Motorola unveils the Moto X (2014), complete with the Moto Maker customisation tool

Motorola has unveiled the Moto X (2014). It will be available across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia from later this month.

Previously rumoured to be called the Moto X+1, the new version expands on the phone that was well received last year, but which failed to set the market alight.

The new Moto X has significantly upgraded specs and improved build quality, while maintaining the things that were great about the original—the fantastic ergonomic design, and the near-stock Android OS augmented with some clever tweaks including the active notifications system.

The UK price will be £419.99 SIM-free for the 16GB version, and £459.99 for the 32GB version. The Moto Maker customisation system will also be launching in the UK for the first time. This enables users to pick a custom designed back, including leather and wood, as well as configuring software options. Prices for customised devices start from £439.99.

Moto X Moto Maker Palatte

Moto X (2014) specs

  • OS: Android 4.4 (will be among the first to be updated to Android L)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad-core
  • RAM: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: 16-32GB
  • Battery: 2300mAh
  • Rear camera: 13MP, f/2.2, 29mm equiv focal length, 1/3.06” sensor
  • Front camera: 2MP
  • Dimensions: 140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9 mm
  • Weight: 144g
  • Screen size: 5.2-inch
  • Screen resolution: 1080×1920 pixels, 424ppi

The 2014 model marks a slightly different approach to the one used in the original Moto X. That handset took a more iPhone-like approach of highlighting performance ahead of specs.

The performance was indeed smooth and impressive, and the software arguably the most thoughtful produced by any Android manufacturer—a combination of stock Android and some clever tweaks. Yet sales were unimpressive. Perhaps as a consequence Motorola has matched the specs of the likes of the Xperia Z3 and Galaxy S5. There’s a fast quad-core processor, a large HD display and a high res camera.

The build quality has also been upgraded, replacing the all-plastic shell of the original with a metal frame. The impressive ergonomic design is the same, however, with a curved back giving the impression of the device feeling smaller than it really is.

With an AMOLED display the Moto X (2014) also supports Motorola’s active notifications system. This shows notifications on the screen without even needing to power on the phone. Because the display is AMOLED, only the pixels that are illuminated use any power, so displaying a clock and a few notifications uses almost no power at all.

Other than these small enhancements the phone runs a virtually stock version of Android. Motorola has stated that the device will be updated to Android L as soon as it becomes available, just as the Moto X and Moto G were among the first handsets to be updated to KitKat.

The new Moto X looks like one of the most interesting devices announced this Autumn. With Motorola having since gained considerable traction in the market with the budget-minded but high quality Moto G, the 2014 X stand a far greater chance of success.