day, it’s a fast, capable unit. Benchmark scores put it closer to the Oppo R9s, but by feel alone, it’s rivalling the Nokia 8 for snap and fluidity — no mean feat.
The main challenger is the OnePlus 5, an utter beast of a phone that outpaces handsets. It’s far less playful with none of the conveniences of the X4, and lacks waterproofing, but for the money, it can’t be ignored. Still, we can recommend the X4. Pick it, and you’ll be the one offering the thanks. [ Paul taylor ]
MOTOROLA MOTO X4
CRITICAL SPECS Android 7.1.1; 5.2-inch LCD IPS display @1o8op (441ppi); Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU; Adreno 508 GPU; 4GB RAM; 64GB internal storage expandable or dual SIM; dual rear 12MP + 8MP rear cameras and 16MP front camera; 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi; USB-C port; 3,ooomAh battery; 14.8 x 7.3 x 0.8cm; 163g
Motorola Moto X4 - SMART, TIME-SAVING INCLUSIONS IN A UNDERSTATED HANDSET.