With any smartphone, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. And with every phone purchase, there’s almost always a ‘honeymoon’ period for the first few weeks, where you feel excited about what the device has to offer. Tech reviewers aren’t immune to these effects either and, often, we only ever get that honeymoon period. Review units get sent back, and we don’t experience what it’s like to use the phone on a day-to-day basis for months at a time.

As much as we can test individual features for quality, and get a general overall feel for the device, nothing quite beats living with and using a device for an extended period.

I’ve been using the Moto X Style (2015 Pure Edition) for a few months now, and I love it more now than when I first unboxed it…

Most of what I like about the Moto X Style has been the same since day one. I love the shape of it. The curved back covered in grippy rubber (or leather or wood) sits really comfortably in your hand. It’s so much better than any all-metal flat-backed device. That curve means it’s not the thinnest or lightest phone around, but it’s easily one of the most ergonomic, and that makes a real difference when you’re picking it up throughout the day. Its solid, durable metal frame adds reassurance that the phone won’t die if you bang it a few times.

The other big deal to me is stock Android. I’ve not used a single third party preloaded UI from any of the major manufacturers that I think is as great an experience as pure, vanilla Android. Some look pretty, but lag thanks to a bunch of un-uninstallable bloatware. Others are just plain hideous. Others are both ugly and slow.

The only thing I don’t like about stock Android and the Google Now Launcher is that you only get four columns of apps per home screen. It’s such a waste of space. So, I installed Nova Launcher, which lets me customize the number of apps on screen and how big their icons are.


The other advantage to being stock software is that updates tend to come quickly. I’ve had Marshmallow installed on the Moto X since before the new year rolled in, via an OTA update. No digging for APKs and flashing files manually. I checked for updates, downloaded, and installed.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow has made the experience of using the Moto X even better. Although there weren’t any major visual changes, it does feel that bit smoother and snappier when using the phone now.

With Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it took what was already great about the Moto X, and added some tiny improvements which brought it closer to perfection.

First up is ‘Doze’. This feature added in Android Marshmallow makes sure your phone isn’t using up too much of its available battery power when not in use. Leave it on a bedside table at 10% charge overnight, and you’re still going to have some juice left when you wake up in the morning. Add that to the Quick-Charge support, and you almost forget the battery doesn’t last quite as long as some other high-performance handsets. Although saying that, I have always been able to get through a full day on a single charge.

The second improvement brought by Marshmallow is external memory adoption. In short: You can format a MicroSD card to act as internal storage when you install it. You can now use that MicroSD card to store apps and app data, along with the usual media files. As long as you have a fast memory card, it acts exactly like internal memory. That’s not something you can do on either of the two new Nexus phones. They don’t have a MicroSD card slot, hence why Google sells them as three different storage models.

There are still a couple of things I’d change about the X. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why the space used for the Moto X logo dimple on the back hasn’t got a fingerprint scanner built in, or why – despite being great at daylight photography – the camera still leaves a lot to be desired in low light.

As an overall package, the Moto X Style is still one of the best experiences out there. It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t have any individual features that easily beat individual features on other flagships, but as an all-round experience, it’s pretty wonderful. As a bonus, the Moto X starts at just $399 SIM-free and unlocked, full retail price in the US. UK buyers can snag one for £369.

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Cam Bunton's favorite gear