Aug 02 AT 10:41 AM Nick Gray 26 Comments

Motorola’s magic trick: sizing up the Moto X


With all the Motorola Moto X news that we pushed out yesterday, one of the device’s most astounding features didn’t get much attention: its size. Technically, the Moto X is a mid-range Android phone that carries a price comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. Tech enthusiasts may find that a bit off-putting, but we suggest you take a look at a few numbers before you completely write off Motorola’s new device.

Like the HTC One, the Motorola Moto X features a 4.7-inch display, but there is a huge disparity in size between the two phones. The Moto X is about 1mm thicker than the HTC One, but it’s a good 8mm shorter and 3mm less wide. Comparing the Moto X to the HTC One may not be a fair comparison, because HTC’s device sports front-facing speakers above and below its display. But the size of the X becomes even more apparent when it’s lined up against the HTC One mini, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the S4 mini. Motorola has found a way to cram a 4.7-inch display into a chassis that’s smaller than the HTC One mini.

moto-x-phone size-chart


If Motorola does release a cheaper version of the Moto X, we can assume it’ll come with a smaller display and an even smaller chassis. A smaller Moto X with the same design and a 4.3-inch display would out-mini the Samsung Galaxy S4.┬áThe Moto X may not have a fancy new processor, but Motorola has managed to create an incredible looking phone with decent specs and a highly customizable experience that is substantially smaller than devices with similarly sized displays. In a perfect world, the phone’s price would be a bit lower, but we honestly think the Moto X will be a hugely popular phone for the second half of 2013.

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • surethom

    Very compact this is why I dont like 5″ screen phones like the S4 & Sony Z because they are way too WIDE, I dont really care about thickness or height, its the width that I dont like, not 1 thumb friendly.

    • Matt

      Even iphone is hard to use with one thumb. If you have the anything on top left corner (assuming youre holding it with your right hand) its still hard. Baaaa even iphone 4/s is difficult to use with one hand

  • DigDug

    Calling the chassis “smaller than the HTC One mini” isn’t true.. at all as far as I can tell. Based on your own numbers, its shorter but wider. In fact, the MotoX screen won’t fit on either of the Mini’s because its too wide. Heck, if you look at surface area, the mini is actually 5% smaller (the S4 Mini is 10% smaller…).

    It seems like a bit of an odd choice to me. I think I’d rather my phone be tall and thin for my pockets than wide and short, but I have deep pockets.

  • Trevor Cameron

    Still with the “mid-range” phone? Can someone please explain to me what specs make this phone mid-range vs. high-end? It’s not bleeding edge, but I seriously want to know why the mid-range label?

    • Nick Gray

      I use that label because the specs are technically on par with the HTC One mini (besides screen size). I have not heard anyone complain about the One mini being labeled as a mid-range device.

      • Trevor Cameron

        Technically… I think we can all agree the the processor is a quite a bet better than what we have inside the mini. The only real spec that isn’t high-end is the screen resolution, IMO.

    • phor11

      Last year’s Dual core CPU (S4), 720p amoled screen, normal sized battery, etc… etc…

      High end phones have Snapdragon 800 quad core CPU’s, 1080p ips screens, larger batteries, etc… (not all at once, but some of the above).

      It’s not that far off, but would you rather them call it “almost high end”?
      You can get just about the same specs for $350 unlocked with the nexus4. That’s a pretty good definition of mid-range if you ask me.

      • john woo

        Don’t forget Nexus 4 does have quad-core chip inside.

        • I think s/he’s talking about the Qualcomm chip called the “S4″, not the nexus phone.

    • monk

      Compared with other android high-end phones is in the upper mid-range (only 2 “real” CPUs, 720p screen, smaller battery, 16/32 GB with no SD slot). Compared to other OS high-ends like Nokia Lumias, BB10 or even the iPhone5 is still high-end. Maybe the only part lacking for the average Joe is the storage, they should be 32/64GB if not adding a SD slot…
      Most of us were expecting an unlocked good price like $399 or lower for that specs and not 199 on contract

  • Shrink

    Why would you want to compare screen sizes?
    Instead you should compare resolution, framerates and things like upgradability (SD support). The moto x is a girlish loser device.
    Not impressed. I’d never pay a price THAT high for those lame specs. They even try to sell GPU cores as extra cores. Don’t be fooled. I’m off the hype train.

  • Arthur

    One 4.7″ phone not in the comparison is the Nexus 4 which is taller and wider than the Moto X.

    I think it is safe to say that Motorola and Google at least deserve credit for cramming a 4.7″ display into the smallest dimensions we have seen thus far, an accomplishment to be sure.

    I don’t think without Google’s guidance on this phone that Motorola would be able to push the boundaries of phone design to this level. Google seems to be a stickler for small details that account for the final fit and finish of the device and so far none of the hands-on I have read about the X have complained that the phone doesn’t feel right or something is off-putting when held in your hand. I am pretty sure this is in most part to Google overseeing most aspects of the phone development.

    • Nick Gray

      I completely agree. I hope other OEMs can figure out a way to shrink the size of their devices and give consumers something more ergonomic. I love my HTC One, but I do wish it was a tab bit smaller.

      • Arthur

        For me, I do have small hands and the width of my Nexus 4 gives me the biggest issues for maneuvering my fingers across the screen for different tasks. The height comes into play as well but I would put width as the number one thing OEM’s should tackle. But obviously if a phone has to be a certain resolution with the display, and it isn’t going to be any less than 720p these days that no matter how edge to edge it is, it is still going to be the minimum width for a 720p screen.

  • Matt Creed

    I’d like to see mid range pricing for this mid range phone

    • elijahblake

      same here… I like the phone, just not for the price they have it at.

    • Nick Gray

      Maybe we’ll get a mid-range price for the moto x mini with a 4.3-inch 720p display. They did it for the Droid mini, so there’s no reason they can’t do it here.

  • Me

    Galaxy S4 has a 5″ screen. On both SGS4 and the Moto X, the display covers 72% of the front.

  • david jones richrads

    Comparing to other phones Moto X is looking pretty much awesome

    • Shrink

      That’s not you right?

      Motorola Mobility – Principal Staff Applications Engineeer

    • Brian

      Thats why am not trusting most of this people who keep on insisting that moto x is a high end phone. For God’s sake dual core proc, 16gb memory and a 720p screen. That it mid range however you look at it.
      500million is hard at work, astroturfing will be everywhere

  • Anna
  • chris

    Height is wrong on s4

  • donger

    Nice comparison.

  • droidguyuk

    Its upper mid range phone that’s in many ways better than the s4 or one because they have tried to do something different, its a phone that should offer less lag than the s4 that has an incredibly innovative chip and GPU set up and look at the benchmarks it’s no slouch … Most people want a phone that’s fast that is small but has a big display ( hard one that) they are not fussed about multiple cores just that it works (kind of like an iphone does). And guess what ? This does … PS I work in a mobile phone shop so please don’t tell me I’m wrong ! About 5% of people care about RAM or GPU speeds etc…. The price at $100 would have been better though…
    Where are all the patriots ? No one seems fussed its an American phone? But I hear loads of whining about Foxconn funny that isn’t it now they don’t care about it being built on home soil .

  • KRS_Won

    -Moto should make a Droid Defy (life proof) line. I don’t get it. Motorola was the first mainstream company to promote a active lifestyle phone. But never gave it a proper push. Shouldn’t have been a sacrifice on which android version with older specs. I gladly would’ve paid a premium to have it shock, dust, and water resistant.
    -There is no need for a Ultra “normal”. Just stick with the MAXX, instead of a $100 premium just meet in the middle at $250.
    -Mini is still a good idea, especially how Moto does it; full specs, smaller bezel.
    -BRING BACK SD CARD SUPPORT. I travel a lot, and like to keep a few movies on a card, works great with HDMI out. 32GB is nice for music, photos, and apps. But switching out movies on internal storage before 4.3 sucks on performance.
    I’m fine with the 720 screen. No problems on my HD MAXX. battery life and less pixels to push.
    -1) Mini. 2) Defy-like 3) MAXX.