Motorola has had quite the career. For a long time they were really the only name in telecommunication devices, from radios to cell phones and so on. However, when smartphones started taking over the market, Motorola suffered greatly. Then Google bought Motorola, and the world waited to see what would come out of the renewed company. In August of 2013, they released the Moto X. The phone proved that a smartphone was not all about specs, but about a good user experience. Then, in November they revealed the Moto G. Another cheap smartphone, but one that worked. From that point forward, Motorola has been playing a whole new ball game.
Being an owner of a Moto phone myself, I’m here to convince you that buying a Moto phone will be the best smartphone decision you’ll ever make. This can be any new Motorola phone (and most of the reasons below apply to them), but I’ll specifically highlight the in-house phones: the Moto X (flagship), the Moto G, and the Moto E. Here are 6 reasons why.
Near-stock Android gives a swift user experience
A common misconception among casual smartphone buyers is that the Android UI (user-interface) on Samsung smartphones is the same Android UI as on LG phones or any other Android phone. However, the UI you see on Samsung, LG, HTC, or most other Android phones are customized versions of Android made by the respective companies. Which is the best is up for debate, but what most Android aficionados can agree on is that stock Android is the fastest. Stock Android is the unadulterated version of Android that was made by Google before being changed by manufacturers.
Well, Motorola uses near-stock Android. What is added are features unique to Moto phones, but more on that later. Otherwise, Android on Moto phones is only what Google has made. This allows the phones to work fast, and feel smooth, even on a lower spec phone. The Moto E, while considered a budget phone, works better than most mid-range phones from other companies because the Android version on it is light.
Customization beyond compare
When the first Moto X was announced, one of the most touted features was the ability to customize your phone (almost) completely. This still exists with the new Moto X. You can choose the color of the back, with choices from a normal back, to a wood back, a leather back, and if buying from Verizon, a football back.
You can choose the front plate from black or white, and you can choose the accent color of the metal on the power and volume buttons. You can also get something etched on the back, choose the wallpaper that’s set on the phone, and choose a custom phrase that appears when you power on the phone.
Even if you don’t get a Moto X, both the Moto G and Moto E have a plethora of back plates you can choose to change your phone, with the choice of adding a flap that covers the screen as well.
If nothing else, choice is at the forefront of Moto phones. I mean, why shouldn’t you be able to make your phone your own?
Added features that are actually useful
Motorola does add things to stock Android to keep it from being completely stock. However, the features that are added actually make the phone better. When you get a Moto phone, there aren’t 20 bloatware apps that take up space that you’ll never use. In fact, the features that are added on the Moto X can all be accessed from one app, aptly named Moto.
Starting with the Moto X, you have Moto Voice which allows you to interact with your phone without ever touching it. Yup, you can activate it and then command it without having to press the power button. This can be useful in a variety of situations, like driving or cooking. Adding on to customization, you can even have a custom launch phrase. Someone on AndroidGuys calls his “chalupa.” So if he wants to know what the weather is going to be during the weekend, but doesn’t feel like picking up his phone, all he has to say is “Hey chalupa, what’s the weather going to be like this weekend?”
Next is Moto Display, which uses the AMOLED screen on the Moto X to only power specific pixels needed to display notifications on the screen without powering it on. With the combination of four IR sensors on the front, all you have to do is wave your hand over the face of the phone and you can see, and then even interact with notifications you’ve received. This helps save battery so that you don’t need to power on the display just to dismiss a notification you don’t need.
Having a Moto X, I can tell you that having those features on my phone has completely changed the way I’ve used it, for the better. I don’t think I can ever get another phone that doesn’t have these features.
“However, the features that are added actually make the phone better.”
The last notable feature is Moto Assist, but this is available on the Moto X, G, and E. Moto Assist allows you to not have to worry about your phone during certain things throughout your day. It’s four modes, Meeting, Driving, Sleeping, and Home, all put your phone into a state that helps you in those situations. Meeting mode uses your calendar to automatically put your phone into a vibrate or silent mode whenever you have an event so that your phone doesn’t accidentally go off in the middle of an important meeting. Driving detects if you’re driving using GPS, and if your phone is connected to an aux jack or Bluetooth car stereo, it will automatically start playing music, and then if you get a text or phone call, the phone will launch into a voice controlled state and read out the message or the name of who’s calling you, and ask if you want to reply or answer the call, or just cancel. Sleeping will automatically set your phone on silent during certain hours you’ve set. Home detects when you’re home using GPS, and puts the phone in a similar state as driving so that you can be un-tethered from your phone while with your family. All of these have options to customize the settings, and if you don’t want a particular mode you can just turn that mode off completely.
Software updates are quicker than any other company
One of the biggest problems that plague the Android OS is getting timely software updates. As mentioned earlier, companies all have their own UI they slap on to Android, so that when a new version of Android comes out they have to completely build their UI onto that new version.
However, one of the many benefits to having a phone with near-stock Android is that process of fixing a new Android version is a lot simpler. So, when KitKat was released to the companies in November 2013, Motorola upgraded their Moto X within two weeks. Some users with a Moto X received their update before Nexus users, which are the phones that usually get new versions of Android first! The new Moto X with Android 5.0 Lollipop was no different, with Motorola releasing the update 9 days after release of the OS to the companies. Up until this point, that was unheard of in the Android domain. The Moto G and E followed quickly with updates as well.
Prices that are competitive
When Motorola announced the Moto G in November 2013, the Android community was shocked. Here was a phone that had mid-range level specs, but cost the same as many budget phones at $179 off-contract. Even crazier, when reviewers started releasing their reviews, they had nothing but good things to say. All other phones of this cost gave Android a bad rep (because comparing a $150 Android phone to a $700 iPhone makes total sense), but the Moto G was a great example of Android at its finest in a cheap package.
The Moto G isn’t the only phone that’s worth talking about. Then even cheaper Moto E does something similar: provides a great Android experience for $129 off contract. Even the flagship, the Moto X, is cheaper than other flagships, starting at $500 off-contract. Most other Android flagships run for more like $650 off contract.
To top it all off, Motorola frequently runs discounts. Like right now, you can get a Moto X for $399 off contract until February 14, or $35 off a purchase of $249 or more. This won’t be the only one either. As the year goes by, there will likely be a half a dozen more sales, at least. Not to mention when they’re close to announcing a new flagship, the 2014 Moto X will likely get a deep price cut. Before the Moto X 2014 was announced, the Moto X 2013 was on sale for $349 off contract.
When something happens to a device, it’s hard enough to deal with the stress of having to get it replaced or fixed, let alone the dread of calling customer service to figure out your next steps. What makes it worse is when the customer service is rude or just says there is nothing they can do.
Motorola, however, is known for having good customer service. I often see on social media someone be pleased after interacting with Motorola customer service. They also are more likely to replace a broken device than most might think. I know of one circumstance when a user got their old Moto X replaced with a new Moto X. If having good customer service is important in a company for you, then Motorola has that covered.
Active on social media
Motorola is known to be active on social media. This isn’t really a reason to buy a device from them, which is why its an honorable mention, but its worth acknowledging because not only are they “hip” with social media, but they typically respond quickly to those who mention them on social media. If you don’t want to call them or email them, social media is another way to contact them to deal with an issue. Also, if for some reason you do have a bad customer service experience, pointing it out on social media should get you the attention you deserve. Motorola also does some fun giveaways on social media as well.
Based in the U.S.
Now before you get out your torches and pitchforks, hear me out. Motorola being based in the U.S. brings out some positives in a company. The quality of the service you get is more likely to be better. It’s a matter of quality vs quantity. I am aware that Motorola no longer produces devices in the U.S., but their employees are still heavily in the U.S. I know that there are great companies that come from other countries, but you cannot deny that U.S. based companies have a higher service expectation.
Overall, you are likely to get a better user experience from Motorola than any other company. Sure, there are other companies that have their positives, and make great devices. But at the end of the day, I’m arguing for the user experience, and there’s no denying that Motorola provides a great one.