After a short hiatus, Motorola is bringing back the venerable Moto X. The new, fourth-generation Moto X, or Moto X4, is no longer the company’s flagship phone (that honor is reserved for the Moto Z2 lineup), but fills out the midrange in Motorola’s lineup. Highlight features of the Moto X4 include a new dual-camera setup and support for hands-free control of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The X4 will be available in Europe starting in September for €399. It is expected to hit the US later this fall.
Despite the Moto X4’s midrange ambitions, it has a metal and glass design with Gorilla Glass 4 and a contoured back. It is IP68 water and dust resistant, which is better than the Z2 lineup’s “splashproof” rating. It does not include support for the Moto Mods modular accessory platform, however, as that is only compatible with the Z phones.
The X4’s processor and display are more fitting for its price point, as it uses the Snapdragon 630 chip instead of the more powerful Snapdragon 835. Its 5.2-inch display has a 1080p resolution, and the battery has 3,000mAh of capacity, which Motorola claims is good enough for up to 24 hours of use between charges. A 15 watt TurboPower charger is included and provides six hours of use in just 15 minutes of charging.
The highlight of the phone is its new dual-camera system. Unlike the high-end Z2 Force, which utilizes two 12-megapixel cameras, one with a color sensor, the other black and white, the Moto X4 has a 12-megapixel main camera paired with an 8-megapixel wide-angle secondary camera. Both cameras capture full color images, though the main camera has dual-pixel autofocus, an f/2.0 lens, and 1.4-micron pixels, while the wide-angle camera offers a 120-degree field of view from its f/2.2 lens and 1.12-micron pixels. Motorola says this setup will still enable depth effects, such as selective focus and color. The front camera has 16-megapixels of resolution and includes an “adaptive low-light mode” that offers better low light performance at a hit to overall resolution.
In addition, Motorola is building more intelligence into its camera app, which will now recognize landmarks and objects and provide links to more information about them. It’s not hugely different from Samsung’s Bixby feature or Google’s own Google Goggles.
The other big feature Motorola is debuting here is built-in, hands-free support for Amazon’s Alexa assistant (if you’re in the US, UK, or Germany, at least). The Moto X4 will be able to respond to “Alexa” voice commands, even when locked, and access the abilities that Alexa offers on the Echo and other devices. It sounds very similar to the Alexa integration that debuted on the HTC U11 earlier this year. The X4 will still offer access to the Google Assistant, which is built in to Android, and Motorola says that Alexa integration will come to other Motorola phones in the future.
On its own, the Moto X4 appears to be a very capable device, complete with a rich set of features. But it’s unclear how well it’ll fit in Motorola’s already crowded lineup, which includes phones that start below $100 and others that stretch north of $700, with many in between. We don’t yet know official US pricing, but converting the European price to US dollars puts it around $475, which is not far from the cost of the Z2 Play.
The Moto X4 will be available in “Super Black” and “Sterling Blue” (which appears to be silver) when it arrives. We’ll have more to share once we’ve spent some time with Motorola’s latest X phone.