One Month of Living With Moto X4

The Motorola X4 “Android One Edition” is the mid-range offering for Project Fi subscribers as a more affordable ($399) alternative to the flagship Google Pixel phone. ($649) Here are some person notes on how they compared after using the Pixel for over a month followed by using the Moto X4 for over a month.

Moto X4

Exterior: The Pixel is a much more distinctive design compared to the relatively generic Moto X4. But the fragile aluminum & glass construction meant they both ended up encased in the cheapest TPU case from Amazon, muting the design distinction. Result: Tie.

Display: The Pixel’s OLED screen promised brighter colors, longer battery life, and a more responsive display. The responsiveness part was a requirement for Daydream VR. Outside of VR, the day-to-day user experience is equivalent. Result: Pixel wins in VR, but otherwise a tie.

Fingerprint Sensor: The Pixel sensor is far more reliable at reading and unlocking the device. The X4 sensor can be frustrating at times, occasionally sending the user to the backup screen pattern unlock. Advantage: Pixel

Camera: The Pixel camera is pretty fantastic, but the X4 camera isn’t very far behind. The X4 adds a second camera with a wide-angle lens that was occasionally very useful. People who need a high quality camera usually have a dedicated camera, phone cameras are useful as backup in a pinch and needs to offer flexibility. Advantage: Moto X4.

Storage: They both start at 32GB of storage but the Moto X4 augments that with a microSD slot for storage expansion. Apps need to stay in internal storage but movies, music, pictures, and some other data (Google offline maps) could be shifted to the memory card. If a Pixel owner needs more storage they need to buy a higher capacity device up front. If they find they need more storage later… they are out of luck. Advantage: Moto X4

Convenience: The Google Assistant on the Pixel hasn’t turned out to be terribly useful so far, neither has the Pixel-specific launcher. In contrast, Motorola’s customization to the X4 have proven to be more useful. A surprisingly handy feature is to turn the flashlight on/off by shaking the phone twice in a karate-chop motion. This was initially dismissed as a gimmick but it ended up being used multiple times a week. Advantage: Moto X4

Summary: There are clearly advantages to the flagship Pixel device, but if none of them are important to a user, they can save a lot of money with the competent Moto X4 and also get some nice features missing from the Pixel.

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