Tech Tools review: Motorola X Style €450

Android handset has bright and crisp 5.7-inch display but is relatively bulky

Motorola X Style: camera performs well even in low light.

Product name: Motorola X Style

Price: €0.0

Where to buy: any phone store or online


Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 01:00


If you’re still on the lookout for a decent mobile phone that will not make your post-Christmas wallet creak but still looks good, take a look at Motorola’s X Style. A bit of a higher spec than the Moto X Play, the Style is – as the name suggests – intended to have a more polished look to it too.

The Android phone comes with Lollipop and is free of much of the bloat that often accompanies different manufacturers’ versions of Google’s software. It’s simple, straightforward and almost pure Android, with a couple of remnants of Motorola’s influence in there.

That “keep it simple” attitude has been extended in some ways to the handset itself. Aesthetically, the Moto X Style has lofty ambitions. The standard configuration will not set the fashion world on fire but it is a decent-looking handset that will not cause you any embarrassment if you pull it out in more style-conscious company. It is a little on the heftier side though. The rounded back gives it a bit of bulk but it also fits snugly in the palm of your hand.

Part of the reason for its size is the screen. At 5.7 inches it is not subtle, and it is quad HD with 520 pixels per inch crammed in there. There’s Gorilla Glass 3, so it should resist some damage; the handset will survive a couple of butter-fingers moments unscathed.

The speakers are located on the front of the device, which adds a bit to the X Style’s bezel, but the improvement in sound is worth the sacrifice.

Another consideration is the camera. The X Style performs well in that regard, with a 21-megapixel sensor and full manual controls. The camera is fast to respond, focusing and capturing images quickly. Night-time shots, while not approaching expensive DSLR territory, are a marked improvement over some cameras in smartphones, and there are plenty of settings to mess about with if you prefer a bit more control.

The phone, like many of Motorola’s handsets these days, is water repellant. That means it will take on a rain shower or even a spill or two, but you wouldn’t want to drop it under water to really test it.

One bone of contention for smartphones is usually the battery, and it’s an area that the phone makers have been continually looking to improve. Motorola is no exception. The X Style battery lasts at least the day – or it did with my tests – and that’s with some pretty heavy usage. It’s not the longest-lasting battery in a smartphone that I’ve seen in recent weeks, but it performs far better than many of its competitors, which is a big point in its favour.

Even if you are hard on your battery, however, Motorola has some tech to cover that. Turbocharging will give you 10 hours of battery from a 15-minute charge – perfect for those of us who like to push the battery to the limits.

The good

The 5.7 inch display is bright and crisp, giving you plenty of space for checking out websites, replying to emails or editing those photos that you take with the 21-megapixel camera. That’s another good thing about the Style: the camera performs well even in low light. The results are not quite as grainy as other smartphone cameras when the light starts to fade, which is a pet peeve.

The not so good

Although Motorola has put a lot of effort into the X Style design – its aspirations are even in the name – it falls down a little compared with other flagship handsets. That’s mainly due to the bulk. A few years ago, you wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at the thickness or weight of the Moto X Style, but things have moved on to slimmer, lighter places. Still, it’s not quite a monster: at 11.1mm it will easily fit in your pocket.

The rest

Like the X Play, the Style also has gesture control. Twist your wrist quickly to open the camera, for example.  You can expand the on-board storage capacity with a micro SD card in the sim tray; you choose between 16GB, 32GB and 64GB built-in space and then add what you see fit.

Verdict ****