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Moto X Pure Edition review: A clever phone with a killer price

JR Raphael | Sept. 18, 2015
It isn't perfect, but Motorola's latest flagship has a lot of compelling qualities -- and considerable bang for the buck.

Bottom line

If it seems like I've been overly critical of the Moto X Pure Edition, it's because I know how amazing this line of smartphones can be -- and, like many other existing Moto X users, I had extremely high expectations coming in.

The truth, though, is that the Moto X Pure Edition is far from being a bad phone; it just isn't the zero-compromise, polished-to-perfection version of last year's Moto X that many of us were hoping to see. Instead, it feels like Motorola cut some corners in order to bring costs down this go-round.

But you also have to remember that Motorola is selling this phone for $400 unlocked, which is an insane move that has the potential to seriously shake up the smartphone market. And it's managing to deliver an unmatched user experience along with a respectably improved camera and tons of other compelling features -- all in a thoughtfully designed and ergonomic form that can be customized to look any way you like. That's pretty darn impressive.

In a sense, I think we have to reframe the way we view the Moto X. This device isn't going to give you the absolute best camera or the top-of-the-line display you'll get in a phone like the Galaxy Note 5. But it is going to give you a superior user experience along with components that, for most people and most typical usage scenarios, are going to be more than good enough.

At a price that's about half what you'd pay for the Note or other comparable flagships, that's a tough offer to ignore.

At a Glance

Moto X Pure Edition


Price: $400 (16GB); $450 (32GB); $500 (64GB). Additional $25 for wood or leather back.

Pros: Attractive and ergonomic design; can be custom-built with a variety of colors and leather and wood options; large, spacious display; good dual front-facing speakers; clean and intuitive UI with useful extra features and no needless bloat; respectable stamina; accelerated Turbo Charge for quick top-offs; good camera; has micro SD card slot; single universal model works interchangeably with all U.S. carriers; significantly lower price than most flagship phones

Cons: Large size can be awkward to carry and to use single-handedly; display not as impressive as those on other flagships; LCD screen doesn't fit well with Moto Display feature; some jerkiness in system animations; no wireless charging; camera struggles in low-light


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