Last week, Motorola unveiled its biggest project in recent memory: Moto X. Out of the many flagships we’ve seen this year, none have attracted so many polarizing opinions. On the one hand, many argue that the device is disappointingly underspec’d—if you take it at face value next to something like a Galaxy S4, that may be so. On the other, Motorola has purposely ignored the component race to try something wholly unique, letting buyers dictate design, while making the device more usable with neat software tricks. And it’s being assembled in the U.S.A. It’s an approach that can make or break a company.
It’s easy to dismiss a device like Moto X because of its specs, and the price Motorola set is doing the handset no favors—$200 for the 16GB iteration and $250 for the 32GB version. But opportunities like this only come around so often. How many times have you been able to determine what color your Samsung smartphone is beyond stock colors? None that I know of. It may not sound like enough of a reason to buy a Moto X over a competing device—maybe it’s something better understood after actually using the handset, using its touchless control feature, and seeing how the colors completely changes the experience.
I briefly got my hands on the device last week—a plain old black one—and it felt much better than anticipated; I expected a Razr-like handset, modular and sharp. But it was satisfyingly rounded, smooth, with that right amount of heft. And the screen is fantastic. Zipping around the OS, I experienced no lag; everything was smooth and wonderful. The materials don’t at all feel cheap, which is important in a device that is so flexible in its design. It was a tight little package that anyone—average consumer and fervent techie—would enjoy. It’s a device that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Smartphones today are easily forgotten because their specs are so quickly outdated. Moto X is already considered mid-tier—unfit for today’s high-end market. But it’s so much more than that; it deserves a chance, even if it doesn’t have a quad-core chip or a 1080p screen. When a device already performs well, and has no perceptible lag, why would those extra components even matter to a consumer that has up to 2,000 possible color combinations right in front of them? The Moto X might be the answer to a lot of pockets. Obviously, though, it’s not for everyone.