Until May 2nd (about noon Eastern time to be exact), you can snag a Moto X Pure Edition for $50 off the normal asking price. The MXPE ships with Android Lollipop 5.1.1 in tow (sorry, no Marshmallow just yet), running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 1.8 GHz and 3GB of RAM (a pretty beefy amount while some phones still ship with just 2GB). The base model ships with just 16GB of storage (friends don’t let friends do 16GB), but it can be configured with up to 64GB, which is my personal new minimum, unless a phone just doesn’t have that available in any SKU. You can augment that with up to a 128GB microSD card, but I feel like expandable storage on Android is definitely a “your mileage may vary” option.
The display is a 5.7″ IPS display with Quad HD resolution (1440 X 2560), and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Not as shatterproof as the Motorola Droid Turbo 2’s proprietary protection, but still damned good. A 3000mAH battery and a top-of-the-industry 21MP rear-facing camera (5 MP front-facing) round out the primary specs. Word on the street is that the battery life is not what you would want from a battery this big, but Motorola claims that with “TurboPower” charging, you can recover 10 hours of battery life in just 15 minutes.
The really neat thing about the Motorola X Pure Edition, as well as most other versions of the Motorola X, is that it is highly customizable. I configured this puppy and racked up a total charge of $449.99, the extra bump to 64GB of storage costing me the extra $100. This is with a Soft Grip Cabernet back, but Real Wood and Saffiano leather are also available. You can order it with a SIM for your favorite carrier of choice (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, or US Cellular) or without and just handle that on your own at a local wireless carrier shop when you receive it. The SIM in any flavor will cost you an additional $5.
Now, reasons to proceed with caution: Motorola recently scored an F (52%) on JR Raphael’s Android Upgrade Report Card. This score was driven primarily by Motorola’s fall 2015 announcement that it would not provide a Marshmallow update to the US versions of its 2014 Motorola X. And today it confirmed that there is a problem with the Motorola repair center in the US. Supposedly, some customers have waited months to have their warranty replacement honored and returned. Needless to say, the transition to Lenovo ownership for Motorola is showing some cracks and gaps.
My take: many users don’t care about OS updates to their Android device. They get the phones because they are inexpensive, costing significantly less than an iPhone in some cases. I’m not saying that it is right, just saying that a lot of consumers don’t care nearly as much as the media and Apple would have you believe. In fact, being the guy who obtains devices for my mother, mother-in-law, and wife, in cases where the UI shifts significantly, I sometimes don’t want them to get a major upgrade. But security IS important, so I don’t want them left behind on that front. Warranty reliability as a service is another issue, however. If I had been waiting for months for a manufacturer repair, I would have replaced the phone with something better with better company backing, and eBay’d the returned unit when it finally got back. And then abandoned that manufacturer’s products as viable shopping options for a long time; possibly forever. This is flat out unacceptable. Then again, with the numerous mobile devices I’ve owned (some 36 or more), I’ve only had to return one for warranty repair. There you have it, from here you’ve got to make your own decision on whether or not the sales price is worth the risk.
I owned an original Moto X, and it was one of my favorite phones ever. And that one device I returned for warranty repair was a Motorola Xoom. The screen was replaced and returned without a hitch. I recently canned a Motorola Droid Turbo 2, which has an even larger battery, because it did not meet my needs for endurance, and quick charging is not an acceptable solution for me.
So there it is; the tale of the tape. I think the Moto X will meet most people’s needs, and it is a solid price for an unlocked phone that you can SIM up and take to any carrier. Best of luck!