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Android Phone Fans

Photos of HTC’s RECamera leaked directly from their site, looks oddly like a PVC pipe elbow

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 06:32 PM PDT

HTC RECamera accessories-hero

Moments ago we saw a teaser video for HTC’s soon-to-be-announced  RECamera, a GoPro-like competitor that’s scheduled to be unveiled during their October 8th press event. Looks like we wont even have to wait that long to get a glimpse of the new camcorder as a crafty Android slueth on Reddit has discovered what appears to be a few images of device buried directly on HTC’s new RECamera site.

HTC RECamera about-bg

The leaked images were taken from an accessories and about page for RECamera, and show a design that frankly, looks like a PVC elbow with a lens crammed inside. We’re guessing one of the accessories is some kind of strap attachment for securing the camera on a backpack strap, while the other image shows a young woman taking a selfie with a bare device.

There was also mention of a “REMoments” on the site, so expect some sort of Android companion app to launch along side the new accessory.

HTC has long been known for their wonderful product designs but this… this is interesting. What do you guys think?

[RECamera 1, 2]

Nexus 6 (X) specs allegely confirmed in new report, could look like a stretched out Moto X (2014) [RUMOR]

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 06:03 PM PDT

Nexus 6 X Shamu leak

This is not a leaked press render, merely a mockup

Rumors of a 6-inch Motorola-made Nexus 6 are nothing new, but today they’re being corroborated by the folks at 9to5Google who have obtained, what they claim are leaked specs of the upcoming Google phablet, codenamed “Shamu.”

Having gotten a glimpse at a 6-inch Motorola phablet for ourselves (we weren’t able to confirm if it was indeed a Nexus or simply an upcoming Motorola branded phablet), we too can attest the above mockup is accurate. The prototype device we saw — which had a silver frame and silver back cover — actually had what appeared to be a black sticker covering the usual location of Motorola’s “M’ dimple logo, although it was more square-ish in shape and likely not the final design.

As we saw in earlier reports, the phone is said to carry an incredibly large 5.92-inch display and going by appearances, looks much like a stretched out Moto X with a similar front facing speaker design. But aside from the same 13MP/2MP cameras, apparently that’s where similarities end.

Inside, sources are saying the phone will equip a 2560×1440 resolution display, Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, and ample 3,200mAh battery. When coupled with Android L, that makes for one lust worthy new smartphone. Of course, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for more leaks and with rumors pointing to a release a little more than a month away, expect more information to come out of the woodwork.

Now that a 6-inch Motorola Nexus is looking more likely, we’ll continue crossing our fingers this wont replace the Nexus 5, but merely be offered along side a refreshed model. Even without, an unlocked Moto X (2014) Pure Edition could be close enough to a refreshed Nexus for us in everything but pricing.

Will it bend? Moto X (2014) vs HTC One M8 vs iPhone 6 and more [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 05:14 PM PDT

HTC One M8 bend test

Earlier today #bendgate was making the rounds across social media It was inescapable even. A hashtag used to describe reports of bent iPhone 6 Pluses when combined with a pair of skinny jeans, earlier today we actually showed you guys what happens when you attempt to bend a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Because inquiring minds want to know — how do other devices stand up to the bend test? Well, Unbox Therapy is back yet again, this timing performing his very scientific bend test with the all new Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen), the HTC One M8, iPhone 6, and a few other devices. Let’s take a look see.

Before he even started, right off the bat I could have told you not a dang thing was going to happen to that new Moto X. Motorola did a great job at building one of the most solid pieces of smartphone we’ve ever had the pleasure of using and if you feel so inclined, you can learn more about the device in our full review here. The HTC One M8, however, didn’t fair so well and although it did have a good amount of flex going on, apparently it was able to bounce right back to its original shape. No harm, no foul.

So what did we learn from all this nonsense? Well, it’s really hard to bend smaller smartphones and it’s only when you get into super thin phablet territory that the laws of physics take over and tell you that you may run into some problems. If this is really that big an issue, for the love of Cheezus, just buy a belt clip or one of those cool fanny packs (I keep Chapstick in mine) and get it over with.

Moto 360 update (KGW42R) rolling out now – improves connectivity issues, squashes bugs

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 04:11 PM PDT

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

In a new software update hitting some Moto 360s as early as today, build KGW42R is rolling out over the air and looks to address some common complaints some users have been having with the smartwatch. No, it wont upgrade the aging TI OMAP processor (nice try though), but according to Motorola, the update fixes issues relating to Bluetooth connectivity drops, a new charging notification and of course, the usual bug fixes. Here’s the full list:

  • Bluetooth connectivity: Improved Bluetooth connectivity between the watch and phone to reduce momentary disconnects experienced by some users.
  • Charging notification: Added a message to confirm that Moto 360 is charging in cases when its battery is fully depleted.
  • Bug fixes: Implemented bug fixes and other system optimizations.

Motorola says if you don’t see it yet on your smartwatch, don’t worry — the update will continue rolling out over the next few days so be patient and you’ll get it. If you want to make sure your Moto 360 gets the update ASAP, make sure it’s connected to your smartphone and keep the watch above 80%.

After charging, our update showed right up. All you have to do to update is select “Download” when you see the prompt on your Moto 360, followed by “Install now” once it’s finished downloading and wait for it to reboot. After that jump into your device Settings by holding the power button and scroll down to About and the build number should now read “KGW42R. Good luck!

HTC teases RECamera, their new product to be unveiled on Oct 8th [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 03:17 PM PDT

HTC RE Camera teaser date

We’ve already heard that HTC is looking to give GoPro a run for their money with a new dedicated video camera of their own, but now we may finally have confirmation. Teased in a new video, HTC is making it clear whatever they have planned for their October 8th event, video capture is going to be the highlight. The video centers around a wide angle camera that apparently can be placed on a table for video selfies (velfies?), survive a dunk in the water, or generally go with you on whatever adventures you can partake in.

Interestingly enough, it seems HTC is even preparing its own Twitter account for the upcoming video camera, using the same “Something remarkable is coming” tagline that’s found in their teaser video. According to the new Twitter account and their video on YouTube, it’s looking like this thing will be called the RECamera (like record, get it?). If you’d like, you can even sign up to be notified when the camera is available on their official website here.

Motorola Moto X (2014) review

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 02:17 PM PDT

It’s been a roller coaster of events for Motorola these past few years. As sales of their once widely successful Droid line began to dwindle, Motorola seemingly found new life in Google after the internet search giant officially bought them for $12.5 billion back in February of 2012. A sort of rebirth for the company, soon after they were rebranded “a Google company” and launched another flagship under new management — the Moto X.

Built with an entirely different vision than previous efforts (a more Google-y one), the Moto X avoided getting caught up in the smartphone arms race of offering bigger, badder hardware specs and heavy custom UIs. Instead Motorola took the road less traveled, keeping things relatively simple by offering an almost completely stock Android interface. From there, they looked to improved upon the user experience by adding their own specialty apps that complimented the core OS, not tried to hide it.

Ultimately, the Moto X wasn’t the breakout hit Motorola (or Google) thought it would be and in January of this year, Google sold Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion. Back at square one, Motorola is giving it another try for 2014 with an all new model, the Moto X (2nd Gen). The new Moto X looks to address many criticisms of last year’s model by offering true flagship specs, while building upon the Motorola apps and services that set the original apart from its competitors.

There’s no question Motorola has a lot riding on their latest flagship and with a new recipe for success, will the new Moto X be enough to capture the hearts (and wallets) of consumers looking for a next-gen smartphone? Or will phone fold under the pressure from heavy weights like the Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5? Find out in our full review of the Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen).

Design / Build quality

Moto X 2014 DSC07009

Last year’s Moto X had a very Google/Nexus vibe to it. Motorola went with a nearly all plastic housing, something that could be easily assembled at their Fort Worth Texas plant. With the shutting off that facility, Motorola can now finally return to more traditional manufacturing methods and with that, it seems the new Moto X improves on the build quality of its older sibling in just about every way.

If you had to describe the new Moto X with a song, Daft Punk’s single “Harder, “Better, Faster, Stronger” is the first to come to mind. The phone ditches last year’s all-plastic design in favor of something with a little more metal. Similar to the iPhone or the new Samsung Galaxy Alpha, the new Moto X now offers just a taste of metal with an aluminum frame that wraps around the sides of the device.

The frame isn’t just pretty, it also acts as an extension of the internal antenna to help boost signal quality. Along the sides, the frame starts off thicker in the middle, the shrinks to almost nothing towards the corners. It reminds us a lot of the sides of the HTC One M8, which in all honesty, were a little difficult to grip given the small surface area. The new Moto X makes the same mistake, and because the sides feel like Teflon, the phone repeatedly slipped from our hands and onto our face while laying down with the phone in our bed.

Moto X 2014 2nd Generation angles

On the front of the device, you’ll find the smooth Gorilla Glass 3 is beveled around the edges, creating the most satisfying experience when sliding your finger from the sides of the device (grabbing sidebar menus and such). It’s not the first time we’ve seen this on a smartphone (iPhone 6 has a similar glass front), but the new Moto X is the first Android device in a long while to go with this design. Buried underneath each corner of the glass are low-powered IR sensors Motorola uses to detect movement. They’re virtually invisible with the black housing, but somewhat of an eyesore on the white model.

Keeping the design language of the Moto E (and now the new Moto G), the new Moto X now also features a front facing speaker. Unfortunately, unlike the new Moto G, it’s only the bottom speaker capable of outputting loud sound for media, with the top acting as little more than a simple earpiece when making calls. Quality on the front facing speaker was nice and loud, but not as tinny or ear-piercing as we’ve heard on other devices. It seems Motorola tuned it to have fuller sound, but it’s nothing near the quality you’ll find on the HTC One M8. Interestingly enough, the aluminum speaker grills actually protrude a bit from the front of the device, keeping the new Moto X’s glass slightly raised when laying the device face down on a perfectly flat surface.

Moto X 2014 DSC07023

It’s the back of the device where the new Moto X shows off all of its personality. You’ll find a huge camera hole on the back, made even larger with a clear ring to position the dual LED flash around the lens. We loved the way the entire camera/LED unit is incredibly smooth, making for easy wiping of fingerprints that sometimes accumulate on the lens.

In somewhat of a new tradition, Motorola kept last year’s dimple but this time cut out a hole especially for it, slapping an aluminum “M” logo inside. While it looks great to have such a prominent display of the company’s branding, it also acts as a reference point when holding the device, allowing your index finger to quickly find and rest inside. All these small details make for a smartphone that feels absolutely wonderful in the hand and looks even better.

Moto X 2014 Motomaker

Making a return for the new Moto X is Motomaker, Motorola’s online tool that allows anyone to customize a Moto X to their liking using a variety of back cover options and trim colors. Prospective buyers are given a choice of either a black front /gun metal frame, or white / silver frame combos, and more back cover colors than you can shake a stick at.

moto materials

Pretty much all the colors of the rainbow are covered if you’re looking for traditional plastic (black is the only color to offer a soft touch finish). But for those willing to pay a little higher premium, you can upgrade the material to wood or one of Motorola’s all new leather options for an extra $25.

Leather comes in black, natural, cognac, or navy blue colors, while woods are available in walnut, bamboo, ebony, or teak finishes. If you want to build a phone that truly stands out from the crowd, these are definitely the way to go.


In a day and age where smartphone manufacturers typically hold onto new color combinations for carrier exclusives, gradually releasing new colors of their popular handsets months after launch, it’s refreshing to have so many options available right off the bat. Not only that, Motorola is the only manufacturer to offer such unique and premium materials in their smartphones, and with this level of style and personalization.

Up until now, it’s something we’ve only seen with sneakers (NIKEiD) and nobody — not even Apple — can touch that. Motorola has definitely carved a niche for themselves, but whether or not the soccer moms and Joe Schmoes will take notice (or even care) remains to be seen.


Moto X 2014 DSC07019

There’s no question the hardware specs in last year’s Moto X left many feeling like something was missing. And there was. Although you can argue all you want that high-end hardware doesn’t always equal a good end user experience (Samsung devices are proof of this) — it certainly helps.

For this year’s Moto X, Motorola is pulling out all the stops (well, most of them anyway), packing their latest flagship with many of the high-end specs you’ve come to expect from a 2014 flagship. It’s all here. Aside from a minimal increase in battery (we’ll talk more about that later),  you’ll find a 1080p display, Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 13MP camera.

It’s clear Motorola wasn’t going to settle with mid-range this time around and while the hardware specs weren’t too ambitious, there’s enough here that performance should be top notch. They’ve learned their lesson and with so much riding on the new Moto X, let’s check out everything the phone now has to offer for 2014.


Moto X 2014 display size comparison DSC07045

On the front of the new Moto X you will find a much larger 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED display, a pretty sizable increase when compared to the 4.7-inch/720p of the previous model. While many original Moto X fans consider 4.7 that sweet spot (I’d have to agree), Motorola did do a bang up job at keeping that bottom bezel as small as possible, while still having enough room for a front facing speaker.

Make no mistake, the new Moto X is certainly larger, but when compared against devices like the Nexus 5 or HTC One M8, the overall footprint of the new Moto X was kept small, while extending the display. And because the bottom bezel is so small, the display actually sits lower than even the Nexus 5 which helps your thumb reach most UI elements without overreaching or stretching during one-handed use. That means grabbing the notification bar with your thumb wont be a problem like it is on some devices.

Seriously though. A 5.2-inches is probably the largest sized display we can comfortably handle (we’re big on the while one-handed use thing) but those coming from last year’s 4.7-inch model shouldn’t have many difficulties adapting to the size. For next year’s Moto X, Motorola need only focus on shaving off a few millimeters from the bottom bezel and we’ll be happy.

Moto X 2014 display low brightness DSC07049

Moto X 2014 at its lowest brightness setting

 As we mentioned previously, the new Moto X is once again using an AMOLED display and because of that, the usual pros and cons apply. Blacks are much darker than you’d find on traditional LCD displays (this has power consumption benefits as well) and colors are over saturated (but we kinda dig that).

We will say, it seems Motorola has turned down the saturation just a tad for the new Moto X, but we’re sure it has more to do with the newer Samsung panels they’re using. On last year’s model, viewing photos in Instagram or in the Gallery app showed noticeably orange skin tones. For the new Moto X, everyone still looks very much like a normal human being and not so much like an Oompa Loompa.

Moto X 2014 Display comparison DSC07056

HTC One M8, Moto X 2014, iPhone 6, Nexus 5

The display does have the typical AMOLED yellow tinge to it, something you’ll notice when viewing whites but can affect other colors like blues. This is actually what bothered us most about the display and when compared against other devices, the difference is even more obvious.

Also, it’s almost if there’s a strange film on the AMOLED, just under the glass, making for a glittery look (like those matte screen protectors). Although 1080p, the display isn’t nearly as sharp as say, the Nexus 5 or other LCD devices.

Moto X 2014 sunlight AMOLED DSC06985

Daylight visibility is always a challenge and when viewing in direct sunlight and AMOLED’s funny way of creating a nearly blinding rainbow effect was apparent. We suppose if worst comes to worse, you can always find some shade or make your own.

There’s a good chance many of you wont notice any of the above issues with the new Moto X’s display, but there was enough that, overall, we were left with a bad impression.


Moto X 2014 DSC07107

Running a nearly stock Android experience has its benefits. With an OS unencumbered by the usual OEM skins, it wouldn’t take much horsepower to provide an adequate Android experience (just take a look at the Moto G (2nd Gen). Thankfully, Motorola didn’t skimp in this regard, equipping the new Moto X with an uber fast 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor worthy of a flagship Android device. They could have used something a lot older and got nearly the same results in terms of real-world speed, but we’re glad they chose one of the quickest mobile processors currently available. The result? An unhindered OS that can spread its wings and fly.

Everything feels like it’s been put into overdrive. Apps open quicker than you can blink, the UI is always silky smooth, and games run at high frame rates. If you’re coming from the previous Moto X, you’ll notice how much quicker the camera quick shake gesture now opens the app, with little down time from shake, to vibrate, to the app launching. Honestly, it’s a c0mplete joy to use. I really can’t say enough about how kicky fast and buttery this phone is. It’s like a Nexus 5 on steroids.


Moto X 2014 storage 16GB

Limited storage is just one of those things that’s either gonna bug the sh*t out of you, or wont be any skin off your nose. For us, having only 16GB and 32GB options for the new Moto X sounds like a major oversight on Motorola’s part. Aside from last year’s model having access to a larger 64GB config, no such option is available (yet) for the new Moto X. Looking at how much storage space is even usable on the new Moto X, we dove into our settings and sure enough, our 16GB model had only about 10.2GB of that was even usable. Even for a base model, that’s borderline unacceptable.

This is further compounded by the fact that the new Moto X doesn’t offer a micro SD card slot, leaving the phone stuck with whatever amount of storage you choose before hand. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but we’d recommend opting for the 32GB model lest you kick yourself a few months down the road when you have no more room for apps, games, or media. 16GB model shouldn’t even be an option.

Battery life

Moto X 2014 charging DSC07076

Battery life is one of those areas that’s always the hardest test. Because no 2 people have the same smartphone usage habits, there’s no telling how someone’s 20+ hours of battery life will translate to you specifically. Even still, we’ll go ahead and give you our accounting of what battery life was like on the new Moto X.

Using the device as our primary daily driver for the past few weeks, we found battery life more than acceptable (but it wont blow you away). Typical life for us was about 16 or so hours with normal to light usage, 2+ hours of screen on time, WiFi and Bluetooth always on. Despite the absence of last year’s X8 low-power core, standby time on the new Moto X is where the phone truly shines. If you find yourself at work or spending a long day at a theme park, rest assured that if you don’t fiddle around with the Moto X very much, you can get upwards of 24 hours+ with little to no usage (but still allow notifications and phone calls to come through).

That’s not to say it wasn’t improved, but at 2,300mAh, it’s a feeble attempt at increasing last year’s 2,200mAh battery. We would have been more than happy to take a slightly thicker or filled out Moto X with a larger battery, something closer to the 2,800mAh offered by competing devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5.

So, while the phone doesn’t deliver in spades when discussing battery life, it’s not necessarily lacking. Still, when a smartphone scores such high marks in just about every other category, it’s almost painful to see something so fundamentally important such as battery life take somewhat of a back seat. The fact that it’s 2014 and 2-day battery life on our smartphones sounds like a fantasy is depressing. We can’t even tell you how much extra money we’d pay for a 3,100mAh Moto X option in Motomaker, but we’re sure Motorola already has bigger batteried Moto Maxx variant planned for Verizon later this year (pure speculation).

Moto X Turbo Charger wall

Another thing worth mentioning is thanks to that speedy Snapdragon 801 processor we told you about earlier, the new Moto X is now Quick Charge 2.0 ready. That means when paired with Motorola’s Turbo Charger (sold separately), you can get an extra 8 hours of battery life with only 15 minutes of charge time. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve taken bathroom breaks longer than that. If you can’t (or wont) extend battery life, why not have the dang thing charge faster? Pretty sweet.

Notably absent was any kind of “extreme power saving mode” like we’ve seen on many competing devices which can extend battery life substantially by scaling down CPU cores, disabling background apps, or disabling data after a specific amount of sleep time. With Motorola’s suite of apps, you would have thought they’d had include something like this, but we suppose there’s always next year.


Moto X 2014 CAMERA DSC06997

In an age of sharing every meal, traffic jam, or plane ride on social media, we get it — if you’re shopping around for a new smartphone, you’re probably going to want make sure it’s capable of taking a nice photo. Just about every year, smartphone OEMs tout some new camera technology or new way of focusing and capturing light. Not matter what, they almost always fall short of expectations because, well, they’re just smartphones — not DSLRs. Take last year’s Moto X and it’s 10MP “Clear Pixel” camera that was quite literally the worst shooter we’d ever seen from an Android device (well, mid to high-end devices anyway).

With the bar set so low, the new Moto X didn’t have to improve much to beat out the last year’s model. Thankfully, Motorola went with a much better 13MP Sony Sony Exmor RS IMX135 sensor coupled with a slightly faster f.2.2 lens in the new Moto X. This is actually the same sensor as found on devices like the LG G3 or Samsung Galaxy Note 4 — all top camera performers. This pretty much leaves Motorola’s software to do all the fine tuning.

Moto X 2014 camera app

The Motorola’s custom camera app is where all the magic takes place and is pretty much the same one we saw on the original Moto X. Motorola’s Camera app doesn’t go overboard with features like Samsung, or offer a complete set of manual controls like HTC, but — like the rest of Motorola’s apps — does provide a few additional features not normally found in “stock” Android.

Taking a shot is as easy as pressing anywhere on the screen (or long press for burst shots). Aside from now being able to shoot 4K video, it’s pretty much the same tap-to-shoot app we saw last year and therein lies the problem. Because the camera app automatically handles all the focusing, more than often we’d tap the screen to take a shot that wasn’t properly focused. It’s annoying and could have been easily fixed by adding a tap-to-focus-then-shoot option in the app’s settings.

Moto X Camera suggested shot

Another extremely nifty feature is the fact that the camera actually starts firing snapshots in the background before your finger ever reaches the display. This works in tandem with Motorola’s new Gallery app, which can tell when you’ve taken what it feels is a “bad shot,” providing you with a suggestion of a better one it captured on its own. Believe it or not, this actually came in handy in real life while attempting to snap a photo of someone walking down the street. By the time I pressed the shutter button, they had already walked by but luckily, Motorola’s Gallery app showed me a better shot with the man completely in the frame. It’s easy to see how this could help when trying to capture your kids doing something silly.

We should also note that we completely fell in love with the Camera app’s quick launch gesture, executed by twisting the entire phone twice to quickly open the app. It can even be done while the phone is sleeping and sadly, is probably the only time we’d use Motorola’s camera app (or when shooting 4K video) over something like say, the Google Camera. In any case, here’s a few sample shots (along with video) as taken with our new Moto X (2nd Gen) so you can see the camera’s actual output and judge for yourself.

IMG_20140905_134642066 IMG_20140905_134848049 IMG_20140905_132104408 IMG_20140905_140045850 (1) IMG_20140905_145653679 IMG_20140905_145420871 Moto X 2014 IMG_20140922_171318976 IMG_20140905_153733408

2 minutes of 4K video was roughly 800MB in size

Overall, we found the camera quality more than adequate for some quick off the hip shooting, although occasionally inconsistent. In some cases shots showed a lot of noise (in a way, we kinda like that) and although we’ve yet to see a truly wonderful low light shooter from a smartphone, the new Moto X was certainly one of the worst offenders. Chances are, you’ll be using the new Moto X to shoot a close up of the kids, or that fancy meal the wife cooked up. If that’s the case, you’ll find the Moto X capable of producing a perfectly decent photo as evidenced above.


Moto X 2014 DSC07026

There’s absolutely no question the new Moto X’s greatest strength lies in its software. What is probably a lingering philosophy of their short time with Google, Motorola does very little to alter the Android experience in the Moto X (or the rest of their devices), keeping the same “stock” UI as found on Nexus devices.

The only difference is that Motorola throws in a few of their own apps, bringing some additional functionality to what would have otherwise been bare bones Android. Everything from automating certain tasks, or adding a more convenient lockscreen, but the most notable improvement is the way Motorola has extended Android’s standard voice commands by providing “always listening” functionality. This means that, even with the screen off, you can still perform quick Google searches, set a timer, or just ask the Moto X what time it is — all without ever having to physically touch the phone.


Moto X 2014 assist actions voice display

While posted individually in the Google Play Store, Motorola new suite of apps are actually located inside another app simply called “Moto.” Opening Moto will initially pull up the Moto Voice function right off the bat (like S Voice or Siri), but the app also acts as a hub for Motorola’s other contextual services (found after clicking the small gear icon). There are four main apps: Assist, Moto Actions (motion), Moto Voice, Moto Display (Active Display). Details on which features can be found in each are provided below.

  • Moto Actions: Utilizing the IR sensors located on the front of the device, Actions allows users to interact with the new Moto X using simple gestures (I guess this is why they ditched the name of the Touchless Control app). Wave a hand above the new Moto X to silence calls and/or alarms. You can even launch the camera when the phone is sleeping by flicking your wrist twice.
  • Moto Voice (formerly Touchless Control): Essentially audio monitoring for your smartphone, Moto Voice gives users the ability to wake their devices using a simple voice command — totally hands free. New for the Moto X (2nd Gen), you can now create your own custom voice prompt. Anything from “Hi-Yo, Silver. Away!” to "OK, Jarvis." There’s new actions too, with the ability to post a status updates to Facebook, messages in Whatsapp, or even check your <insert carrier here> usage. It’s limited, but we expect more apps will be supported in the future.
  • Moto Assist: It’s one of those handy features that sounds like it would have found itself already baked into Android by now. Whether you’re driving, in a meeting or back home, Moto Assist can change your phone’s behavior to do your bidding automagically. Driving? Assist will read your text messages aloud. In a meeting? Assist will mute the ringer so you’re not interrupted. Set up your own quiet hours and you can even whitelist certain callers (or anyone calling in rapid succession) for emergency situations.
  • Moto Display (formerly Active Display): For the all new Moto X, Motorola has rebranded their Active Display app as Moto Display. Like a smart lockscreen on top of the normal Android lockscreen, Display will “breathe” notifications as they arrive, allowing you to peek at them using only a finger. An improved version of last year’s Active Display, Moto Display can even detect when your hand is near (IR sensors), activating before you even touch it.

Probably the best part about all of these applications is that they’re found and updatable in the regular ‘ol Google Play Store. This means you won’t have to wait around for a full system update to get your hands on a few new software features or bug fixes (this has long been Android’s Achilles heel). What can be seen as the fingerprint of their former parent company, this mimics the move we saw Google take recently with many of their apps, albeit those are available to everyone while Motorola’s apps remain exclusive to their line of devices.

Motorola Gallery

Motorola Moto X 2014 Gallery app

While we don’t see too much wrong with stock Android’s Gallery app, Motorola saw fit to replace it with their own in the new Moto X. Design-wise, the app reminds us a lot of Google’s Photos app from Google+ — white background, vertical scrolling, side menu, etc. — only Motorola’s sticks to covering local storage. Perhaps further fingerprints of Google’s influence, the Gallery app even takes Google+’s popular Highlights feature and makes it available in the app.

Highlights groups together photos and videos by dates, and allows users to combine them into their own home video reel, complete with background music and everything. Because it’s all local storage, you wont have to bother backing up your photos and videos to the cloud — everything can be done directly on your phone.

Other apps and features:

Although Motorola’s “big 4″ contextually aware applications take most of the limelight, there’s a handful of other apps and features Motorola has packed inside the new Moto X that still deserve some attention.

Other apps that can be found on the new Moto X include Motorola Migrate, an application that helps you import contacts, photos, and videos from an old phone to your new Moto X. Should you find yourself in need of technical support, the Motorola Help app is only a click away and a great place to find quick support for your Moto X. Spotlight also makes a return, a sort of interactive story book that takes advantage of all the hardware sensors available on the Moto X.

The all new Motorola Connect is alive and well in the new Moto X, although it’s gotten a bit of a face life. A one stop shop for Motorola’s connected accessories (Power Pack Micro, Moto 360, etc.), we don’t think the Chrome extension — which allows you to send/receive text and picture messages from your phone — is up and running on the new Moto X quite yet.

Again, all these apps are also found on the Google Play Store where they can easily be updated without the need for a full system update.

Moto X 2014 Attentive Display Audio Effects Trusted Devices

While the Moto X features a mostly stock Android experience, they did bake in a few new must-have features we don’t know how we’d live without. Attentive Display is an option in the Settings app that keeps your phone awake while you’re facing the device, and sleeps it quicker when you’re not.

Motorola has also added their own customizable equalizer app called Audio EQ to tweak your phone’s audio to your heart’s content. Our favorite feature? Trusted devices. This allows a password protected Moto X to stay unlocked only while connected to specified (i.e., trusted) Bluetooth devices. Move out of range? Your device goes back being locked down with a password.

What’s Missing?

Moto X 2014 featured DSC07020

If you made it this far in the review, you’d know that the new Moto X (2nd Gen) does a lot of things right. Still, no matter the smartphone/tablet/piece of technology, there’s always going to be a few things that were simply left on the cutting room floor. Gotta leave something for next year, right? Going by current smartphone trends, things we would have love to have seen in the new Moto X are as follows:

  • Water resistance (IP67 rating) – While it’s not true every device has this, we have to admit being able to take our phone in the shower for some Netflix viewing will change your life.
  • Wireless charging – It’s was a damn shame to see this left out of current flagship devices this year and the Moto X (2nd Gen) is no different. As one of the more convenient features in recent times, we’re really hoping this isn’t the start of some new trend.
  • 64GB model – It took awhile, but after almost a year since it was release, Motorola began offering a 64GB model of the original Moto X. How or why this isn’t an option for the new Moto X is beyond us.
  • Micro SD card slot – Although we’re not quite sold on the idea of micro SD cards in our Android devices, we know many of you are. With HTC and LG recently offering memory expandability on their devices, we were taken aback by Motorola’s move.
  • IR blaster – At one point, it seemed every new flagship was carrying around an IR blaster. A feature that gives users universal remote functionality out of the box, the best remote is the one you always have on you.
  • Extreme battery saving software – Just about every OEM offers some kind of “extreme power saving mode” on their flagships. With Motorola’s strange move to keep the battery so small in the new Moto X, the least they could have done was included something similar (and they still could in the form of an app somewhere down the road).
  • Motorola Alert: One of our favorite Motorola applications, Motorola Alert is only available to the Moto E, Moto G, and original Moto X. The app allows you to send a distress beacon in the event of an emergency, and while not currently compatible with the new Moto X, could become compatible in the future.

Bottom Line

Moto X 2014 DSC07024

When all is said and done, the all new Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) is not only a worthy upgrade from last year’s model, but easily one of the best Android handsets to date. It’s not perfect by any means, but Motorola did manage to do a great job at improving just about every aspect of the original, from design and build quality, to internal hardware specs, and even software.

Factor in a nearly stock Android experience, unparalleled software support with system apps that update independently of firmware updates, and the fact that this new Moto X will be one of the first Android devices to receive new Android updates (Android L, anyone?) — it’s easy to see how the new Moto X is an a class all of its own.

At $500 for the base model and $575 for a Moto X with all the trimmings, you’re probably going to want (or have to) to get one on contract. Keep in mind Motorola also offers 2 years of coverage for accidental damage for an additional $80.

With Google Play edition devices hanging in the balance, the new Moto X is probably the closest thing we’ll get to a premium Nexus device and the living embodiment of Android’s core principals. Having said all that, the new Moto X (2nd Gen) has just elbowed its way to the top of our ever growing Android family and demands your consideration should you be in the market for a new Android smartphone. Seriously, it’s hard to top this right now.


  • Premium build quality
  • Near stock Android
  • Front facing speaker
  • Minimal overall size
  • Camera performance


  • Display
  • No micro SD
  • 32GB model (highest config) is still limited
  • No wireless charging
  • Battery life isn’t great

Rating: 4.6 / 5


Humble Mobile Bundle 8 gives second shot of pay-what-you-want gaming for Android devices

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 01:01 PM PDT


No, you're not experiencing déjà vu. Following the launch of the Humble Bundle PC and Android 11 just yesterday comes Humble Mobile Bundle 8, an Android-exclusive collection of seven games for smartphones and tablets. Four of the games are yours for whatever price you want to pay. An additional two can be unlocked by paying more than the average purchase amount ($3.39 at time of writing), while a third bonus game is earned when paying at least $5.

So what do the folks at humble have for us this time? Tentacle Wars, Doodle God, Doodle Devil, and Wave Wave comprise the base set. We are particularly fond of Wave Wave here at Phandroid, but have wasted quite a few hours on Doodle God as well. Little Big Adventure, Tower Madness 2, and EPOCH.2 round out the bonus games. What's more, Humble gives you soundtrack downloads to go along with all of your new games.

Sure, you probably haven't finished getting through the 11 games included in the PC and Android bundle, but it's hard to pass up another name-your-own-price offer. Humble sure knows how to keep an Android gamer busy (and happy).



Samsung’s Power Sharing Cable lets you share battery life between two devices

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 12:32 PM PDT

Samsung Power Sharing

Sharing is caring, folks, and that’s why Samsung has created something that’ll help you share your phone or tablet’s battery life. The company has introduced the power sharing cable, a two-way micro-USB cable that can use power from select Galaxy smartphones and tablets to charge any other device with a microSD charging port. Samsung’s obvious primary use case is charging your Gear S smart watch using your Galaxy S5′s battery, but it should be able to work with any device.

The accessory pairs with an app that will allow you to dictate how much juice is being sent over, so if you only want 25% of your power to be dedicated to charging another device you can make that change quite easily.

The accessory costs a cool $20. That’s a bit much for what’s essentially a male-to-male microUSB cable, but finding a cable with the exact current flow needed for something like this can be hard and the appp is a bonus — some might find that price tag just as fair as any. You can head to Samsung’s site right now to order the cable in white if you’re interested.

[via Samsung]

iPhone 6+ fails a minor bend test, Note 3 shows it how it’s done [VIDEO]

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 11:31 AM PDT

Often times than not, the debate between plastic and metal phones comes down to two issues. The first issue is style — some feel metal just looks nicer. And if a phone is built well enough, that is often the case. The second issue is durability, which has long been thought to belong to the metal-donning studs of the industry.

But a recent bend test could change that thinking. Unbox Therapy decided to put an iPhone 6+ through a rudimentary bend test. The test mechanics were simple: apply as much force in trying to bend the device with your hands as possible. How’d it do? Not well. Not only did it bend relatively easily, the screen cracked when trying to reverse the damage.

iphone 6 plus bend test

The same test being applied to the Galaxy Note 3? It basically came out like a champ. The tester claimed he applied as much force to the Note 3 as he did to the iPhone 6+ — if not more — and didn’t get much more than a slight warp in the plastic’s shape. And by “slight” we mean it was almost unnoticeable. He did note that the device made the type of sound that would make you cringe, but in the end it stood up quite firmly.

We typically wouldn’t worry too much about a bend test that puts much more pressure onto a phone than most everyday situations would, but with how big these devices are and the advent of puke-worthy skinny jeans, we’d say it has its place. Whether this issue will show up to haunt Apple in widespread fashion remains to be seen, but all we can see is be careful not to sit on that thing, or any other phone for that matter. Be sure to watch the two bend tests above and below.

Phan Favs: What is the best sports app for Android? [VOTE]

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 10:02 AM PDT


Phan Favs is a recurring feature that turns the tables and asks you, the readers, about the best apps and games. It's your turn to drop some knowledge on us! Read more.

Blue 42…Omaha…set….hike! Fall is a great time to be a sports fan. Football season is in full effect, and the MLB playoffs are just a week away. With all the games going on it can be hard to keep track of wins, losses, top stories, standing, and all those important stats. The advent of the smartphone has made sports a much more immersive experience for fans. There are hundreds of great sports apps available for Android, but we want to know which is the best!

The ball is in your court (pun fully intended). We want to know what apps you use to keep track of sports. It doesn’t matter what you use the app for. It could be a live streaming video player, score checker, news reader, fantasy football app, etc. If it involves sports we want to know what you use.

How to vote

We heard your pleas for a new way to vote, so we’re going to try something a little different this time.

  1. Type the name of the app you wish to nominate in the form below.
  2. Click “Submit”

It's as simple as that. Leave a comment below if you can’t get the form to work, or you want to explain your choice. Next week we will compile the results and release the top five apps according to your votes. In order to get a good sample size we need your help in sharing this poll. Tweet it, post it on Facebook, share it on Google+, pin it on Pinterest, or whatever you like to do. Alert your favorite developers so they can vote! Play ball!

T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Note 4 goes up for pre-sale; “ships by” October 17th

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 09:47 AM PDT


We might not have a solid United States release date for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stake your claim to one. T-Mobile has just opened up pre-sales for their variant of Samsung’s latest phablet whenever it launches this October. The device will run you $749.76 off contract, and that can be split into 24 equal monthly payments of $31.24 for $0 down.

T-Mobile did happen to list a “ship by” date for their device — October 17th, according to their website. Note that “ships by” could mean any date up to October 17th, and there’s a possibility that it could suffer a delay. But with Samsung planning to have this phone launched in 140 countries around the globe by the end of next month we’d say T-Mobile shouldn’t have any issues meeting that promise. Head here to order one.

iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: Camera Comparison

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 09:14 AM PDT

Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 Camera

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 or Apple’s iPhone 6? Fanboy allegiances aside, there will be lots of people making that decision over the next year. Among the primary questions people ask when trying to pick their next smartphone, “which has a better camera?” is among the top. In this comparison we put the devices head-to-head, taking nearly identical pictures with each device across a range of environments, and hopefully helping you understand what to expect.

Our photographic evidence is below, but here are the main takeaways:

  • Galaxy S5 takes some amazing pics, but has a tendency to produce some washed out photos
  • iPhone 6 photos are solid and more consistent, but pictures sometimes lack detail
  • The above visuals carry over to video as well
  • Galaxy S5 has superior audio playback in videos
  • Galaxy S5 is better in lowlight
  • Galaxy S5 has superior zoom
  • Advantages in lowlight/zoom/audio make the Galaxy S5 more versatile
  • iPhone 6 selfie cam is superior
  • Both cameras are really good but not great… travelers will still want a point and shoot alternative or DSLR (of which I recommend the Samsung Galaxy Camera).

In the below sets of photos, the first picture is always from the Galaxy S5 and the second is always from the iPhone 6.

Picture comparisons

Taken on a blaringly bright day with light and shadow weaving in and out of trees and buildings, we see one of the Galaxy S5′s flaws right off the bat: sometimes it does too much, super saturating colors and creating contrast where it’s unnecessary, washing out the picture in the process. Notice the bottom picture (the iPhone) maintains the blue sky.

ColorfulHouses-GS5 ColorfulHouses-iPhone

But zooming in, you’ll find the S5 picture more crisp while the iPhone picture is fuzzy. The colors in the S5 photo are bright and fun while the iPhone picture appears dull. The flip side of that argument: the S5 photos can seem artificial while the iPhone photos more natural.

ColorfulHouses-Zoom This is a recurring theme with all Samsung devices, including their TVs, purposefully exaggerating colors to create the most beautiful experience possible. Sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes it misses the mark.

I walked over to the Fells Point pier to snap some more outside pics, these of the Under Armour building across the harbor.

FellsUnderArmour-GS5 FellsUnderArmour-iPhone

The iPhone again presents more accurate blues, but zooming into the Under Armour building, notice the S5′s 16MP camera is able to capture greater detail.


It’s possible that, from the above pictures, you prefer the iPhone versions. That’s an understandable (matter of preference), but don’t think that Samsung is altering the saturation, brightness, and contrast needlessly. In many cases it helps create a much better scene, such as this nearby picture (see Under Armour in the background?) where the foreground is illuminated, making it much more interesting.

Pier-GS5 Pier-iPhone

That affect is hit or miss, sometimes improving colors and lighting, other times washing them out or making them seem artificial. For example below, I prefer the nice and vibrant Galaxy S5 beer picture yet prefer the iPhone’s picture of the field itself, maintaining those deep, natural greens in the grass.

OriolesBeer-GS5 OriolesBeer-iPhone OriolesGame-S5 OriolesGame-iPhone6

My gallery on both phones are filled with these situations: I like some photos on one phone and some photos from the other. It’s very hit or miss and which phone you generally accept as “better” for pictures is a matter of preference. However, some specific camera characteristics have clear cut winners.

Zoom Zoom Zoom

One place where the Galaxy S5 camera clearly wins: zooming. With a 16MP camera compared to the iPhone 6′s 8MP camera, users can put the full image on their computer, crop a small portion, and the photo will still be plenty large to use for online purposes.

That’s exactly what you saw with he Under Armour images above… but what about using the zoom on the camera itself, before you take the picture? Check out this picture of the Natty Boh guy from the rooftops, taken without any zoom (note these were accidentally taken at different times of the day, hence the difference in lighting):

NattyBohFar-GS5 NattyBohFar-iPhone

Now let’s see what happens if we use the phone itself to zoom.

NattyBohZoom-GS5 NattyBohZoom-iPhone

And now, from the zoomed picture, let’s crop that cute little guy’s face.

NattyBohZoomCrop-GS5 NattyBohZoomCrop-iPhone

Not even close… the Galaxy S5 runs away with it.


If there’s one place that the iPhone 6 runs away with a camera category, it’s selfies. Despite only having a 1.2MP shooter compared to the 2.1MP on the Galaxy S5, it consistently produced better images from its front facing “FaceTime HD” camera. Here’s me and my sister pretending to be tough (and another friend selfie bombing with his duckface).

OriolesMeanFace-GS5 OriolesMeanFace-iPhone

Colors are much richer and the textures are more human. Given that 99% of the time the front cam will be used to capture a person’s face… it seems Apple may have optimized accordingly. Keep in mind that this camera will mostly be used for social media, messaging, and live video chat, having a resolution over 1280 x 720 isn’t too important- that works just fine.

Macro and More

Some of my favorite pictures are closeups of random objects, whether that be food, flowers or something else. Both phones performed incredibly well with macro pictures, and although the noticeable difference between the final photos remains, this category was too close to call. Once again, mostly a matter of preference. In the interest of time and bandwidth, I’ll include a handful of other comparison photos, and we’ll move along.

Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6 Galaxy S5 iPhone 6

Video Comparison

Analyzing the videos we find the same themes prevalent from the photo comparisons. Namely, the iPhone’s colors appear more natural at the ballpark but in low light – in the music venue – the video is grainy and struggles to capture a good picture. The visual winner may be a tossup, but from an audio standpoint the Galaxy S5 absolutely crushes the iPhone in playback.

The Galaxy S5 sound is full with a clear and booming bass while the iPhone playback lays flat. Both videos were shakier than I’d hope, but that may be as much my fault as the camera’s, considering the musical nature of both videos. That being said, I specifically remember trying to hold quite still at the ballpark while recording.

The first set of videos are from a bar called Waterfront in Fells Point. Live music all the time and some good food, too. The second set are from the Orioles game at Camden Yards during the “Fan of the Game” selection. This hilarious guy did the same exact cheer at every idle moment of the game, even during YMCA he was poking the program into the air, exactly like so. I never did find out what was on the front of that program, but I’m not sure I want to know… I’d rather preserve the legend.

The video comparison would be close but the S5 audio sounds so far superior to the iPhone that it’s rendered a no-brainer.

The Shocking Part

Over the course of several days, when taking these pictures, I showed friends and family some of the pictures I’d taken along the way. Almost everyone – including me – was shocked at how clearly Samsung’s Galaxy S5 dominated the iPhone in photo taking. It wasn’t even close. Runaway victory. Laughable.

Then I put them on the computer… and that outlook changed. Samsung is known for having the brightest and most vibrant displays on the planet. When reviewing the photos, we weren’t admiring the quality of the photos… we were admiring the quality of the Galaxy S5 screen. We just didn’t know it.

Once putting both photos on a neutral device and equal playing field, just the opposite seemed to occur: the iPhone 6 edged the S5 in many cases because of deeper colors with more contrast. I was absolutely shocked, because I was fully prepared to write this article about the S5 demolishing the iPhone 6 camera… but that’s not the case.

On the other hand, this says a lot about the Galaxy S5 display. Simply put: it’s amazing. But that’s another story. The Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6 take different approaches to handling less-than-optimal lighting conditions and neither is perfect. There is no clear cut winner

The Verdict

As is the case with many flagship smartphone comparisons, you could easily make the argument for either the Galaxy S5 or the iPhone 6 as having the better camera. There are some clear differences, advantages, and flaws of each, but all things considered the Galaxy S5 has more points in it’s favor.

The iPhone 6 does take more consistently well colored photos, but the advantage is marginal. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S5 is superior in low light, crushes with zoom, and is exponentially better at capturing rich audio. Unless your heart is determined to have the better selfie at every waking moment, I’d recommend the Galaxy S5 as the better smartphone camera for its versatility and feature set… but the iPhone 6 isn’t far behind.

These are still two of the best smartphone cameras on the market, but serious photo lovers who anticipate wanting a great camera for trips and personal projects will still want to buy a dedicated point and shoot camera or DSLR.

Humble Bundle PC and Android 11 brings 11 games for $11

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 08:31 AM PDT

If your Android gaming catalog is struggling you might be happy to know that another opportunity to add good games for cheap has come along. Humble Bundle has introduced the 11th edition of their PC and Android blowout. This round of charitable acts will net you up to 10 games depending on what you pay. Here’s the breakdown:

Pay what you want:

  • Thomas was Alone
  • Bridge Constructor Playground
  • Cubemen
  • Cubemen 2

Pay more than the average ($6.13)

  • Small World 2
  • Blackwell 1: Legacy
  • Blackwell 2: Unbound
  • Blackwell 3: Convergence
  • More unannounced games

Pay $11 or more:

  • Surgeon Simulator
  • Anomaly Defenders

Considering the individual costs of Surgeon Simulator and Anomaly Defenders combine to make nearly $11, we’d say that’s a pretty good deal. Note that you’ll need to pay at least $1 if you also want the Steam keys for redeeming these games on PC, but that’s a small price to pay if you want these on two different platforms.

humble bundle pc and android 11

Be sure to head to the Humble Bundle site if you’re interested, and don’t forget there are even more games to be had for cheap this week. Just check out our weekly deals and steals post for all the details.

Samsung confirms Note 4 Sept. 26th release date in Korea, expects worldwide by end of October

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 07:48 AM PDT

samsung galaxy note 4

A report from yesterday suggested Samsung was going to be pushing the launch of the Galaxy Note 4 up by a a couple of weeks. It wasn’t expected to land in South Korea until early or mid-October, but the success of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ launch likely pressured Samsung to move faster. Today, that news is confirmed — the official launch date for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is September 26th.

Of course, that’s only one country in one region — what about the rest of us? Samsung says the device will be made available in over 140 countries by the end of October. That’s still a pretty good launch schedule despite Apple being able to launch in a majority of their most important markets by the end of the week.

Samsung also touched on launches for the Note Edge, Gear S, Gear Circle and Gear VR. The former is a phablet with a flexible display that over-extends to one side of the device. That unique touch enables clocks, music control, weather information and more without having to power on the entire display — think of it as the world’s slimmest and most powerful clock radio. Samsung says its availability will vary from region to region, but still doesn’t have any more detailed launch information to provide.

The Gear S is still on track for launch later this fall, and Samsung made that clear with a different announcement this morning — it’ll be headed to all four major carriers in the United States. As for the Gear Circle and Gear VR? Well, your guess is still just as good as ours.

[via Samsung]

Moto G (2nd Gen) Motorola Flip Shell case review

Posted: 24 Sep 2014 07:37 AM PDT


Those looking to add a personal touch to their Moto G without sacrificing protection need look no further than the Motorola Flip Shell case. A direct replacement for the Moto G's back cover (available in a variety of colors) with the added benefit of a folio-style screen protector, the Flip Shell  would seem to be an easy choice. But does it deliver?


Form + Function


Motorola Shells are the Moto G's equivalent to the Moto Maker options available for its pricier sibling, the Moto X. The Shells don't offer quite the level of customization we see with the Moto X, but they do offer one distinct advantage: they are user replaceable. So, while options overall are more limited, users are not stuck with one look for the duration of their handset's life. Simply decouple the back you don't want and snap a new one in place. You could even rotate daily to match your outfit.

While the standard Motorola Shell merely replaces the Moto G's back cover, the Flip Shell is a slightly different beast. It's Motorola's take on the folio-style cover that has become more and more popular in recent years — a case that wraps around to include a front flap for added screen protection. It perhaps started with Apple's iPad Smart Cover and caught on in the Android world with Samsung's S View case for the Galaxy line. Other manufacturers have followed suit, bringing us the Quick Circle case by LG as well as the Dot View case by HTC.

The Motorola Flip Shell shares the same form, but doesn't provide the same extended functionality as these cases. The aforementioned smartphone cases all in one way or another offer a windowed view that at a minimum allows users to quickly peek at notifications and other info without lifting the front folio flap. Some even enable shortcut capabilities to quickly respond to said notifications or dismiss them. The Motorola Flip Shell for the Moto G does none of these things, but that's not to say it serves no purpose or lacks at least some basic bells and whistles.

Beyond simply adding a degree of protection for the Moto G's display, it also interacts with the handset on the software side. Opening the folio cover will fire up the display. Your phone is ready to view when you are. It's a little touch that takes the flip cover from cumbersome to quite useful.

A Bulkier Moto G

Those thinking about going with the Motorola Flip Shell should know one thing: it adds a decent amount of bulk to the phone. The back is similar in proportion to the standard rear cover, while the padded front folio adds to the device's overall thickness. Same goes for the pliable hinge that connects the front and back portion of the Flip Shell. As a bonus, however, the Flip Shell does offer a textured back that adds some grippiness.

It is our opinion that the Moto G doesn't look quite as nice in its Flip Shell digs. It loses some of its sleekness and the beauty of its subtle curves are obscured. We're sure not everyone will agree on that point, and it wouldn't be the first time a smartphone buyer decided to sacrifice looks for protection (look at you, Otterbox users).

A magnet system is in place that in theory should keep the Flip Shell from flying open, but we haven't had much luck getting it to hold. The link between the magnets is fairly weak and makes this almost a non-feature.

The Bottom Line


At $30, the Motorola Flip Shell is twice the price of standard Motorola Shells. Perhaps this is justified — it offers twice the protection. Still, the sum seems a bit inflated considering the limited added functionality the case provides. For those looking to keep their screens scratch-free or wanting to go for a more mature look for their Moto G, the Flip Shell is a fine option. It won't be for everybody, however.

The Good

  • Protects screen while providing personalization options
  • Opening cover seamlessly powers on display

The Bad

  • Adds bulkiness to the Moto G
  • Magnet doesn't hold cover shut

Overall: 3/5