Motorola released two variants of its Moto X series line up in the form of the mid-range Moto X Play and the higher end Moto X Style (also known as Moto X Pure Edition in some markets). It has become a sort of a trend now to see flagship phones being released in two variants and Motorola is the latest player to latch on to it. The Moto X Style builds upon the Moto X Play in terms of display and chipset parameters and also adds in that crucial ‘expandable storage’ feature. So does the Moto X Style have all it takes to become the flagship of choice? Let us take a look.

Build and Design: 8/10

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Motorola has sort of standardised the design for its Moto series phones, with the curved backs and textured rear covers. But the design of the Moto X Style is more closer in appearance to the Moto G third gen rather than the Moto X Play which has a removable cover. While the cover on the Moto X Style is not removable, it sports the dual SIM card slot at the top, just beside the 3.5mm audio jack.

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The phone fits well in the palm of your hand, although it can be large for a lot of people, gives a good grip thanks to the curved textured back. The power/standby and volume rocker buttons are placed along the right hand side and the left hand side is clean. It sports a metallic frame which has the micro USB port on the base. On the front face you have a 5.7-inch display and Motorola has put in two metallic strips on the top (for the earpiece/audio speaker) and the base (for the audio speaker). While it looks elegant, the space around these metallic strips have the propensity to attract dust which gets difficult to remove. On the rear side, there is the dimpled Motorola logo on the metallic strip which has the 21MP camera and dual-LED flash unit below it.

Features: 7.5/10

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The Moto X Style comes with a 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with a QuadHD resolution and it comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The phone houses Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 which has a hexa-core processor with one dual-core cluster clocked at 1.8GHz in addition to a quad-core cluster clocked at 1.44GHz. It comes with Adreno 418 graphics solution and is paired with 3GB of RAM. In terms of storage we got the 32GB variant which offers around 24.06GB to the users. You have the option to increase the storage to up to 128GB via adding in a microSD card.

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It runs Android 5.1 with barely any custom skin atop it, as is the case with all of Motorola phones we have seen this year. On the camera front, you get a 21MP rear sensor and a 5MP front camera which is accompanied by an LED flash unit as well. It takes in a dual nano SIM cards with support for 4G LTE. Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC are all supported on the Moto X Style. The entire package is completed by a 3,000mAh battery under the hood, which is not removable.

Software: 7.5/10

As we have been seeing in the last couple of generations, Motorola has not added any skins on the Moto branded phones. With the Moto X Style you get a stock Android 5.1 OS. However, Motorola has some software flourishes in the form of proprietary apps such as Connect, Help, Migrate and Moto.

Motorola Migrate lets you transfer content from or to the phone wirelessly. The Moto app lets you customise your phone according to your preferences by using Assist, Actions and Display. For instance, giving out voice notifications when you are driving, glance notifications when you are in a meeting, activating your phone with a phrase and so on. Connect lets you connect your Moto X Style to Moto accessories as well as your computer via the Connect extension, letting you respond to notifications from your computer.

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Motorola has also added in gestures such as Moto Display, Quick Capture and Chop Twice. Moto Display lights up the display when you get a notification when the phone is in sleep mode and you can also wave your hand over the top proximity sensor to see the time or unread notifications. Mind you, this sensor is extremely sensitive and it would light up the screen even while we were placing the phone in our jeans pockets. Quick capture lets you shoot a quick photograph by just flicking your wrist and activating the camera. Chop Twice is a new feature which basically lets you activate the torch light by making a chopping gesture – this is quite a nifty gesture to activate torchlight.

Display: 8/10

The Moto X Style has gone with a 5.7-inch 2560 x 1440 pixel with a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection atop it. Thanks to the good screen-to-body ratio, the phone does not feel unwieldy, considering its screen size. The display is crisp and has respectably high brightness levels. Text appeared sharp and colours are balanced as compared to those seen on AMOLED screen. But one discrepancy we noticed with the display, specially when there was a white background, was that every once a while the screen would show up rainbow hues when seen from side. There is no issue with viewing angles otherwise and sunlight legibility is also quite good. While watching movies, the output is rich and despite not being an AMOLED display, the Moto X Style display gives a good contrast ratio.

Performance: 7.5/10

Housing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC along with 3GB of RAM makes the Moto X Style capable enough to handle most things thrown at it. Add in an almost stock operating system with minimal customisations and you are looking at a fabulous user experience. Moto X Style repeats what the Moto G third gen and Moto X Play offered in terms of user experience. The phone did not slow down or show any lag despite having over 20 apps and Chrome tabs open at the same time.  

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Call quality was good on the Moto X Style with loud earpiece speakers. Playing heavy games such as Real Racing 3, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Dead Trigger 2 and so on was a pleasure. In Real Racing 3 there were instances of frame-drops and in such cases you will have to reduce the extreme graphics settings. Casual games run without a hitch. But unlike the Moto G or the Moto X Play, the Moto X Style did get comparatively warmer while gaming. The Moto X Style has front-firing stereo speakers which can get sufficiently loud and do not distort the audio output even at higher volume levels (so long as the audio source is good).

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In terms of benchmark scores, the Moto X Style performs at par with the LG G4 which also sports Snapdragon 808 / 3GB RAM combo. It gave a good score 1220 on Geekbench 3 for single core performance, but in the GFX Benchmark it gave around 24 frames per second, whereas the LG G4 gave 34FPS.

Camera: 7/10

Moto X Style sports the same camera as was seen on the Moto X Play – 21MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. The differentiating factors being the presence an LED flash unit for the front camera and having phase-detect auto focus for the rear camera for quicker focussing. The lens has the same f/2.0 aperture that was seen on the Moto X Play. User interface is similar to the other Moto camera apps we have seen in the past. It is also capable of shooting 4K videos.

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The image quality for daylight photographs is good and images are highly detailed. Sharpness in the centre and around the edges is also quite good. Focussing speed is fast, but we would rather use the exposure control mode over the touch focus mode, as it gives a lot more control when it comes to getting a sharp focus. The twisting of wrist gesture quickly turns on the camera even if the phone is in sleep mode for those quick shots.

PS: Image samples have been resized here. To check the full resolution, please click on the images 

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When it came to low light photography, the Moto X Style gave generally decent images, but in shadow regions one did tend to notice a lot of chroma noise. Also the detailing isn’t as sharp in low light photographs. In fact, we tested the Moto X Style along with the Apple iPhone 6s Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+ for low light photography, and the Galaxy S6 edge+ came out with flying colours.

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Battery Life: 7/10

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The Moto X Style comes with a 3000mAh battery which is a bit of downer considering the Moto X Play housed a 3,430mAh battery and it had a full HD display. With the Moto X Style having a Quad HD display and a powerful processor, we did not expect a stellar battery life. On a regular day, the battery lasted us from 9am to 6pm with 10% remaining, which isn’t speaking volumes. The PC Mark for Android gave an even lower 6 hours 17 mins. Thankfully, Motorola bundles its Turbo charger with the Moto X Style, which charges the phone within an hours time.

Verdict and Price in India

Motorola had delivered a value for money product with the Moto X Play, but with the Moto X Style, we cannot say the same thing for certain. The Moto X Style is a good phone in terms of user experience, display quality, overall performance and camera; but there are shortcomings in the form of battery life.

The 32GB variant of the Moto X Style is priced at Rs 31,999. Spending about Rs 4,000 more can get you the more powerful Samsung Galaxy S6 (32GB) variant which offers faster performance, better camera and battery life. Also we would rather wait for the verdict on the LG Nexus 5X, which comes with similar specs as the Moto X Style and which is available for Rs 33,000 for the 32GB variant on some online retailers. If you want to get a Moto product, then at the moment we feel the Moto X Play makes for a much better investment at its price than the Moto X Style at Rs 32,000.

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