Late last night Motorola unveiled four new products, including the Moto 360 smartwatch, Moto Hint, and the new Moto G and Moto X. I’ve been using a Galaxy S5 for the past six months, and as you may have heard, I’m not that thrilled about it. I was a huge fan of the original Moto X, and I’m excited to see Motorola improve its successor, even if the changes are mostly incremental. Here are the top five things I’m excited for in the new handset.
1) Moto Display
On the new Moto X, the display has been increased to a 5.2″ Super AMOLED Display, and while I’m not an advocate for huge screen sizes (I thought the Moto X was perfect), I’m more excited about Motorola’s Moto Display software, previously known as Active Display. This software sits on top of the stock Android operating system and acts as a quick way for users to receive and interact with their notifications. With the new Moto X, this is taken a step farther. Users can now interact with their last three notifications (previously one), and have the ability to activate the display by waving their hand over the screen. This new trick is possible because of the addition of three infrared sensors to the face of the new Moto X. Moto Display keeps me concentrated on what I’m doing, and let’s my phone notify me of messages in a natural, and discreet way.
2) Custom Hotwords
Probably my favourite feature of the new Moto X is the ability to set custom hotwords for touchless control. What was once limited to the somewhat awkward “Okay Google Now” command, has now opened up to a world of possibility. How great would it be to have the phone perk up at sayings like “HelloMoto”, “Hey Moto”, “Listen Up!”, or even, “Okay Jarvis”. (BONUS points to those who get the reference.)
What I’m most excited about is not having multiple phones light up when someone calls out “Okay Google”. In an ever growing Android ecosystem where one command controls millions of devices, we’re bound to end up with tons of phones all lighting up like Canada Day fireworks. I know I’ve already experienced this with my old roommate, who also has an Android phone and smartwatch.
3) Moto App
New and improved on this year’s Moto X is the Moto App. Basically a hub for all of Motorola’s custom assistance software, this suite will let smartphone users configure their phone to perfection. In the past, features like Motorola Assist, Touchless Control, and Active Display were all controlled through separate interfaces. The Moto app centralizes these controls under one roof. I’m most excited about this beccause I’m a big believer in simplication as a design goal, and this makes that a reality.
4) Camera Twist
Yes, I know…this isn’t a new feature, but I just have to call it out for anyone who has never used a Moto X before. Though not being featured in marketing materials for the new Moto X, camera twist is back and even better. The feature allows what is arguably the quickest access to a smartphone camera that I’ve ever seen. All users need to do is twist their wrist in a circular motion twice, and the camera instantly opens. And with the new 2.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and an improved lens, the camera is faster than ever. I guarantee you’ll be twisting your wrist on the daily.
5) Bamboo in Canada!
Last but not least is something that all techy Canadians are cheering about, and that’s the availability of a bamboo Moto X in Canada! Yes, sure it’s not the full-fledged Moto Maker, but Telus has announced that they will be carrying a traditional black version (not leather, unfortunately), and a white and bamboo model. This has been on consumers’ wish lists for a while now, and we’re finally seeing it become a reality.
While these features stand out to me as reasons why I want the new Moto X as my next phone, I have two minor complaints that I hope Motorola Canada addresses soon. First is the fact that Moto Maker is not going to be available in Canada. This likely means that none of the new leather backs will be available in Canada, and access to the 32GB model will be restricted to other markets. I also feel that the lack of a MicroSD card slot is a mistake. With a mere 16GB, I found myself running out of space after just a few months with the original Moto X. Motorola added an expansion slot to the newly announced, and lower-priced, Moto G, so I’m surprised of it’s missing on the Moto X.
Taking that all into consideration, I’m really excited about the new Moto X, and despite it being limited to Telus at launch, it’s expected to come to other carriers down the road. Overall, the new Moto X takes what was arguably the most simple, intuitive, and user-friendly phone on the market, and makes it better.