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Grow Your Business Technology

Motorola Moto X: Pros and Cons for Business Users

Motorola Moto X: Pros and Cons for Business Users
Four months after its release, the Moto X continues to impress. / Credit: Motorola

Four months after its release, the Moto X continues to impress. It’s not the biggest or fastest smartphone on the market, but Motorola’s flagship smartphone is packed with unique features that really matter for business users. That includes great battery life and productivity-boosting voiceless controls, the likes of which you won’t find on any other mobile device. It’s also one of the few phones you’ll find running the latest version of the Android operating system.

That makes it a strong candidate for the crown of best smartphone for business. Read on for an in-depth look at the features make the Moto X a contender.

The hardware

On paper, the Moto X can’t compete with juggernauts like Apple’s iPhone 5s and Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which easily outperform it in benchmark tests. The phone’s 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor is fast, but it can’t push the same numbers as those top-tier devices. But specs aren’t everything. The Moto X’s day-to-day performance isn’t just adequate — it’s downright snappy. Business users can expect smooth and responsive multitasking for checking email, browsing the Web and running your favorite productivity apps.

Likewise, the Moto X’s 4.7-inch, 720p screen is neither as big as those on competing flagship phones such as the S4 or Galaxy Note 3, nor is it as pixel-dense as the displays on phones such as the iPhone 5s. But in practice, the Moto X’s screen is bright and sharp and has accurate colors. It’s not the best display you’ll find in 2013, but it’s squarely above average.

For business users, the size of the 4.7-inch screen is a fair compromise between Galaxy Note 3’s sprawling 5.7-inch display and iPhone 5s’ compact 4-inch display. Coupled with a superthin bezel, the Moto X is small enough for effortless one-handed use. If you need a phone you can really work on, however, the average screen size of the Moto X may not cut it. And forget about the useful multitasking features you’ll find on Samsung’s flagship phones, which let you run two apps at once in a split-screen view. But for basic mobile productivity, 4.7-inches is usually big enough.

The software

Unique software features are what really make the Moto X shine. The phone’s claim to fame are its hands-free control options. Even when the Moto X’s screen is off, simply say “OK Google” — you’ll train the phone to recognize only your voice — and you can activate the full set of Android voice commands. There’s no need to wake up your phone, unlock it or open any app; the Moto X is always listening for your next voice command.

For business users, the feature is a nice productivity booster. Inputting an item onto your calendar or to-do list can be cumbersome on a small touch screen. Voice controls are a convenient solution, but they’re less useful when you have to root through a menu to activate them.  Those issues are remedied with touchless controls on the Moto X. It also means quicker and easier access to GPS navigation, and is the first truly hands-free way to respond to an urgent text message on your smartphone while driving.

Motorola also packed in a unique and useful notification system that will help business users notice and respond to messages. The Moto X’s AMOLED display pulses notifications for emails, text messages or missed calls as they arrive, even when the phone is asleep. It helps conserve battery life because users don’t have to activate the entire display every time a notification arrives. Place a finger on the screen to display more details about the alert, then swipe up to jump straight to the corresponding email or text messaging app for a quick reply, straight from the lock screen.

The Moto X’s unique unlocking system is another productivity booster. The Moto X uses its built-in accelerometer to activate the display any time you pick it up or pull it from your pocket, so you can simply swipe, and get to work. It’s a small but time-saving feature for business users who constantly lock and unlock their phones to act on incoming notifications.

Finally, the Moto X stands out as one of just a handful of phones you can buy today running Android 4.4 KitKat, the latest update to the operating system. It adds useful features for business users like native wireless printer support and better integration with Google Now, a personal assistant app that pushes context-sensitive notifications to you automatically.

The battery

What good do great features do if your smartphone’s weak battery keeps you from using them? Great battery life doesn’t always make headlines, but for business users who depend on their smartphones to stay connected and productive on the go, it’s among the most important features any phone can have. The Moto X lasts and lasts — up to 24 hours or more, with moderate use. That’s a huge step up from some competing smartphones, which struggle to make it to dinnertime without a recharge.


The Moto X packs powerhouse software, even without powerhouse hardware. It offers a smooth, uncluttered Android experience with handy features that will make you more productive every day. And small business owners will appreciate that this phone is relatively affordable compared with some other flagship handsets. Power users may prefer a phone with beefier specs or a bigger display, but the Moto X is a compelling choice for most small business owners.

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.