It's fast and has a great camera, but the Moto X Style is held back by terrible battery life and a disappointing screen
- Display resolution
- Build quality
- Camera quality
- Yellow-tinted display
- Battery life
Originally reviewed in October 2015 at £399, the Motorola Moto X Style has significantly dropped in price and now has limited availability. It can now be found for around £250 via eBay and £360 through Amazon. At the time of the review, it just wasn’t worth it, as it was surpassed in value by its cheaper cousin, the Moto X Play or the similarly priced and much more impressive, Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.
A proper phablet compared to the smaller Moto X Play, the 5.7in 2,560 x 1,440 display is what really set it apart, along with the faster 1.8GHz Snapdragon processor too. There were high hopes for the Moto X Style, but disappointing features such as the lacklustre screen really set it back.
Now that it’s ageing, the question to ask is whether the Moto X Style is still a bit of a mediocre phone or, now that it’s cheaper, does it come much more recommended this time around?
Motorola Moto X Style review: Design
At first glance, the Moto X Style certainly puts forward a convincing argument. When holding both phones in my hand, the Moto X Style is clearly the superior product, as its sculpted metal frame feels much classier to the touch. The very slim 6.1mm edges only add to that sense of premium build quality.
At 76mm across, it is rather wide, but its smaller bezels actually mean it’s only 1mm wider than the Moto X Play. As a result, it’s no more difficult to hold and I can still just about reach across to the other side of the screen one-handed. I need to adjust my grip to reach the top, but this is to be expected given its size.
I’m also pleased to see the Style’s machined power button and volume rocker also don’t rattle and shift in the chassis like the Moto X Play, and I much prefer the Style’s grippy, soft-touch rear panel over the Play’s slightly more rubbery finish. It’s very similar to the 3rd Gen Moto G, only slightly softer. Whereas the Play’s rear panel is removable, allowing you to swap it out for a different colour if you fancy a change further down the line, the Style’s back panel is fixed, leaving no room for further customisation once you’ve bought it.
As with all Motorola handsets, though, you can personalise your handset through the Moto Maker service at no extra cost. You can choose the colour of the frame and front of the handset, the metallic accent on the back of the handset and the type of rear panel, including a variety of soft grip colours as well as wood and genuine leather. The latter two options cost an extra £20. You can also increase the internal storage from 32GB to 64GB for another £35, but when you can mount a microSD card on the back of the SIM card tray, you’d be better off spending the same amount of money on a 128GB microSD card instead.
Motorola Moto X Style review: Display
As great as the phone looks and feels, though, it all starts to fall apart when you drill down into its specs. For instance, the Moto X Style’s 5.7in, 2,560 x 1,440 display has a distinctly yellow colour cast, as whites were much warmer than those on the Moto X Play and Sony Xperia Z5, which has one of the most colour-accurate displays I’ve ever seen. Initially, this led me to believe the Style must be using an AMOLED panel, as Motorola hadn’t specified the type of panel it used when it was first announced. However, it’s since been confirmed to be using an IPS display, which makes the colour cast all the more disappointing.
Its colour accuracy rating is still reasonably high, covering 93% of the sRGB colour gamut, but it makes little difference when images look obviously oversaturated. Admittedly, it does lend images an eye-pleasing vibrancy, but I prefer the slightly cleaner, cooler colours on the Moto X Play. You can change the colour mode in the Settings menu, but even switching over to Normal makes little difference. Likewise, the Style’s black levels were also higher than the Moto X Play, measuring a rather mediocre 0.48cd/m2. This is a shame, as its high brightness of 502.07cd/m2 gives it great outdoor visibility and a contrast ratio of 1,045:1 provides plenty of detail in darker pictures.
Motorola Moto X Style review: Battery Life
The most disappointing part of the Moto X Style is its atrocious battery life. In our continuous video playback test, it lasted just 8hrs 54mins when the screen brightness was set to 170cd/m2. This is terrible for a phone with a 3,000mAh battery, and is more than four hours less than the Moto X Play.
|Hexa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
|32GB (24BG) / 64GB
|Memory card slot (supplied)
|One year RTB
|Price SIM-free (inc VAT)
|Price on contract (inc VAT)
|Free on £32-per-month contract
|Prepay price (inc VAT)
With its fantastic screen, amazing battery life and premium build quality, the Moto X sets the benchmark for mid-range phones