Android Refined: Moto X Smartphone Review

Battery Life Testing and Camera Samples

When it comes to imaging, there's a 2MP camera up front and a 10MP camera (plus flash) on the rear. The 2MP front-facing camera is satisfactory for video chatting and little else, while the 10MP rear camera leaves a bit to be desired. This phone's is decent, but hardly awe-inspiring. The macro mode does seem to work quite well, but it can be finicky. When attempting to photograph something up close, for example, we couldn't get the camera to stop focusing on the background, even using the "Touch To Focus" feature.

On the plus side, Motorola has designed an incredibly slick UI for advanced photo controls. There's flash controls, HDR control, Slo-Motion control, Panorama mode, GPS on/off (for geotagging) and Quick Capture -- a unique feature that enables you to launch straight into the camera with two quick twists of the wrist. It's awesome for hopping into the camera when something spur of the moment is happening in front of you.

Photos in broad daylight turned out well, but dealing with confusing lighting scenarios is clearly not this sensor's forte. 1080p video capture was also above average (see our video demo on the first page of this review). If you're planning to use the camera just to snap moments for sharing on Instagram, you may not care about the extra noise incurred when shooting in low light, or the extra blur in photos taken as the sun sets. But, rest assured, this is no high-end sensor. It's one area of the Moto X that's decidedly middle-of-the-road.

Unedited Moto X camera samples; click to enlarge

On the battery front, there's a 2,200mAh Li-Polymer cell. Sadly, it's not accessible by the end user, so you can't just swap in a new cell if this one gets exhausted. That said, Motorola claims that it can last up to 24 hours for the average user -- no doubt a feat that is helped by a lower-resolution panel and a processor that isn't exactly on the cutting edge in late 2013.

In our tests, the phone managed to hold up to that. During average use -- daily texts, a few voice calls, hours of surfing, checking social feeds, having 4-5 accounts with Push notifications enabled, etc. -- we were able to stretch the phone's battery to around 23.5 hours. Heavier users will see that fall by a few hours, but still, that's impressive.

In order to text the Moto X's battery life in a controlled benchmark environment, we used AnTuTu's battery test. During the test, we set the screen to 50% brightness. For those unaware, this test taxes the CPU constantly in a bid to run the battery down in an accelerated fashion; this represents hardcore usage of the phone, in a sort of "worst-case scenario" depiction of battery life. In this particular test, it stacks up well against the GS4, which has a larger 2,600mAh battery.

Related content