Motorola Moto X Pure Edition Review: Straight-Up Premium Android

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Moto X Pure Intro and Specifications

Apple and Samsung have already launched their latest flagship devices for 2015, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived that's built upon the successes of the original. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes on the charger) and a water-repellant nano-coating to protect from spills.

The Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style in non-U.S. markets) has plenty of competition, but in some ways, it exists in a niche of its own. Samsung and Apple are top of mind in the U.S., but those flagships start at around $649 and peak at nearly $1,000 with a halfway decent amount of internal storage, if you want to buy one without carrier subsidies.

moto x pure charging

Apple's unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus goes for $949, for example, while Samsung's 64GB Galaxy Note 5 checks in at around $800. Rather than bark up that tree, Moto is hawking a great phone, completely unlocked, with a clean version of Android, at a price point that's downright cheap in comparison. While the $399 base price only includes 16GB of storage, even the 64GB model is priced aggressively at $499. What's that coin get you?

Let's take a quick hands-on video tour of the device and then dive in deep...

Apple and Samsung have already had their annual smartphone launch parties, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived on the test bed. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes on the charger) and a water-repellant nano-coating.

The Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style in non-U.S. markets) has plenty of competition, but in some ways, it exists in a niche of its own. Samsung and Apple have long since garnered the lion's share of mobile profits in North America, but those flagships start at around $649 and peak at nearly $1,000 with a halfway decent amount of internal storage. 

Apple's unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus goes for $949 exclusive of tax, while Samsung's 64GB Galaxy Note 5 checks in at around $800. Rather than bark up that tree, Moto is hawking a great phone, completely unlocked, at a price point that's downright cheap in comparison. While the $399 base price only includes 16GB of storage, even the 64GB model only costs $499. What's that coin get you? Let's take a look.
Apple and Samsung have already had their annual smartphone launch parties, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived on the test bed. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes on the charger) and a water-repellant nano-coating.

The Moto X Pure Edition (also known as the Moto X Style in non-U.S. markets) has plenty of competition, but in some ways, it exists in a niche of its own. Samsung and Apple have long since garnered the lion's share of mobile profits in North America, but those flagships start at around $649 and peak at nearly $1,000 with a halfway decent amount of internal storage. 

Apple's unlocked 128GB iPhone 6s Plus goes for $949 exclusive of tax, while Samsung's 64GB Galaxy Note 5 checks in at around $800. Rather than bark up that tree, Moto is hawking a great phone, completely unlocked, at a price point that's downright cheap in comparison. While the $399 base price only includes 16GB of storage, even the 64GB model only costs $499. What's that coin get you? Let's take a look.

Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
Specifications & Features

OS
Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) 
CPU
64-bit 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
GPU
Adreno 418 (600MHz)
Memory
3 GB LPDDR3 RAM
16/32/64GB Storage + microSD expansion slot
Display
5.7-inch Quad HD (2560x1440 pixels)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Rear Camera
21 MP Rear-facing Camera
f/2.0 Aperture, Phase Detect Auto-Focus
Dual LED Flash; 1080p HD Video (60fps) and 4K video (30fps)
Front Camera
5MP Front-facing Camera
Network
GSM / HSPA / LTE Cat 6 Capable  WCDMA; nano-SIM card slot
Wireless
NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz), GPS
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700 (AWS),1900, 2100 MHz)
CDMA (800, 850, 1900 MHz)
4G LTE† (B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 38, 41)
Ports
3.5 mm stereo audio jack, micro-USB
Size
179 grams
76.2 x 153.9 x 6.1 - 11.06 mm (WxDxH)
Battery
3000 mAh (non-removeable) 
Color Options
Moto Maker customizations (built-to-order)
Price
$399 to $499 off-contract and unlocked
   
Calling the Moto X Pure Edition a mid-range device would be somewhat misleading. Though it isn't equipped with the absolute latest and greatest internal hardware, there's little doubt that what is here is capable of tackling everything that most folks would toss at a smartphone -- and at a significant savings compared to rival devices.

What's it like to use one of the cleanest, most unadulterated Android devices on the market? We'll answer that in the pages to come.

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