Motorola Moto X Style review: So near and yet so far

Price when reviewed

Motorola Moto X Style review: Display quality

Where the Style starts to deviate from last year’s Moto X is the display. It’s larger at 5.7in compared with the second generation Moto X’s 5.2in screen, and the resolution is higher. As with so many modern flagship phones, you get a 1,440 x 2,560 resolution here, delivering a pixel density of 520ppi. You definitely won’t see any jaggies, but then the same can be said of a 1,080 x 1,920 resolution screen of the same size, so I wouldn’t get too excited about it.

This year, Motorola’s lead phone also sees a change in technology, employing an IPS LCD technology instead of an AMOLED one. The result? Well, the screen doesn’t have the same pop and visual impact as last year, but its vital statistics are still pretty reasonable. The screen reaches a maximum brightness level of 502cd/m2, and delivers a contrast ratio of 1,045:1. Those figures are good, but not quite up to the same level as, say, the iPhone 6s or the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Motorola still implements its ingenious Moto Display feature on the Moto X Style. Via a bank of four front-facing motion sensors, this displays the time and your current unread notifications whenever you wave a hand above or near the display. It’s a great way of checking the time when you wake up in the middle of the night, and that isn’t the end of the phone’s screen-based extras.

There’s also Motorola’s “Attentive Display”, which keeps the screen on when you’re reading, so you don’t have to fiddle with the timeout controls or keep tapping to keep it awake.

Motorola Moto X Style review: Battery life

Hands up if you’re satisfied with the battery life on your current smartphone. Anyone? Didn’t think so. Motorola wants to do something about this, but not by lengthening the time between charges. Instead it’s concentrating on the length of time it takes to charge.

Now this is nothing particularly new; many flagship smartphones offer some kind of fast charging. The difference here is the speed that this phone charges via the bundled TurboPower charger.

This charger is a beast, supplying 15W of juice where most phone chargers usually only go to 10W, and in my testing it charged the X Style in double-quick time. The phone went from  0% to 5% in the time it took to boot, hit 50% 21 minutes later, and reached 100% after 1hr 21mins. That’s quicker even than the Google Nexus 5X with its USB Type-C cable and charger.

As far as battery life itself is concerned, alas that’s less impressive. Inside, the Style has a 3,000mAh battery, which is the same size as the battery in the far slimmer Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. It’s a little small for a phone this bulky – I was hoping for something a little bigger.

And it look as if it genuinely needs the extra capacity, because the Motorola Moto X Style proved disappointing in tests. It achieved a lowly time of 8hrs 54mins in our new looping video test, with the screen set to 170cd/m2, a time that compares poorly with every single one of its rivals: the LG G4 (11hrs 58mins), the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (13hrs 23mins), and the Sony Xperia Z5 (11hrs 29mins). Even the Motorola Moto X from last year and Nexus 6 perform better.

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