Moto X4 (6GB RAM) Review


Motorola launched the 6GB RAM version of Moto X4 smartphone in India earlier this week, few months after the launch of 3GB RAM with 32GB storage and 4GB RAM with 64GB storage variants. The new version comes with Android Oreo out-of-the-box. Check out the review below.

Unboxing

We unboxed the smartphone recently, check out the video below.

Box contents

  • Moto X4 6GB RAM + 64GB storage version in Sterling Blue color
  • In-ear headset with set of earbuds
  • 2-pin Turbo charger (5V-3A|9V-1.6A|12V-1.2A)
  • USB Type-C cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User manual and warranty information

Video Review

Display, Hardware and Design

The phone has a 5.2-inch LTPS UPS screen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a pixel density of about 424 ppi (pixels per inch) also has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The display is bright, colors are vibrant, viewing angles and the sunlight legibility are good as well. There are Standard and Vibrant color modes in the display settings. It has bezels above and below the screen so the screen-to-body ratio of the phone is about 69%, which is definitely less compared to some of the latest smartphones with full-screen displays.

There is an earpiece above the display that also houses the loudspeaker. It has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera on the front accompanied by flash. In addition to the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, the phone also has gyroscope and magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer for VR headsets. It doesn’t have an LED notification light.

It has on-screen buttons, but there is a fingerprint sensor below the screen that can be used for controls when you disable the on-screen buttons. There is also a microphone next to the fingerprint sensor.

The volume rockers and the power button are present on the right side. SIM and microSD slot are present on the top along with a second microphone, 3.5mm audio jack and USB ports are present on the bottom. You can also see the antenna lines on the top and the bottom parts. The power button has a rough feel, similar to the one most of the Moto devices. This has a hybrid SIM slot that accepts two nano SIM card or a nano SIM and a microSD. Even though the phone has 64GB storage, some people would still want to use more storage while using dual SIMs.

The phone has a metal frame and a glass back with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The glass body looks and feels premium, but the smooth body makes it easily slip out of your hands and also attracts fingerprints. Even with the Gorilla Glass protection there are chances of cracks and the brushed metal frame is prone to dents, so it is recommended to use a case. The company could have bundled a case for the phone.

There are 12 MP + 8MP dual cameras on the back with dual-tone LED flash that protrudes out, but the glass doesn’t get scratches when placing the phone on a flat surface. There is a usual Moto logo below the camera. There is also a third microphone on the bottom part of the back.

It has a 3000mAh built-in battery, same as its G5S Plus smartphone. The phone is also water resistant with IP68 ratings so it is protected from accidental spills, splashes and even puddles. Motorola says that the phone is not designed to work while submerged underwater and also warns users to not expose to pressurized water or liquids other than fresh water. It also asks not to charge a wet phone.

Camera

The phone has a 12-megapixel primary camera with Dual Autofocus Pixel sensor, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, 1.4um pixel size along with a secondary 8MP ultra-wide angle secondary camera with 120-degree field of view, f/2.2 aperture, 1.12um pixel size along with a dual-tone LED flash above the camera sensors.

The camera UI is simple with menu to choose image, Spot color, Panorama, Depth-enabled mode, Face Filters and manual mode that lets you adjust white balance, shutter speed, ISO and more. There is a camera shutter, video option and toggles for front and rear cameras on the right side. On the left side, there is an option for low light, timer (3 or 10 seconds), Flash toggle (Auto, On, Off) and HDR toggle (Auto, On, Off). There is also an option on the left side of the screen to switch between the main 12MP or secondary wide-angle 8MP cameras to shoot the images or video.

It has quick capture mode that lets you twist the phone twice to open the camera or switch between the front and back cameras. You can also launch the camera when you double press the power button even when the phone is locked. Front facing camera has face beauty option as well as HDR option and Professional mode, Face filters and Panorama. There are also some smart camera features – Object recognition and landmark recognition options that can identify an object or landmark from the picture you capture. The object recognition works as mentioned, but you need to download landmark database. Both these automatically give you information when you use the camera.

The depth enabled mode lets you adjust the focus (1 to 7) before shooting. Once the image is saved, you can edit it with depth editor that lets you adjust the focus by selecting a part of the images and two beta features – Select Black and White that lets you change the color of the foreground or background to Black and White and replace background with another image.

Coming to the image quality. Daylight shots were good, and HDR shots are better with improved contrast and saturation. Macro shots were good and the images get focused quickly. Depth-enabled shots were good with people compared to objects. It perfectly blurs out the background and the depth editor is useful. The depth mode is quick to capture images, unlike the Moto G5S Plus.

Low-light shots had noise, but the low-light mode reduces the noise. You need to keep the phone steady when shooting images in the mode since it takes multiple shots and processes them. It also takes some time to process the image. Images with flash were good and the flash is not overpowering even in closeup shots. Thanks to dual-tone LED flash, skin tone maintained in shots. The front-facing camera is pretty good for selfies and video chats and the flash is useful in poor lighting conditions. There is also adaptive low-light mode that increases the pixel size for better selfies but the resolution is reduced to 4 MP.

Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view the full resolution sample.)

Wide-Angle

HDR OFF
HDR ON
Spot Color
Dual Camera
Dual Camera Portrait
Low-light mode

Front Camera

It can record videos at maximum 4K resolution at 30fps, has support for 1080p at up to 60 fps resolution and also has slow motion recording at 720p resolution. Sadly, it lacks OIS. Thanks to three microphones, audio is crisp. The front camera supports 1080p recording at 30 fps Check out the video samples.

Software, UI and Apps

The Moto X4 was launched on Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) and later got the Oreo update, but 6GB RAM version comes with Android 8.0 (Oreo) out of the box with Android Security patch for December 1, 2017. As usual it is stock with added Moto features such as Moto app. The company has not announced when it will get the Android 8.1 update. It comes with Home app that is similar to Google Now Launcher but it replaces the apps button on the bottom tray with another slot for icon. You can swipe up to reveal all the apps. You can edit quick settings icons, change the position and replace it with few more in the options.

There is nothing to mention about the software in specific since it offers stock Android Oreo experience with auto fill, improvements by limiting tasks that run in the background when not in use, Picture-in-picture mode, additional Bluetooth audio codecs and more.

It has 6GB RAM with 64GB storage. Wish the company had bumped the storage as well to 128GB. Out of 4GB RAM, you get 5.7GB of usable RAM, out of which 4.2GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background. Out of 64GB of internal storage you get only 50.78GB of usable storage since OS and Apps take up about 13.22GB of storage. Since this runs on Oreo, you can use the microSD as the internal storage.

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Microsoft Apps such as LinkedIn and Outlook. The Moto key option lets you securely log in to apps and websites using your fingerprint, unlock windows devices with your fingerprint and log into websites, but this needs a separate software on your PC.

It comes with the usual Moto app that offers several features such as one button nav option so there is no need to use on-screen back, home, and overview buttons. A simple swipe or tap of the fingerprint reader can trigger these functions. This also gives haptic feedback when an action is performed.

It has Moto Actions that has eight features – quick screenshot to take screenshot by placing three fingers on the screen, one-button nav, double karate chop to turn the torch on/off, Twist the phone to launch the phone’s camera to capture images quickly, Swipe up, left or right to shrink the screen, pick up to stop ringing, flip the phone for ‘do not disturb’ and approach the phone for Moto Display.

The Moto Display offers time at a glance when you pick up the phone and also offers notifications on the black screen when you receive them. You can swipe up to go to particular app that sent the notification or swipe either left or right to dismiss them. Moto Display compensates for the lack of LED notification light. The night display option automatically reduces blue light which may impact sleep at a specific time or based on alarm or sunset. There is also attentive display option that will not put the phone to sleep while you are looking at it.

Finally, there is Moto Voice that was first introduced in the first Moto X phone. This has been enhanced with “show me” so there’s no awkward trigger phase just simple, instant voice-queries to see the weather, calendar, or launch an app without the need to touch your phone.

Fingerprint Sensor

The fingerprint sensor is present below the display, same as the G5 series of phones. It is quick to unlock the phone most of the times as soon as you place your finger on the sensor and offers haptic feedback as well after unlock and if detects a wrong fingerprint. It unlocks the phone even when the screen is off, so you don’t need to unlock the phone for the fingerprint recognition to work. You can add up to 5 fingerprints and you can also use your fingerprint to authorize Google Play purchases.

Music Player and FM Radio

Google Play Music is the default music player for playback. It has FM Radio with FM recording. The speaker is embedded into the earpiece, which is clear.  Audio through the headset is clear, but it is not loud enough.

Connectivity

It has Dual SIM option in the settings that lets you customize each SIM cards. It has 4G connectivity with support for 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio, but it doesn’t support Airtel VoLTE yet. Both the SIM slots have 4G support, but you can use 4G on only one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 3G. There is a connection priority option that lets you choose Data or Voice. If you prefer Data, when you receive incoming calls on the non-data enabled SIM, it will go to voicemail when data is active.

Other connectivity features include, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 and GPS. It also has a new Wireless Sound System option that lets you listen to audio on up to four Bluetooth devices individually or combine them for a stereo setup. This feature works best on 5GHz wireless networks, and you can only connect 2 Bluetooth devices on 2.4GHz networks, says Motorola. It also has USB OTG (on-the-go) support and NFC support.

Since this is a dual SIM phone you get option to call or send SMS from either SIMs. It comes with Gboard as the default keyboard. We did not face any call drops or any other issues.

Performance and Benchmarks

It is powered by an Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 64-bit Mobile Platform that has eight ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 2.2GHz per core. The performance is good. We tested several games, which were smooth and graphics is also good, thanks to the Adreno 508 GPU. 6GB of RAM makes the phone snappy for multitasking so you can run several apps in the background without the phone getting slow. The phone gets a bit hot when charging using the Turbo charger, but it doesn’t get too hot. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

Battery life

The phone packs a 3000mAh battery. It lasts for more than a day on a single charge with average use and lasts for a day with heavy use. You can enable battery saver to extend the battery life when the battery is low. Since it has support for fast charging with bundled 15W Turbo Charger, it can charge from 0 to 50% in just 28 minutes and from 0 to 100% in 1 hour and 27 minutes.

It achieved a One Charge Rating of 14 hours and 41 minutes in our battery test, mainly due to talk time, but this is decent for a phone with a 3000mAh battery and a 5.2-inch screen. We will bring you the complete set of battery test results of Moto X4 soon.

Conclusion

Overall, the Moto X4 with 6GB RAM is a good addition to the Moto X4 series at Rs. 24,999. Still the company sticks to 64GB storage instead of moving to 128GB storage. Hope we get to see at 6GB + 128GB combination in the next-generation Moto X phone later this year.

The phone has an eye-catching design with good build quality and is also water-resistant, but it is slipper to hold. It offers good performance; the camera is good and if offers a decent battery life. Of course, the company could have gone for a bigger battery and offered a dedicated SIM and microSD slots instead of hybrid slot.

The phone is available exclusively from Flipkart online as well as Moto Hub stores in 100 cities in six states across India. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Good display
  • Solid build quality and eye-catching design
  • Good performance
  • Water and dust resistant (IP68)

Cons

  • All glass body is slippery
  • Hybrid SIM slot might not be preferred by everyone
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Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He is currently using the Motorola Moto G4 Plus. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan and on Google+