The Moto X4 returns in a new variant, with 6GB of RAM.
The new variant is priced at Rs 24,999.
The device also comes with Android Oreo out-of-the-box, and improved Moto Experiences.
It’s fairly easy for us to recommend a good smartphone for every price segment above Rs 30,000, as well as below Rs 15,000. However, the space between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000 is surprisingly sparse of good options that we’re happy to recommend to our readers. This perhaps has something to do with the way the smartphone space has evolved over the last couple of years. You get capable budget smartphones, solid flagship killers, and top-notch flagship devices across the board. This makes it hard to justify something that is above the budget space, and below the flagship killer space.
However, there’s a large section of buyers that want exactly that. They’re willing to spend a bit more than a frugal amount of money, but not too much. They want smartphones that have an edge over typical budget devices, without having to break the bank. Lenovo-owned Motorola launched its re-imagined and re-positioned Moto X4 and Moto Z2 Play to cater to this very space last year.
While the Moto Z2 Play has the advantage of its modular design and capabilities, the Moto X4 wasn’t quite as successful and didn’t generate as much attention for Moto as its more affordable G-range. It sits in an odd space, and we didn’t think it offered enough to justify the premium over the Moto G5S Plus. However, the Moto X4 now gets a new variant, that perhaps has given it that edge that makes it worth the price. With more RAM and updated software under the hood, we review the new Rs 24,999 Moto X4 with 6GB RAM.
Does more RAM mean anything, really?
Of course it does. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the magical component that keeps apps and data running in real-time, and more of it means that your phone will be able to run more functions smoothly without having to terminate others or slow down functionality in the process. It helps particularly with multi-tasking, and naturally, having more of it will ensure better all-round performance. While affordable and lower mid-range phones function with up to 4GB of RAM, high-end phones today hold up to 8GB of RAM. And while good software and hardware can effectively function with even 4GB of RAM today, more is always better in the long run.
What helps the new variant of the Moto X4 is this 6GB of RAM, which is the biggest differentiator between this, and the other variants of the phone. While even the earlier variants were powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC, the additional RAM will boost real-world performance, making the Moto X4 a more capable device. While there are a few devices that cost less than the Moto X4 and also have 6GB of RAM, Moto’s smartphone represents a better overall package. It also helps justify the pricing to some extent, making the phone a much more capable option at under Rs 25,000.
Android Oreo out-of-the-box
Even since Moto’s resurgence a few years ago while it was still a Google-owned brand, the company’s phones have touted their software as a unique selling point. Indeed, many smartphone buyers in India tend to prefer the clean and easy approach of stock and near-stock Android. Moto’s near-stock skin has also ensured it remains quick with rolling out software updates and security patches. And in a space where many smartphone makers are still launching devices with Android Nougat, the new variant of the Moto X4 comes with Android Oreo out-of-the-box.
This itself makes for a huge improvement to the performance of the phone, with its optimizations and efficiency tweaks. You also get features built into the core of the newest version of Android, such as picture-in-picture mode, new Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC, smart text selection, improved notifications and more. Furthermore, the lack of customization to the skin means all of these features are easily accessible and full functional from the word go.
There isn’t much added on Motorola’s end, apart from minor tweaks and updates to the user interface and small changes in the Moto Experiences suite of software. One example of this is Moto Display. While the functionality of giving you lock-screen access to notifications without even waking your device has been present, you can now interact with notifications directly through gestures. For example, you could reply to an SMS with voice or keyboard prompts, or directly archive or reply to a mail. You also continue to be able to use the 3-finger screenshot, one-button navigation, twist-to-capture and flip to activate do-not-disturb functions.
Another interesting addition which comes built into the new variant of the Moto X4 is Moto Key. The function lets you use the fingerprint sensor to log in to password-secured sites and services. I tried to set up the service but got a server error; I’m hoping that this is a temporary issue as it’s a particularly useful function on the device, and will help if you have trouble remembering the passwords of various services you’re signed up for.
Object recognition through the camera is not a new feature on this variant of the Moto X4, and has indeed been present even on the earlier variants of the phone. Think of it as similar to Google Lens, a feature that you can only find on Google Pixel devices right now. Motorola’s object recognition works through the camera app – a small blue box icon on screen will capture whatever is on-screen, scan the object and give you relevant search results through Google search.
This also works with landmarks, but will only give you the option to do a contextual search when the phone recognizes that the camera is pointed at either on object or landmark. It sounds a bit gimmicky, but it’s something you can potentially use on occasions when you need a bit more information on something you see. It works well, and in our testing, it accurately detected a variety of objects, logos and devices. It’s a rather unique feature that not a lot of other phones can boast of, and shows that Motorola is hard at work at improving its software, algorithms and camera.
Wide-angle camera and not-so-great portraits
We had reviewed the camera on the Moto X4 when the first variants were launched late last year. At the time, we weren’t particularly impressed with the performance of the portrait mode on the camera, which often got the borders and depth wrong. This continues on the new variant, which isn’t surprising considering that it’s the exact same camera setup with no changes at all. The primary camera is a dual-camera setup with a combination of a 12-megapixel main sensor and 8-megapixel secondary sensor. The front camera is also the same, with a 16-megapixel fixed focus shooter that also comes with LED flash.
(Camera samples shot on the Moto X4 with 6GB RAM)
The sheer resolution of the front camera and the added help from the LED flash make it decent for selfies and regular front camera usages such as video calls. The rear camera is decent enough when it comes to regular images, and the dual-camera setup also enables wide-angle shots. It’s impressive when it comes to all of these aspects, only falling short in the aforementioned portrait images. Simply put, it’s the same camera performance as on the device we reviewed late last year. It’s decent in most departments and wide-angle photography is a great feature to have, but don’t expect stellar depth-of-field performance, since the setup is clearly tuned for better performance with wide-angle shots.
The Moto X4 with 6GB RAM isn’t a new phone; it’s the same Moto X4 with practically the same ingredients as before. When it comes to hardware, there is just one significant change – 6GB of RAM. However, it’s this one component that makes the difference in setting the phone apart. It’s faster, more capable, and better geared for multi-tasking now. And it certainly helps to justify the price, and helps set the Moto X4 apart from other products in the sub-Rs 25,000 price range.
You do, of course, also get some improvements in the software department. The biggest of these is the fact that the Moto X4 comes with Android Oreo out-of-the-box. This brings its own set of benefits, and also helps add to the value proposition. The earlier variant of the Moto X4 have already received the Android Oreo update and new software features, but this variant is a better deal purely for the additional RAM on board.
While the phone isn’t perfect in all ways, it’s a decent option to consider if you’re looking for a phone at under Rs 25,000. It’s got the right combination of camera capability, specifications, software and design. And with 6GB of RAM, you’re assured better performance in the long run as well. However, if you can increase your budget a bit, the Rs 29,999 Honor View10 or Rs 32,999 OnePlus 5T are worth considering as well.