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Motorola Moto X finally coming to the UK (hands-on)

The elusive Motorola Moto X is coming to the UK on February 1st, despite no original plans to release it outside the US.

The first true Motorola under Google’s direction, the Motorola Moto X caused quite a stir when it launched in the States back in August last year and at the time we thought its journey would end there, but today the company revealed that its newest flagship has made it across the pond and will be launching in the UK starting next month.

Having already met the Motorola Moto G, it feels as if we’re doing things a bit backwards, the flagship following the mid-ranger and all, but Motorola seems confident that this new handset has enough oomph to help the company gain a little more traction in Europe.

We caught up with Andrew Morley (Motorola VP & General Manager for the UK & Ireland) at the Moto X’s launch, to ask why the Moto X is finally being released in the UK. Mr Morley explained how both fans and carriers have shown great interest in the handset since its August launch in the US, with the Motorola Facebook page blowing up with messages from consumers. The release of Android KitKat this month is a bonus too, as the Moto X can now ship with the latest version of Google’s OS.

Like the Moto G, the X’s user experience is a near stock take on Android and despite launching in the US on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and as we just mentioned, it’s already running 4.4.2 KitKat in its European incarnation. As with the Moto G, Motorola Migrate and Motorola Assist are present making it easier for users to switch from other devices to these new ‘googlefied’ Motorolas and it can intelligently switch notifications, messages and calls on and off depending on your environment, for instance when you’re driving or sleeping.

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A big focus of the Moto X over the simplified Moto G experience is the convenience factor. It’s already a fast performer thanks to the subtly tweaked take on Android, but inclusions like Active Display are helpful as the screen fades up periodically showing notifications without tapping or pressing any keys. What’s more it’s a low power solution, as only the white pixels need to be lit on that 4.7-inch 720p HD OLED display. Shutterbugs may also appreciate the camera quick launch feature, which lets you open the minimalist camera UI by flicking your wrist (phone in hand) twice in quick succession.

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If you’re a fan of Siri or Google Now’s voice commands then you’ll appreciate how the concept’s been expanded with the Moto X. The Touchless Control feature lets you wake the phone by saying “OK, Google Now” and requesting your desired function, be that setting an alarm, making a note or opening an application. The only real change from the US model is this the voice input has been set to better recognise UK English over the American twang of our friends across the Atlantic.

Hardware wise the UK Moto X is unchanged, there’s Motorola’s own modified X8 1.7GHz dual-core processor, an Adreno 320GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB storage options with the same additional 50GB of Google Drive cloud storage as Moto G users were offered, but again, no microSD expandability. Connectivity wise, the X also one-ups the Moto G by supporting 4G LTE.

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MotoMaker was a big selling point for the Moto X in America, with users being able to choose from a black or white bezel, a myriad of colourful, patterned, textured back plates, accent colours and even a personalised start-up message. Sadly at launch, no such level of customisation is going to made available to UK buyers, with a black version most widely available and a white version exclusive to Phones4U for the first three months following launch before expanding out. Motorola did say that they’re considering a version of MotoMaker for the UK, but no such feature will be available from launch.

SIM free the Motorola Moto X will cost around £380, or around £25 a month on contract and be available from Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse, O2, Amazon and Techdata from February 1st.

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