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Motorola Moto X Style & Moto X Play hands-on review

If you’re itching for a new flagship, Motorola just unleashed not one, but two on an unsuspecting market. We go hands-on with both to see what they’re made of.

Motorola Moto X Play

Whilst the Moto X is still unequivocally Motorola’s flagship device, it now comes in two distinct skews. The Moto X Play is the simpler, stripped-back of the two. Maintaining the familiar silhouette of previous Moto Xs with a metal frame and a curved back that rests nicely in the hand.

Whilst it isn’t the most customisable of Motorola’s new offerings, it can enjoy some of the benefits of the company’s Moto Maker service, with interchangeable compressed silicone rubber back panels (available in 14 colours) and accents on parts of its metal bodywork.

The camera features the same familiar and easy-to-use tap-anywhere-to-snap interface, which makes wielding the impressive 21-megapixel rear camera wonderfully simple, although the option for greater manual control using Android’s Camera2 API wouldn’t have gone amiss. There’s also a 5-megapixel front-facer with a wide-angle lens, as you’d expect, and despite a removable back, a 3630mAh battery that’s locked in tight.

Motorola says it charges fast, thanks to the company’s own TurboPower technology (we were quoted 8 hours use from 15 minutes charging) and exposed microUSB and headphone ports that didn’t mind a dip in water thanks to the phone’s IPX7 certified resistance.

Spec junkies may not be on board with the flagship notion when the 1.7GHz octa-core chip running the show when the Snapdragon 615 isn’t considered top-of-the-line, but in practice it feels like a beautifully fluid device; no doubt helped by the near-stock Android 5.1.1 experience and the beautiful 5.5-inch Full HD display.

Motorola Moto X Style

The Style feels more like the true successor to last year’s Moto X. The metal frame alone features identifiable lines and curves, shares the Play’s in-hand comfort factor and uses Moto Maker to its full potential.

Prospective buyers can choose from three different metal frame types, seven metal accent types and a range of backs hewn from leather, metal, silicone and wood. Despite this, like the X Play, the Style offers water resistance and the fastest-charging battery in the business right now.

Like the Play you’re offered up a killer 21-megapixel rear camera with a colour-balancing dual-LED flash alongside a 5-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera that this time boasts a front-facing LED flash too. The screen offers Quad HD resolution on a larger 5.7-inch canvas and it looks as stunning as ever, whilst the brains of the operation fall to a Snapdragon 808 and 3GB of RAM, the same setup found in LG’s G4, right down to the hexa-core chip.

At this early stage the difference in performance between these two devices is pretty imperceptible, but with all those pixels to push and 4K recording at your disposal, we’re not surprised that Motorola saw fit to fill the Style with top of the line hardware.

Motorola Moto X Play & Moto X Style

On the whole, both phones distil more of the same great experiences we’ve come to know from this company. Smart, subtle tweaks to the base Android experience complement most user’s needs without feeling intrusive and launch pricing already slated to be notably lower than their key rivals makes for an appealing prospect, whichever handset you opt for.

Stay tuned for a full review of each of these devices, very soon.

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