Top positive review
165 people found this helpful
on 16 October 2012
Having used this phone for about a week I feel like I can throw in my 2p worth. I bought this from Expansys since Amazon did not have this phone in stock during launch. My impression so far has been very positive and I am not regretting being an early adopter (at least not yet) at all!
- Sleek form factor and ease of use. You can easily use this one handed for most tasks even if you have average sized hands. I also like the geeky `industrial design' but that is a matter of personal taste. This phone exudes class when held in the hand or laid on a desk.
- Fast & Smooth operation thanks to being very lightly skinned by Motorola (good call on that one!). Ah, the joys of an almost pure Android experience! Scrolling between home pages, opening the app drawer, launching the dialler, phone book, text messaging, launching the camera etc is handled quickly and effortlessly. The circles widget is a very useful thing indeed and I also like the implementation of the lock screen.
- Apps work really well on the phone and I have not come across any I could not install from the 40+ I downloaded from the play store. Apps like Flipboard, Evernote, PlayerPro, Dropbox, Whatsapp, Pocket, Ocado, etc work flawlessly and demanding games (I tried Osmos HD, Dead Space & Dead Trigger) run without any hiccups. Multitasking is also handled with ease and running multiple apps in the background does not slow the phone down much.
- Web browsing with the Chrome browser is perhaps the best I have experienced on a smartphone so far with super fast page loads, text & graphics rendering, page scrolling and tab switching. Pinch zooming and tap-to-zoom is flawless and integration with the Chrome desktop browser is a joy! All my bookmarks are synced between my phone and laptop and I can also see what tabs I have open on my laptop. Brilliant.
- Battery Life is great. I charge my phone fully before going to bed and it easily lasts me 24 hours (if not longer) with higher than average use. With heavy to intense use I would say a full day's use (morning till night) is quite manageable. That is above average for a modern day smartphone.
- Music quality is comparable to its rivals. It won't impress audiophiles (but neither will any other smartphone) but it is acceptable for a mobile phone. The volume level is a little on the lower side compared to an iPhone but you will rarely feel the need to max out (about 70% volume level is plenty loud on this). I used this with my Klipsch S4 & Sennheiser IE6 earphones and the sound was pretty decent. So even though this does not have the crisp highs, well defined lows and balanced sound of my dedicated music player (Creative Zen Vision M) it is on par with modern smartphones.
- Video playback is brilliant even via the stock player. But be sure to download MX player and it's Codec pack for x86 CPUs to make the most of viewing videos on the phone. Videos load up instantaneously, seeking through them is super quick and all types of file formats and resolutions are handled with aplomb! The Youtube app works like a charm. And yes, both the MX player and the Youtube app hide the soft keys for full screen viewing while playing videos :)
- Emailing is quick and painless using both the stock email app or Gmail. Just enter your email ID and passowrd and you're set. I have not used exchange server so can't comment on that.
- Expandable memory. Can't believe I'm listing this as a plus but the recent (disturbing) trend of manufacturers leaving out this valuable feature probably has something to do with it ;) I've used it with my 32 gig card with no issues.
- LED indicator! Now why doesn't every phone have one?? So useful, especially if you make the most of it by using an app like Light Flow LED Control and have different colours for different events (Calls, Texts, Facebook, etc).
- GPS lock is fast! It even gives me a lock indoors (albeit taking more time in doing so). Plus Google Maps loads really quickly and you can now even download a certain area of the map for offline use. I can see this being a very useful navigation device.
- Has NFC so is future proof (apart from not having LTE capability as mentioned in the negatives below).
- Finally, this is really good at being a telephone in case you ever feel like using it as such ;) Call quality is excellent, it keeps good signal strength and connects calls in an instant (almost caught me off guard a couple of times by how quickly it did that!). Even with the poor O2 network (I am on giffgaff) it has not given me any problems so far.
- While the screen is good when it comes to brightness and colour reproduction the low resolution (and PenTile pixel arrangement) becomes apparent while reading text on the device as you can notice the jagged edges every so often. Also, my phone's screen (at least) has a yellowy tinge to its whites especially when compared side by side to an LCD display (EDIT: seems like this differs from model to model so please make sure to check yours as soon as you get it). None of these things matter while viewing pictures & videos or playing games and in normal use though. I think I am blessed (cursed?) with particularly sharp eyesight!
- Despite what I said about how breezy the phone is there is a judder when you zoom in from the overview mode to a particular home screen (some say it is due to the circles widget but this is not the case) and a slight lag when swiping away open apps from the task manager. Again, nothing major but does take away some of the gleam. Hopefully the Jelly Bean upgrade and `Project Butter' should fix these wrinkles!
- I am not a fan of the positioning of the on/off toggles for GPS, Wi Fi, Bluetooth, etc to the left of the main home screen (much prefer them being in the status bar as with TouchWiz). Also, why can't I have my main home screen in the middle? (EDIT: both of these issues can be fixed by installing an app like Notification Toggles and then using a custom launcher like Nova. But I am reviewing this device in it's stock form)
- Camera is strictly average quality wise but acceptable for a camera phone. The rivals have it beat here! All depends on how important this is for you though. It is not really top on my list of priorities so I can live with it.
- Build quality: while the phone feels extremely solid overall there are a few niggling quality issues like gaps between the aluminium frame and the body of the phone (where dust particles will happily reside and call home), a slightly misaligned logo (the metal plate), and also a slight gap on one side of the Kevlar back plating. All of these are only tiny niggles which you will only notice if you really look for them!
- Is not LTE capable so it will not run at 4G speeds if that is something you are considering.
- The speaker is decently loud but very tinny so it's not all that great for listening to music but perfectly serviceable for use as a loudspeaker during calls.
- Motorola's track record for rolling out software upgrades to their past models is patchy at best so I don't know how things will be beyond the promised Jelly Bean upgrade. It is however owned by Google now so I'm trying to be optimistic about it :)
Despite the above mentioned drawbacks this is one of the best devices in the mid-range price bracket and stacks up very well against the likes of the S2, One S, Galaxy Nexus and the Xperia S. It even matches the current flagship models (S3, One X, Optimus 4x) in many aspects and certainly punches above it's weight. The sleek & compact form factor, almost pure Android experience, good build quality and superb overall user experience helps this phone pip the competition in my opinion!
PS: Apologies for the long review, just felt like I needed to cover all aspects of the phone. Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions!