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Hands-on: Motorola’s New Moto X is a seriously user friendly media machine

Motorola’s New Moto X is a brand new premium flagship phone, boasting a 5.2-inch Full HD screen and some slick, customisable design courtesy of the Moto Maker online service, which is finally coming to the UK.

We spent some time with Motorola’s premium New Moto X at IFA 2014 and we’re really impressed by the life-simplifying experience and gorgeous design. Here’s our hands-on review.

New Motorola Moto X: Design

Most flagship phones boast some kind of unique design, be it the HTC One M8‘s beautiful metallic unibody or the instantly iconic Sony Xperia Z3 with its omnibalance body.

The New Moto X sets itself apart with a range of cool customisable backs. In the UK you’ll be able to log into Motorola’s Moto Maker service online and choose the appearance of your new mobile, with a range of rear ends on offer.

We particularly love the wooden bamboo option, but the black leather back, with its cool, soft-touch surface, feels great against your palm.

Hands-on review with the Motorola New Moto X at IFA 2014 plus UK release date and price

The New Moto X feels quite light compared to some flagship phones too, more or less matching the Samsung Galaxy S5. The metal aluminium frame is solid enough to take some punishment though, and we had no luck bending or flexing it.

New Motorola Moto X: Media and gaming machine

Switch the New Moto X on and you cant help but be impressed by the bright and vibrant 5.2-inch screen, which stretches practically edge-to-edge just like the previous model.

We watched some video and played some games and that 1080p screen more than did them justice, with colours popping out and the high brightness levels easily countering glare. With the powerful dual speakers on-hand to pump audio right at your ears, the New Moto X is well built for enjoying movies and games.

And if you’re a serious mobile gamer, the 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801, backed up by 2GB of RAM, matches most of the big premium phones out right now.

New Motorola Moto X: Gestures and speaky stuff

Android 4.4 KitKat runs in its vanilla form, which means the New Moto X should be one of the first handsets to get an upgrade to the next version. However, Motorola hasn’t just been lazy and made do. Instead it’s added a bunch of extra functionality in the form of voice and gesture recognition.

Some of it’s new, some of it’s ripped straight from last year’s Moto X. But all of it has been packed inside Motorola’s nifty Moto app, so you can quickly access all of the settings in one place.

You can of course control the New Moto X by talking to it, as usual. But instead of waking the phone with the usual slightly awkward “okay, Google” you can add your own personal trigger phrases for Google Now. Yes, even rude ones.

Hands-on review with the Motorola New Moto X at IFA 2014 plus UK release date and price

There’s support for third party apps such as WhatsApp too, so can use your voice to enter the app and even send messages. Handy when driving, or if you’ve lost both of your hands in a tragic golfing accident.

You can even wish the New Moto X a good morning or good night, and these commands will turn the usual settings such as Wi-Fi and light-up notifications on and off. The good morning command also tells you of any appointments you have that day etc.

Lastly there’s car detection built in, which uses the phone’s mics and sensors to detect if you’re currently driving, then automatically makes the Moto X read out messages and allows you to respond with your voice. That’s similar to the meeting mode, which activates auto responses to calls and messages when your calendar says you’re busy.

Motorola has also added our old favourite, gesture recognition – known here as Moto Action. For instance, you can mute the phone’s alarm by waving your hand over the screen rather than frantically trying to stab the snooze button, or look at your phone to bring up notifications.

New Motorola Moto X: Camera

The New Moto X’s 13-megapixel camera boasts autofocus and a dual LED ring flash, and it’s a quick and simple snapper that will appeal to anyone looking for a fast and easy way to take shots on the go.

You can double-twist the phone to load up the camera app as before, and you’ll notice that the UI hasn’t changed much at all. You can still tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo, or bring up a focus reticule to drag about the screen, which also changes exposure levels.

Hands-on review with the Motorola New Moto X at IFA 2014 plus UK release date and price

The New Moto X also starts recording whatever you’re aiming at before you take a shot, so you can jump back or forwards to get a shot that works. There’s an Ultra HD 4k video mode which hopefully won’t heat the phone to ridiculous levels, and a Highlights reel which gives you a slideshow of the day’s photos and movies.

A 2-megapixel front camera can be used for selfies, and it seems more than sharp enough from our quick glam test shots.

New Motorola Moto X: UK price and release date

The New Motorola Moto X will sell from 499 Euros, or £419 in the UK, and it’s on sale at the end of September. If you buy the phone via Moto Maker you can expect to pay from 529 Euros, with a 32GB exclusive model available to buy for 579 Euros.

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